As you will see across baseball, the voting for the AL Rookie of the Year Award is going to be across the board. Many will want to reward a player putting together almost a full year while others want to reward a players who got called up and was insanely hot for a short stretch of time. There is room for both types of players on the ballot, and as you will see in my ballot, the player that did both, should win the Rookie of the Year Award:
1st – Michael Fulmer
Other than Corey Seager, Fulmer was the most impressive rookie in baseball this season. Consider that if not for a long rain delay, Fulmer would have pitched enough innings to qualify to have the best ERA in the American League. Overall, on the season, Fulmer was 11-7 with a 3.03 ERA, 1.119 WHIP, and a 7.5 K/9. He was also one of 14 pitchers in the American League who would throw a complete game shut out.
When Fulmer was first called up by the Tigers, he was only supposed to be the rotation for a short duration due to the Shane Greene injury. Fulmer laid those plans to rest by putting together the best rookie season out of any pitcher in baseball this year.
If you are more interested in short bursts of greatness over longer periods of work where a player’s performance is permitted to ebb and flow consider that Fulmer was 3-1 with a 0.61 ERA and a 0.910 WHIP in five June starts. Consider that in a stretch from June 1st to August 14th, Fulmer made 13 starts going 6-2 with a 1.57 ERA and a 0.872 WHIP while averaging 6.2 innings per start. No rookie in the American League put up a two and a half month stretch that can compare to the run Fulmer went on over the summer.
That run was also part of the season for Fulmer falling off. As he far exceeded his innings limits for a team in the middle of the Wild Card race, his performance would noticeably suffer. However, that’s part of the reason why Fulmer is the Rookie of the Year. He was put in position to have a long run of success while also having to deal with being put in a position to fail. Ultimately, as Fulmer had the most dominant stretch of any American League rookie while also having a successful season stretching from April to September, he is the Rookie of the Year.
2nd – Nomar Mazara
Mazara was called up to the majors earlier than he was ready due to an injury to Shin-Soo Choo. Despite Mazara not being ready, he would jump right out of the gate winning the AL Rookie of the Month Award for April and May. In fact, if you took a straw poll around the All Star Break over who was the Rookie of the Year, Mazara would have won it hands down.
In that April and May stretch, Mazara hit .302/.348/.479 with three doubles, nine homers, and 24 RBI while being the Rangers everyday right fielder. Mazara played an above averaged right field too with a 5.3 UZR. Yes, Mazara would regress just as any other 21 year old rookie not quite ready for the majors would. Mazara finished the season hitting a respectable .266/.320/.419 with 13 doubles, three triples, 20 homers, and 64 RBI. Mazara would be only one of two rookies, Cheslor Cuthbert being the other, that had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title.
Among rookies, Mazara had the most at-bats, runs, hits, and RBI. He is tied for first in homers. When you lead all rookies in these categories while playing well defensively, all for a first place team, you are among the top rookies in the sport, and you should be considered the top rookie among position players.
3rd – Gary Sanchez
In August and September, there has been no player, rookie or otherwise, discussed than Sanchez. After the Yankees decided to sell by trading away Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Carlos Beltran, Sanchez was among the rookies called-up by the Yankees to see which ones were ready to contribute next year to a rebuilding ball club. Sanchez came out and immediately announced he was ready to contribute.
In 51 games, Sanchez has hit .299/.372/.650 with 12 doubles, 20 homers and 42 RBI. Naturally, he leads all major leagues in homers during that stretch, and he’s tied with Mazara for the most amount of homers by a rookie. If you extrapolate those numbers over the course of a full 162 game season, Sanchez would finish the year with 37 doubles, 62 homers, and 131 RBI. After a full season like that, the Yankees would probably be best advised to just give him a monument and retire his number 57. You get numbers from a catcher like this, especially one with a cannon behind the plate, you are talking about a top five regular season in major league history.
But that’s part of the issue. Sanchez hasn’t played a full season. He’s played just two months. They’ve been two awesome months, but it’s still only about one-third of a full season. As we have seen with Fulmer and Mazara, a rookie who has a bright major league career ahead of them can have an incredible run for two months. Because Sanchez only played one-third of a season, we didn’t get the opportunity to see the league adjust to him and see if he could respond. While Sanchez’s rookie year was definitely the best, the brevity of his season coupled with how others have dominated in similar stretches that he did bumps him down to third on my ballot.
Across the National League, there have been a number of standout performances. Consider for a moment that this ballot omits pitchers like Kenta Maeda, Steven Matz, and Junior Guerra. It also doesn’t include the terrific shortstops Trevor Story and Aledmys Diaz. In any other season, each of these players could not only be on the ballot, but they also could win the award. In what was a loaded field, here is my NL Rookie of the Year ballot:
1st – Corey Seager
Short of Jackie Robinson and Mike Piazza, Seager has put together the best rookie season by a Dodgers player. That’s high praise especially when you consider the Dodgers organization has accumulated more Rookie of the Year Awards than any other team in baseball.
Seager was incredible this year leading all rookies in WAR, doubles, and RBI. He was also second in home runs. He was the only rookie in the National League who played enough games to qualify for the batting title. He’s also played a great shortstop with a 10.9 UZR. Overall, there is no knocking his overall game, nor is there any reason to not give him the Rookie of the Year Award
2nd – Trea Turner
It’s one thing to be a well regarded prospect. It’s another thing to come up and show the world why you were a well regarded prospect. It’s a whole other thing to do that while playing out of position.
Given Ben Revere‘s failures in center field, the Nationals had two options to fill-in the position. One was Michael Taylor, who is a well regarded prospect in his own right despite his weak bat, or move your best prospect to center field. The Nationals chose the later, and they really benefited from it.
In 73 games, Turner hit .342/.370/.567 with 14 doubles, eight triples, 13 homers, and 37 RBI. With that, he had a 3.6 WAR, which was the second highest position player WAR accumulated in the non-Seager division. In center field, Turner had a -2 DRS, which means he was slightly below average, which is really remarkable when you consider he had never played an inning in center field before the 2016 season. All of this is even more impressive when you consider Turner did this to help a team win their division.
Given the totality of the circumstances, Turner’s 2016 season might have been the most impressive by any rookie. If not for Seager, it was the best season any rookie had this year.
3rd – Seung-Hwan Oh
Where would the St. Louis Cardinals be this season had they not signed The Final Boss out of the Korean Leagues? For most of the year, the Cardinals team and bullpen has dealt with injuries. Most notably, Trevor Rosenthal went from ineffective to injured in the span of the year. With those issues, the Cardinals needed someone to step up. That person was Oh.
In 74 appearances, Oh showed all of baseball how he earned the nickname The Final Boss. He made 76 appearances going 6-3 with 19 saves, a 1.92 ERA, 0.916 WHIP, 11.6 K/9, 214 ERA+, and a 2.13 FIP. He took over the closer’s job in the beginning of July, and he was converted 19 out of 22 save chances with a 2.27 ERA, 0.958 WHIP, and an 11.3 K/9. Not only was Oh one of the top rookies in baseball this year, he was also one of the best relievers in the game. With that in mind, The Final Boss deserves to be on the Rookie of the Year ballot.
The IBWAA Hoyt Wilhelm Award is for the best relief pitcher in the National League. While the National League has had a number of good relievers this past season, there have been three clear standouts over the course of the season that deserves this award:
1st – Addison Reed
Given how Terry Collins has ridden his two best bullpen guys all season, this was a toss up between the two of them. Looking at the numbers, Reed just had a better season.
Time and again, Collins has leaned on Reed in the high leverage eighth inning of games to preserve the Mets lead. For a vast majority of the time, Reed has done that in impressive fashion. In 80 appearances, Reed is 4-2 with a 1.97 ERA, a 0.940 WHIP, a 10.5 K/9, 209 ERA+, and a 1.98 FIP. Those 78 appearances are the third most in the majors (and National League). His 1.97 ERA is fifth among National League relievers with at least 60 innings pitched. His 2.9 WAR is the highest among relievers. His WHIP ranks fifth among relievers. By the way, Reed has made more appearances than the pitchers that are ahead of him in those categories.
This all speaks to how exceptional Reed has been in his role as the Mets eighth inning guy. In fact, Reed’s 40 holds this season is the most in the majors. In fact, it is 10 more than Kyle Barraclough who is in second place. Reed is a huge reason why the Mets are close to unbeatable when they have the lead after seven innings. In terms of a bullpen role, no one has done their job better than Reed, which is why he should be the Hoyt Wilhelm Award Winner.
2nd – Jeurys Familia
For the second straight season, Familia has been the most used, most durable, and best closer in the National League.
In 2016, Familia made more appearances, more innings pitched, and more saves than any other closer in all of baseball. His 51 saves this season surpassed Francisco Cordero and Jose Valverde for the most saves in a single season by a Dominican born pitcher. He has obliterated the Mets single season save record he once shared with Armando Benitez. Keep in mind, a large part of his breaking the save records was because Familia kept the ball in the ballpark. Over the course of the entire 2016 season, Familia has only allowed one home run.
Familia was also at his best when the Mets needed him to be at his best. With the team needing each and every win possible in August and September, Familia was as dominant as he has ever been. In that two month stretch, Familia made 27 appearances recording 14 saves with a 1.62 ERA, a 1.000 WHIP, and a 10.6 K/9 while limiting batters to a .186 batting average.
Overall, for the season, Familia was 3-4 with 51 saves, a 2.55 ERA, 1.210 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 161 ERA+, and a 2.39 FIP. When you put up these numbers while your manager keeps throwing you into games without giving you much time off to rest, you have been the best closer in your league. .
3rd – Seung-hwan Oh
Choosing the third reliever for this vote was a difficult task. Both Mark Melancon and Kenley Jansen, who both had outstanding years again as closers for postseason teams. However, the nod here went to The Final Boss for a number of reasons.
First, Oh made the second more appearances than Melancon and Jansen. His 2.8 WAR was also the second highest WAR posted by any relief pitcher in the National League. He also helped saved a Cardinals bullpen and season by first being a dominant set-up man, and then being a dominant closer once Trevor Rosenthal went down with injury. As a closer, Oh was 4-3 with 19 saves, a 2.27 ERA, 0.958 WHIP, and an 11.3 K/9. For the season Oh made 76 appearances going 6-3 with 19 saves, a 1.92 ERA, 0.916 WHIP, 11.6 K/9, 214 ERA+, and a 2.13 FIP.
With that, Oh was about as dominant a relief pitcher as there was in the National League. With him mastering multiple roles, and his stepping up to fill a huge void for a Cardinals team in the thick of the Wild Card race, he deserves the last spot on the ballot.
This was a fun year in the American League where we saw the managers who were presumed to be among the best in the sport get the most out of their team’s talent and put their team in position to go to the postseason. When you’re picking between the best managers in the sport, and they all did tremendous jobs, you are really picking nits in ranking them. With that said here’s my nit picking ballot:
1st – Buck Showalter
Could you possibly imagine where this Orioles team would be right now if they had just a league average starting staff? It’s incredible to think about how far the Orioles have gone when Chris Tillman and his career 4.13 ERA and 1.310 WHIP is far and away your team’s ace. The question is how did the Orioles do it?
For starters (pun intended), Showalter uses his bullpen masterfully, probably better than anyone else in the sport. When you have no starting pitcher who averages six innings a game, you are going to have to be masterful if you are going to give your team any chance to win a game. Showalter not only was able to put his relievers in the right position to get outs, he was also able to keep most of them healthy over the course of a full season. And yes, it certainly helped that Zach Britton had one of the great seasons a closer has ever had. Still, he’s just one guy that pitches one inning for a bullpen that routinely had to pitch over three innings a game.
Showalter also got the most out of his flawed power bats. Mark Trumbo was signed to be the right fielder, and he hit 46 homers. Pedro Alvarez was the primary DH. With Showalter shielding him from left-handed pitching for most of the year, Alvarez would hit 22 homers.
It also helps that Showalter has two of the best young players in the game in Adam Jones and Manny Machado. Even in what has been Jones’ “worst” season, he still hit 28 homers. Machado had an underappreciated year where he was not only his usual MVP level, Gold Glove caliber third baseman, he also had to handle going to shortstop when J.J. Hardy went down for an extended time due to injury. Couple that with Showalter navigating the issue of Hyun Soo Kim arguably not being ready to start the season, refusing a demotion to the minors, Showalter handled the situation well. He not only eased Kim into the season, but he also got a tremendous season out of him.
Arguably, Showalters is the best manager in the game, and he proved it once again this season. For that, he is my selection for AL Manager of the Year.
2nd – Jeff Bannister
When a team has a +8 run differential, the team is expected to go 82-80. The Texas Rangers would go 95-67 while running away with the AL West. A big part of the reason why is Bannister who, in his second year as a manager, has established himself as one of the best managers in the game.
Bannister had a lot on his plate this season, including but not limited to the run differential. He was helping Ian Desmond convert from a shortstop to an All Star center fielder. He had Rougned Odor, who has shown himself to be an incredibly gifted player, but also as we saw with him punching Jose Bautista, he can be a hot head. There was the demise and sudden retirement of Prince Fielder. There were tough waters to navigate surrounding Yu Darvish, who was returning from Tommy John surgery, and his brother being convicted in Japan for illegal gambling. The Rangers also entered the season without a good catching or first base option. High priced outfielder Shin-Soo Choo would miss most of the year with injuries leaving the team without a good left fielding option either.
The reason this all worked was the Rangers had a good starting rotation led by Cole Hamels and a no-name very underrated bullpen that included the reclamation project of all reclamation projects in Matt Bush, and first time closer, Sam Dyson, who had a breakout season. There were also great seasons by Mostly, this worked because Bannister is a great manager that put his players in the best spots to succeed.
Because this team had more pitching, especially starting pitching, Bannister is barely ranked below Showalter.
3rd – Terry Francona
Heading into the 2016 season, the Indians were largely constructed like the 2015 Mets. They were a team built on young pitching with a highly questionable offense. In order for it all to work, the team would need its manager to do a great job. Francona did.
Again, the one thing everyone knew the Indians had to start the season was starting pitching, and boy did they pitch. Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar each had an ERA+ of 122 or better. Fact is, when Trevor Bauer is your fourth best starting pitcher, you know your starting staff is loaded. Ultimately, it was this staff that separated Showalter and Francona in my mind in terms of casting the vote for Manager of the Year. Still, that does not mean Francona had an easy job this season.
He lost his starting catcher Yan Gomes for the season before the All Star Break. He lost his best outfielder Michael Brantley, in the beginning of May. He had an offense that was too reliant on the rejuvenation of Mike Napoli (he hi (he would be released t 34 homers) and Juan Uribe (released on August 5th). The team also desperately needed Carlos Santana‘s power to return (it did). Couple that with a middle infield of Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez showing he can offensively handle a corner infield spot, and some smoke and mirror, the Indians generated a sufficient amount of offense to match their starting pitching. Francona goes a long way in much of this happening and that is why he deserves Manager of the Year consideration.
As he frankly had smoother sailing than Showalter and Bannister during the regular season, he gets ranked just below the other two. Frankly, if you came up with a different permutation of these three managers, no one could definitively say you were wrong.
This was a strange year in the National League Manager of the Year race. All the teams that were supposed to be contenders were actually contenders despite most of those teams suffering brutal injuries.
That Nationals lost Stephen Strasburg for a good part of the year and will likely not have him in the postseason. The Mets lost Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, David Wright, and Lucas Duda for a good portion of the season. At one point, the Dodgers entire starting projected rotation was on the disabled list with the most crushing blow being a Clayton Kershaw trip to the disabled list. The Cardinals have had their shortstops, Jhonny Peralta and Aledmys Diaz, on the disabled list with injuries, and they lost their closer Trevor Rosenthal. Even the Cubs suffered a huge injury with Kyle Schwarber going down with a torn ACL. With these teams overcoming those injuries, it could be quite difficult to determine who was actually the best manager in the National League this season. Taking all that into consideration, here is my ballot:
1st Place – Dave Roberts
A large part of his award goes to Roberts because of what he did despite his team being the most injured team in all of baseball. By the first week of the season, he lost two members of his starting rotation with Brett Anderson and Hyun-Jin Ryu. He would also lose important bullpen arms in Carlos Frias, Yimi Garcia, and Chris Hatcher for the year. He’d also deal with the most dramatic injury of all when Kershaw went down with a back injury.
When Kershaw made his last start before heading to the disabled list, the Dodgers were 41-36, eight games behind the Giants in the West and a game behind the Marlins for the second Wild Card. From that point forward, the Dodgers have the second best record in baseball. They have won the NL West for the second year in a row, and they seem poised to make a deep run in the postseason.
That’s not the only reason why Roberts is the Manager of the Year. He’s also capably handled a number of tricky situations that would have the potential to flummox other managers and potentially poison some clubhouses. He had to get Howie Kendrick to accept being a utility player and eventually an outfielder. He had to get one last great season out of Chase Utley. He would pull rookie Ross Stripling while he had a no-hitter going because it was the best thing for the young player’s career and the Dodgers’ future.
Clearly, Roberts has been unafraid to make the tough decisions. He had control of the clubhouse. He avoided near disaster, and he led his team from eight games back to win the NL West. That’s Manager of the Year material.
2nd – Joe Maddon
In reality, any other year this award would go to Maddon. Maddon has established himself as the best manager in the game.
Maddon was handed a roster that was easily a World Series favorite, and he delivered during the regular season. Not only did he get another great season from Jake Arrieta, but he also got better years from Jon Lester and John Lackey. By the way, somehow he got a Cy Young caliber season out of Kyle Hendricks.
We also saw Maddon play mad scientist like he loves to do. When Schwarber went down, Maddon took his budding superstar Kris Bryant and turned him into a Ben Zobrist type of player. It probably helped Bryant that he had the actual Zobrist on the team to give him some pointers. Additionally, never one to stay at the status quo, Maddon experimented using multiple relievers on the field.
On June 28th, Maddon would actually play Spencer Patton and Travis Wood in the outfield in a 15 inning game against the Reds. It actually worked out well for the Cubs. Patton started the 14th inning on the mound and Wood in left field. When Jay Bruce came up to bat, Maddon would switch them around to get Bruce out. After the Bruce at bat, Maddon switched them back so Patton could get Adam Duvall out. This was reminiscent of the 1986 game where Davey Johnson was forced to shift Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell between left field and the pitcher’s mound due to a Ray Knight ejection leaving the Mets without another position player. However, Maddon wasn’t forced into the decision. There wasn’t an injury or an ejection. Rather, Maddon did it because he simply believed it gave the Cubs the best chance to win the game.
That is the type of progressive thinking that has made Maddon the best manager in the game, and it has helped the Cubs to a 100 win season with the best record in baseball. If not for the terrific season Roberts had, Maddon would have won this quite easily.
3rd – Dusty Baker
Last year, the Nationals were done in by a toxic clubhouse and a terrible manager in Matt Williams. In the offseason, the Nationals did what they had to do in firing Williams, and then they had to settle on Baker as their manager.
Baker has always been a curious case. He has never been a favorite of the Sabermetrically inclined. He makes curious in-game decisions (hello Russ Ortiz), and he has a tendency to over rely on veterans over young players that are probably better and can do more to help the team win. Despite all of that, Baker has won wherever he has gone. He has brought the Giants, Cubs, Reds, and now the Nationals to the postseason. The reason is Baker is a manager that gets the most out of his players.
It wasn’t easy for him this year. Bryce Harper had a down year, Jonathan Papelbon wouldn’t last the season as either the closer or as a National, and Ben Revere would show he was not capable of being the center fielder for a good team. Worse yet, Strasburg went down with injury despite Baker actually being someone careful with his young pitcher. So how’d he do it. Well, he got career years from Daniel Murphy and Wilson Ramos. In a sign of growth, Baker trusted a young player in Trea Turner to not only play everyday, but also to play out of position. Mostly, Baker was Baker.
Overall, it is clear that Baker has some innate ability to get his teams to play well. He did that again this year in turning around a Nationals team that fell apart last year to a team that comfortably won the NL East.
Honorable Mention – Terry Collins
By no means did Collins have a strong year this year. You can point to the injuries, but he did do a lot to exacerbate them by playing players who he knew was injured. He had a year where he messed around with Michael Conforto‘s development and threatened the career of Jim Henderson by abusing his surgically repaired shoulder for a “must-win” game in April. Furthermore, he flat out abused the arms of Hansel Robles, Addison Reed, and Jeurys Familia. So no, Collins is not deserving of the award.
However, he is deserving of an honorable mention with the class and dignity he comported himself in the aftermath of Jose Fernandez‘s death. He made sure his team was there to console the Marlins, and he prepared his team to win games when some of his own players were devastated by Fernandez’s death. This was one of the many acts of kindness Collins has shown as the Mets manager, and it should be highlighted.
Before looking at my ballot, please keep in mind that the IBWAA already elected players on the current ballot. This includes Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell I would’ve voted for them because I don’t play the steroids guessing game.
I also would’ve voted for Tim Raines, but he already received the necessary 75% from the IBWAA. Raines was the second best lead off hitter of all time, and frankly I haven’t seen a good reason to withhold your vote for him. Furthermore, even if the vote doesn’t count towards the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot, I didn’t want to incur the wrath of Jonah Keri.
Junior might’ve been the best player in my lifetime, at least when he was launching home runs in the old Kingdome. When you look at his WAR, he’s only behind Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, and Mickey Mantle. If you’re the fifth best ever at a position, you deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
The average Hall of Fame SS has a career WAR of 66.7, a peak WAR (also known as WAR7) of 42.8, and a JAWS score of 54.7. Trammell’s numbers are 70.4/44.6/57.5. Translation, he’s one of the top SS in major league history. Keep in mind, he is a .285/.352/.415 career hitter with four Gold Gloves, six All Star Game appearances, and three Silver Sluggers.
On top of that, he hit .333/.404/.588 in the postseason. He was also the 1984 World Series MVP. It’s his last year on the ballot. He deserves to be elected.
The narrative on Walker is he’s a Coors Field creation. I get it because he hit an amazing .381/.462/.710 at Coors Field. Those are insane numbers.
Look at it this way. Walker has hit .278/.370/.495 on the road in his career. In his six years with the Expos at the beginning of his career, he hit .281/.357/.483. Reggie Jackson, who was one of the top RF all time, hit .262/.356/.490. On top of this, Walker was a five time All Star with seven Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers. He was the 1997 NL MVP. If you’re comparable to Reggie Jackson, you’re a Hall of Famer.
If you look over Kent’s career, his WAR, WAR7, or JAWS doesn’t match-up. The average for second baseman is 69.3/44.4/56.9. Kent was only 55.2/35.6/45.4. He fell short on those terms, but I voted for him anyway.
The issue is Kent was not a good defensive player, but he was a terrific hitter. Amongst second baseman, he’s hit the most homeruns, fourth most doubles, third highest RBI, and the second highest slugging percentage. Overall, he was a .290/.356/.500 hitter with 377 homeruns. He was the second best offensive second baseman to Rogers Hornsby. To me, being the second best offensively at his position was barely sufficient for me to vote for him.
Look, I think postseason excellence should be considered in Hall of Fame voting. Schilling was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA, a 0.968 WHIP, and a World Series MVP. Bloody sock or not, that is as impressive as it gets.
With that said, I didn’t vote for Schilling due to his postseason success. I voted for him due to his regular season success. Schilling was 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA. 1.137 WHIP, a 8.6 K/9, and a 4.38 K/BB ratio. His K/BB is second best all time. His stats are good enough for a 127 ERA+, which is the same as Tom Seaver. His WAR is 79.9, which is higher than the average WAR for a Hall of Fame pitcher.
Postseason success or not, Curt Schilling is a Hall of Famer.
Speaking of career WAR, Mussina’s career WAR of 83.0 is actually higher than Schilling’s.
Mussina was 270-153 with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.192 WHIP. Those are remarkable numbers considering he pitched his entire career in the AL East during the steroid era. It’s unsurprising he would have an ERA+ of 123. That’s better than Juan Marichal and Nolan Ryan. Mussina bomgs in the Hall of Fame.
I didn’t vote for Edgar, who is a career .312/.418/.515 hitter. My vote for him only partially had to do with him being a DH.
I do believe there is room for a DH to be in the Hall of Fame. No matter how they are characterized, there are two right now: Frank Thomas and Paul Molitor. As these are the only two DH’s in the Hall of Fame, I’m judging Edgar against the two of them.
Thomas had a 156 OPS+, 154 wRC+, .416 wOBA, and a 73.7 WAR.
Molitor had a 122 OPS+, 122 wRC+, .361 wOBA, and a 75.4 WAR.
Now, Thomas and Molitor had the magic numbers. Thomas hit over 500 homeruns. Molitor had over 3,000 hits. Now, this isn’t dispositive, but it counts for something. Molitor also has postseason success hitting .368/.415/.615. He won the 1993 World Series MVP.
I bring this up because Edgar was a better hitter. Every stat but WAR is in Edgar’s favor. Edgar averaged a 3.79 WAR per year to Molitor’s 3.59 per year, so in that respect Edgar is again better. However, by no measure is Edgar better than Thomas. Thomas is better than Edgar in every stat.
Now, normally, I would say Edgar falls in line between Thomas and Molitor, so let him in. However, we’ve only had the DH since 1973. That’s only 42 years, or 27 years (10 year career with five year waiting period) of DH’s even being eligible for the Hall of Fame. With that in mind, I look at Thomas, and not the mean, as the standard.
No, I don’t think it’ll be a travesty if Edgar is elected to the Hall of Fame. Over time as I see better arguments for his inclusion, I may change my mind. However, at this time I think Edgar falls just short for me.
In response to an anticipated counter-argument, no, I don’t think it’s hypocritical that I voted for Kent due to his bat. While I do think defense should count, I have Kent credit for being the second best offensive second baseman ever. As a DH, all Edgar does is hit. Using the same standards, he would have to be the second best hitter ever. He’s clearly not that.
So for right now, I left Edgar off my ballot.
Sure, there are amazing stats in his favor. Wagner has the most ever saves for a left handed pitcher. He has a career 2.31 ERA, 0.998 WHIP, and a 11.9 K/9. They are impressive numbers. What’s not impressive is his 28.1 career WAR. That’s lower than Tom Gordon, who is off the ballot, and Lee Smith, who last year received 29.9% in the voting last year.
Overall, I wanted to vote for Wagner on a personal level. However, when the people who are better than you aren’t in the Hall, you shouldn’t be either.
This was an easy name to leave off the ballot. Looking over the career stats, the only thing Hoffman has over Wagner is his saves total.
Like Wagner, Hoffman’s WAR falls short. Hoffman’s WAR was 28.4. Essentially, you’d be voting for him because he had the highest save total ever when he retired. If that wasn’t good enough for Lee Smith, it shouldn’t be enough for Trevor Hoffman.
Overall, even if this doesn’t count towards the BBWAA vote, I took this seriously, and I tried to justify my votes. Admittedly, Kent was my weakest vote. I still think someone could change my mind on Edgar. I don’t see myself voting for a reliever until Mariano Rivera hits the ballot.
To me Hall of Fame voting gets frustrating because seemingly everyone has a different standard. Worse yet, they believe everyone should adopt that standard.
The first group are the “I know a Hall of Famer when I see him.” I simply don’t get this one because what you see isn’t what everyone else sees. Seriously, we live in a world where Aaron Sele received a vote for the Hall of Fame. When someone tells me Aaron Sele is a Hall of Famer due to the eye test I’m out.
The next is to compare players to the lowest common denominator. For example, there is a Hall of Fame catcher by the name of Rick Ferrell, who as far as I can tell, basically made the Hall of Fane because he caught a lot of games. Long story short, if he and his 29.8 career WAR is your standard, we’re not debating if Mike Piazza belongs in the Hall of Fame. Instead, we’re debating if Tim McCarver belongs in the Hall of Fame.
My favorite is the person who tries to compare players at different positions. Personally, I call this the Don Mattingly defense because that’s where I’ve heard it most often. I’ll hear something like Mattingly had 222 homers while Kirby Puckett only had 207. If Puckett gets in, why can’t Mattingly? The answer is simple having a Gold Glove CF who averages 19 homers is a lot more valuable than a Gold Glove first baseman that averages 20.
Personally, I have no hard set rule. I will say that when analyzing a player’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame, I like to look towards what does the average Hall of Famer look like at that position. It’s not the end all and be all, but it’s a nice place to start. If after looking at that you’re short of that average threshold, there are other things I like to consider.
First is postseason success. If you’ve had real success in the postseason, you should get a bump. Every year, the goal is to win a World Series. If you consistently did something to help your team’s chances, you deserve credit for that.
The next is whether there was something truly great about you. Ozzie Smith wasn’t a great hitter, but he was amazing with the glove. On the flip side, Ryne Sandberg wasn’t a great fielder, but he hit the most ever homeruns by a second baseman when he retired. Being truly great at something and/or being the best ever at something should improve your Hall of Fame chances.
Lastly, I do look at stuff like steroids. I won’t play a guessing game on who did and who didn’t. However, if there’s concrete, actual evidence, I’m not voting for that person. No, I don’t mean a Murray Chase accusation, I’m talking about something that could be substantiated.
Overall, I get to cast my first IBWAA ballot this year, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure over time I will learn some things and adapt. I will do a small write-up on whoever is on my ballot.
- Josh Donaldson
- Mike Trout
- Lorenzo Cain
- Manny Machado
- Jose Bautista
- Mookie Betts
- Xander Bogaerts
- Jason Kipnis
- David Price
- Dallas Keuchel
AL Cy Young
- Chris Sale
- David Price
- Dallas Keuchel
- Corey Kluber
- Chris Archer
AL Rookie of the Year
- Francisco Lindor
- Carlos Correa
- Aaron Sanchez
AL Manager of the Year
- Joe Girardi
- Terry Francona
- Jeff Banister
AL Reliever of the Year
- Dellin Betances
- Huston Street
- Bryan Shaw
- Bryce Harper
- Jayson Heyward
- Anthony Rizzo
- Paul Goldschmidt
- Zack Greinke
- Curtis Granderson
- Buster Posey
- Kris Bryant
- Clayton Kershaw
- Joey Votto
NL Cy Young
- Zack Greinke
- Clayton Kershaw
- Jake Arrieta
- Gerrit Cole
- Jacob deGrom
NL Rookie of the Year
- Kris Bryant
- Matt Duffy
- Jung Ho Kang
NL Manager of the Year
- Bruce Bochy
- Joe Maddon
- Clint Hurdle
NL Reliever of the Year
- Jeurys Familia
- Mark Melancon
- Kevin Siegrist
After releasing my AL choices earlier, here are my NL choices:
NL MVP – Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper lead the NL in runs, homeruns, slugging, OPS, OPS+, and WAR. He was second in batting average. He’s the main reason the Nationals even competed in the NL East.
NL Cy Young – Zack Greinke
This was a tight race, but I ultimately selected Zack Greinke. He lead the league in ERA, ERA+, WHIP, adjusted pitching runs, and WAR. He’s second in hits per nine. He’s fifth in walks per nine, innings pitched, and FIP. Overall, he had a great year.
NL Rookie of the Year – Kris Bryant
With all the awards votes this year, I thought this one was the easiest. Kris Bryant lead all rookies in WAR, runs, hits, doubles, homeruns, and RBIs. With all that, there’s nothing else that needs to be said.
NL Manager of the Year – Bruce Bochy
Bruce Bochy is considered the best manager in baseball. He’s done nothing to disprove that this year. He’s dealt with players leaving and injuries. He kept the Giants competitive into October. If this award is truly supposed to go to the best manager, it should go to the best manager. That’s Bruce Bochy.
NL Reliever of the Year – Jeurys Familia
Jeurys Familia has been a dominant closer this year. He lead the league in one plus inning saves. He was third in appearances, but he was first in reliever innings pitched. He was third in saves. Of all the relievers in the NL, he made the biggest impact on his team.
I will publish my entire ballot later, but I’m only going to do a write-up on why I chose people to win these awards. I will also publish something on the Mets I selected on my ballots. Here are my AL selections:
AL MVP – Josh Donaldson
Josh Donaldson has been amazing this season hitting .300/.375/.577 with 41 homeruns and 123 RBIs. He leads the league in runs scored, RBIs, and total bases. He’s second in WAR. He’s the best player on the best team.
AL Cy Young – Chris Sale
I didn’t buy into the whole it’s either David Price or Dallas Keuchel. They’re being discussed because they’re on winning teams, but this isn’t a pitcher MVP Award. Chris Sale leads the league in strikeouts, FIP, and K/9. This is evident that he’s pitching in front of a weaker team than Price or Keuchel. I don’t think he should be penalized for it.
AL Rookie of the Year – Francisco Lindor
Francisco Lindor has been incredible this year hitting .319/.357/.491 with good defense. He leads all AL rookies in WAR. He’s having a better overall year than Carlos Correa. The overall stats were close enough that the defense of Lindor’s defense put him over the top.
AL Manager of the Year – Joe Girardi
Joe Girardi previously won this award in the NL. He is a good manager. He’s had to deal with the first post-Derek Jeter season and the return of A-Rod. He’s managed old players on the decline. He’s managed through injuries. He brought a Yankee team predicted to finish under .500 and brought them to the playoffs.
AL Reliever of the Year – Dellin Betances
Dellin Betances leads the league in appearances. He’s second in K/9. Hes got a FIP of 2.11. He’s set-up and closed. He’s been the best reliever in the AL two years running.