Monday, October 20, 2014

Kimbrel Takes Home Fourth Consecutive Goose Gossage Award

Perhaps the Baseball Bloggers’ Award for best reliever needs to be renamed.
For the fourth year in a row, Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel took home the hardware.  Given that the award has only been in existence for five, there’s no contest on who the most decorated relief pitcher in BBA history is.  This was actually the first year that Kimbrel was actually challenged, finishing just 11 points ahead of Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.
For the third consecutive year, Kimbrel posted an ERA under 1.75, though his 95 strikeouts was the lowest in a full year in his career.  He led the league again in saves and put up an 227 ERA+, which was incredibly significantly lower than he had the last two years (399 and 311, respectively).
In the American League, New York reliever Dellin Betances, who also received votes for the BBA’s Willie Mays Award, edged out Kansas City reliever Wade Davis for the Gossage honors.  Betances, who appeared in 70 games for the Yankees, put up a 1.40 ERA and a 277 ERA+ while striking out 135 in 90 innings.
The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):
American League
Dellin Betances, New York (6) 50
Wade Davis, Kansas City (5) 47
Greg Holland, Kansas City (4) 27
Zach Britton, Baltimore 7
Sean Doolittle, Oakland 4
National League
Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta (7) 51
Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati (5) 39
Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles (1) 15
Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh 7
Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia 3
Ken Giles, Philadelphia 1
Trevor Rosenthal, St. Louis 1
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 215 blogs spanning most of the 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.
Notably, though the Alliance’s awards come out well before their official counterparts, the BBA selections have matched those of the Baseball Writers of America in most cases in their history.  This, of course, does not include the Goose Gossage Award that is exclusive to the BBA.
Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and for this award, were tabulated on a 5-3-1 point scale for first through third place. In the interest of transparency, links to the ballots are listed below.
Prior Winners:
2013: Koji Uehara, Boston; Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
2012: Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay; Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
2011: Jose Valverde, Detroit; Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
2010: Rafael Soriano, Tampa Bay; Brian Wilson, San Francisco
Official Ballots

Friday, October 17, 2014

Episode 104: Darren "Doogie" Wolfson and the Search for a Manager

You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here, and if you want to add the show to your non-iTunes podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.
Darren Wolfson returns to Talk to Contact to update us on the Twins' managerial search, and he shares with us some insight on Paul Molitor and more.

Just Paul and Eric on the podcast this week, a throwback to the days before Cody and Jay joined the team, and the brothers spent time talking about the Twins payroll, their indifference to the winter free agency period, and of course, beer, baseball, and the news.

Thanks for listening and enjoy the show.

If you enjoy our podcast, please tell your friends about us and take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are how ERolf buys his groceries.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Abreu Unanimous Selection for Willie Mays Award

Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu was a unanimous selection for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance’s Willie Mays Award for top rookie in the American League.  All fifteen ballots cast believed Abreu, a free agent signee from Cuba, was the top new player on the junior circuit.
Abreu clubbed 36 home runs and drove in 107 while putting up a .317/.383/.964 line and an OPS+ of 169.  Those stellar offensive numbers helped him outpace his runner-up, New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, by 53.5 points.
The National League voting was not quite as clear-cut, though it still was a landslide for the winner.  New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom snagged ten of the thirteen first-place votes available to beat out Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton by 28 points.  deGrom tallied nine wins, a 2.69 ERA and an ERA+ of 130 before being shut down at the end of the season.
The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):
American League
Jose Abreu, Chicago (15) 75
Masahiro Tanaka, New York 21.5
Collin McHugh, Houston 10.5
Dellin Betances, New York 6
Mookie Betts, Boston 6
Danny Santana, Minnesota 6
Matt Shoemaker, Los Angeles 3
Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay 3
Brock Holt, Boston 2
Yordano Ventura, Kansas City 2
National League
Jacob deGrom, New York (10) 54
Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati (2) 26
Ender Inciarte, Arizona (1) 9
David Peralta, Arizona 9
Ken Giles, Philadelphia 6
Joe Panik, San Francisco 2
Jeurys Familia, New York 1
Yangervis Solarte, San Diego 1
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 215 blogs spanning most of the 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.
Notably, though the Alliance’s awards come out well before their official counterparts, the BBA selections have matched those of the Baseball Writers of America a large portion of the time.  This, of course, does not include the Goose Gossage Award that is exclusive to the BBA.
Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and for this award, were tabulated on a 5-3-1 point scale for first through third place. In the interest of transparency, links to individual ballots are listed below.
Prior Winners:
2013: Wil Myers, Tampa Bay; Jose Fernandez, Miami
2012: Mike Trout, Los Angeles of Anaheim; Bryce Harper, Washington
2011: Eric Hosmer, Kansas City and Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay; Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
2010: Neftali Feliz, Texas; Buster Posey, San Francisco
2009: Andrew Bailey, Oakland; Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh
Voters:
National League

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kluber, Kershaw Ascend List of Aces in '14

At the conclusion of every season, the members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) are asked to submit their ballots for the top awards across baseball. Each of these awards is named in honor of a player that epitomized the role in Major League Baseball. Over the next couple of weeks, I will release my ballots for each award and I will post the official announcements from the BBA with the combined votes of all member blogs.

Here is the list of awards that have been announced and the others that will be announced in the coming days:
American League
1. Corey Kluber- RHP - Cleveland Indians
W-L 18-9, 2.44 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 235.2 IP, 269 K, 51 BB
Kluber used a very strong second half to separate himself from the rest of the pack in the American League. He started more games than anyone in baseball and he had the best FIP in the AL. He posted career highs in strikeouts per nine and averaged less than two walks per nine. His 18 wins were tops in the AL. His ERA was third in the AL and his Baseball Reference WAR for pitchers had him ranked highest in the league. It will be a close race but Kluber deserves the nod.

2. Felix Hernandez- RHP - Seattle Mariners
W-L 15-6, 2.14 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 236.0 IP, 248 K, 46 BB
As the Mariners tried to fight for their playoff lives, they need Hernandez to be the top pitcher in the American League. He lost three of his last five decisions and none was worse than a clunker at the hands of the Blue Jays in the seasons final days. He led the league in ERA, games started, WHIP, and hits per nine. If Kluber hadn't been so strong down the stretch, Hernandez would likely be walking away with this award.

3. David Price- LHP - Tampa Bay Rays/Detroit Tigers
W-L 15-12, 2.26 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 248.1 IP, 271 K, 38 BB
Price was part of a big deal around the trade deadline but that didn't stop him from having a strong season. He threw the most innings baseball and this helped him to led both leagues in strikeouts. He also faced over 1000 batters for the first time in his career. He will be a free agent after the World Series and he's averaged over 200 innings pitched in each of the last five seasons.

4. Phil Hughes- RHP - Minnesota Twins
W-L 16-10, 3.52 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 209.2 IP, 186 K, 16 BB
When the Twins signed Hughes in the off-season, they were hoping for this kind of rebound season. He would go on to set the all-time record for strikeouts per walk. He averaged 11.6 strikeouts per walk and the next closest pitcher finished at 7.33. He was also in the top 10 in a variety of other pitching categories and he did all of this on a very bad Twins team.

5. Jon Lester- LHP - Boston Red Sox/Oakland Athletics
W-L 16-11, 2.46 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 219.2 IP, 220 K, 48 BB
Much like Price, Lester switched teams at the deadline and he will be looking for a new home this off-season. His numbers put him near the top of the AL in most statistical categories even with the A's having trouble winning games at the end of the year. He's going to get a lot of money this winter even though he wasn't the top pitcher in the league.

National League
1. Clayton Kershaw- LHP - Los Angeles Dodgers
W-L 21-3, 1.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 198.1 IP, 239 K, 31 BB
This award is Kershaw's and he has a strong shot at walking away with the MVP in the National League. Even though he missed time at the beginning of the year, he still led the league in wins, complete games, WHIP, and FIP. It was also the third straight season he's led the NL in ERA+. It was a regular season for the ages even if the playoffs didn't go so well for Mr. Kershaw.

2. Johnny Cueto- RHP -Cincinatti Reds
W-L 20-9, 2.25 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 243.2 IP, 242 K, 65 BB
Following an injury plagued season in 2013, Cueto was back to the form he showed in 2012. He led the NL in innings pitched, strikeouts, and hits per nine. If Kershaw wasn't in the picture, there would be quite the battle between Cueto and Adam Wainwright for the top spot. It was the season he needed to have as he prepares to enter free agency for the first time.

3. Adam Wainwright- RHP - St. Louis Cardinals
W-L 20-9, 2.38 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 227.0 IP, 179 K, 50 BB
Wainwright's season was very strong but it wasn't at the same level as Kershaw. He won 20 games for the first time since 2010 and he led the league in shutouts. In any other season, he would have a strong case could be made for him to win this award especially since he played the entire year. Unfortunately for him he will play second fiddle to Kershaw again. 

4. Jordan Zimmerman- RHP -Washington Nationals
W-L 14-5, 2.66 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 199.2 IP, 182 K, 29 BB
Zimmerman won five few games than 2013 but this year might have been his best as a professional. His strikeouts per nine and walks per nine rates were the best of his career. He also lowered his ERA by over half a run compared to last season. His no-hitter at the end of the year also helped to push him a little higher on this list. 

5. Stephen Strasburg- RHP - Washington Nationals
W-L 14-11, 3.14 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 215.0 IP, 242 SO, 43 BB
Strasburg tied Cueto for the most strikeouts in the league. His career high in strikeouts before this season was 197 back in 2012. He also pitched over 200 innings for the first time in his relatively young career. Strasburg tied for the league led in games started and finished in the top 10 in a variety of other categories. 

HURDLE WINS SECOND CONSECUTIVE CONNIE MACK AWARD

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle were named the 2014 Connie Mack Award winners today by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  The Connie Mack Award recognizes those considered the top manager for the season.
This is the second straight year for Hurdle to take home the hardware from the BBA after breaking the Pirates’ long playoff drought last season.  Hurdle again led Pittsburgh into the promised land of October, securing a wild-card berth after a strong September surge left them just short of the divisional title.
Hurdle received seven first place votes among the 16 ballots cast and was left off entirely of only one voter’s entry.  Hurdle received 51 points, eleven more than his closest competition, Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants.
Showalter led the Orioles to their first American League East divisional title since 1997, winning the division by 12 games over the New York Yankees.  Baltimore won 96 games this season, eleven more than they were able to win in 2013.
Showalter garnered 11 first place votes from the 15 ballots cast.  He was named on every ballot and outpaced his closest rival, Kansas City’s Ned Yost, by 37 points.
The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):
American League
Buck Showalter, Baltimore (11) 65
Ned Yost, Kansas City (3) 28
Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles (1) 22.5
Lloyd McClendon, Seattle 13
Bob Melvin, Oakland 3
Terry Francona, Cleveland 2
Brad Ausmus, Detroit 1.5
National League
Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh (7) 51
Bruce Bochy, San Francisco (4) 40
Matt Williams, Washington (2) 20
Don Mattingly, Los Angeles (1) 17
Mike Matheny, St. Louis (2) 16
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 215 blogs spanning most of the 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.
Notably, though the Alliance’s awards come out well before their official counterparts, the BBA selections have matched those of the Baseball Writers of America in all but two instances in the past two years.  This, of course, does not include the Goose Gossage Award that is exclusive to the BBA.
Ballots are posted on the respective blogs and for this award, were tabulated on a 5-3-1 point scale for first through third place. In the interest of transparency, links to the individual ballots are listed below.
Prior Winners:
2013: John Farrell, Boston; Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh
2012: Bob Melvin, Oakland; Davey Johnson, Washington
2011: Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay; Kirk Gibson, Arizona Diamondbacks
2010: Ron Washington, Texas; Bud Black, San Diego
2009: Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles of Anaheim; Jim Tracy, Colorado
Voters: