Posts Tagged ‘Joe Maddon’

Random Thoughts on the 2016 Season Ending Awards

November 18, 2016

The postseason baseball awards are finished, or at least most of them are. There seems to be a ton of new stuff now. It’s almost as if the “participation trophy” syndrome has made it to MLB. But the ones I care most about are now revealed and here’s some thoughts on them.

First, here’s the list of winners in case you missed it (National League listed first):

Rookie of the Year: Corey Seager (Dodgers), Michael Fulmer (Tigers)

Manager of the Year: Dave Roberts (Dodgers), Terry Francona (Indians)

Cy Young Award: Max Scherzer (Nationals), Rick Porcello (Red Sox)

MVP: Kris Bryant (Cubs), Mike Trout (Angels)

All in all it’s not a bad list. I might have done it differently, but the BBWAA did a good job for a change. I’ve been critical of the writers on more than one occasion, but this year their list looks very much like mine (as if they care what mine looks like). In the NL Seager was an obvious choice, as was Bryant. Scherzer was not at all a bad choice either. I was a little surprised that Roberts beat out Joe Maddon for Manager of the Year. I thought the Cubs success would put him over the top for the second year in a row. What Roberts did with a team that looked like a surgery ward in a hospital made him my choice and its nice when the writers agree. To be blunt about it, your team loses the best pitcher in baseball (Clayton Kershaw) and they get better? The manager must be doing something right.

The American League was a little more interesting. Francona was, to me, an obvious choice. As with Roberts, he did wonderfully with a team of walking wounded. Hopefully, his strategy of using his best relievers when the game is in crisis rather than in the ninth inning will catch on. It was done in the 1950s and 1960s and there’s no reason not to return to that model. Frankly I thought Gary Sanchez of New York would win, but I’m gratified Fulmer took the award. Neither would have been a bad choice.

I presume that Trout and Porcello will be, as time goes along, the most controversial choices. Trout’s team didn’t win and Porcello didn’t get the most first place votes. It’s not like either is a bad choice and I got one right (Porcello) and one wrong (Trout) in my own betting on who would win. I expected Mookie Betts to win but I personally would have chosen Trout, who I feel had a better year. I would have chosen Justin Verlander over Porcello, but I thought he’d lose. What I didn’t expect he’d be left off two ballots (And did you see Kate Upton, his fiancée’s twitter post?). It’s one they’ll talk about for a while (actually I mean both the vote and Upton’s reply).

So congratulations to all the winners. It was a heck of a season and each of them made it a better year. Now on to the Hall of Fame votes.

 

2016 Awards Nominees Announced

November 10, 2016

It is now time for MLB to complete the 2016 season by naming the winners of its yearly awards. The new policy of announcing finalists (actually the 3 guys with the most votes) is still in effect. Apparently it’s the new normal.

OK, I guess, but I liked the old system better. I got to anticipate the winner in a different way than now. I got to wonder “who’s going to win?” and “who’s gonna finish fifth but shoulda won?” You don’t get to do that anymore and that’s kind of a shame. Now I know who’s been shafted before I even know who won.

Well, anyway, in case you haven’t seen the lists, here they are for your information and commentary if you want:

NL MVP: Kris Bryant, Daniel Murphy, Corey Seager (winner announced 17 November)

AL MVP: Jose Altuve, Mookie Betts, Mike Trout (also announced 17 November)

NL Cy Young: Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Max Scherzer (announced 16 November)

AL Cy Young: Corey Kluber, Rick Porcello, Justin Verlander (also 16 November)

NL Rookie: Kenta Maeda, Corey Seager, Trea Turner (announced 14 November)

AL Rookie: Michael Fulmer, Gary Sanchez, Tyler Naquin (also 14 November)

NL Manager: Joe Maddon, Dusty Baker, Dave Roberts (announced 15 November)

AL Manager: Jeff Bannister, Terry Francona, Buck Showalter (also 15 November

That’s the list. One thing I noted is how good the Tigers starting staff was just a few years ago: Verlander, Porcello, Scherzer. All three are nominees this season.

Good luck to all.

2013 Awards: Managers

September 30, 2013
Babe Ruth with Giants manager John McGraw

Babe Ruth with Giants manager John McGraw

Although there’s still a game left in the regular season (and isn’t it strange that the “play-in” game counts as regular season so that two sets of players get an extra game to pad their stats?) it’s time for me to begin my annual look at the upcoming awards season. As usual, I’m giving you two picks for each award: who I think will win and who I would vote for if I had a vote (sometimes it’s the same guy). I’ll drop these in over the next several weeks (not four posts in a row). This time it’s Manager of the Year.

National League: I think this is essentially a two-man race. In late June the Dodgers were dead in the water and in September they clinched their division title with a great 50 game run. Don Mattingly will (and should) get credit for a lot of that.  On the other hand, the Pirates hadn’t produced a winning season in 20 years. Manager Clint Hurdle led them not only to a winning season but to a playoff spot. I think Mattingly, because it’s a prime franchise, will garner several votes, but I expect Hurdle to win the award. I know I’d vote for him.

American League: The AL is much more wide open. I think there are six candidates that can pick up votes. Joe Maddon at Tampa and Bob Melvin at Oakland did great jobs with teams that were supposed to do well, but don’t really have great stars (quick name two Athletics not named Donaldson). Joe Girardi at New York was supposed to do well, but his team was wretched. But I expect him to garner some votes because the problem was injuries not mismanagement. Considering all the Yankees injuries having this team in a playoff hunt with a week to go was damned good work.  Did you know that the last time Kansas City had a winning record was 2003 and that the time before that was 1993? Ned Yost led the team to a winning record in 2013 (what is it with the Royals and seasons ending in 3?). That should get him a some votes (I’d put him third). But I think the real race will come down to the men at Boston and Cleveland. Last year Boston lost 93 games and this season John Farrell led them to the best record in the AL. A year after a second consecutive third place finish, Boston let Terry Francona, the only Boston manager to win a World Series in the lively ball era, go. After a year in the broadcast booth, this year he took Cleveland, which lost 94 games last season, to the playoffs. Boston still had a number of quality players from the last few years while Cleveland had nothing last year and very little this year. I think the glitz that is Boston will get Farrell the manager award, but I’d vote for Francona.

Other awards to follow as the muse directs.

Picking the Winners: Managers

November 12, 2010

The final of my thoughts on the next round of postseason MLB awards. I’ve said before that I have little idea how to evaluate managers, so this post is more in the nature of who I think should win rather than who I think will win. As to the latter, I have no idea.

NL-Bud Black. I think deep down inside that Dusty Baker will probably win this or maybe it will be Bobby Cox or yet again Bruce Bochy. All of them led their team in the playoffs and that’s generally rewarded. Baker took a team that wasn’t supposed to win and took down the favored Cardinals. For Cox it was his last season and he got the Braves to the wildcard. Sentiment alone might get him the award. Bochy took a team that didn’t hit a lot, but pitched well and won the division on the final day of the season (remember the voting is done before the playoffs begin so the writers don’t know Bochy’s team is going to win the World  Series). As I said, Bochy won on the last day of the season. He did it by beating the Padres, Bud Black’s team. The Padres were picked dead last in an already weak division. With good pitching, decent enough hitting to win close games, and a reasonably decent defense, the Padres took it to the last day. Baring that horrendous 10 game losing streak, they would have won the west. The manager of the Padres, Bud Black, gets my vote for the manager of the year. He had almost nothing to work with and came within an ace of knocking off the pitching rich Giants. He’d get my vote, but if pressed to pick who I think the writers will choose, I guess I’d go with Baker.

AL-Terry Francona. He has no chance, but you have to give him credit for the Red Sox successess this season. Do you know how many of the Red Sox first line everyday players played at least 130 or more games? Exactly four (Marco Scutero, Adrian Beltre, JD Drew, and David Ortiz). That means that half the team was out of the lineup for long periods of time and they still ended up 89-73. Only Drew started more than 50 games in the same outfield position (McDonald and Hall started 50, but not in the same position). A manager has to get some credit for keeping a team like that in contention until late in the season. Only Jon Lester and John Lackey started 30 or more games. Try winning with 60% of your starters getting into less than 30 games. Frankly, as I stated earlier, I don’t think Francona has a chance of winning, but he probably should. Francona is using mirrors and sitll winning. Not bad. And speaking of mirrors, the other guy I’d look at seriously is Buck Showalter. He was there a third of a season in Baltimore and that will surely hurt him. But he won with that team; something no one’s done for a long, long time. I keep asking myslef, “Did he really win with those guys?” Again, if pressed, I’d probably say the writers will pick Joe Maddon, but I wouldn’t. I’d also love to see Ron Gardenhire finally get the credit he deserves.