This year I was asked to give my votes for the major awards for the SweetSpot network. Not wanting to keep my loyal reader in the dark (hi, me at work!) I figured I'd give you my votes here as well.
First, though it's probably necessary to understand my philosophy about this. If feelings about the importance of these awards ranged on an axis from "Honor deemed sacred over generations" to "Meaningless hunk of metal given to a millionaire playing a kid's game", you'd find me somewhere around the "l" in "Meaningless". I can't get worked up about who wins. Just like not being named an All-Star didn't mean Ryan Zimmerman wasn't an All-Star caliber player, not getting this award doesn't change the stats of any of the guys up here. If they were awesome, they are still awesome. I don't need that knowledge to be validated in award form to feel good.
There is another axis coming off from "Meaningless hunk of metal given to a millionaire playing a kid's game". This one leads to "If the statistical leader doesn't win this award, ignorance has won". I'm about halfway between these two philosophies. On one hand I don't want someone bad to win the award. It shouldn't be random or anything. On the other hand, simply figuring out who was the best statistically if everyone played in a vacuum and handing that person the award... that doesn't seem like much fun to me. That's as little fun as looking at wins or RBI leaders and giving awards to those people. I welcome conjecture and differing opinions. I want each voter to have their own philosophy and guidelines. I don't care if they contradict themselves every year or even within the same year. I'm glad it's called the most "valuable" player award, so we can argue the definition of "value" in the context of a baseball season. That's fun.
Personally I like to "vote" for the player who had the best year, rather than the best player that year, if this makes sense. I like to factor in who got lucky this year as a positive for that player, not a negative. For God's sake, this is a sport that awards its highest honor (world champions) to one of the top eight or so teams after 162 games that happens to win three short series over 4 weeks. Luck matters.
With all that being said here are my award votes and reasoning
AL ROY: Neftali Feliz
It was tough between him and Austin Jackson, but we all know how teams can get all worked up about the closer role. The fact that Neftali was able to come in immediately and hold that spot down was huge.
NL ROY: Jason Heyward
Have you seen the guy? He's awesome. (Posey was the only other option and Heyward played a bunch more games)
AL Manager of the Year: Ron Washington
It's the silliest of silly awards but it has to go to someone, so why not Ron? The whole season could have imploded with his cocaine revelations but it didn't. Instead they made it to the World Series. That seems pretty good.
NL Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox
Cheers to you Mr. Cox. It's hard to tell but it always seemed like you knew what you were doing.
AL Cy Young: CC Sabathia
Felix Hernandez was the best pitcher in the AL, no duh (well you could argue Cliff Lee if you wanted but I'm not listening to all that). Felix Hernandez was also 13-12! I mean like that actually happened. He went out there, pitched really well, and his team lost anyway. It sucks for him. In BPs adjusted standings, if everything had been equal, the Rockies should have made the playoffs. That sucks for them. Sometimes things suck for people. In my mind the community is not here to make up for it by looking past your terrible luck to give you an award. The giant contract you are going to get is what's going to make up for it.
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay
In my heart, Roy Halladay is much better than Cliff Lee. No one can convince me otherwise. I want the Yankees to sign Cliff Lee then trade him to the Phillies for Roy Halladay.
AL MVP: Josh Hamilton
He's like a better Jason Heyward!
NL MVP: Joey Votto
Toss up but doesn't Pujols have enough of these already? I have no problem given him another one, but he already has enough that he wraps them up and uses them for those gift exchange games people play at work. "What is it, Rasmus?" "It's... a 2008 MVP award." (everyone looks at Albert) "Why are you looking at me. I swear I brought in the Whitman's sampler". Plus, there's an equally good candidate right over there.
For those interested the raw stat winners (by WAR)
AL ROY : Austin Jackson
NL ROY : Jayson Heyward
AL CY YOUNG : Cliff Lee
NL CY YOUNG : Roy Halladay
AL MVP : Josh Hamilton
NL MVP : Joey Votto
See! Even when trying to be different I pretty much picked 2/3rd the same people. Why is everyone so angry all the time about something that doesn't matter that's mostly right?
(measured by biggest positive difference between BP adjusted standings and actual standings)
AL MOY : Mike Scioscia
NL MOY : Brad Mills (that's the Astros coach)