Squawker Jon and I are members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. Each year, we get the opportunity to vote on which players we think should win individual awards. I will vote for the American League, and Jon is voting for the National League. These choices are based on the regular season only, and not the playoffs. Here are my picks, and the reasons why I chose these people:
Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year): Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles: I recently took my Yankee hat off to write an article elsewhere about what you can learn from Showalter's leadership. (Read it here!) No matter who you root for, you have to admit that Showalter did with the Orioles is truly remarkable. True, Oakland had the huge comeback this year, but resurrecting Baltimore was a much tougher deal, between having to work for Peter Angelos, one of the worst owners in baseball, and competing in the AL East, the toughest division in baseball, with only an $84 million payroll. The O's came within a game of tying the Yankees' record, even though their payroll is over 60% lower than the Yanks. Not only that, but if you look at run differential, the Orioles should have won 11 fewer games this season than they did. Credit their manager for that.
Willie Mays Award (Rookie of the Year): Mike Trout, Anaheim Angels: I'm voting for Trout, who has had a remarkable season for anybody, let alone a rookie, leading the league in runs and stolen bases and hitting 30 home runs. Not to mention the .399 OBP. I won't even hold his the unfortunately-named Twitter account against him. @Trouty20? Really?
Goose Gossage Award (Top Reliever): Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays: Although with 51 saves, the Orioles' Jim Johnson is arguably Baltimore's team MVP (speaking of which, Rafael Soriano is my pick for the Yankees' team MVP -- replaced a legend with ease.), he's not my pick here. Fernando Rodney is my choice. He has a miniscule 0.60 ERA and 0.777 WHIP, along with 48 saves and 76 strikeouts, outdoing everybody else.
October 18: Walter Johnson Award (Top Starter): David Price, Tampa Bay Rays: While the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander had another great season, Price, who led the league in wins and ERA and was tied for third in WHIP, gets my vote.
October 19: Stan Musial Award (MVP): Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers: This is the award I feel most passionate about. Cabrera should win this for several reason -- he had the first Triple Crown since 1967 (and I don't get those sabermetrics folks who denigrate the Triple Crown as arbitrary -- do not homers, RBI, and great batting averages help win games? Baseball is a game of numbers!) He also switched positions from first to third so Prince Fielder could join the team. And his great play down the stretch got the Tigers into the playoffs. Three years ago, I was infuriated with him for going on a drinking bender on the last weekend of the season. Now, I have to applaud him as the top AL position player of the year, beating Trout. The Angels star had a great season, but I give Cabrera the edge because of the Triple Crown, and him getting his team into the playoffs.