Monday, October 18, 2010

Neftali Feliz and Buster Posey Win BBA Rookie Award

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance has announced its annual awards for the best rookies in both leagues and this writer would be surprised if the baseball writers follow the same pattern. For the second year in a row, a closer is going to win the award in the American League. Buster Posey won in the NL, which is an understandable choice over Jason Heyward...understandable but not without controversy. But let's focus on the AL award for now. As the Fan was saying, this is the second year in a row that a closer won the award. And you can try to convince the Fan all you want that this is the correct choice. But it's not. It wasn't last year and it isn't this year. For the same reasons a closer should never win the Cy Young Award or the BBA equivalent, a closer should never beat out a position player or a starting pitcher for this kind of an award. The body of work just doesn't cut it. Here's how.

First, Feliz pitched a grand total of 69.1 innings. It doesn't matter how many guys he struck out or how many saves he recorded, he still only pitched 69.1 innings or roughly 4.8% of his team's total innings. His WAR or Wins Above Replacement came to 2.4. Compare that to Brian Matusz as just one example. Matusz pitched 175.2 innings or roughly 12% of his team's total. His WAR was 3.1. How about Danny Valencia? The Twins' third baseman only played half a season, but managed to get in 709 innings or 45% of his team's innings. He had a 2.5 WAR. And the Fan hasn't even gotten to the big guys yet. Austin Jackson, everyone's favorite before he cooled off a little, played in 1256 innings or 86% of his team's innings and he recorded a 2.5 WAR. His offensive WAR was 2.9 and he got dinged -0.4 points for his defense (which is questionable in this writer's mind). All of those guys had a higher Wins Above Replacement than Feliz.

Yes, Neftali Feliz had a wonderful rookie campaign just like Andrew Bailey did the year before. But those years weren't the most valuable among their rookie peers. They couldn't be. The difference between a closer and either a starting pitcher and an everyday player is the difference between a Hershey's Kiss and a bowl full of chocolate butter-frosting. That's just the way it is. But it isn't. Because people still get overly impressed with closers.

Here is the press release via BBA:


The battle for the Willie Mays Award, given by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance to the top rookie in each division, turned out to be a two-man affair in both leagues, with Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey finishing solidly ahead of their closest competition, Detroit Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson and Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, respectively.

Feliz posted a 2.73 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP while tallying 40 saves and helping Texas into the postseason for the first time since 1999. Feliz only blew three save opportunities while fashioning a 3.94 strikeout to walk ratio.

Feliz garnered eighteen first-place votes and 102 points overall, finishing 22 points ahead of Jackson, who received six nods at the top of the ballot.

Posey did not begin the season in the major leagues, but did so much with his time in San Francisco that voters selected him as the National League’s top rookie. Posey hit .305 and slugged .505 in just 108 games, tallying 18 home runs and 67 RBI after his callup at the end of May. Posey’s offense helped San Francisco make up ground and eventually pass San Diego for the divisional crown.

Posey received 103 total points, including fifteen first-place selections, to outpace Heyward by 17 points. Heyward received ten first-place votes for his work in helping Atlanta secure the National League Wild Card.

The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):

American League

Neftali Feliz, Texas (18) 102

Austin Jackson, Detroit (6) 78

Danny Valencia, Minnesota 16

Brian Matusz, Baltimore (1) 12

Brennan Boesch, Detroit 11

Wade Davis, Tampa Bay 3

John Jaso, Tampa Bay 3

National League

Buster Posey, San Francisco (15) 103

Jason Heyward, Atlanta (10) 86

Jaime Garcia, St. Louis 20

Starlin Castro, Chicago 7

Ike Davis, New York 7

Gaby Sanchez, Florida (1) 6

Tyler Colvin, Chicago 2

Mike Stanton, Florida 2

Neil Walker, Pittsburgh 2

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of this writing, the organization consists of 233blogs spanning all 30 major league squads as well as general baseball writing.

The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into “chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted. The blog chapters that are focused on general baseball were allowed two votes as well, which they could use both on the same league or split between the two leagues.

Chapters generally followed one of two methods when casting their ballot. Either representatives of the chapter were given the ballots for voting or a “group ballot” was posted, accounting for both of their votes.

Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and tabulated on a 5-3-1 point scale for first, second and third. In the interest of transparency, links are given below for the ballots. Chapter affiliation is in parenthesis. Those chapters that decided on the group method are noted with an asterisk.

American League

Camden Crazies (Baltimore)*

Boston Red Thoughts (Boston)*

The Tribe Daily (Cleveland)*

Detroit Tigers Scorecard (Detroit)

Switch Hitting Pitchers (Detroit)

One Royal Way (Kansas City)

Seth Speaks (Minnesota)

Twins Target (Minnesota)

Bronx Baseball Daily (New York)*

Contract Year (Oakland)

Rise of the Rays (Tampa Bay)

Tampa Bay Rays News (Tampa Bay)

Baseball Is My Boyfriend (Texas)*

The Blue Jay Hunter (Toronto)

500 Level Fan (Toronto)

Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)*

Misc. Baseball (History)*

Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)*

Blogging From The Bleachers (General)*

National League

Prose and Ivy (Chicago)*

Cincinnati Reds Blog (Cincinnati)

Marlin Maniac (Florida)

Marlins Diehards (Florida)

Feeling Dodger Blue (Los Angeles)

Bernie’s Crew (Milwaukee)*

Brewers Bar (Milwaukee)*

The Eddie Kranepool Society (New York)*

Dugger’s Corner (Philadelphia)

Phighting On (Philadelphia)

Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? (Pittsburgh)*

i70 Baseball (St. Louis)

Pitchers Hit Eighth (St. Louis)

Friar Forecast (San Diego)*

22gigantes (San Francisco)*

Advanced Fantasy Baseball (Fantasy)*

Misc. Baseball (History)*

Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (Other)*

Blogging From The Bleachers (General)*

Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf (Miscellaneous)*

Ballots that were unofficial or helped make up their chapter ballot:

Bottom Line Sox (Boston)

Raise the Jolly Roger (Pittsburgh)

The Crazy Crabbers (San Francisco)

Stan Musial’s Stance (St. Louis--unofficial)

Prior Winners

2009: Andrew Bailey, Oakland; Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh

The official website of the BBA is located at The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba. Members of the BBA may be heard at Blog Talk Radio every Tuesday night with their call-in show, BBA Baseball Talk, which may also be downloaded as a podcast from iTunes. For more information, contact Daniel Shoptaw at

1 comment:

Captain Canuck said...

apparently whomever votes on these awards knows as much about baseball as the Hall of Fame voters.

not much.