Results tagged ‘ BBWAA ’

Milwaukee BBWAA Chapter’s Brewers Team Award Winners Announced

The Milwaukee Brewers announced their postseason award winners as voted by members of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). A total of eight ballots were cast for each award, assigning five points for first place, three for second and one for third.

Center fielder Carlos Gomez was voted Brewers Most Valuable Player as he received all eight first-place votes (40 points). He was followed by shortstop Jean Segura (18 points), catcher Jonathan Lucroy (13) and pitcher Kyle Lohse (1). Gomez, a first-time All-Star selection this season, batted .284 with 24 HR, 73 RBI and 40 stolen bases in 147 games.  He was among the National League leaders in triples (T2nd, 10), stolen bases (4th), slugging percentage (7th, .506) and extra-base hits (T8th, 61).  Gomez became the first player in franchise history to produce 20+ home runs and 40+ stolen bases in a season.  He was the only player in the Major Leagues to accomplish that feat in 2013. The Gold Glove Award candidate also recorded 12 assists in center field, which ranked second in the Major Leagues from that position.

Kyle Lohse was voted Brewers Most Valuable Pitcher as he received all eight first-place votes (40 points). Jim Henderson (24 points), Brandon Kintzler (7) and Yovani Gallardo (1) also received consideration. Lohse, who signed with the Brewers as a free agent on March 25, went 11-10 with a 3.35 ERA in 32 starts during his first season in Milwaukee. He led the team in ERA, innings pitched (198.2) and quality starts (20). He ranked fifth in the National League in fewest walks per nine innings (1.6). Lohse went 10-4 with a 2.91 ERA over his last 22 starts, posting 16 quality starts (139ip, 45er).

Lohse (38 points) was also voted Brewers Top Newcomer, receiving seven first-place votes and one second-place vote. He was followed by second baseman Scooter Gennett (26 points – one first-place vote). Outfielder Khris Davis (7 points) and pitcher Tyler Thornburg (1) were also listed on ballots.

Outfielder Norichika Aoki (34 points) received five first-place votes and three second-place votes to edge pitcher Brandon Kintzler (27 points – three first place-votes, four second-place votes) and earn Brewers Unsung Hero honors.  A total of eight players were listed on ballots for this award. Aoki batted .286 with 8 HR, 37 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 155 games. He ranked among the National League leaders in multi-hit games (T7th, 50) and hits (T10th, 171).  He led the team in games, at-bats (597), on-base percentage (.356) and walks (55) while tying Carlos Gomez for the team lead in runs (80). Aoki struck out just 40 times in 674 plate appearances this season, the best ratio in the Major Leagues (16.9).

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy (33 points) earned the Good Guy Award, receiving six first-place votes and one second-place vote.  The other first-place votes went to center fielder Carlos Gomez, who finished second with 18 points, and shortstop Jean Segura. A total of nine players were listed on ballots for this honor, the most of any award this season.

My 2013 Brewers Team Awards Ballot

Every year the writers who cover the Milwaukee Brewers all season long get together, so to speak, and cast ballots for five team awards.

The awards are under the following five categories:

  • Team MVP (not limited to just hitters)
  • Best Pitcher (in any role)
  • Best Newcomer (someone not on the team last year)
  • Unsung Hero (given to someone who didn’t necessarily get a lot of credit for the job that they did)
  • Good Guy (a true “media” award because this is for someone who is good in the community, clubhouse, etc but also was very helpful and gracious with the media)

In each of the past two years I have taken part in a Brewers blogger balloting in which several of us who actively and consistently write about the Brewers voted for the same awards. I’m still not sure what it says about me, but my top choices in each category have matched the winners of the same as voted on by those voting media members.

We’re likely doing the same again this year, but as it was revealed that the official award winners will be announced tomorrow I figured I’d get my ballot posted here in advance. I also like the chance to explain my selections.

(Sidebar: I continue to hope that BBWAA members will do likewise one day on their personal league MVP and Hall of Fame ballots.)

The balloting is such that we choose three men for each award with more points being assigned for higher ballot position.

Team MVP: Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura

Jonathan LucroyI’m aware of two things right off the bat with my selection. I’ll disagree with many of the voters who will look at the season Carlos Gomez had and consider him to be the “best” player where that equates to “value.” I also know that my definition of value isn’t strictly based on best statistical performance and that clashes with many. My relatively succinct explanation though is that the edge that pushed Lucroy past Gomez for the top spot in this category was more than just his offensive contributions. Lucroy posted a .280/.340/.455, 114 OPS+ season with career highs in many of the “counting” statistics (H, R, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, SB BB) due in part to career highs in both games played and plate appearances. But it’s why Lucroy totaled 147 games played and bested his high in plate appearances by 112 that led to my pick for MVP. Lucroy caught four out of every five days, sometimes more, and later in the season got a crash course in playing first base in an attempt to keep his consistently good bat in the lineup. Numbers are nice, and Gomez got the better of Lucroy in many of them, but probably not as many as you think.

In what was an extremely close decision in my mind, I had to give Carlos Gomez a second place finish here. He and Lucroy played in the same number of games and Gomez’s WAR and defensive runs saved and other factors definitely made his case, but Gomez wasn’t a runaway winner by any means and I think Lucroy’s steady presence kept a lot of things on that necessary even keel. Gomez absolutely had his best season in the Majors in 2013 and with a different set of circumstances he maybe wins this award. The numbers speak for themselves though Gomez had a monster first half but then slumped in July and significantly moreso in August. He rebounded in September, and Lucroy’s massive increase in playing time finally caught up to the catcher in September, it seemed, but Lucroy was much more consistent over the long haul the season.

Finally, while pitchers do qualify for this award, I had to recognize the production, surprise, and efforts of Jean Segura with an MVP ballot spot. “Seggy” opened eyes with his powerful first half (really, two-thirds) in which he hit 12 home runs (11 before the All-Star break) and slugged .487 before the break. Despite his youthful exuberence and energy, fatigue eventually set in for Segura who limped to the finish line — literally with a bum hamstring — that saw his batting average dip below .300 and his league stolen base lead disappear in the final series of the season in New York. The Brewers have barred Segura from playing in Winter Ball this off-season so hopefully he can stay fresher longer in 2014. If he does and is able to be more of what we as fans were treated to in April and May, he could very well win this award next year when you consider his defense abilities as well.

Best Pitcher: Kyle Lohse, Jim Henderson, Brandon Kintzler

KyleLohseComing in late in camp, not really facing the level of competition that he needed to ramp up properly for the season, and dealing with injuries throughout the hellacious month of May, Kyle Lohse still takes this crown going away. Peralta had his growing pains. Gallardo struggled throughout the season until late in the year. Estrada missed a ton of time. The fifth starter was all over the place. All that said, Lohse didn’t just win for me by default. He posted a very good season in spite of his awful May (.987 OPS against).

Second place goes to Jim Henderson. He was extremely good in 9th inning Save situations after being thrust into the role after John Axford’s early struggles and again taking over after Francisco Rodriguez was traded to Baltimore. In total Henderson amassed 28 Saves, an ERA+ of 146, and a K/9 ratio of 11.3. It was a promising first full-season performance for the veteran of 10 minor league seasons.

Brandon Kintzler did a remarkable job for the roles he was used in. He was consistently effective and only had a handful of very bad appearances. He also appeared in the second-most games for the team behind only Michael Gonzalez who was sometimes brought in to face just one batter. Kintzler is definitely deserving of this spot and if you find yourself questioning that or not having realized it from the beginning, then that just feeds the fire as to why Kintzler pulled a second-place finish in another award for me.

Best Newcomer: Kyle Lohse, Scooter Gennett, Khris Davis

KyleLohseVsCubsKyle Lohse was a stabilizing force in the rotation most of the season and was the best true newcomer on the roster.  This was an easy selection much like Aramis Ramirez was last year.

Scooter Gennett gets second place because despite his relatively limited playing time he exceeded expectations on multiple levels and put in jeopardy the starting job of an injured veteran. Gennett demonstrated an enormous platoon split, so he’s certainly got plenty of room for improvement at the plate, but he still did enough in 2013 to warrant a significant look in Spring Training next year along with a second place finish for this award in my opinion.

Khris Davis was an obvious choice for this spot for me. He almost took the second place vote but Gennett did more for me. Davis struggled after initially making the 25-man roster out of spring training but certainly held his own once he came back up for the balance of the season after Braun’s suspension. Davis has even pressed the issue of getting his bat into the lineup that Doug Melvin admitted that they’ve had internal discussions about moving Ryan Braun to right field since Davis is a left-field-only defensive player. That could cause a domino effect that could include trading a productive and popular player in the incumbent right fielder, Nori Aoki.

Unsung Hero: Martin Maldonado, Brandon Kintzler, Kyle Lohse

MaldonadoPeraltaAs I stated last year when I gave Maldy the first place spot in this category, his receiving, throwing, and handling of the pitching staff were very good despite playing far less in 2013 than in 2012. And while he got a bit more acclaim this year, his impact on the developing Wily Peralta deserves the recognition that this award sheds at least some light on.

Second place goes to Brandon Kintzler in a somewhat subjective vote. Kintzler was often used as a fireman early in the season, a role in which he flourished. That success got him “promoted” to set-up man some time after the job came open in July. Kintzler had a very strong rate of stranded inherited runners for much of the year and bridged a gap that Ron Roenicke didn’t always know how he was going to fill. Kintzler recorded more than three outs on a number of occasions and was truly a bullpen utility man at times. Kintzler certainly isn’t unsung in the coaches’ room though, and he’ll be in the mix for the late innings of games from the jump in 2014.

Kyle Lohse was going to get second place here for his veteran leadership and helping the young pitchers on staff remain calm and steady, but that aspect of what he brought to the team got a decent amount of publicity late in the year. It definitely warrants inclusion on the list for me, but no longer that second place finish.

Good Guy: Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Gomez, Jim Henderson

JonathanLucroyChapmanWalkoffIn the mold of why John Axford won this award in 2012, Jonathan Lucroy was as stand up a guy as there was in the locker room this year. It didn’t matter if it was a great win or a tough loss, if no other hitter wanted to talk to the media, Lucroy gave his time. He would break down pitchers’ stuff and tell you what he saw from his vantage. He would speak candidly about topics that other teammates avoided like Ryan Braun, struggles in the field and at the plate, losing streaks…you name it and he would give the media the quotes they needed. The other factors for this award speak to community involvement (Lucroy was the team’s Roberto Clemente Award nominee) and how they are in the clubhouse (Lucroy definitely emerged as a team leader this season, when it desperately needed one).

The other player who was available the most and would definitely tell you his opinion on any number of topics was Carlos Gomez. He had a flare in his description and provided many memorable quotes during the year. He was appropriately subdued when the situation called for it and was bouncing around and bringing energy when needed.

Another personal choice is Jim Henderson. Henderson was eager to speak when approached and didn’t just spit up cliches and the same thing over and over. He was thoughtful and well-spoken along with being willing and available.

So those are my choices. Let me hear yours either on social media or, preferably, in the comments.

Did Aoki, Fiers Place in NL Rookie of the Year Results?

The Baseball Writers Association of America revealed their first two awards today. Mike Trout was the deservedly unanimous Rookie of the Year in the American League, but the NL MVP had a bit more intrigue with multiple worthy candidates.

Bryce Harper won it, but this isn’t a blog about the Washington Nationals. This is a blog for the Milwaukee Brewers so I want to discuss where the top rookies on the Milwaukee Brewers finished in the voting.

First of all, as I expected, Mike Fiers did not receive any consideration for the award. Look, there are only three slots on each ballot and while Fiers had a phenomenal first part to his year (and a solid campaign overall), there were more than three rookies better than he was in 2012 in my opinion.

Obviously the BBWAA members in NL chapters agreed with that assessment.

The assessment that we disagree on is Norichika Aoki.

Aoki came to MLB without much fanfare, significantly less than one might think given his accolades in NPB in Japan. All he did after being put into the daily lineup was produce, leading to several hitting streaks of at least 10 games. His defense was just fine in right field too.

His final numbers, mostly out of the lead off spot, were:

151 G, .288/.355/.433, 588 PA, 520 AB, 81 R, 150 H, 37 2B, 4 3B, 10 HR, 50 RBI, 30 SB, 43 BB, 55 K, 110 OPS+

Ultimately, Aoki finished in fifth place receiving two second-place votes and five third-place votes for a total of 11 points in the scoring system. In all, eight different players received votes for the award. Harper was first with 112 points, Wade Miley finished second with 105 points, Todd Frazier was third with 45 points, and Wilin Rosario of the Rockies finished with 12 points because of (in part) one first-place vote he somehow received.

Regardless of his final position, Aoki becomes just the 20th Milwaukee Brewers player in history to garner votes for Rookie of the Year and that is to be commended and applauded on its own merit.

Congratulations Nori!

For the record, Dennis Semrau of the Wisconsin State Journal (MIL Chapter) and Paul White of USA Today (WAS Chapter) gave Aoki his second-place votes. The third-place votes were cast for Aoki by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (NY Chapter), Keith Law of ESPN.com (AZ Chapter), Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle (HOU Chapter), Hideki Okuda of the Sports Nippon Newspaper (LA Chapter), and El Nuevo Herald’s Luis E. Rangel.

Sanity, Braun May Not Prevail But Presence Cannot Be Denied

Wednesday evening, MLB Network aired a show which laid out the “finalists” for the major awards in baseball as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

(Click here for my pre-show rant.)

On the show they revealed the “finalists” for the Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, and Most Valuable Player awards for each major league.

Five names were rattled off in alphabetical order by surname. Coming in with a “B” and first position was the reigning Most Valuable Player in the National League, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun.

As I state in my aforementioned pre-show rant, it is assumed that the “finalists” for each award are simply the top vote-getters. If this is indeed the case, it means that some semblance of sanity has shown up in the pens of the baseball scribes of the National League. It means that Ryan Braun is in the top five.

On MLB Network’s broadcast, analyst Harold Reynolds (a former MLB player for the Seattle Mariners) stated that if you simply looked at the numbers that Ryan Braun should win the MVP for a second consecutive season. He also stated, however, that given Braun’s previous off-season along with everything that goes into voters deciding who to cast their vote for, the winner would be San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey.

I can understand that vote. What I wasn’t going to able to understand is if the collective somehow viewed Ryan Braun as outside of the Top 5, let alone the Top 10 (meaning that he received mention on every ballot cast).

Other than Braun and Posey, the “finalists” for NL MVP are: Chase Headley, Andrew McCutchen, and Yadier Molina.

Given that information, is there any doubt that Ryan Braun should finish outside the Top 2? Go ahead and leave a comment with your argument for anybody other than Posey finishing ahead of Braun and I’ll give you the staunch counterargument to your logic.

Bottom line is that while we may feel Braun deserves to win the award outright, that he is still assured a Top 5 finish is something of a surprise given the reasons I laid out in my rant piece.

But now? Now I’m greedy and I want Top 2.

For the sake of posterity, here are the finalists for the other awards including the Top 3in NL Rookie of the Year, which many of us hoped would include Norichika Aoki.

Cy Young:

American League: David Price, Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver
National League: R.A. Dickey, Gio Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw

Manager of the Year:

American League: Bob Melvin (A’s), Buck Showalter (Orioles), Robin Ventura (White Sox)
National League: Dusty Baker (Reds), Bruce Bochy (Giants), Davey Johnson (Nationals)

Rookie of the Year:

American League: Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish, Mike Trout
National League: Todd Frazier, Bryce Harper, Wade Miley

MVP:

American League: Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout

In Preparation of “Finalists” Announcements for BBWAA Awards

For the first time in history, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) will be announcing “finalists” for each of their Major League Baseball awards.

Before I go any further, allow me to explain why I put “finalists” in quotes. This is because it is widely believed that the “finalists” will simply be the top X number of vote-getters for each of the awards in question.

For example, each voting member of the BBWAA can fill out a ballot with up to 10 names on it for the Most Valuable Player in the league for which said member can vote. Cy Young has five name ballots, while Managers and Rookies of the Year awards are limited to ballots of three names each.

As for how many “finalists” will be announced, X=5 for MVP, and X=3 for Cy Youngs, Managers, and Rookies.

Okay, moving along to the point of this column.

If you heard my appearance on Brewers Weekly last week Thursday on the Brewers flagship radio station AM 620 WTMJ, you’ll know my feelings about this already. (If you missed it, you can find it here: http://wp.me/p1wIvV-98Ka) Regardless, allow me to expound on those feelings a bit further.

There are two voters in each Major League city who vote on these awards. For the National League, this last time, that means that 32 voters can cast a ballot for NL MVP, NL Cy Young, NL Manager of the Year and NL Rookie of the Year.

As stated on the BBWAA’s own website, points are awarded based on votes in the following way:

For all awards, there is a point system that is weighted by the spot on the ballot. For the MVP, a first-place vote is worth 14 points. From second to 10th, the ballot spots are worth 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points, respectively. For the Cy Young, the points are 7-4-3-2-1. For the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year, the points are 5-3-1.

In other words, the highest point total that any player can receive for Most Valuable Player is 448.

I could summarize point totals for a while, but getting on with it…

If the assumptions are correct and the “finalists” for MVP are simply the five players who received the five-highest point totals, I’ll spit nails if Ryan Braun isn’t announced as one of them.

As stated on the BBWAA’s website, here is the criteria to be considered when casting ballots for Most Valuable Player:

Dear Voter:

There is no clear-cut definition of what Most Valuable means. It is up to the individual voter to decide who was the Most Valuable Player in each league to his team. The MVP need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier.

The rules of the voting remain the same as they were written on the first ballot in 1931:

1.  Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.

2.  Number of games played.

3.  General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.

4.  Former winners are eligible.

5.  Members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.

You are also urged to give serious consideration to all your selections, from 1 to 10. A 10th-place vote can influence the outcome of an election. You must fill in all 10 places on your ballot. Only regular-season performances are to be taken into consideration.

Keep in mind that all players are eligible for MVP, including pitchers and designated hitters.

As simplistically as I can state the following words, allow me to share with you the following:

There were not five players in the National League more valuable to their 2012 teams in the regular season than Ryan Braun was to the 2012 regular season Milwaukee Brewers.

(I originally hadn’t included “regular season” in either position in the previous, but wanted to do so to remind us all that play in the post-season cannot be included when considering any balloting because ballots must be cast prior to the post-season.)

As I also said during my Brewers Weekly appearance, I can accept (even though disagree with) arguments supporting Buster Posey for MVP. You can even make reasoned arguments for players like Matt Holliday, or Andrew McCutchen for example. You cannot name five players more valuable than Braun, however.

Therefore, should Ryan Braun’s name not be listed among those called out as the five “finalists” for NL MVP this evening, I shall be, as gently as I can relate, put…out.

Furthermore, when full balloting is ultimately revealed we will learn how many votes in each position each player received. This will occur next week Thursday, November 15th when the award winners are revealed. At that time, if I can’t add up Braun’s votes to 32 regardless of where on a ballot he fell, I will be more than a little bit miffed.

Look, I’m not a fool nor am I some naive fanboy blinded by love. I understand that there are likely to be several pompous, arrogant, and oblivious windbags who feel that they are protecting some pristine award from the filth of dirty, dirty cheaters by penalizing Braun for leaked reports of a failed test which was overturned on appeal based on the sample tested being scientifically invalid.

But I would like to be able to believe that penalizing Braun won’t interfere in their own professionalism to their craft and their responsibility to vote results on the field and circumstances that certainly occurred instead of things based on fallible reports from a season ago.

Let’s wait and see together as we learn all about Braun’s fate over the next eight days.

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