Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Once again, it's Baseball Bloggers Alliance award season! It's a lot like the BBWAA award season, just with different names because they litigious with their free time. The fine staff here at Off Base will guide you through our ballots over the next few days. Next up, the 2014 Stan Musial Award for the best player in the National League, or, as I have come to call it: the damnit, pitchers, stop making these decisions difficult award.
MTD and I have been going back and forth with these awards posts, and so far, I have been given really easy assignments as far as listing who I believe deserves whatever award it is I am writing about. Well, you know what they say: at some point, all good things must end. Or easy things. You know what I mean.
For each of the previous awards, I have used Fangraphs stats exclusively to come to my decisions as far as who is most deserving of whatever award it is that I am voting for. For this award, I have five tabs open currently (more shortly) so that I can shuffle between Fangraphs, Baseball-Reference and Baseball Prospectus. I am bombarding myself with baseball statistics right now and legitimately agonizing over this decision. These are the sacrifices I make for you guys and gals. These are the decisions that has my hairline hating me. These are the decisions that I am sure will have more than a few people yelling at me for. So, without further adieu, let's get to it.
1. Andrew McCutchen
There it is, the first shot fired. I love Clayton Kershaw. Love love love him. And Kershaw trumps Cutch in both fWAR (Fangraphs WAR) and bWAR (Baseball-Reference WAR). But Cutch holds the upper hand in Baseball Prospectus WARP. So, why do I think that Cutch deserves to win this award for the second straight season? Playing time. McCutchen was a factor in 146 games for the Pirates. Kershaw made 27 starts. 146 >>>>>27. That is not to say that Kershaw did not have one of the best seasons that some of us will ever see, it is just that a pitcher needs to make it so there is no argument when it comes to this award. If there is even the smallest shred of doubt, that alone is enough to tip the scales. And in this case, that doubt has me listing McCutchen at number one.
2. Clayton Kershaw
This is me slapping Kershaw in the face. Which I feel absolutely terrible about. Kershaw redefined himself this season, and he reaffirmed why he is the best pitcher on the planet. It just wasn't enough for him to take the top spot on my list. We can still be pals though, right Clayton?
3. Giancarlo Stanton
Damn you, baseball. Damn you so much. It is reasonable to think that if Stanton doesn't miss the last couple of weeks of the season after getting his face obliterated by a Mike Fiers fastball, that he could be sitting on top of this list. He is neck and neck with McCutchen in fWAR, bWAR and WARP, and considering the season that he was having, likely would have stayed out in front of Cutch since he had a comfortable lead in all WAR departments. As it stands, being that close, and with Cutch having the upper hand in wOBA and wRC+ as well as being worth more offensive runs above average (51.1 to Stanton's 41.5), Stanton finds himself third on this year's list.
4. Jonathon Lucroy
The pitch framer of our dreams became the pitch framer of our dreams with an incredibly valuable bat this season. He had the highest bWAR among NL hitters, the fourth highest fWAR and the third highest WARP. His 14.6 defensive runs saved above average on Fangraphs was the sixth best in the National League, and he finally made me people realize that there are more catchers than Yadier Molina. He was the Andrelton Simmons of catchers this year, and he finished the season with same wOBA as Brewers teammate, Carlos Gomez. You can frame me any day, Lucroy.
5. Anthony Rendon
Rendon finished the season with a higher fWAR than Lucroy, but with a lower wOBA and wRC+. Couple that with Lucroy's far superior defensive skills, and Rendon has a top-five finish, but is one spot behind Lucroy on this ballot. Basically, what I am trying to say is, in this case, I love the D.
6. Buster Posey
7. Carlos Gomez
8. Jordan Zimmermann
9. Madison Bumgarner
Because snot rockets are a quantifiable statistic.
10. Yasiel Puig
LVP: Dominic Brown
Who would've though that a team with a slew of aging (read: bad) stars, that it would be one of futures of the franchise that would post the absolute worst fWAR in all of the National League. After posting an .818 OPS last season in his first full year in the big leagues, Brown fell flat on his face this season, posting a slash line of .235/.285/.349. And unless you have postseason heroics to fall back on, those numbers aren't going to cut it in Philadelphia, especially if you have already shown yourself to be a Cowboys fan. My advice to Dominic: Change your name and ask for a trade. It won't always be sunny in Philadelphia for you after this year's performance.