2009 MLB Awards

Now that we’ve crowned the truly uninspring 2009 World Series Champions, we can move onto the offseason hoping that 2010 offers a little more drama than the richest team in the league winning it all.

Next week, the MLB Writers will announce the 2009 MLB awards, so on that note, I’m posting my ballot (if I had a vote …)

All players listed with their WPA and WAR (from FanGraphs)

Rookie of the Year

American League:

  1. Brett Anderson SP (Oakland) – 0.12/3.8
  2. Jeff Neimann SP (Tampa Bay) – 1.87/3.2
  3. Elvis Andrus SS (Texas) – (-0.66)/3.0

WAR tends to heavily favor starters in these situations and also favors defense, which is why Andrus snuck in at #3 instead of Gordon Beckham (3B CHI).

National League:

  1. Andrew McCutchen OF (Pittsburgh) – 2.02/3.4
  2. Tommy Hanson SP (Atlanta) – 2.04/2.6
  3. Randy Wells SP (Chicago) – 1.64/3.0
  4. Garrett Jones OF (Pittsburgh) – 1.25/2.6

UPDATED 11/13: You know, somehow I completely forgot Tommy Hanson (SP Atlanta). He rolls in with a 2.04/2.6, which puts him very close to McCutchen. My gut says to rank the position player higher than the pitcher, so there you have it.

Amazingly, J.A. Happ’s WAR was only 1.8, below all of the above and guys like Casey McGehee (UT MIL) and Chris Coghlan (OF FLA).

MVP

American League:

  1. Joe Mauer C (Minnesota) – 3.64/8.2
  2. Ben Zobrist UT (Tampa Bay) – 4.10/8.6
  3. Derek Jeter SS (New York) – 1.41/7.4
  4. Franklin Gutierrez OF (Seattle) – 3.72/5.9
  5. Zack Grienke SP (Kansas City) – 6.07/9.4
  6. Kevin Youkilis 1B/3B (Boston) – 2.36/5.6
  7. Miguel Cabrera 1B (Detroit) – 1.59/5.4
  8. Mark Teixiera 1B (New York) – 3.58/5.1
  9. Shin Soo Choo OF (Cleveland) – 2.11/5.0
  10. Victor Martinez C (Boston) – 3.23/4.9

A few surprises, wouldn’t you say? I couldn’t bring myself to putting Zobrist at the top over Mauer – too many questions in my mind about the value of C defense in the WAR calculations. It was also hard to figure where to slot in the pitchers, but Grienke belongs in the list somewhere. Franklin Gutierrez looks like the steal of the year for the Mariners – adequate hitting and remarkable defense = high WAR (yet no Gold Glove … gotta love it). I was also surprised to see the good showing of Shin Soo Choo.

National League:

  1. Albert Pujols 1B (St. Louis) – 8.24/8.4
  2. Chase Utley 2B (Philadelphia) – 4.3/7.6
  3. Tim Lincecum SP (San Francisco) – 4.26/8.2
  4. Hanley Ramirez SS (Florida) – 3.09/7.3
  5. Prince Fielder 1B (Milwaukee) – 7.79/6.8
  6. Adrian Gonzalez 1B (San Diego) – 4.2/6.3
  7. Derek Lee 1B (Chicago) – 3.84/5.3
  8. Pablo Sandoval 3B (San Francisco) – 4.71/5.2
  9. Ryan Howard 1B (Philadelphia) – 6.03/4.8
  10. Ryan Braun OF (Milwaukee) – 4.73/4.8

Nothing too shocking – Pujols wins by a (not as big as I expected) margin over Chase Utley. Tim Lincecum is the on the list as the only starter. This was quite a year for 1B in the NL.

Cy Young

American League

  1. Zack Grienke (Kansas City) – 6.07/9.4
  2. Justin Verlander (Detroit) – 4.19/8.2
  3. Roy Halladay (Toronto) – 3.52/7.3
  4. Felix Hernandez (Seattle) – 3.26/6.9
  5. Jon Lester (Boston) – 2.50/6.2
  6. CC Sabathia (New York) – 2.89/6.0
  7. Andrew Bailey (Oakland) – 2.68/2.4
  8. Mariano Rivera (New York) – 3.99/2.0
  9. Jonathan Papelbon (Boston) – 5.13/1.9
  10. Josh Beckett (Boston) – 2.2/5.3

OK, anyone who says Grienke shouldn’t be the Cy Young should be excommunicated from baseball fandom. There was a steep dropoff in starters after CC, thus the three relievers in a row … and yes, Andrew Bailey was the best of that bunch.

National League

  1. Tim Lincecum (San Francisco) – 4.26/8.2
  2. Javier Vazquez (Atlanta) – 2.41/6.6
  3. Dan Haren (Arizona) – 2.95/6.1
  4. Adam Wainwright (St. Louis) – 3.60/5.7
  5. Ubaldo Jimenez (Colorado) – 3.16/5.7
  6. Josh Johnson (Florida) – 3.05/5.5
  7. Chris Carpenter (St. Louis) – 5.41/4.5
  8. Jair Jurrjens (Atlanta) – 3.35/3.9
  9. Randy Wolf (Los Angeles) – 0.69/3.0
  10. Huston Street (Colorado) – 3.38/1.5

Much like the AL, anyone who thinks Lincecum shouldn’t win the Cy Young (again) is silly. He didn’t get the wins, but everything else was hands-down better. And two Colorado pitchers in the top 10? Go figure.

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AL and NL MVP

Just to finish off the awards, here are the AL and NL MVPs. I’ll have my playoff and World Series picks tomorrow (if all the series are decided by then!)

American League Most Valuable Player

Contenders (in alphabetical order; RC = runs created)

  • Josh Hamilton – OF/TEX – 122.8 RC, 32 HR, 130 RBI, 9 SB, 98 R, .371 OBP in 624 AB – A great story on a lousy team. You could tell he wore down at the end of the season, but should be a force in 2009.
  • Joe Mauer – C/MIN – 99.9 RC, 9 HR, 85 RBI, 1 SB, 98 R, .415 OBP in 533 AB – As much as I love the idea of Mauer as MVP, his stats are nice, but not eye-popping. OK, yes, he is a catcher, so that helps a lot.
  • Justin Morneau – 1B/MIN – 112.8 RC, 23 HR, 129 RBI, 0 SB, 97 R, .375 OBP  in 620 AB – Another solid year from Morneau. 
  • Dustin Pedroia – 2B/BOS – 120.2 RC, 17 HR, 83 RBI, 20 SB, 118 R, .376 OBP in 653 AB – Alright, so the same argument can be made for Pedroia as Mauer, albeit for a different position, but Pedroia was eyepopping (and I’m biased, sorry).
  • Carlos Quentin – OF/CHW – 103.5 RC, 36 HR, 100 RBI, 7 SB, 96 R, .394 OBP in 480 AB – The award was his until he broke his hand and the White Sox began to spiral downwards.
  • Grady Sizemore – OF/CLE – 128 RC, 38 HR, 90 RBI, 38 SB, 101 R, .374 OBP in 634 AB – Again, great season, lousy team (and lousy September). However, he did lead the AL in runs created.
  • Kevin Youkilis – 1B-3B/BOS – 114.2 RC, 29 HR, 115 RBI, 3 SB, 91 R, .390 OBP in 538 AB – Overshadowed by the outgoing Pedroia, Youkilis has outperformed the expectations laid for him in Moneyball.
How I’d vote:
  1. Pedroia
  2. Morneau
  3. Quentin
National League Most Valuable Player
Contenders (in alphabetical order)
  • Lance Berkman – 1B/HOU – 130.3 RC, 29 HR, 106 RBI, 18 SB, 114 R, .410 OBP in 554 AB – Started out fast but fell off his monster pace. And who knew that Berkman could steal bags?
  • Ryan Braun – OF/MIL – 109.7 RC, 37 HR, 106 RBI, 14 SB, 92 R, .335 OBP in 611 AB – Poor 3/4 of September hurts him, but he saved the Brewers (well, other than C.C.) in the last week of the season.
  • Ryan Howard – 1B/PHI – 111 RC, 48 HR, 146 RBI, 1 SB, 105 R, .339 OBP in 610 AB – Howard’s batting average hurts him a lot, but when he was needed in September, Howard carried the Phils to the top.
  • Albert Pujols – 1B/STL – 147 RC, 37 HR, 116 RBI, 7 SB, 100 R, .462 OBP in 524 AB – It is hard to argue against Albert Pujols for this, even if the Cardinals didn’t make the playoffs. His RC and OBP were nuts.
  • Hanley Ramirez – SS/FLA – 129.9 RC, 33 HR, 67 RBI, 35 SB, 125 R, .400 in 589 AB – He will be a perennial candidate, even with his so-so defense.
  • Chase Utley – 2B/PHI – 125.3 RC, 33 HR, 104 RBI, 14 SB, 113 R, .380 OBP in 607 AB – Solid year from Utley, but overshadowed by Pujols and Howard.
  • Dave Wright – 3B/NYM – 129.5 RC, 33 HR, 124 RBI, 15 SB, 115 R, .390 OBP in 626 AB – Wright is getting the reputation of a wilter after two seasons of September Mets collapses.
How I’d vote:
  1. Pujols
  2. Howard
  3. Braun