Tag Archives: MLB Awards

MLB awards: my 2018 IBWAA ballot

IBWAA 2018 MLB awards ballot time
Back in 2009 the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America) was originally, and perhaps fittingly, founded on Independence Day “to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA)” per the organization home site.
At the end of each regular season, each member in good standing receives an awards ballot and is tasked with voting for a top 10 for Most Valuable Player of the National and American Leagues.
We are also tasked with voting in each league for a top five in the Cy Young Award, as well as a top three in each of three further categories: top manager, top reliever, and Rookie of the Year.
This will be the fourth year that I’ve had a vote in the IBWAA annual awards balloting. As with each of the last three years, I’m now publicly releasing my ballot. As always, I’m sure that you would choose differently. I would love to hear your choices for each of the awards. Please feel free to leave a comment below this piece with your own selections.
The IBWAA is scheduled to begin announcing the winners of its awards in mid-November. Our editorial director here at Phillies Nation, Tim Kelly, released his own ballot just yesterday which included some of the reasoning behind his selections.
I’m not going to defend my choices, just simply presenting my ballot for your edification. However, I will let you in on this: I don’t vote for pitchers for Most Valuable Player. I’ve heard, appreciate, and respect all arguments to the contrary. I respectfully disagree with them all.
For me, a player who takes the field every single day to hit and field his position is always going to be more valuable than one who plays every five days. Also, there is a stand-alone award for the best pitcher that is not available to position players.
Also, my MVP votes are always going to be prejudiced towards players whose teams actually win something. Win your division, or at the very least capture a Wildcard playoff berth.
I don’t care if you hit 70 home runs for a last place team. They could have finished in last without your contribution. This is Most “Valuable”, not Most “Outstanding” Player. MLB gives out the Hank Aaron Award to the top hitter in each league. The MVP needs something more to win it on my ballot, and one thing they need is to have helped their team win.
So now it’s time to reveal my own ballot. I’ll first show my top choice to actually win the award, and then the entire ballot for each category.

First-year skipper Snitker guided the Braves to their first NL East crown in five years. (Photo: Bbqsauce13)
NL Manager of the Year: Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves
  1. Snitker
  2. Bud Black
  3. Craig Counsell
AL Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics
  1. Melvin
  2. Kevin Cash
  3. Joey Cora
NL Top Relief Pitcher: Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers
  1. Hader
  2. Wade Davis
  3. Kenley Jansen


Diaz (R) was baseball’s top reliever by a wide margin in the 2018 season. (Photo: Keith Allison)
AL Top Relief Pitcher: Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners
  1. Diaz
  2. Blake Treinen
  3. Craig Kimbrel
NL Rookie of the Year: Ronald Acuna, Atlanta Braves
  1. Acuna
  2. Juan Soto
  3. Jack Flaherty
AL Rookie of the Year: Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees
  1. Andujar
  2. Joey Wendle
  3. Shohei Ohtani

Nola is a worthy NL Cy Young Award candidate and received this vote.
NL Cy Young Award: Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
  1. Nola
  2. Jacob deGrom
  3. Max Scherzer
  4. Kyle Freeland
  5. Jameson Taillon
AL Cy Young Award: Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
  1. Snell
  2. Chris Sale
  3. Corey Kluber
  4. Justin Verlander
  5. Trevor Bauer

Bregman broke out to help the champion Astros remain a top contender. (Photo: Udeezy)
NL Most Valuable Player: Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
  1. Yelich
  2. Javier Baez
  3. Freddie Freeman
  4. Matt Carpenter
  5. Lorenzo Cain
  6. Nolan Arenado
  7. Justin Turner
  8. Paul Goldschmidt
  9. Trevor Story
  10. Anthony Rendon
AL Most Valuable Player: Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros
  1. Bregman
  2. Francisco Lindor
  3. Mookie Betts
  4. Matt Chapman
  5. Jose Ramirez
  6. J.D. Martinez
  7. Aaron Judge
  8. Mike Trout
  9. Whit Merrifield
  10. Didi Gregorius
Originally published by Phillies Nation as “Matt Veasey’s 2018 IBWAA awards ballot

MLB awards: my 2017 IBWAA ballot

IBWAA members submitted 2017 MLB Awards ballots

With the four Major League Baseball Division Series each heading towards their climactic moments, this marks a good time to take a quick look back at the regular season.

As a lifetime member of the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America), the end of each MLB regular season means that my awards ballot is due.

The IBWAA asks each of its members to vote on five categories in both the National and American Leagues. Those five are the MVP and Cy Young, as well as each league’s top reliever, rookie, and manager.

As with the vast majority of voters in the IBWAA, my own selections were certainly based on performance. However, also as with every other voter, subjectivity comes in to play.

There are almost always multiple individuals deserving of awards consideration. That was most definitely the case this season. I found this past 2017 MLB season to be one of the toughest ever for which to fill out an awards ballot.

For the MVP Award, I always consider that middle word carefully: valuable. In addition to tremendous statistical seasons, I want my Most “Valuable” Player to have provided his team invaluable performances defensively and at clutch moments, as well as providing leadership.

For me, when two players each have great statistical seasons, but one of those players is with a winning/contending club, the contender is going to finish ahead on my ballot most times.

Hit 50 home runs, or win 25 games on the mound, for a 4th place team that finishes a dozen or more games out of the playoffs? To me, your losing team could have done that without your “valuable” performance.

I don’t ignore great statistical performances from players on losing ball clubs. You’re just not going to get my first place MVP vote in the vast majority of seasons.

The IBWAA asks each voter to rank their top ten finishers in each MVP race, the top five finishers for the Cy Young Award, and the top three in each of the other categories.

The IBWAA will announce the winners in November. Follow the IBWAA Twitter feed for awards results, as well as regularly for great baseball writing by our members.

With all that said, here is the ballot that I submitted for the 2017 MLB Awards.

————————————————————————————–

National League Most Valuable Player

  1. Anthony Rendon
  2. Charlie Blackmon
  3. Paul Goldschmidt
  4. Giancarlo Stanton
  5. Cody Bellinger
  6. Nolan Arenado
  7. Joey Votto
  8. Kris Bryant
  9. Bryce Harper
  10. Corey Seager
American League Most Valuable Player
  1. Francisco Lindor
  2. Jose Altuve
  3. Jose Ramirez
  4. Aaron Judge
  5. Mookie Betts
  6. Mike Trout
  7. George Springer
  8. Byron Buxton
  9. Josh Donaldson
  10. Eric Hosmer
National League Cy Young Award
  1. Max Scherzer
  2. Stephen Strasburg
  3. Zack Greinke
  4. Clayton Kershaw
  5. Jimmy Nelson
American League Cy Young Award
  1. Chris Sale
  2. Corey Kluber
  3. Luis Severino
  4. Carlos Carrasco
  5. Chris Archer
National League Rookie of the Year
  1. Cody Bellinger
  2. Rhys Hoskins
  3. Luis Castillo
American League Rookie of the Year
  1. Aaron Judge
  2. Andrew Benintendi
  3. Matt Olson
National League Top Reliever
  1. Kenley Jansen
  2. Corey Knebel
  3. Wade Davis
American League Top Reliever
  1. Craig Kimbrel
  2. Cody Allen
  3. Alex Colome
NL Manager of the Year
  1. Torey Lovullo
  2. Dusty Baker
  3. Dave Roberts
AL Manager of the Year
  1. Paul Molitor
  2. Terry Francona
  3. A.J. Hinch

Twins Paul Molitor should be the AL Manager of the Year

Molitor has guided surprising Twins to verge of postseason

The Minnesota Twins downed the repeat AL Central Division champion Cleveland Indians on Tuesday by an 8-6 score at Progressive Field.

With the victory, Minnesota lowered it’s ‘Magic Number’ to just 1 in order to clinch the final American League Wildcard playoff berth.

It appears to be a forgone conclusion at this point. A year after finishing 59-103, the worst record in all of MLB, the Twins are going to the playoffs.

There are many reasons that one can point to when looking for reasons as to how this happened. They have developed a versatile lineup. There is a chance that they finish with five hitters who each slam 20+ home runs, and 4-5 players who could steal bases in double digits.

On the mound, rookie Jose Berrios has been everything that the organization hoped as he climbed through their system to become a top prospect.

Berrios has gone 13-8 with a 3.93 ERA. The 23-year old righty has allowed just 129 hits over 144.1 innings in his 25 starts. His emergence has given the Twins a legit 1-2 rotation punch with veteran Ervin Santana.

They are receiving strong leadership and somewhat of a turn-back-the clock season of production from veteran Joe Mauer.

The popular St. Paul native is enjoying his best season since 2013, when he was honored with the last of his six career AL All-Star appearances and his fifth career Silver Slugger.

But possibly the biggest reason for Minnesota’s success has been the performance of yet another homegrown product, manager Paul Molitor.

Molitor is another St. Paul native. Like Mauer, he was a product of Cretin High School and Cretin-Derham High School. Unlike his first baseman, who was drafted right out of those high school ranks, Molitor also attended the University of Minnesota.

Following a 21-year career that ended with three final seasons playing for the Twins from 1996-98, Molitor was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He finished that playing career with 3,319 hits as well as a career .304 average and 504 stolen bases. This made him one of just five players in history to finish with at least 3,000 hits, a .300 average, and 500 steals.

Molitor had been the 1978 AL Rookie of the Year runner-up, was a 7x AL All-Star, and a 4x Silver Slugger. In 1993, Molitor was the runner-up in the AL Most Valuable Player voting. Also that year he helped lead the Toronto Blue Jays to their second straight World Series crown, becoming MVP of the Fall Classic.

Following his retirement as an active player, “Molly” was hired as the Twins bench coach to longtime skipper Tom Kelly, serving three years in that position before joining the Seattle Mariners as their hitting coach.

Molitor returned to the Minnesota organization after just one year in Seattle, and spent the next nine years coaching throughout the Twins minor league system. In 2014 he was brought back to help coach the big leaguers.

Finally in 2015, Molitor was offered and accepted the chance to manage the Twins. His first season resulted in a winning 83-79 record, the club’s first winning campaign in five years. That was followed by last season’s worst-in-baseball debacle.

Kelly has seen this before in Minnesota, first-hand. The Twins skipper from 1986-2001, he led the franchise to it’s only two World Series championships in 1987 and 1991. That ’91 Twins club went from being the AL’s worst team in 1990 to world champions the following season.

I think Mr. Molitor and the staff have gotten a lot out of the players this year,” said Kelly per Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune. “…Paul has gotten an awful lot out of these guys and they’re playing the game well. I think Paul has done a very good job, without question.”

When your pitching staff ranks 22nd in all of baseball in ERA, 26th in Batting Average Against, and just 29th in MLB in strikeouts, yet you are on the verge of a playoff berth, the skipper is doing something right.

Outside of Santana, Berrios, and 3-4 others, there are few consistently reliable arms. Molitor has done a fabulous job of juggling what he has available, mixing and matching to near perfection.

He’s done a good job of using information that’s available,” said Mauer per Pat Borzi at MinnPost. “Nowadays sometimes there’s a lot more information than you might need, but I think he’s good at deciphering, trying something out, hearing things, and then applying it where you can.” 

There are certainly other strong candidates for the honors as American League Manager of the Year. Other leading contenders include A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros, Joe Girardo of the New York Yankees, and Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians.

But I could make an easy argument with you by simply scanning their rosters. Each of those men operates with a more talented roster than Molitor does in Minnesota. That’s not a slight to the Twins, but instead a nod to those other organizations overall talent.

For my money, the Twins aren’t sniffing a postseason berth, let alone on the verge of playing meaningful October baseball, without the job that Molitor has done at the helm. He is absolutely deserving of being honored as the 2017 AL Manager of the Year.

IBWAA 2016 Major League Baseball Awards Ballot

It is MLB awards season, and as Major League Baseball hands out its formal honors, the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America will do the same.

With the 2016 MLB season winding to a close, various individuals and groups, including myself and the full body of the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America) will be honoring players and coaches as award winners for their performances this year.
The IBWAA was founded on the 4th of July back in 2009 “to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA)” per the home website.
At the end of each regular season, the IBWAA membership receives an awards ballot. Each writer is then asked to vote and return the ballots promptly.
These ballots are then tabulated, and MLB awards winners are determined. The IBWAA is scheduled to begin announcing the winners of its writer balloting in mid-November.
MLB has already begun the process of announcing some its awards winners. For instance, David Ortiz in the AL and Kris Bryant in the NL have been honored with the Hank Aaron Award as the top hitter in each league this season.
Each year, I publicly release my vote. I do this so that any followers get a sense of what I am thinking as far as the game is concerned, but also to spur conversation on our great game of baseball.
I am quite sure that in at least a couple of these selections, you would choose differently. Would love to hear your choices for each of the awards. Feel free to leave a comment with those selections.
So now, on to my ballot. As writers we were asked to provide a Top 10 in each league MVP vote, a Top 5 in the Cy Young Award balloting, and Top 3 in each of the Top Manager, Top Reliever, and Rookie of the Year categories.

MLB 2016 Prediction: AL Most Valuable Player

Our staff at the Fansided blog “That Ball’s Outta Here” (TBOH) has just released our predictions for the final standings in each division, as well as our postseason predictions, including the 2016 World Series winner. 
I released my own predictions for the Phillies in the coming season as well.
Our staff continued by releasing our predictions for some of MLB’s major award winners, including the Cy Young Award in each league, as well as the Rookie of the Year Awards.
We’ll wrap our predictions today by releasing our picks for the front-runners for American and National League Most Valuable Player, as well as our pick for the first manager to be fired this season in Major League Baseball.
A year ago, there was a definite tiered status to the AL MVP voting. The winner was Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays. The 3rd baseman had an outstanding .297/.371/.568 slash line with 41 homers, 123 RBI and 122 runs scored.
Donaldson was followed in the voting by the 2014 AL MVP, Mike Trout, who finished as the runner-up for the third time in his four full big league seasons. 

Behind Trout was outfielder Lorenzo Cain of the world champion Kansas City Royals, who had the breakout campaign that many had been predicting. Cain was followed by young Baltimore Orioles 3rd baseman Manny Machado.
Each of those top four finishers from a year ago is likely to be a perennial contender over the next few seasons as well. 
In TBOH staff voting, we went with Trout as our consensus favorite. The Millville, New Jersey native was named the favorite on half of our eight ballots.
Predictions
Others receiving a vote were phenomenal young Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, 5-tool Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, slugging veteran Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, and the man known simply as ‘Big Papi’, David Ortiz, who is beginning his final season as the Boston Red Sox designated hitter and team leader.
As long as he remains healthy, it is always going to be easy to vote for Trout as a Most Valuable Player candidate. 
He is one of the most talented players to step on to a baseball diamond in decades, a Griffey or Bonds-like talent so obvious as to be impossible to ignore.
The problem for him may become the team surrounding him. It can become tough to actually win if your team is struggling, especially when there are outstanding candidates helping carry other teams to postseason berths. 
Trout is going to have to find a way to elevate the performances of those around him if he wants to keep putting MVP trophies on his mantle piece, and not simply finishing among the voting leaders.