Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Trout, Kershaw were Top Players 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. Mike Trout- OF - Los Angeles Angels
.287/.377/.561, 36 HR, 111 RBI, 115 R, 8.7 WAR
Despite having arguably the worst season of his career, Trout is in line for his first trophy for being the best player in the AL. He finished second the last two seasons to Miguel Cabrera. Trout added more power this season and this took away from some of this other numbers. He led the league in runs scored for the third straight season and he knocked in more runs than anyone else in the AL. He recorded more total bases than any other season but he also struck out a career high 184 times.  

2. Josh Donaldson- 3B - Oakland Athletics
.255/.342/.456, 29 HR, 98 RBI, 93 R, 7.4 WAR
The A's were one of the best team's in baseball this season before a brutal stretch at the end of the season. Donaldson was a big reason for their success. He provided decent defense while having a very good season at the plate. For the second straight season, he finished one spot behind Trout in Baseball Reference's version of WAR. The A's offense would have struggled even more if it wasn't for the performance of Mr. Donaldson.

3. Corey Kluber- RHP - Cleveland Indians
W-L 18-9, 2.44 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 235.2 IP, 269 K, 51 BB
Kluber finished at the top of my list for best pitcher in the AL and he had a strong enough season to finish in my top 3 for best player in the league. He went on a tear when it came to striking out batters in the second half of the season. Other everyday players might get more support but Kluber was very important to Cleveland as they tried to stay in the playoff race.

The Rest of the Ballot:
4. Michael Brantley- OF - Cleveland Indians
5. Alex Gordon- OF - Kansas City Royals
6. Adrian Beltre- 3B - Texas Rangers
7. Felix Hernandez- RHP - Seattle Mariners
8. Jose Bautista- OF - Toronto Blue Jays
9. Robinson Cano- 2B - Seattle Mariners
10. Brian Dozier- 2B - Minnesota Twins

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 is a tough call to make. Kershaw missed most of the first month of the season and this is a strike against him when you look at his body of work. However, he was so dominant during his time on the mound that it's hard to ignore what he was able to accomplish. A 1.77 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP for a starting pitcher are the stuff of legend. Even without the first month of the year, he was still able to led the league in wins. There could be some debate about this award but this was a legendary season.

2. Andrew McCutchen- OF - Pittsburgh Pirates
.314/.410/.542, 25 HR, 83 RBI, 89 R, 7.8 WAR
McCutchen won the MVP a year ago and he arguably had a better season this year. He led the league in on-base percentage and OPS. He hit four more home runs while leading the league in OPS+. His defense was a little worse this season but he more than made up for it with his offensive production. If not for the historic season of Kershaw, McCutchen would have to make room on his mantel for a second straight award.

3. Jonathan Lucroy- C - Milwaukee Brewers
.301/.373/.465, 13 HR, 69 RBI, 73 R, 6.7 WAR
Fans might forget but the Brewers were leading the NL Central for most of the season. A rough final stretch saw the team on the outside looking in when it came to the playoffs. Lucroy led the NL in doubles as he put up other solid numbers while being an up-the-middle defensive player. He finished third in fielding percentage among catchers and he saved 11 runs on the defensive side of the ball.

The Rest of the Ballot:
4. Giancarlo Stanton- OF - Miami Marlins
5. Buster Posey- C - San Francisco Giants
6. Anthony Rendon- 3B - Washington Nationals
7. Anthony Rizzo- 1B - Chicago Cubs
8. Carlos Gomez- OF - Milwaukee Brewers
9. Johnny Cueto- RHP - Cincinnati Reds
10. Jason Heyward- OF - Atlanta Braves

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