BBA Awards: Stan Musial Award

The final award given out by the Baseball Bloggers' Alliance is for best overall player. There has been a hotly contested debate, including on our site, about whether pitchers should be eligible for this award. I found myself waffling over this very subject for two major reasons. First, the obvious, pitchers have their own award. Second, I recognize that other superior pitching season performances were not rewarded with the honor of best overall player. Still other pitchers were given this title when perhaps there was a more deserving hitter who should have won. Speaking for myself only, I value the Stan Musial Award (best overall player) on 2 factors. The factors are the overall quality of the season statistically and their impact to the team vs if they weren't on that team.

For this vote, we were tasked to pick 10 nominees for this category including the winner. The three of us at For Baseball Junkies disagreed vehemently on not only the winner in each league, but also the order of the remaining 9 vote getters. My perception of my colleagues' habits (and they can comment if I'm wrong) are that Hersh values team impact far more than stats, and OCP values both but with more of a slant on the player's statistical performance compared to the rest of the league. I'm somewhere in the middle of that scale. With us seemingly deadlocked, we took our individual top 10 nominees and weighted them with top choice receiving 10 points and so on down the line with 10th place nominee receiving 1 point. Here are the results:

AL Stan Musial Award:

1. Justin Verlander - Detroit Tigers
2. Curtis Granderson - New York Yankees
3. Jose Bautista - Toronto Blue Jays
4. Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers
5. Jacoby Ellsbury - Boston Red Sox
6. Robinson Cano - New York Yankees
7. Michael Young - Texas Rangers
8. Adrian Gonzalez - Boston Red Sox
9. Dustin Pedroia - Boston Red Sox
10. Alex Avila - Detroit Tigers

Verlander and Granderson actually tied under our weighted system. However, since two of us had Verlander first, and you the readers also voted overwhelmingly for Verlander to win in a recent FBJ poll, we made him the top choice. In my opinion, if you agree with the premise that pitchers should be eligible, then Verlander is the clear best player in the American League. He won the pitching triple crown, dominated both leagues in many statistical categories, and the Tigers clearly would have missed the playoffs without him. Arguments can be made to rearrange the rest of the order in almost any way imaginable.

NL Stan Musial Award:

1. Matt Kemp - Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Ryan Braun - Milwaukee Brewers
3. Jose Reyes - New York Mets
4. Lance Berkman - St. Louis Cardinals
5. Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
6. Joey Votto - Cincinnati Reds
7. Prince Fielder - Milwaukee Brewers
8. Troy Tulowitzki - Colorado Rockies
9. Ryan Howard - Philadelphia Phillies
10. Justin Upton - Arizona Diamondbacks

The debate between Braun and Kemp was also divided amongst our group. A deciding factor involved Braun having another top 10 nominee in Fielder to help carry the load. Kemp had basically nobody. Kemp nearly won the Triple Crown, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since 1967. He also doubled his next closest teammate in HR and nearly doubled in RBI too. The rest is a mix of guys that were really valuable to the team and guys that had standout seasons. Like the AL, juxtaposition of guys from 3-10 can't really be argued with that much fervor. That said, feel free to critique the list with your own selections in the comments section. We look forward to the debate.

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