The Inaugural TVPRCRP Postseason Awards
The Todd Van Poppel Rookie Card Retirement Plan unveiled our inaugural All-Star Team earlier this year and now it is time to announced the inaugural postseason awards. The awards all work identically to those that exist for MLB so without further wait, here are your award winners:
American League Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon
We can look at the differences between pythag and actual records and one can argue that that is the mark of a good manager. I also don’t like doing the “the best manager is the manager of the team no one expected to do well”. While sometimes that is managing, many times that is something different. Maddon takes risks, his risks pay off, he has a team that has bought into his system and as a result the Rays erased a massive Red Sox lead to conquer the wild card. Maddon is by far the manager I’d most want if I needed to win one game.
National League Manager of the Year: Kirk Gibson
I just said I didn’t like doing the “the best manager is the manager of the team no one expected to do well” but sometimes that just doesn’t hold true and Kirk Gibson is the example. The NL West was no cake walk and to get a team of youngsters to play that well is great also he managed to piece together a bullpen out of nothing and really get great performances out of a lot of key players. Gibson kept the Diamondbacks ahead of the Giants and finally towards the end separated from them when it looked like no one wanted to take the division. That leadership earns him this honor.
American League Rookie of the Year: Michael Pineda
Pineda narrowly beats Mark Trumbo for this, but Pineda was incredible. His 9-10 record is a reflection of the Mariners not Pineda who threw 9.1 K/9, with only 2.9 BB/9 and 1.0 HR/9. His 3.42 FIP and 3.74 ERA were solid for a 3.4 WAR campaign in his rookie year. Pineda kept up with Felix Hernandez in his rookie year outpacing King Felix in K/9. This is already one of the more potent 1-2’s in Major League Baseball.
National League Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel
Kimbrel had eye-popping numbers, adding to that fact that he is a rookie makes it all the more incredible: 3.2 WAR for a reliever, 14.8 K/9, 0.4 HR/9, a 2.10 ERA despite a .315 BABIP, with an amazing 1.52 FIP and stellar 1.94 xFIP. While his ten meltdowns were high, he had 35 shutdowns and was just unbelievable in leading that Atlanta bullpen.
American League Cy Young Award: Justin Verlander
I went back and forth on this one ultimately, I decided to go with Justin Verlander and there is only one reason for it: 251 innings to 237 1/3 innings. While one can argue the opposite, that Sabathia earned more WAR (7.1) than Verlander (7.0) in fewer innings, I see their performances as equals yet Verlander did it over a longer period of time which is simply harder with the difficulty of pitching. Both pitchers had great years and either would be worthy of the nod, but by a hair it goes to Verlander despite a higher FIP (2.99 to 2.88) which I feel is mainly a function of the HR/9 (0.9 for Verlander to 0.6 for Sabathia – which still is impressive given the parks the pitchers play in) as Verlander had a higher K/9 (9.0 to 8.7) and better BB/9 (2.0 to 2.3).
National League Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw
Again some sabermetricians may say I am going with the second best pitcher here. There is a wider gap between Roy Halladay‘s 8.2 WAR and Kershaw’s 6.8 than the minor one between Verlander and Sabathia but to me I like the K/9 rate which is over one K better for Kershaw (9.6) to (8.5). While his walks are higher (2.1 BB/9 to 1.4 BB/9) as are his HR/9 (0.6 to 0.4) to me that strikeout rate is a big deal and shows being just overpowering. Kershaw has a better ERA (2.28 to 2.35) but unsuprisingly his FIP is higher than that of Halladay (2.47 to 2.20).
American League Most Valuable Player: Jacoby Ellsbury
Ellsbury should be the MVP unquestionably. The kid can field sporting a 15.6 UZR/150 good for third best in the American League. That isn’t it though, he sported a .321/.376/.552 slash line, finding his power stroke with a .230 ISO backed by his 32 home runs. He had a wRC+ of 150 with a .402 wOBA good for 9.4 WAR. Oh and he has speed too swiping 39 bags. Need we say anymore? No.
National League Most Valuable Player: Matt Kemp
Just as Ellsbury is an easy choice in the American League, Kemp is an easy choice in the National League. The Dodger hit .324/.399/.586 and while he has a below average glove, his stick made up for it with a .419 wOBA and 171 wRC+. He has 39 home runs for Los Angeles with a .262 ISO and narrowly missed the 40/40 club as he had the 40 steals but alas the one too few dingers playing in every game the Dodgers played this year (Los Angeles only played 161). Nobody on this list made me eat crow as much as Kemp of whom I said this of in my preseason predictions:
Those are your award winners, do it again next year!