BBA Ballot: Walter Johnson Award

With the postseason now over the Cardinals, it’s time to start sorting through some of the other responsibilities on my baseball desk.  One of those is voting in the Baseball Bloggers Alliance‘s postseason awards.  As head of the St. Louis Chapter, I was able to assign people to vote for the various awards.  I also assigned myself to tackle the Walter Johnson Award, one of the two ballots the chapter can cast for the best pitcher in the league.  (It’s also a little past due, but I know the guy that counts the votes and since they weren’t finished yet, I think he’ll let it slide.)

With that in mind, here’s my ballot with a few brief comments.

1) Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles–Do we really need to talk about this?  Even when you factor in the fact that the Cardinals beat him in the postseason (which you can’t for this voting, as it’s just for the regular season), he still was head and shoulders over every one else.  When a pitcher is the front-runner for the MVP award, you know it’s a slam dunk win for the top pitcher award.

2) Adam Wainwright, St. Louis–To be fair, Wainwright gets a bit of a bonus for wearing the birds on the bat, letting that break any ties.  Even with that, though, there’s a strong case for him being runner-up to Kershaw’s strong season.  There is a reason he was selected to start the All-Star Game–at the time, he was Kershaw’s equal in most every way.  The dead arm phase of the season cost him, but he still won 20 games and had an ERA in the low twos.  He just is pitching at the same time as one of the all-time greats.

3) Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati–You know I hate to put him on here, but it’s impossible to ignore him.  20 wins, a 2.25 ERA, 242 strikeouts in 243.2 innings?  If Cincinnati had any sort of offense and had been in the hunt, Cueto might have been more in the conversation at the top spot.  As it is, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him edge out Wainwright, but he’s not going to do it here.

4) Jake Arrieta, Chicago–Winter is coming.  Aaron Finkel has been writing a Game of Thrones parody about the coming good Cubs team over at Viva El Birdos and, while good, it’s also quite scary.  The Cubs are starting to figure some things out around Wrigley and one of them was grabbing Arrieta from the Orioles.  Given how the Cardinals couldn’t do anything with him this season, it gives Redbird fans chills to know he’ll be in Cubbie blue for quite some time.

5) Cole Hamels, Philadelphia–It was a lost season in the City of Brotherly Love and therefore Hamels didn’t get a lot of attention.  He was only able to put up nine wins (though, as we all know, wins are a deeply flawed stat) but he had a 151 ERA+ and a 3.07 FIP.  Hamels came just shy of 200 strikeouts and was the one bright spot in a dismal season for the Phils.

The BBA will be announcing the winners on Wednesday, so be sure to check out their web site for them!

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