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November 9, 2010

Internet Baseball Awards

National League

by Greg Spira

For full results to this year's IBA voting, look here. For AL Wrap-up, look here.

It's that time of year when we announce the winners of the 19th annual Internet Baseball Awards. More than 1,000 baseball fans from cyberspace participated in this effort to honor those players and managers whose performances in 2010 were most deserving. Today we'll announce the winners of the National League voting, which featured the closest Rookie of the Year vote ever and a Pitcher of the Year vote dominated by a single pitcher. The point system for the balloting was as follows:

  • Player of the Year ballots: 14 points for first-place votes, nine points for second-place votes, eight points for third-place votes, etc., down to one point for a 10th-place vote.
  • Pitcher of the Year ballots: 10 points for first-place votes, seven points for second-place votes, five points for third-place votes, three points for fourth-place, and one point for fifth-place votes. This point system we use differs from the BBWAA point system for historical reasons.
  • Rookie of the Year ballots: 10 points for first-place votes, seven points for second-place votes, five points for third-place votes, three points for fourth-place, and one point for fifth-place votes. This is a longer ballot than the BBWAA uses and (obviously) a different point system.
  • Manager of the Year ballots: Five points for first-place votes, three points for second-place votes, and one point for third-place votes.

Player of the Year

The 2010 Internet National League Player of the Year award balloting turned out to be a duel of first basemen—the Cincinnati RedsJoey Votto and the St. Louis CardinalsAlbert Pujols. In the end, Votto ended up on top after he led the league in OBP, SLG, and OPS and helped lead the Reds to their first NL Central title since 1995. Votto got 60 percent of the first-place place votes, more than twice as many as Pujols.

Usually, all Pujols has to do to win the NL Player of the Year is to be himself, but that wasn’t quite enough this year. Still, Pujols did receive 28 percent of the first-place votes after again posting a phenomenal season both offensively and defensively. It is certainly possible that, at this point, some of the electorate is suffering from Pujols fatigue.

Votto’s first-place finish followed a 19th-place finish in 2009 and a 55th-place finish in 2008. The first baseman also finished second in the 2008 Internet NL Rookie of the year balloting. Pujols, on the other hand, already has four Internet NL Player of the Year Awards on his resume and has finished among the top four vote-getters in nine of his 10 major-league seasons (he finished seventh in 2007).

Only four other players received at least 10 first-place votes: Roy Halladay (43), Carlos Gonzalez (28), Troy Tulowitzki (12), and Adrian Gonzalez (12).

Before finishing in third place in the Internet NL Player of the Year voting this season, Carlos Gonzalez had never appeared on a single Player of the Year ballot. However, he did finish 23rd in the 2008 Internet AL Rookie of the Year balloting.

Halladay, in fourth place, was the highest-finishing pitcher. Halladay had finished in the top 15 four times, but never higher than 10th.

Tulowitzki finished fifth for the second consecutive year; he also finished in the top 20 (17th) in 2007. After finishing 35th in 2006, 24th in 2007, 21st in 2008, and ninth in 2009, Adrian Gonzalez continued his rise by finishing sixth in this year’s voting.

Giants catcher Buster Posey, 10th place, was the highest-finishing rookie. Only two players from losing teams—Ryan Zimmerman (seventh) and Hanley Ramirez (14th)—finished in the top 15.

Pitcher of the Year

Halladay won the 2010 Internet NL Pitcher of the Year in overwhelming fashion. He received 91 percent of first-place votes and easily outdistanced his competition. With his victory, he becomes the fourth pitcher—after Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, and Pedro Martinez—to win an Internet Pitcher of the Year in both major leagues. Halladay was the winner back in the 2003 Internet AL Pitcher of the Year voting and has now finished among the top six in balloting seven times.

The only two pitchers other than Halladay to get at least 10 first-place votes were Adam Wainwright and Ubaldo Jimenez. The 2010 season marked Wainwright’s second straight contending campaign; he finished third in the voting last year. Jimenez also enjoyed his second straight strong season, as the hard-throwing right-hander finished eighth in last year’s balloting. No other Rockies pitcher has ever made it into the top 10.

Josh Johnson’s fourth-place finish improves upon his 10th-place finish in 2009. Tim Lincecum, who won this award in 2008 and 2009, finished fifth.

Tim Hudson’s sixth-place finish marks his sixth time in the top 10, while Roy Oswalt’s eighth-place finish marks his seventh appearance in the top eight. The highest-finishing relief pitcher was Brian Wilson (13th).

Rookie of the Year

In the closest vote in Internet Rookie of the Year voting history, Posey edged Braves right fielder Jason Heyward to win the 2010 award. The voters chose Posey by a nose despite the fact that Heyward amassed 180 plate appearances than Posey and performed at a similar offensive level even though he is 20 months younger. Posey’s defensive prowess at catcher, one of the most difficult positions to play, swung the vote just enough.

Posey received 421 first-place votes and was named on 845 ballots, while Heyward received 370 first-place votes and appeared on 835 ballots. The only other player to reach double digits in first-place votes was Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia. Shortstop Starlin Castro, a 20-year-old, finished fourth after quietly establishing himself as a fixture in the Cubs' lineup, while uber-prospect Stephen Strasburg finished fifth after throwing the most publicized 68 innings of the season.

Manager of the Year

The Padres may have just missed the postseason, but Bud Black won the 2010 Internet NL Manager of the Year award by a comfortable margin. Black, whose best previous showing in his four years at the helm came in 2007 when he finished in sixth place, captured 37 percent of the first-place ballots, two-thirds more than any his competitors. Bobby Cox, who has won the NL Internet Manager of the Year award a record three previous times, finished second after leading the Braves to the playoffs once again in the last year of his managerial career. Bruce Bochy finished third after leading the Giants to the NL West championship (and beyond); this marked the third time in his career that he finished in the top three (he finished second in 1997 and third in 2006).

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