As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, there are periods of the year where Blog Red Machine is required to cast a vote in certain areas. With the regular season over and the playoffs in full swing, now is such a time when we will reveal our votes for the end of season BBA awards.
These awards are the Connie Mack Award (top manager), Willie Mays Award (top rookie), Goose Gossage Award (top relief pitcher), Walter Johnson Award (top pitcher) and Stan Musial Award (top player).
Since BRM covers the Cincinnati Reds and the Reds are a National League team, all our votes will be for the NL only.
For each award, there were six ballots cast. Scoring for Connie Mack, Willie Mays, and Goose Gossage were based on each ballot consisting of each voter’s top three choices. Scoring was on the 5-3-1 basis with 5 points for a first place vote and so on.
Connie Mack Award – Dusty Baker, Cincinnati Reds
I hear you, fans of the Washington Nationals. You’re thinking everyone should vote for Davey Johnson. While no one can logically dispute what Johnson got from his team this season and that the expectations of his team were not what the bottom line eventually provided in the Nats winning an NL East title.
It’s not that the Reds weren’t expected to do well this season, but, for me, it was more how they went about that task. Why is that? Dusty Baker.
Before the regular season even started, Baker had to find a new closer and two valuable pieces to the bullpen as Ryan Madson, Nick Masset and Bill Bray were non-existent this season. Bray was in a few games, but not enough to contribute. This “rebuilt” bullpen was baseball’s best.
The team’s performance in the absence of Joey Votto was particularly astounding. Nary a soul could see that run coming, yet Baker was steering his ship in the right direction. Sure, there were calls for his job when the Reds started the season 4-8, but Baker found the means to lead this team. Still calls for Baker’s job.
Of course, in light of the results of the NLDS, some would say we should reconsider. But this is for the regular season.
The big surprise was that Johnson was not named on one of the ballots.
Here was the voting breakdown:
1. Dusty Baker
2. Davey Johnson
3. Bruce Bochy
Willie Mays Award – Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks
Being in Cincinnati, most rookie chatter revolved around Todd Frazier. If you were in any other part of the country, it seemed it was Bryce Harper grabbing the headlines.
A less than ordinary September derailed Frazier’s chances. I think people are over this Bryce hype even though he did have a good season. Our staff voted for Miley as its choice for the Mays, but Miley earned this and we didn‘t settle on this due to any Frazier/Harper debate.
And why not. Miley was head and shoulders above all other rookie hurlers this season.
Always been a chore to try and differentiate between pitchers and position players even with some of the number crunching we have at our disposal today.
A tight race it was, but Miley was the only player named on all six ballots. That should tell you something about the lefty. He was also selected to the NL All-Star team. Some may go as far to say he was the D’backs best pitcher this season.
1. Wade Miley
2. Bryce Harper
3. Todd Frazier
Goose Gossage Award – Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
For the entire BBA vote, Kimbrel won the Gossage AND Mays last season. Getting the Gossage could be debated considering the season John Axford posted last year, but no one should even begin to question Kimbrel winning a second consecutive Gossage Award. I would be willing to predict that he will. Honestly, he should.
A lot of talk was made in regards to Cincinnati’s Aroldis Chapman, but look at the numbers and Kimbrel is a clear-cut, obvious selection. We like closers that strikeout a lot of hitters, and Kimbrel is your guy. He struck out over 50% of hitters he faced.
What is the biggest surprise is that Kimbrel received all first place votes, Chapman received all second place votes, and there was a different third place on each ballot. Maybe that’s not a surprisae considering how Kimbrel and Chapman overshadowed the others.
1. Craig Kimbrel
2. Aroldis Chapman
3. Sean Marshall
(Note: Since we all differed on 3rd place, it was extremely difficult to devise a tie-breaking method. So we let our Reds bias show in awarding it to Marshall.)
For the Johnson, voting was a little different. Each voter listed his top five choices with scoring done per the scale of 10-7-5-3-1.
Walter Johnson Award – R.A. Dickey, New York Mets
Dickey snatched 4 of the 6 first place votes, named on all six ballots, and the lowest vote he received was third. Hard to argue with the year he put together, too. He led the NL in starts (33, along with others), complete games (5), shutouts (3), innings pitched (233.2), and strikeouts (230). His 20 wins was second only to Washington’s Gio Gonzalez who led the NL with 21.
Dickey was also in the top five in WHIP (1.053, 3rd), hits per 9 innings (7.395, 4th), and SO/BB ratio (4.259, 3rd).
All this from a knuckleballer makes this all the more illogical, doesn’t it?
If you look at ESPN’s Cy Young predictor, we had the top three, just flip Cueto and Gonzalez. And of course, we’re off on the other two.
1. R.A. Dickey
2. Johnny Cueto
3. Gio Gonzalez
4. Clayton Kershaw
5. Matt Cain
Voting for the Musial was conducted with each voter listing their top ten choices with scoring done a the scale of 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.
Stan Musial Award – Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
After last season’s debate between Ryan Braun or Matt Kemp, I surely didn’t think it would be the same for this year. Was I ever wrong. In fact, we were one point/place of one vote away from a tie.
Posey, named on all ballots, received three first place and three second place votes. Right behind Posey was Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, also named on all ballots, who received three firsts, two seconds and one third. Yes, one point/place separated the top two spots. It was the third McCutchen received.
But you cannot deny Posey’s season. He led the NL in batting (.336) and was second in on-base percentage (.408). We continually hear about how AT&T Park is a pitcher’s haven, and it is. It is teh NL’s most pitcher-friendly venue. Consider Posey’s splits:
Home: .343/.418/.506, 7 HR, 41 RBI
Away: .330/.400/.586, 17 HR, 62 RBI
Sure, the slugging is 80 points lower. Sure, he drove in less runs at home, too. The batting average and on-base percentage are higher at home.
I’m sure Pirates fans feel McCutchen is the obvious choice. He posted an incredible season as well, and if McCutchen would win the BBA’s vote, I would be neither surprised nor upset.
Only four players were named on every ballot: Posey, McCutchen, Braun and San Diego’s Chase Headley.
1. Buster Posey
2. Andrew McCutchen
3. Ryan Braun
4. David Wright
5. Chase Headley
6. Yadier Molina
7. Joey Votto
8. Allen Craig
9. Aramis Ramirez
10. Carlos Gonzalez
(Note: Even though Ramirez, Gonzalez and Jay Bruce received the same number of points, Ramirez was named on the most ballots to receive 9th while Gonzalez was named on more ballots than Bruce to give CarGo 10th.)