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Thursday, July 04, 2002

Baseball Primer?s 2002 Mid-Season Awards

Our picks.

With many teams reaching the midway point of the season on Sunday, June 30,   we thought we?d take a poll and hand out some midseason awards. Seven Baseball   Primer authors ? Chris Dial, Joe Dimino, Eric Enders, Sean Forman, Rich Rifkin,   Charles Saeger, and Dan Szymborski ? voted in mock MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie   of the Year elections, following the same rules that the BBWAA uses when it   votes each October.

Not surprisingly, the four guys who finished one-two in last year?s Primer   MVP voting occupy those top spots again this year. Three of the four major awards   were unanimous, but there are some wide-open races for Rookie of the Year. Without   further ado, here are the results:

National League MVP

Player                       1st         Pts #Ballots
Barry Bonds, SF                7          98        7
Sammy Sosa, Chi                           58        7
Junior Spivey, Ariz                       41        7
Brian Giles, Pit                          32        5
Tom Glavine, Atl                          30        4
Todd Helton, Col                          28        5
Mike Lowell, Fla                          24        4
Shawn Green, LA                           17        3
Odalis P?rez, LA                          14        3
Adam Dunn, Cin                            13        5
Randy Johnson, Ariz                       11        3
Jos? Vidro, Mon                           11        3
Jim Edmonds, St.L                         10        4
Lance Berkman, Hou                         9        4
Cliff Floyd, Fla                           6        1
Eric Gagne, LA                             3        1
Andruw Jones, Atl                          3        1
Larry Walker, Col                          3        1
Vladimir Guerrero, Mon                     2        2

Bonds and Sosa?s respective teams may go nowhere this year, but that hasn?t   stopped them from turning in the kind of season we?ve come to expect. For Bonds,   there is nothing left for him to compete against except his own past standards.   He has zero chance to break his home run record, but is on track to top last   year?s single-season record for walks (177) by a full 31 free passes. To statheads,   of course, Bonds is now seeking a record even more important than the home run   record ? that for on-base percentage. His .566 clip is 13 points ahead of Ted   Williams? 1941 mark. With yet another astounding record in his sights, it will   be a shock if Bonds doesn?t remain atop the MVP heap at the end of the season.

Besides Bonds and Sosa, the only player to appear on every midseason ballot   was the ubiquitous Ernest Spivey, Jr. The onetime 36th round draft   choice has a .984 OPS, eighth in the National League. In addition to Spivey,   breakout seasons by Mike Lowell, Odalis P?rez, and Eric Gagne also earned unexpected   mentions in the MVP voting. The standings didn?t seem to matter much in this   race, as the two best teams in the league ? Atlanta and L.A. ? have only one   player combined in the top seven.

American League MVP

Player                       1st         Pts #Ballots
Alex Rodr?guez, Tex            4          81        7
Jason Giambi, NY                          55        7
Alfonso Soriano, NY                       53        7
Derek Lowe, Bos                3          46        4
Ichiro!, Sea                              36        6
Mike Sweeney, KC                          30        5
Jim Thome, Cle                            21        6
John Olerud, Sea                          21        4
Omar Vizquel, Cle                         16        3
Nomar Garciaparra, Bos                    12.5      6
Paul Konerko, Chi                         10        3
Torii Hunter, Min                          9        3
Bartolo Col?n, Cle                         7        1
Derek Jeter, NY                            5.5      2
Pedro Mart?nez, Bos                        3        1
Eric Ch?vez, Oak                           2        2
Ram?n Ortiz, Ana                           2        1
Shea Hillenbrand, Bos                      2        1
Barry Zito, Oak                            1        1

Not since Andr? Dawson (ugh) in 1987 has a last-place team produced an MVP   winner. Alex Rodr?guez is trying to change that. Although his Rangers have presumably   sewed up last place in the A.L. West, Rodr?guez continues to establish himself   as the second-best shortstop in baseball history. (He is, alas, still a very   distant second to Honus Wagner.)

Aside from Rodr?guez, the voters tended to place some importance on where   you are in the standings. The teams with the three best records in the league   ? Boston, New York, and Seattle ? each placed two players in the top ten. Derek   Lowe received all three first-place votes that A-Rod didn?t, but three people   who voted for A-Rod left Lowe off their ballot altogether. Like the embattled   BBWAA, apparently not all Primer authors are convinced that pitchers should   be considered for MVP.

National League Cy Young

Player                       1st         Pts #Ballots
Tom Glavine, Atl               7          35        7
Randy Johnson, Ariz 13 7
Odalis P?rez, LA 13 5
Curt Schilling, Ariz 2 2

An easy win for the remarkable Tom Glavine, whose first half performance has   probably cinched his eventual election to the Hall of Fame. Although Odalis   P?rez beat out Randy Johnson in the MVP race, the two southpaws came out dead   even in balloting for the league?s best pitcher. This may actually make some   sense: While the two may be even in pitching, P?rez is one of the best pitcher-athletes   in baseball. He is an outstanding fielder, fast runner, and competent hitter,   all areas in which Johnson is notoriously inept.

Johnson appeared on all seven Cy ballots, while P?rez was mentioned on only   five, as two voters gave Curt Schilling the third-place nod instead. P?rez has   an 0.88 WHIP, the best in baseball, and his ERA is almost three-quarters of   a run better than Schilling?s. But Schilling has won more games (13 to 9), pitched   slightly more innings, and plays in a tougher park for pitchers. Incidentally,   it?s been a good year for control pitchers in the National League, with P?rez,   Schilling, Jon Lieber and Brian Anderson all averaging less than one walk per   game. Last year, two pitchers in baseball ? Greg Maddux and Brad Radke ? did   that.

American League Cy Young

Player                       1st         Pts #Ballots
Derek Lowe, Bos                7          35        7
Bartolo Col?n, Cle 13 5
Pedro Mart?nez, Bos 8 3
Mark Buehrle, Chi 3 1
Barry Zito, Oak 2 2
Ram?n Ortiz, Ana 1 1
Jeff Weaver, Det 1 1

It?s also a unanimous choice in the American League, where so far nobody is   even a close second to Derek Lowe. Now that Col?n is out of the league, the   race for the Cy in the second half will be between the two Boston pitchers.   Lowe has never pitched more than 123 innings in a season before, a number he   will pass shortly after the All-Star break. Therefore, don?t be surprised if   he falters a tad in the second half, enabling the newfangled Pedro to sneak   in and grab his fourth Cy Young Award.

NL Rookie of the Year

Player                       1st         Pts #Ballots
Damian Moss, Atl               4          25        7
Josh Fogg, Pit 2 16 4
Austin Kearns, Cin 14 6
Kazuhiza Ishii, LA 1 7 3
Kevin Gryboski, Atl 1 1

Pitching has dominated among NL rookies this year. Kaz Ishii is by far the   flashiest of this bunch, leading all of baseball?s rookie pitchers in wins (11)   and strikeouts (93). But that was only good enough for fourth place, as clearly   some voters were reluctant to consider Ishii, a 10-year veteran of the Japan   Central League, a rookie. (Incidentally, this did not dissuade Primer authors   from naming Ichiro! the 2001 ROY in a near-unanimous vote last year.) If Moss,   the Australian lefty with the Mike James sideburns, can maintain his 3.15 ERA   until the end of the season, Ishii?s status as a rookie may be a moot point   anyway.

AL Rookie of the Year

Player                       1st         Pts #Ballots
Eric Hinske, Tor               6          33        7
Rodrigo L?pez, Bal 1 17 5
Bobby Kielty, Min 6 4
Hank Blalock, Tex 3 1
Dustan Mohr, Min 2 2
Aaron Harang, Oak 1 1
Jorge Julio, Bal 1 1

It looks like a fairly weak crop of American League rookies this year ? so   weak, in fact, that several part-time players received votes. And when was the   last time that no rookie in either league made the All-Star Game? Seems like   it?s been a while. Hinske appears to have a pretty solid grip on this award,   so unless he completely falls apart in the second half, expect him to take home   the hardware in November.

 

Eric Enders Posted: July 04, 2002 at 06:00 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Shredder Posted: July 04, 2002 at 12:33 AM (#605410)
Hey, at least someone out there likes Ramon Ortiz. Although, I think Washburn has been every bit as good, if not better.
   2. Cooper Nielson Posted: July 04, 2002 at 12:33 AM (#605412)
Hank Blalock?
   3. Chris Dial Posted: July 04, 2002 at 12:33 AM (#605417)
I'm pretty sure the Blalock vote was me - I know I had him on the list at first, while figuring out who to vote for.

I think he'll be back and be fine. My votes are not just who has been the best, but who will be the best this season. I think Blalock is still in the hunt (unless he's been run over an I missed it).
   4. Cooper Nielson Posted: July 05, 2002 at 12:33 AM (#605420)
Yeah, Chris. When the subject is "Mid-Season Awards," it seems like they should be awards based on the half season already played. If they're just predictions, why not stick with your preseason picks? It doesn't seem like first-half performance has had any impact on your opinion -- other than perhaps to knock Blalock from first to second.

Blalock in the first half:
100 AB, .200/.292/.310, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 8 R, 12 BB, 33 K

Granted, no one's given up on him yet as a future star, but this isn't the kind of performance that usually gets rewarded. Heck, even Mark Ellis, Ken Huckaby, Ramon Santiago and Joey "Whoa" Lawrence have outperformed Blalock so far -- at tougher defensive positions. And they are hardly the stuff that "Rookie of the Year" is made of.

I don't see how you can justify ranking him above either of the Twins' guys. And on his own team, Kevin Mench has been WAY better in similar playing time. Blalock would need two good months just to catch up to what those guys have already done, and the Rangers don't seem to be in any hurry to call him up. Plus it's unlikely that ALL of these other guys will completely tank in the second half.

I'll be surprised if Blalock gets ANY votes for Rookie of the Year this year. (Though if they don't call him back up, he's got a good chance for 2003.)

And yes, I did have Blalock on my fantasy team. Grumble grumble.
   5. Cooper Nielson Posted: July 05, 2002 at 12:33 AM (#605421)
Yeah, Chris. When the subject is "Mid-Season Awards," it seems like they should be awards based on the half season already played. If they're just predictions, why not stick with your preseason picks? It doesn't seem like first-half performance has had any impact on your opinion -- other than perhaps to knock Blalock from first to second.

Blalock in the first half:
100 AB, .200/.292/.310, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 8 R, 12 BB, 33 K

Granted, no one's given up on him yet as a future star, but this isn't the kind of performance that usually gets rewarded. Heck, even Mark Ellis, Ken Huckaby, Ramon Santiago and Joey "Whoa" Lawrence have outperformed Blalock so far -- at tougher defensive positions. And they are hardly the stuff that "Rookie of the Year" is made of.

I don't see how you can justify ranking him above either of the Twins' guys. And on his own team, Kevin Mench has been WAY better in similar playing time. Blalock would need two good months just to catch up to what those guys have already done, and the Rangers don't seem to be in any hurry to call him up. Plus it's unlikely that ALL of these other guys will completely tank in the second half.

I'll be surprised if Blalock gets ANY votes for Rookie of the Year this year. (Though if they don't call him back up, he's got a good chance for 2003.)

And yes, I did have Blalock on my fantasy team. Grumble grumble.
   6. Chris Dial Posted: July 05, 2002 at 12:33 AM (#605423)
Well, dang. I guess that's why I had him on/off, and then forgot what I was doing. This just in: I am not perfect. Please don't tell DMN. 8-)
   7. jss Posted: July 05, 2002 at 12:33 AM (#605426)
I see Junior Spivey places third, but only has 1 point. I assume this is a type (the points). what was his breakdown on ballots?
   8. Eric Enders Posted: July 05, 2002 at 12:33 AM (#605428)
Junior Spivey had 41 points.
   9. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: July 05, 2002 at 12:33 AM (#605429)
My 'no' vote on Ishii had nothing to do with his being older than a typical rookie.

Fogg, Kearns and Moss have been better this year. Ishii is in a pitcher's park and his ERA is higher than both of them. Pretty simple choice actually.

I will admit that initially my vote was going to be Ishii #1. But when I looked it over, it's just obvious that Fogg and Moss have outperformed him -- so far.
   10. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: July 06, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605441)
Eric Gagne not even on the list for NL Cy Young? You guys really don't like closers.
   11. Eric Enders Posted: July 07, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605443)
I plead guilty to not liking closers, but I do like Gagne. He would have been fourth on my Cy ballot, but unfortunately you can only vote for three guys. I did put him eighth on my MVP ballot, though.
   12. Danny Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605487)
How is it that Kent and Spivey have had extremely similar seasons thus far, and Spivey finishes 3rd in your voting and Kent is ignored?
   13. Eric Enders Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605495)
Kent .320/.373/.512
Spivey .328/.414/.552

I don't see how that's even remotely similar, Danny. Spivey has the 16th-best on-base percentage in baseball; Kent is not in the top 50. Spivey gets on base far more than Kent, hits for more power than Kent, fields better than Kent and steals bases better than Kent. The only two things Kent does better than Spivey are 1)ride motorcycles and 2)wreck clubhouse chemistry.
   14. Danny Posted: July 09, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605505)
Hey Eric,

Have you ever heard of this cool statistical tool called "park factors?" It's really neat. Over at Baseball Prospectus, they say the Pac Bell park factor is 910 while Arizona's is 1056. That's a rather large difference.

EQA EQR RAR RAP RARP
Kent 0.311 61.6 32.6 23.3 33.5
Spivey 0.299 55.9 26.9 17.5 27.7

Spivey has a slight production edge, while Kent has helped his team more by having more plate appearances. Seems like pretty even season so far to , at least offensively. Baseball Prospectus writers seem to think so as well, as they casted more votes to Kent than Spivey in their Mid-Season Awards. I do not quote the other BP to say that they are better than you, but merely as an example of how reasonable an argument it is to say that your writers overrated Spivey and underrated Kent.
   15. Danny Posted: July 09, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605506)
sorry, i accidentally posted Vidro's numbers instead of Spivey's.

0.322 53.7 30.5 23.0 31.2

So Kent has the edge in every category except EQA

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