For those of you that might be more recent readers of this fine establishment, this blog is also a part of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. Which is probably a good thing since, like the United Cardinal Bloggers, that is one of my brainchildren. The BBA is designed to help bloggers interact and collaborate with each other, but it also has various voting opportunities. Casting a ballot for some year-end awards is one of those.
Now, given that the baseball writers complained (yes, they did), we can’t call our awards the same thing that they do. However, I think you’ll figure out the analogous award pretty quickly. I also vote in the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America awards, so I’m repurposing my ballot for those here.
A quick word of warning. Back in my younger days, I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on the baseball scene. I knew what players were where and what they were doing. Unsurprisingly, this was also at the height of my fantasy baseball participation. Over the years, well, you know the joke that a generalist knows everything about nothing and a specialist knows nothing about everything? That’s sort of the way I feel. I know the Cardinals inside and out, but my general feel for baseball has lessened. In other words, I’m pretty confident about the top of my ballots. After that, don’t be surprised if it’s a bit goofy. (I’m also just voting National League, because who knows what goes on in that land of quasi-baseball.)
Let’s start off with the Connie Mack Award, given to the top manager.
Hurdle took the Pirates to the playoffs. Enough said. Mattingly turned his team around and has them–frustratingly–just a couple of wins away from the World Series now (voting is based on the regular season, of course). He’s also done that without the likes of Matt Kemp, which is an extra layer of difficulty. Matheny had the best record in the NL and did it with a disabled list that looked like an All-Star Game at times.
Next, the Willie Mays Award that goes to the top rookie.
Fernandez was a special talent this year in Miami, giving the few fans that turned out a reason to cheer. Puig, well, he’s not going to be the favorite of any Cardinal fans after this series and probably is a tad overrated, but still had an outstanding year. Miller cooled in the second half, but Michael Wacha didn’t pitch enough to take the slot and as young as they are, one Cardinal should be on this list.
The Goose Gossage Award honors the top reliever in the league.
Kimbrel is Kimbrel and probably will own this award for a long time to come. Chapman might have been a bit more human this year, but you still didn’t want to see him out there in the ninth. Siegrist might not have piled up saves, but he was a dominant left-handed force this season. Plus it’s my ballot and if I want a Cardinal represented on each award, what are you going to do about it?
The top pitcher in the league gets the Walter Johnson Award.
Kershaw is all-world right now and the fact that the Cardinals have to try to beat him again in Game 6 is giving me stomachaches already. Wainwright was incredible all year, save for those back-to-back games against the Reds before the stretch run. We’ve talked about Fernandez and Harvey was outstanding until he had his arm troubles and it’s rough for Met fans that he won’t be back next season. Zimmermann outdueled his more famous rotation mate to put up the better season.
Finally, the best/valuablest/outstandingest player award is, of course, the Stan Musial Award.
I’ll admit to some homer bias here, but given that Carpenter was playing a new and vital position and did so fairly flawlessly, plus led the league in hits, plus broke a Musial team record for doubles, plus did almost all of it as a leadoff man, I think there’s a case. McCutchen will win it and he completely deserves it for what he did for Pittsburgh this season. Molina could have easily gotten first or second, especially when you factor in the defense and the leadership.
The rest are pretty interchangable. I am sure I should have rated Kershaw higher, but I still think that the Stan Musial should be mainly for position players. If anyone deserves to make the argument, though, it’s Kershaw.
Be sure to check out the BBA’s website November 1 to see how the voting shakes out!