Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2013 Team Awards: Los Angeles Dodgers

In order to review the 2013 season, the crackpot staff of Off Base is handing out awards to each Major League team. Please send us $19.95 for the shipping and handling of your team's Hello Kitty stickers awards. Here are the Most Valuable Player, Least Valuable Player, Cy Young, Cy Yuck, Rookie of the Year and Reliever of the Year for the Los Angeles Dodgers. *Guidelines, prices and participation may vary by author*

MVP: Yasiel Puig
In his rookie season, Yasiel Puig was off the page phenomenal. Many scouting reports and scouts alike said Puig was to be considered an average to above average prospect. Nearly from the onset, the 'Wild Horse' seemed to provide an intangible spark that turned the Dodgers season from Titanic to Cuban cruise ship. Puig posted a 4.0 fWAR (Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement) in just 104 games played. As evidenced by his .319/.391/.534 slash line, it was obvious to those that spent late nights tuning into Puigmania that this kid has the chance to be something other-worldly. The first two months of his big league season provided a season's worth of signature moments. Puig was one of those rare players who left you wanting more when his season ended - and it was more exciting at times seeing him strike out or make an error than it was seeing others play the game fundamentally perfect. When you think of the Dodgers 2013 season you will forever think of Yasiel Puig. Or perhaps you will think of something else. But I name the young Cuban sensation the team MVP in 2013.

LVP: Matt Kemp
Matt Kemp made $20.25 million dollars in 2013, and he provided a -0.4 fWAR. Then Kemp hurt his shoulder. Then he hurt his hamstring. Then the final pin was stuck in the Matt Kemp voodoo doll when he hurt his ankle and was done for the year. Dodgers fans spent much of the season waiting for the return of a mythological figure - but that figure was more Hyperion than Zeus. Kemp hit .270, slugged .395, and posted a meager .150 ISO. His future as a Dodger is now in question, with the one reason Kemp remains a Dodger being that albatross of a salary.

Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
Who else would it be? Kershaw had arguably his finest season as a big league player in his age 25 season posting a 1.83 ERA and 6.5 fWAR. Any time that the guy could win the award league-wide, it should make for a pretty easy write-up in this space. Kershaw is about to become a very rich man. Don't be surprised if he has $300 million in his near future and signs a lifetime contract with the Dodgers. And right on cue, Kershaw was named the top NL pitcher by his peers. These guys are no dummies.

Cy Yuck: Brandon League
Before I even saw the numbers, I wanted to include Mr. League right here. And then I saw that he ranked lowest among Dodgers pitchers in fWAR (-1.0) and yup, he's going where I had him slotted. After 14 indigestion inducing saves, League relinquished the closer's role to Kenley Jansen shortly after the season's first month. Despite how our editor-in-chief in these parts (M.J.) feels about the save as a whole - I wouldn't trust this guy to effectively build a Whopper sandwich - let alone record the three most important outs of a ballgame. League's 4.64 K/9 and 5.30 ERA would find a way to screw things up. League is one of those guys who reminds you that a guy can have phenomenal stuff and pass the eye test and still be entirely horrible. Thank goodness that bearded man arrived later in the season to bring peace to the late innings in Dodgerland.

ROY: That Puig guy again
I don't need to say a whole lot more than I said when I named him team MVP. I just need to post his first big league bat flip:

Reliever of the Year: Kenley Jansen
I love me some Kenley Jansen. I love him so much I am considering keeping him in my fantasy baseball league over the likes of teammate Hyun-Jin Ryu and Patrick Corbin. That's completely stupid, but I feel that he'll be one of fantasy (and real baseball's!) most valuable relievers over the next few seasons. Jansen was dominant, posting a 13.03 K/9 and posting a 1.88 ERA. When you see him take the mound and the Dodgers are wearing white, it's a matter of minutes until you're hearing 'I Love L.A.' by that guy who sung the songs in the Toy Story movies, Randy Newman. It's one of the coolest baseball victory traditions in existence, all made possible by the dominant closer and the fact that the Dodgers won a lot of baseball games in 2013. People were talking about his dominant fastball back in 2011. This past year he threw it almost ten percent more of the time (94.1%) than back in those days. Let me check.... yep... it's still dominant.

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