Yesterday, SB Nation handed out their post-season awards after collecting two ballots from each baseball affiliate.
American League Best Player
|Mike Trout||Mike Trout||Mike Trout|
|Miguel Cabrera||Miguel Cabrera||Miguel Cabrera|
|Josh Donaldson||Josh Donaldson||Josh Donaldson|
|Chris Davis||Evan Longoria||Evan Longoria|
|Evan Longoria||Chris Davis||Chris Davis|
|Robinson Cano||Max Scherzer|
|Manny Machado||Manny Machado|
|Dustin Pedroia||Felix Hernandez|
|Jacoby Ellsbury||Jacoby Ellsbury|
|Ben Zobrist||James Shields|
Ian: The top of the ballot for AL Best Player is pretty self-explanatory. Mike Trout is unquestionably the best player in the league, and WAR says so. Miguel Cabrera and Josh Donaldson have the same fWAR, but Cabrera's comes from being maybe the best hitter of his generation, so that's a good enough tiebreaker for me (and most all of the voters). Josh Donaldson is a deserving third.
After that, Chris Davis and Evan Longoria are tied in fWAR. Apparently most other voters like 53 home runs in a player. Danny and I like playing for the Tampa Bay Rays in a player.
In the bottom part of my ballot is where I let a bit of an agenda show through. I excluded pitchers, because I think it's too strange to compare the two (and pitchers have their own award). That would be like asking if I provided more value through my sports blogging as the in-stadium announcer of the Charlotte Stone Crabs does through his in-stadium announcing. We're involved in the same sport, but aren't doing remotely the same thing. Dan's rankings followed the rules, and included pitchers.
Danny: You have to include pitchers, Ian! Without Scherzer, the Tigers are bottom feeders this season and we're pumping James Shields even higher in this voting, because the Royals would have had a way better road to the playoffs (they lost to Scherzer four times last season). Both those guys carried their teams -- ok, shared the load with Sanchez and Santana -- and deserve recognition for it.
On the other hand, my vote for Ellsbury was just as much a jab at Justin Verlander, who somehow took the award from him in 2011. There's always intangibles at play in these awards, like Pedroia playing through a season's worth of a thumb injury and making it into your rankings, or Shields carrying the heaviest load of IP's and making it into mine. But these are also bottom half of the list arguments, and it's important to say that each of our top 5 is right on.
American League Best Pitcher
|Max Scherzer||Yu Darvish||Max Scherzer|
|Yu Darvish||Chris Sale||Anibal Sanchez|
|Chris Sale||Felix Hernandez||Yu Darvish|
|Anibal Sanchez||Max Scherzer||Felix Hernandez|
|Felix Hernandez||James Shields||Chris Sale|
Ian: So we say that we don't care about pitcher wins, but then Max Scherzer gets 32 of 39 first place votes (I had Scherzer lowest of any voter, at fourth)? For shame.
Sort by ERA (a fine descriptive stat), and it should be Anibal Sanchez. Sort by FIP and it should be Sanchez. Sort by xFIP, and it should be Felix Hernandez. Sort by SIERA, and it should go to Yu Darvish.
I happen to like SIERA in this situation, as it gives a holistic view of a lot of the components we know matter for pitchers. And with that ridiculous 33% K% (the equivalent of Chris Davis's 53 HRs), Darvish passes my "wow test."
Why did I push Chris Sale, Scherzer, and Hernandez above Sanchez's remarkable season? Innings pitched. All of those guys were over 200 innings pitched, while Sanchez pitched only 182. That's the same reason I snuck James Shields in for the fifth spot. He posted good rate stats while leading the league in innings. That doesn't get you real consideration for the award, but it gets you a nod from DRaysBay.
Danny: There's your James Shields nod! I knew it had to be in here somewhere.
I don't think I need to apologize for ranking Scherzer the best pitcher this season. You know who led the American League in fWAR for pitchers? Scherzer, where Darvish was sixth. Yu might have led the league in strikeouts, but Max was a close second in about every relevant category Darvish had the edge in. Strikeouts? Scherzer was second, meanwhile, Darvish walked nearly 10% of batters faced!
It's not like SIERA didn't like Scherzer either, both he and Darvish were below 3.00. And where you love SIERA, I'm a big proponent of tRA and tERA (True Runs Allowed, which is a better reflection of reality than things like xFIP, and isolates the performance from batted ball tendencies). Scherzer and Sanchez (my number two) had tERA's below 3.00, while Darvish was at 3.81 -- which is above average, but not great. That's where I found my edge for Scherzer.
American League Best Rookie
|Wil Myers||Wil Myers||Wil Myers|
|Jose Iglesias||Danny Farquhar||Jose Iglesias|
|Chris Archer||Chris Archer||Chris Archer|
Ian: Is Wil Myers a shoe in? Yes. Is Danny Farquhar a reach? Probably, but he's a rookie who just struck out 35% of the batters he faced. That's exciting, and should get noticed.
Is the perception of Chris Archer's rookie season better than the reality? Yes, but he's still a top player who arrived on the scene with a bang. I don't feel bad.
Danny: I based my ROY voting on a combination of value and the role each player contributed to their team, and in that regard we can't shrug off how Archer became a present force in the Rays rotation. Overall, though, Myers should win just about every rookie award this season, which is impressive given his limited playing time.
Iglesias's defense was enough for me to give him praise, and while I don't think you should reward a player ovaracheiving in a certain regard of his game (like, say, Iglesias's batting line) with a huge contract, it's enough to garner recognition in the polls.
I loved your Farquhar vote, and if we got to post five names he would have been my fifth, but this was a vote cast I was pretty comfortable with.