Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Choices for the 2013 Baseball Blogger Alliance Post Season Awards

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance is a 4-year old organization that brings together hundreds of Baseball blog writers from throughout North America to foster communication and collaboration.  We are encouraged to use one another to deepen our understanding of the game and the teams that play it. It is for this reason that I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the group

A side benefit to membership is having an opportunity to vote on end of the year awards; much like the more established BBWAA.  Here are my choices for the years best in the National League.

The Connie Mack Award is given to the top manager each year.

Clint Hurdle.  The Pittsburgh Pirates did great things in 2013.  They went from finishing 4 games below .500 last season to 26 games above .500 a year later.  That's a 30 game turnaround, and the franchises first winning record since 1992. Clint Hurdle took a band of misfit ballplayers and transformed them into a cohesive unit ready to battle for a pennant.  Sure, the stellar play of their MVP caliber outfielder Andrew McCutchen helped lead the way, but without an able skipper they would have likely just waded in the pool.

The Willie Mays Award is given to the top rookie each year.

Jose Fernandez.  This was a tough pick, but I believe Fernandez had a better rookie season then our rising star, Yasiel Puig.  At just 21 years of age he won 12 games for the lowly Miami Marlins.  In 28 starts he recorded 2.18 ERA, a 6.3 WAR, an 0.979 WHIP average, and a league leading low of just 5.8 hits per 9 innings.  As the lone representative in the All-Star game for the Marlins, he pitched a scoreless inning and struck out 2.

The Goose Gossage Award is given to the top reliever each year.

Craig Kimbrel.  The 2011 Rookie of the Year winner was just outstanding on the mound this season.  He tied with Jim Johnson of Baltimore for the Major League lead in saves with 50.  With a  devestating four-seam fastball clocked in the high-90's and a phenomenal curveball, he recorded a 1.21 ERA, a 0.881 WHIP average, and 13.2 strike outs per 9 innings.  Not only that, Craig Kimbrel is a good guy.  Via his website, he donates $100.00 per save and $25.00 for each strike out he records to help kids with cancer.

The Walter Johnson Award is given to the top pitcher each year.

Clayton Kershaw.  I don't think there's any doubt that Clayton Kershaw was the best starting pitcher in the Major Leagues this season.  He lead the Major Leagues (not just the National League) in ERA with 1.83 and a 0.915 WHIP average.  He also recorded a 2 shutouts, 232 strike outs, and a WAR of 7.9.  On top of that, he reached 1,000 career strike outs, was the NL Pitcher of the Month in July, won the Warren Spahn Award as the best left-hander in the Majors, and named onto the Sporting News NL All-Star Team at the end of the season.  We are in the midst of witnessing greatness, and this season was his best so far.

The Stan Musial Award is given to the top player each year.

Paul Goldschmidt.  This man should have been a Dodger.  He was originally drafted by us in 2006, but opted to go to college instead.  Damn that college education.  In 2013 he broke out in a big way.  Goldschmidt lead the league with 36 home runs, 125 RBI's, .551 Slugging Average, .952 OPS, and 332 total bases.  Furthermore, he was 4th with a .401 OBP, 4th with 182 hits, 3rd with 99 walks, and 3rd with 103 runs scored.  Goldschmidt was unstoppable.

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