Subjectively voted upon by (often) people who show an understanding of baseball that is not equal to that of the knowledgeable fan, the big awards are still kind of interesting for a few reasons.
- It's bragging rights if someone on your team wins one. The truthiness that the Cy Young Award may as well be voted on by blindfolded geese doesn't change the fact that I'll enjoy it if Josh Beckett wins.
- On the flip side, the subjectivity can work to our advantage. If someone we don't like wins the award, well, hey. The voters have as much intelligence as a convention of amoebas, so it really doesn't mean anything for that person/A-Rod, or fans of that person/A-Rod.
- Shiny. All of these awards are/are accompanied by some kind of trophy or plaque. Who doesn't love that? Anything is better/good with gold, silver, brass, or rich mahogany.
- AL MVP: A-Rod.
Yeah, I hate it too. However, it's really pretty hard to argue against it in my opinion.
- NL Cy: Jake Peavy.
Umm. I believe I've read some journalists who throw their support behind Brad Penny. I can only assume these people have only seen Peavy's start on short rest and none of his other starts this season. Peavy leads the league in WHIP, ERA+, Wins, Ks, Pitching Runs Created (THT), FIP (THT). This one is surely done, and it's not close.
- We'll probably revisit the others when the time comes, but for now I want to focus on those that will affect the players on the Sox.
- AL OF Gold Glove: Coco Crisp?.
One of the still-puzzling aspects of this award is that it does not take into account individual positions. Since teams put their best fielders in CF (most of the time), it should almost always be CFs who win all three GGs. This isn't, nor hasn't always been the case, but it stands to logic. This season, there have actually been several elite performers at the CF position, and only a few corners who could somewhat compete.
- Coco is 3rd among AL CFs in RZR, a measurement of how many balls hit into his zone that he makes a play on. He ranks behind Curtis Granderson and David DeJesus.
- Coco is 4th among AL CFs in OOZ, a measure of how many plays a fielder makes on balls hit out of his zone. He ranks behind Ichiro, Granderson, and HGHary Matthews Jr.
- Coco is tied for 1st with Granderson in double plays started.
- Coco is tied with Ichiro for fewest errors (one).
- Melky Cabrera leads all AL CFs in assists with 14. He sports the 4th highest RZR and 2nd most errors (only 4) Where he truly lags behind the competition is OOZ.
- Those corners I mentioned? RFs Alex Rios (.905 RZR, 43 OOZ, 10 A) and Mark Teahen (.880 RZR, 47 OOZ, 16 A; also, played 3B last season). LF Shannon Stewart (.893 RZR, 41 OOZ).
- Verdict: 3 spots, and I think one has to go to Granderson. Highest RZR, 2nd highest assists, 2nd highest OOZ, and played most of his games with Craig Monroe (instincts of a dead camel) at his right and Magglio Ordonez (Maggs being Maggs, though to be fair, he's been decent this season statistically) to his left. He's one of those guys where the eyes and stats tell you the same thing. Coco deserves a spot, and at least somewhat due to workload. Only Grady Sizemore has had more balls hit into his zone, and he's done so in 18+ games worth of innings more than Crisp. Coco has handled these demands more than ably, while being in the second tier of CFs in terms of OOZ. Last spot, for me, goes to Ichiro. I think the inverse relationship between his RZR (lower half of AL CFs) and his OOZ (1st in AL with 95) has more to do with his relative unfamiliarity with the CF position than any lack of ability or value. Teahen, Rios, and Melky just miss the cut.
Thanks to The Hardball Times for providing the stats.