Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cabrera, McCutchen were top players in each league

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:
Stan Musial Award for Top Player
American League
1. Miguel Cabrera- Detroit Tigers
.348/.442/.636, 44 HR, 137 RBI, 26 2B, 103 R, 7.2 WAR
The Cabrera versus Trout Debate continues this season but maybe it doesn't have as much mustard as last year. Los Angeles was a debacle this season and some of Trout's amazing numbers got lost in the shuffle. Cabrera continued to show why he is the best overall hitter in the game. He won his third straight batting title and he was the league leader in OBP and SLG. It will likely be his second straight MVP award as Trout is starting to become the Albert Pujols-like runner-up to a Barry Bonds type player.

2. Mike Trout- Los Angeles Angels
.323/.432/.557, 27 HR, 97 RBI, 39 2B, 109 R, 9.2 WAR
A year ago, I picked Trout as the top player because his rookie campaign was amazing and he almost single handily carried the Angels to the postseason. His impact was clear to see because Los Angeles became such a better team once he was in the line-up. It was going to be hard to live up to his first year but he found areas to improve. He scored the most runs in the AL for the second straight year and he increased his walk total by 43. This helped to raise his OBP by over 30 points. MVPs are coming his way.

3. Josh Donaldson- Oakland Athletics
.301/.384/.499, 24 HR, 93 RBI, 37 2B, 87 R, 8.0 WAR
The A's surprised the baseball world for the second year in the row and Donaldson's improvements helped to fill the void left by some departed players. His breakout season as a 27-year old was key to Oakland winning the AL West. He played strong defense at third base and it's hard to imagine that he was a full-time catcher just two seasons ago. The transformation of Donaldson was certainly one of the stories of the year.

4. Robinson Cano- New York Yankees
.314/.383/.516, 27 HR, 107 RBI, 41 2B, 81 R, 7.6 WAR
It seems like Cano has become a regular finisher in the top five for AL top player balloting. In a contract year, he went out and continued to do what he has been accustom to doing. He hits for average, he hits for power, and he plays Gold Glove caliber defense at second. The Yankees didn't have a lot this year but Cano was still strong for them.

5. Chris Davis- Baltimore Orioles
.286/.370/.634, 53 HR, 138 RBI, 42 2B, 103 R, 6.3 WAR
A magical first half had Davis on a record breaking home run pace but things slowed down after the All-Star break. He still ended up leading the AL in home runs and RBI. Davis floated around in Texas but he has found a power swinging home in Baltimore. The Orioles hope there is plenty more of this version of Davis to come.

The rest of the ballot...
6. Manny Machado- Baltimore Orioles (6.5 WAR)
7. Evan Longoria- Tampa Bay Rays (6.3 WAR)
8. Dustin Pedroia- Boston Red Sox (6.5 WAR)
9. Jason Kipnis- Cleveland Indians (5.8 WAR)
10. Joe Mauer- Minnesota Twins (5.4 WAR)

National League
1. Andrew McCutchen- Pittsburgh Pirates
.317/.404/.508, 21 HR, 84 RBI, 38 2B, 97 R, 8.2 WAR
The Pirates were the darlings of the baseball world in 2013 and McCutchen is the heart and soul of that franchise. His numbers were actually better last season when he finished third in the voting but the Pirates didn't collapse in the second half this year. Since the Pirates hadn't made the postseason in so many seasons and there aren't many other standout candidates, it seems likely for McCutchen to finish as the top player in the National League.

2. Paul Goldschmidt- Arizona Diamondbacks
.302/.401/.551, 36 HR, 125 RBI, 36 2B, 103 R, 7.0 WAR
Goldschmidt's season might have gotten lost in the shuffle with the Dodgers making so much noise in the NL West. He has transformed himself over the last two seasons to become one of the best power hitters in the game. Goldy finished with the most HR and RBI in the NL along with having the highest SLG and OPS. He made his first All-Star team and eventually teams just stopped pitching to him because he was issued 19 intentional walks, the top total in the NL.

3. Yadier Molina- St. Louis Cardinals
.319/.359/.477, 12 HR, 80 RBI, 44 2B, 68 R, 5.7 WAR
Without missing a two-week stretch at the beginning of August, Molina might have been battling McCutchen for the top spot on this list. He is one of the most important players on the best regular season team in the NL. The Cardinals pitching staff and defense rely on him and he continues to put up impressive numbers on the offensive side of the ball. At 30-years old, he continues to be a key figure to the Cards and the National League.

4. Carlos Gomez- Milwaukee Brewers
.284/.338/.506, 24 HR, 73 RBI, 27 2B, 80 R, 8.4 WAR
For most of the first half of the season, Gomez looked to be on top of the leaderboard for the NL MVP race. His batting line was crazy and he was combining some crazy power numbers with speed and outstanding defense. This was the Carlos Gomez teams had been looking for since he was a prospect in the Mets organization. His numbers tailed off in the second half of the year but he continued to rob home runs in center field for Milwaukee.

5. Joey Votto- Cincinnati Reds
.305/.435/.491, 24 HR, 73 RBI, 30 2B, 101 R, 6.4 WAR
The Reds continue to be one of the best teams in the NL and Votto is their star player. He was the league leader in OBP for the fourth consecutive season so he knows how to find a way to get on base. His 135 walks were a career high and 19 of those walks were intentional. It was the first time in his career that he played all 162 games for Cincinnati and it might have been his best season since his 2010 MVP award.  

The rest of the ballot...
6. Clayton Kershaw- Los Angeles Dodgers (7.9 WAR)
7. Matt Carpenter- St. Louis Cardinals (6.6 WAR)
8. Freddie Freeman- Atlanta Braves (5.4 WAR)
9. David Wright- New York Mets (5.9 WAR)
10. Andrelton Simmons- Atlanta Braves (6.7 WAR)

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