MLB Awards Report Card: Grading the BBWAA's Picks for MVP, Cy Young, Top Rookies
Today's announcement of Josh Hamilton as the American League's Most Valuable Player means baseball's annual end-of-season awards series is over.
Few times of year breed as much controversy and debate amongst baseball fans as awards season. Over the last few weeks, we've seen countless arguments for who should win what and why, starting with Derek Jeter's Gold Glove and running nonstop until now.
The Rookies of the Year, Cy Youngs and MVP are voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America; in each league, two writers for each team cast their ballots for the league's best players.
Now that all is said is done, it's time to ask: How'd they do?
In this slideshow are my grades for both the BBWAA's choices and their total votes for each award. What do you think—would they be proud to bring home this report card?
NL Rookie of The Year: Buster Posey, Giants
Buster Posey was a good choice after his rapid adjustment to MLB pitching helped the Giants to a postseason berth (voting took place before the players). But given that Jason Heyward contributed even moreso for the Braves (5.0 Wins Above Replacement to Posey's 3.9), was he the right choice?
Overall voting: B+
On the whole, it looks pretty good. My biggest beef: It's hard to see how anyone could have chosen Gaby Sanchez over Ike Davis, let alone how he got three top-two votes ahead of Heyward and Posey.
AL Rookie of the Year: Neftali Feliz, Rangers
Good pick by the BBWAA here. In addition to posting 40 saves and a 2.73 ERA, he showed swing-and-miss stuff (9.2 K/9), good control (2.3 BB/9) and the ability to induce weak contact (14.9-percent line-drive rate).
Overall voting: B
Eight first-place votes to a player (Austin Jackson) whose success was demonstrably due to luck? Three people naming a guy (Brennan Boesch) who hit .166 in his last 70 games? No love at all for Carlos Santana? Overall a decent job, but these obvious flubs drag the grade down.
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Phillies
It's not just that the BBWAA chose the right man. It's that they did it unanimously.
Overall voting: B-
While I don't see them as serious problems, I can understand that Josh Johnson's relatively low innings and win totals would hamper his candidacy. But how could the league leader in ERA (2.30) and FIP (2.41) fall to fifth?
Also, who's the idiot who voted for Bronson Arroyo?
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
Felix Hernandez wasn't the rightful Cy Young, but the fact that CC Sabathia didn't win because he won 21 games shows that the voters are making progress.
Overall voting: F
The voters are no longer handing out the Cy solely based on wins, Sabathia's 25 top-three votes show that the writers are still holding pitchers accountable for the performances of their supporting offenses.
And forget about distinguishing the Cy Young candidates’ performances from those of their backing fielders. Cliff Lee, Justin Verlander and Francisco Liriano, who had the three best FIPs in the league and all finished in the top four in WAR, combined for just five votes out of 140 cast.
NL Most Valuable Player: Joey Votto, Reds
Joey Votto ran away with the award even though he didn't lead any of the traditional Triple Crown categories. Kudos to the BBWAA for recognizing his plate discipline (.424 OBP—best in baseball), power (.600 SLG—tops in the NL) and value (7.4—highest in the league).
Overall voting: A-
Ryan Howard's presence in the Top 10 while Matt Holliday and Ryan Zimmerman fell to 12th and 16th, respectively, is truly perplexing. But in the scheme of things, such errors are relatively trivial. Well done.
AL Most Valuable Player: Josh Hamilton, Rangers
Simply put, Hamilton was the best player in baseball this year, and he helped the Rangers win the American League pennant in the process. This was an easy choice.
Overall voting: B
Adrian Beltre—an easy top-five pick in my eyes—somehow slipped to a ninth-place finish. Delmon Young managed to crack the Top 10, while the clearly superior Shin-Soo Choo was named on only four ballots. And can any non-Yankees fan explain the votes for Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira?