Friday, October 31, 2014

Episode 106: The Cody Christie Episode

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.
For the first time ever, Cody Christie hosts and entire episode of Talk to Contact. He runs the transitions, he drives the content, and he tells all the jokes! North Dakota fans, unite!

In addition to our North Dakotan flare, we talk about the ongoing Twins manager search, what it means that no one will go to games in 2015 at Target Field, and way too much about Aaron Hicks.

Eric also has a moment of clarity talking about beer that changes his life, and of course, beer, baseball, and the news.

93 minutes of blues and baseball.

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 aren’t even that cool anyways, so whatever.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trout Wins Third Straight Stan Musial Award

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout swept the balloting on his way to his third successive Stan Musial Award, as selected by members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  Trout, who had arguably his worst full season in the big leagues, still posted a 7.9 bWAR on his way to leading the Angels to their first playoff appearance since he became part of the team.
Trout won in a rout, capturing all 15 first place votes and beating out his closest competition, Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley, by 90 points.  Only Trout and Brantley were able to cross the 100-point plateau.
In the National League, fresh off winning the Walter Johnson Award (again), Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers took home the Stan Musial hardware as well.  Kershaw was the only player in the big leagues to outperform Trout according to bWAR, coming in with an even 8.0.
Kershaw garnered nine of the possible 13 first place votes and beat out the runner-up, 2013 Musial winner Andrew McCutchen, by 23 points.
The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):
American League
Mike Trout, Los Angeles (15) 195
Michael Brantley, Cleveland 105
Jose Bautista, Toronto 74
Corey Kluber, Cleveland 67
Victor Martinez, Detroit 66
Josh Donaldson, Oakland 65
Jose Abreu, Chicago 51
Felix Hernandez, Seattle 47
Alex Gordon, Kansas City 45
Jose Altuve, Houston 44
Robinson Cano, Seattle 35
Adrian Beltre, Texas 29
Ian Kinsler, Detroit 12
Nelson Cruz, Baltimore 9
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit 8
Adam Jones, Baltimore 7
David Price, Tampa Bay/Detroit 4
Phil Hughes, Minnesota 3
Brian Dozier, Minnesota 2
Jon Lester, Boston/Oakland 2
National League
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles (9) 151
Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh (4) 128
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami 106
Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee 82
Anthony Rendon, Washington 66
Buster Posey, San Francisco 62
Anthony Rizzo, Chicago 32
Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles 25
Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati 16
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis 15
Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee 11
Jason Heyward, Atlanta 11
Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis 10
Jayson Werth, Washington 9
Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles 8
Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh 8
Justin Morneau, Colorado 6
Justin Upton, Atlanta 4
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia 2
Todd Frazier, Cincinnati 1
Hunter Pence, San Francisco 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 many instances over the past five 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 13-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 point scale for first through tenth place. In the interest of transparency, links to the ballots are listed below.
Prior Winners:
2013: Mike Trout, Los Angeles; Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh
2012: Mike Trout, Los Angeles; Buster Posey, San Francisco
2011: Jose Bautista, Toronto; Matt Kemp, Los Angeles
2010: Josh Hamilton, Texas; Joey Votto, Cincinnati
2009: Joe Mauer, Minnesota; Albert Pujols, St. Louis

Monday, October 27, 2014

Plouffe's Defense Worth Its Weight In Gold

Near the end of last week, the Rawlings Gold Glove finalists were announced for both the American League and the National League. It's hard to take these nominations too seriously when Derek Jeter has multiple Gold Gloves on his mantle and Rafael Palmeiro won one as a DH. Rawlings has been moving in the right direction as they have started to use SABR's Defensive Index to help decide the winners. 

Three former members of the Twins organization (JJ Hardy, Justin Morneau, and Denard Span) were all names as finalists while no members of the current team were among those selected. That's where some of the debate can be made since Trevor Plouffe seems to have compiled the numbers to at least be considered for a nomination.

There are two third baseman in the American League that are head and shoulders above the competition. The A's Josh Donaldson and the Mariner's Kyle Seager. These two men will battle for the honor but it's the third nomination spot that should be in question.

Adrian Beltre got the nod but he had a very sub-par year when it came to defensive numbers. According to SABR's Defensive Index, Beltre ranked sixth in the American League at the hot corner. This put him behind the two men mentioned above and the trio of Manny Machado, Trevor Plouffe, and Mike Moustakas.

This isn't the only metric that shows Plouffe's superiority to Beltre throughout the season.

According to FanGraphs version of defensive WAR, Plouffe's 8.6 mark far outpaced Beltre's 6.0 ranking. Both forms of ultimate zone rating also had Plouffe ranked higher than Beltre. Plouffe's 6.7 UZR was superior to Beltre's 4.0 mark and Plouffe was 2.4 runs higher in UZR/150 games.

Plouffe also ranked better than Beltre when it comes to range runs above average. Plouffe had ranked negatively in this category over the last two seasons but he posted a 5.4 RngR in 2014. Beltre was limited to a 2.8 RngR.

Revised zone rating is the proportion of balls hit into a fielders zone that he successfully converted into an out. Plouffe turned 73.6% of those balls into outs. When it comes to RZR, Beltre was below 70% for the first time since 2007. He has a .725 RZR mark for the duration of his career.

Beltre already has four Gold Gloves with his last award coming back in 2012. He was also awarded the AL Platinum Glove in 2011 and 2012 for having the best defensive in the entire American League. His defensive reputation and previous awards probably put him ahead of Plouffe on the nomination list.

Was there any chance of Plouffe walking away with AL Gold Glove at third?

No, but it would have been nice to see him being honored for his outstanding defensive play at a very tough fielding position. This award should go to Donaldson or Seager but Plouffe proved himself to be one of the top three defensive third baseman in the American League.

Plouffe was most certainly worth his weight in gold this season even if the nomination didn't follow the outstanding play.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Episode 105: Talk to Contact Goes to the World Series

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.

The Royals and the Giants are playing for baseball's biggest prize and we're all sitting around talking about Paul Molitor, Torey Lovullo and Doug Mientkiewicz and how to build a coaching staff when your new manager has never been the skipper in the big leagues. 
We also revisited the Twins payroll situation with half of our team back from a week long hiatus.

Down on the Pond we talked all about Eddie Rosario and the differences between what he's doing in the Arizona Fall League this autumn and what he did all year long in the Minor Leagues.

Of course we finish with beer, baseball, and the news.

65 minutes of postseason fun.

Thanks for listening and enjoy the show.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Twins Managerial Application

The Minnesota Twins are in the midst of the search for their next manager. As an organization, they are looking hard at candidates that are already inside the organization like Paul Molitor and Doug Mientkiewicz. They are also considering some other men from outside the organization and that's where I come in.

I would like to throw my name in the hat as a candidate for the next manager of the Minnesota Twins. I might not have the pedigree of a Hall-of-Famer or a World Series ring on my finger but I have the drive and passion to bring the Twins out of the dumpster.

Cody Christie
North Dakota/Twins Territory | nodaktwinsfan@gmail.com
Education
  • University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND)
    • Bachelor of Science in Education
  • I graduate from the same university as Twins President Dave St. Peter so that has to count for something.
  • I have the hard Midwest work ethic that will get the job done!
Experience/ Qualifications
  • JV Head Coach Fastpitch Softball
    • I worked with young players moving through the system trying to make the varsity team
    • The Twins will have many young players comprising the core of the team in the coming years
    • I can work with these younger players to improve their basic skills and eventually succeed at the highest level 
  • Varsity Head Fastpitch Softball Coach
    • I ran the team, organized practice plans, and was in charge of in-game strategy
    • The Twins need an in game manager with the ability to meet the skill level of the players on the roster
    • We might not have won a ton of games but we tried hard and worked on succeeding at the basics of the game.  
  • Twins Blogger
    • I've written about the team extensively during the Target Field era. 
    • The Twins need a manager with a combination of sabermetric analysis and old school style.
    • My knowledge of the Twins minor league system and current 40-man roster will help to make the tough decisions that need to be made.
Plan for Recovery
  • Let the Kids Play
    • Young players like Danny Santana, Kennys Vargas, and Oswaldo Arcia were successful this past season
    • Alex Meyer will be in the rotation on Opening Day
    • Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton will make their debuts in 2015
    • There might be some bumps and bruises from these players next season. Hopefully these scrapes will be out of the way by the end of the year and it can set-up a successful 2016 season.
  • Chicks Dig the Long Ball
    • The Twins scored a lot of runs last season and that needs to continue
    • If the team isn't going to spend money in the off-season on pitching, the offense is going to have to score more runs.
    • Might as well let the kids go up there hacking away at the ball
    • More fans will come to Target Field to see a 10-8 game than a 1-0 pitchers duel
  • Managerial Influences
    • Billy Heywood- Minnesota Twins
      • Young and energetic about the Minnesota Twins
    • Joe Riggins- Durham Bulls
      • Ability to work with veteran players and rising stars
    • Lou Brown- Cleveland Indians
      • Ability to win with a team no one thought he could
    • George Knox- California Angels
      • Uses a little help from above to get the team back on track
There you have it. Start spreading the word so I can get an interview with the Twins and we can get the team back to winning baseball. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kluber Edges Hernandez For Walter Johnson Award

In a thrilling race, some new blood emerged to win the American League Walter Johnson Award.  Corey Kluber, the unexpected ace of the Cleveland Indians, nipped 2010 winner Felix Hernandez of Seattle by six points in voting held by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.
Kluber, who went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and a 152 ERA+, received eight of the possible 14 first place votes and 80 points overall.  Hernandez received the other six first place nods and 74 total points, coming just short of being the second American League pitcher to have two Walter Johnsons on his mantle.
Unsurprisingly, it was a much different story in the National League as Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers won his third Walter Johnson in four years.  Kershaw swept the voting, receiving all the first place votes and more than doubling the point total of the runner-up, St. Louis’s Adam Wainwright.
The complete voting results are as follows (first place votes in parenthesis):
American League
Corey Kluber, Cleveland (8) 80
Felix Hernandez, Seattle (6) 74
Jon Lester, Boston/Oakland 26
Chris Sale, Chicago 26
David Price, Tampa Bay/Detroit 19
Phil Hughes, Minnesota 10
Max Scherzer, Detroit 3
National League
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles (14) 98
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis 47
Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati 43
Jordan Zimmerman, Washington 17
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia 11
Jake Arrieta, Chicago 6
Stephen Strasburg, Washington 6
Zack Greinke, Los Angeles 5
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco 3
Doug Fister, Washington 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 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 instances over the past five 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 7-4-3-2-1 point scale for first through fifth place. In the interest of transparency, links to the ballots are shown below.
Prior Winners:
2013: Max Scherzer, Detroit; Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
2012: Justin Verlander, Detroit; R.A. Dickey, New York
2011: Justin Verlander, Detroit; Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
2010: Felix Hernandez, Seattle; Roy Halladay, Philadelphia
2009: Zack Greinke, Kansas City; Tim Lincecum, San Francisco
The official website of the BBA is located at baseballbloggersalliance.wordpress.com. The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba.  For more information, contact Daniel Shoptaw at baseballbloggersalliance@gmail.com.
American League
National League

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

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: