BBA Awards - Connie Mack and Willie Mays Awards

As part of our proud affiliation with the Baseball Bloggers' Alliance, we have been invited to participate in an end of year awards ballot. The first two awards are known as the Connie Mack Award and the Willie Mays Award. They represent best manager of the year and best rookie of the year. My FBJ colleagues and I have talked it over, and here is our ballot for these awards. See if you agree with our selections.

Connie Mack Award - American League
1. Joe Maddon - Tampa Bay Rays
2. Jim Leyland - Detroit Tigers
3. Joe Girardi - New York Yankees

The Rays lost arguably their best player in Carl Crawford last year, as well as power threat Carlos Pena. On the pitching side, they lost 15 game winner Matt Garza. As if that's not enough, they lost Evan Longoria for the first month of the season. For Maddon to rally that team, in the hard hitting AL East, is a testament of his worthiness for this award. Leyland always gets his squads to rise up, so it's no surprise he rallied his current team to an increase of 13 wins over last year. Girardi, like the Rays, had to deal with myriad injuries to some of his star players. The Yanks lost Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez for parts of the season. Girardi also had to piece together a rag tag starting rotation in 2011.

Connie Mack Award - National League
1. Kirk Gibson - Arizona Diamondbacks
2. Charlie Manuel - Philadelphia Phillies
3. Don Mattingly - Los Angeles Dodgers

The Diamondbacks improved 29 games (as of this post) over last season. This was accomplished despite losing power threats Mark Reynolds and Adam LaRoche. Gibson has done a great job with this young team and deserves the ultimate credit. Charlie Manuel deserves much praise this year as well. It's easy to say that anyone could manage a team that has four aces on it, but Charlie had to deal with many injuries, a lackluster offense, and the pressure to stay on top of the division. Mattingly managed a Dodger team through a very messy and public divorce of the team's owner. There were stretches where it was unclear if players would be paid. Granted the Dodgers didn't finish where they wanted, but given the distractions, Mattingly did an admirable job at the helm.

Willie Mays Award - American League
1. Ivan Nova - New York Yankees
2. Jeremy Hellickson - Tampa Bay Rays
3. Eric Hosmer - Kansas City Royals

There was some dispute among my colleagues and I for this award. However, we had to make one ballot representing our blog, so some whittling down was set in motion. OCP gave the nod to Michael Pineda over Nova and had Hellickson atop his list with Hosmer second. Hersh and I had the picks you see above. Although Nova and Pineda have similar ERA, and Pineda has double the K's, it's hard to deny Nova's 16-4 record. Although he got run support being with the Yankees, consider that Nova hasn't lost since June 3rd. In that span, he's 12-0 and along with Sabathia has held the Yankee rotation together. All the while, he's done it within the toughest market in the country. We all agreed on the other two choices with Hellickson having a sub 3 ERA and Hosmer hitting near .300 with 20 Hr and 80 RBI.

Willie Mays Award - National League
1. Craig Kimbrel - Atlanta Braves
2. Vance Worley - Philadelphia Phillies
3. Freddie Freeman - Atlanta Braves

All three of us had these three players listed, with some slight jockeying of order. Until recently, Kimbrel was lights out for Atlanta. He's shown he's human of late, and perhaps his 79 appearances have worn him out. However, he's leading the NL in saves, has an ERA at exactly 2.00, and has a WHIP under 1. At the start of the season, no one knew anything about Worley as he didn't factor in with the four aces of the Phillies. An injury to Joe Blanton and inconsistencies by other spot starters gave way to Worley's emergence, and boy did he take advantage. All he did was go 11-3 with an ERA that was under 3 for much of the year. The Phillies think highly enough of him that they didn't trade him in the Hunter Pence deal. Freeman has also lived up to the hype in his rookie campaign. Similar to Hosmer, Freeman has power and run production capabilities, but can also hit for average. He was a consistent force for the Braves keeping them atop the Wild Card for much of the season.

So, who did we leave out? Let us know your thoughts, and stay tuned for more award picks in the coming days. Next up will be the Goose Gossage Award for best reliever, the Walter Johnson Award for top pitcher, and the Stan Musial Award for best overall player.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you! Finally somebody puts Maddon first, that's a no-brainer. But for the Willie Mays Award, really?!?? Please recheck the pitching stats comparison between Nova and Hellickson. His ERA is much lower with much more innings pitched!!!!! Just because Hellickson doesn't have the Yankee run support, doesn't mean he's not a better pitcher. The only stat the Nova beats him in is wins, and he has way more run support!!!!! Seriously??!? Please explain me your reasoning here.
    The Rays Rant: http://yossif.mlblogs.com/

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  2. I feel ya, Yossif... As mentioned, I had Nova first. I looked at their game logs- Hellickson had 20 quality starts and a sub-3 ERA. Nova was third in MLB in run support... Probably didn't deserve a couple of those wins but the fact that he had not lost since June is still pretty remarkable.. I'd still take Hellickson but I wouldn't be surprised if Nova OR Hosmer OR Pineda won. The AL ROY is virtually a pick em.

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  3. Should say I did not have Nova first (Had Hellickson first).

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  4. One of three... We typically don't agree. We vary in age, rooting interest and baseball knowledge. It makes for very interesting discussions. Thanks for commenting.

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  5. Sure no problem. Check out my first award voting I just posted: http://yossif.mlblogs.com/2011/10/03/bba-awards-the-connie-mack-award/

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