Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another Award Gone Bad

A while back in this space, this writer did a complete analysis of the rookie candidates for Rookie of the year. After looking over that piece, this writer is still convinced the conclusions were correct. But those choices were not the players who won the Rookie of the Year honors: Chris Coghlan and Andrew Bailey. Both had excellent freshman campaigns. But they weren't the best rookies in their league. In Bailey's case, he wasn't even the best rookie on his team.

Let's start with Coghlan. His offensive year was brilliant, no doubt about it. He just kept getting better and better as the year progressed. But his defense was awful which is understandable considering he was playing a position out of his experiences. Left field is usually where you put your worst outfielder. Left fielders never get Gold Glove awards. And to be rated a poor fielder for a position that is rife with poor fielders should have been given more consideration in this vote. The award should have gone to a pitcher.

While the Fan could go on all day about how Randy Wells only got one vote from all the writers for this award, the analysis shows that it should have been a horse race between J. A. Happ and Tommy Hanson. The Fan gave a slight edge to Hanson who finished the season stronger.

In the American League, the award went to a closer. We have gone round and around in this space about the value of closers. It's been stated clearly here that there is no way the Yankees win five championships since 1996 without Mariano Rivera (four with him as closer and one as a setup guy). But just as clearly stated in this space is that Rivera should never win a Cy Young award because the innings he pitches just don't add up in value as much as a starter's innings.

Andrew Bailey certainly had a remarkable first year in the majors. His stats were lights out across the board. They were better than Rivera, better than Nathan, better than Jonathan Papelbum. But he saved 26 games for a low ranked team and his save total wasn't anywhere close to the leaders. Meanwhile, his teammate, Brett Anderson came in sixth place for the award despite having the 8th best FIP for starting pitchers in the American League.

This is another case where baseball writers look at a guy's record of 11-11 and think that tells the whole story. If Brett Anderson had better luck, or better guys playing offense behind him, he might have gone 16-6 or something and would have been given the award. But instead, the writers took the easy way out and overvalued a closer, granted, a superior closer, at the expense of a really good starting pitcher.

This award season is not shaping up very well. We've had Gold Gloves made out of tin, Silver Sluggers made out of aluminum and now the ROYs look pretty cheap as well.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

I actually don't have a problem with these selections.

I think Happ and Hanson sort of cancelled each other out. And since Coghlan was the best position player, he was the logical choice. Very strong rookie class. Garrett Jones should have got more votes. Had he played a full season, he might have won.

And I was pleasantly surprised to see Bailey come out on top. I like Anderson moving forward; he'll only be 22 next season! Had he had a better 1st half, he might have won. Bailey was amazing all year long. IMO, he deserved it.