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November 10, 2010

Internet Baseball Awards

American League

by Greg Spira

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

It's that time of year when we announce the winners of the 19thannual 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 American League voting, which featured tight races for Manager of the Year and Rookie of the Year and runaway winners in the Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year voting. 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

Despite missing virtually all of September, Josh Hamilton easily outdistanced the rest of the league in the race for the 2010 Internet AL Player of the Year award. The combination of Hamilton’s prodigious production during the first five months of the season (he led the AL in slugging percentage and OPS) and the fact that his Rangers had virtually sealed the AL West title by September 1 led voters to discount his long absence from the Texas lineup late in the season due to broken ribs. Hamilton’s only previous appearance in Internet Player of the Year voting was in 2008, when he finished eighth.

Two other players—Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano—received more than 100 first-place votes and five more—Evan Longoria, Jose Bautista, Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer, and Carl Crawford—received more than 10.

Cabrera’s second-place finish, his highest ever, marked the fifth time in six years he has finished in the top 10. On the other hand, Cano’s third-place finish was by far his the highest; his previous best was 32nd in 2006. Longoria’s fourth-place finish followed 10th- and 11th-place finishes the two previous seasons.

Bautista’s shocking 54-home run season earned him fifth place. He had never shown up in the voting before.

Beltre’s sixth-place finish marked the first time he had finished in the top 50 since 2004, when he was third in the Internet NL Player of the Year voting.

Last year’s winner, Mauer, finished seventh. Felix Hernandez, in eighth, finished the highest of any pitcher. The highest-placing reliever was, as usual, Mariano Rivera, who was 21st. In 36th, Rangers closer Neftali Perez was the highest-placing rookie.

Only two players in the top 22—Shin-Soo Choo and Hernandez—played on teams that finished below .500.

Pitcher of the Year

Hernandez may not have gotten much support from the Mariners' offense in 2010, but he got more than enough support from voters to win the Internet American League Pitcher of the Year. The Seattle right-hander captured more than 80 percent of first-place votes, easily outdistancing all other pitchers. By leading the league in innings pitched, with 249 2/3, and ERA, at a microscopic 2.27, Hernandez left little room for argument. Last year, he finished second in the voting. That was his first finish in the top 20.

The rest of the first-place votes were split primarily three ways between CC Sabathia, David Price, and Cliff Lee. Sabathia won a very close race for second place over Price with Lee coming in fourth. The highest-ranking reliever was Rivera in 11th place.

Sabathia has made himself at home in the top 10. Since finishing 12th in 2006, he was the AL winner in 2007, third in National League voting in 2008 (while also finishing 16th in the AL), and fifth last season. Lee, like Sabathia, is a previous winner (2008) and had Pitcher of the Year support in both leagues in 2009 (finishing ninth in the NL and 17th in the AL). Price finished 14th in the Internet AL Rookie of the Year balloting in 2009 but did not receive any Pitcher of the Year votes.

Jon Lester’s fifth-place finish marked his third consecutive year in the top 10; he finished third in 2008 and seventh in 2009.

Francisco Liriano, who finished eighth, had one previous top-10 finish—fifth in 2006—as did Justin Verlander, this year’s ninth-place finisher, who finished just ahead of Liriano (fourth) that same year..

All the pitchers in the top 10 except Hernandez finished the season playing for teams that won at least 80 games.

Rookie of the Year

The American League’s 2010 rookie class was nowhere near as spectacular as that of the NL, but the race for the Internet Rookie of the Year was just as tight. In the end, the award went to Feliz, who edged out Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson. Feliz actually appeared on one less ballot than Jackson but won as a result of getting 45 percent more first-place votes.

Rays right-handed starter Wade Davis and Orioles left-handed starter Brian Matusz finished in a virtual tie for third and fourth place, while Twins third baseman Danny Valencia, Rays catcher John Jaso, Indians catcher Carlos Santana, and Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch rounded out the top eight.

Manager of the Year

The Rangers' Ron Washington won the Internet Manager of the Year voting for the first time in his four seasons after finishing third in 2009. Washington edged the Twins' Ron Gardenhire. Washington was named on 72 percent of the ballots and received 32 percent of the first-place votes, while Gardenhire, who now has five second-place finishes to his credit, appeared on 63 percent of the ballots and was placed first on 27 percent.

Two other managers received more than 100 first-place votes—the Rays' Joe Maddon (who won in 2008) and the Red Sox' Terry Francona, while Buck Showalter, Cito Gaston, and Joe Girardi also received significant support.

31 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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and the vote totals?????

Nov 10, 2010 05:45 AM
rating: 6

Yes, can you please post the vote totals, or at least the totals for the top ten players?

Nov 10, 2010 07:50 AM
rating: 1

I don't know whether this currently is the final tally (check out the October 24 date at the top of the file), but vote totals are at this link:

Nov 10, 2010 11:06 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

We've added a link to the voting results and the NL Wrap-up at the top of the page.

Nov 10, 2010 14:41 PM

Those only go to the results of last year.

Nov 10, 2010 14:45 PM
rating: 0

Is there something about Neftali Feliz that makes everyone change his last name to Perez? It's not just BP either, I think Dave O'Brien and Rick Sutcliffe did it a lot during the playoffs in their ESPN America broadcasts. It's happening enough to make me think I'm the one who's missing something.

Nov 10, 2010 07:07 AM
rating: 3

My guess is that "Neftali" is so similar to "Neifi" that habitual followers of baseball might unconsciously finish his name as "Perez" for another year or two.

Nov 10, 2010 18:45 PM
rating: 1

All four awards were given to the right man. Now watch the journalists rob Felix of his Cy.

Nov 10, 2010 07:46 AM
rating: 0

Can I suggest that the IBAs include voting for Gold Gloves?

I'm a Yankee fan, and even I can't fathom Jeter's *5* GGs!

Nov 10, 2010 08:15 AM
rating: 2

I'll second hhbliss. I absolutely love Neftali Feliz, but I'm not sure why everyone wants to call him Perez. I actually had to read the paragraph twice to see who the winner of the ROY was since the name wasn't highlighted. I think if there was a Neftali Perez buried in a farm system somewhere, his name would get highlighted and there might be a reason for the confusion.

Nov 10, 2010 09:02 AM
rating: 0
John Carter

Why are so many of you so impressed with Ron Washington? He doesn't seem to be a very respected tactition. Did he play the right guys, nurture his pitchers, and get the best out of everyone? Perhaps so and I agree those are more important. However, hasn't Ron Gardenshire been doing that for years now - without so many tactical gaffes? Could some of you explain your reasoning behind backing Washington?

Nov 10, 2010 10:25 AM
rating: 0
John Carter

Feliz / Perez - it's just the peculiar way minds work. Not everyone's works the same way, but many of us do make these similar types of connections in our brains.

Nov 10, 2010 10:28 AM
rating: -1

If I were Feliz, I would blame Neifi Perez

Nov 10, 2010 10:43 AM
rating: 4

I wonder who's the better hitter, Feliz or Perez?

Nov 10, 2010 13:26 PM
rating: 2

it appears that Shawn Camp's mother voted this year...

Nov 10, 2010 11:41 AM
rating: 1

Though it's been fixed, my bad with Perez/Feliz. I've kept calling him Perez all season and can't seem to stop.Btw, Neifi Perez' real first name is Neftali

Nov 10, 2010 12:50 PM
rating: 2
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How did Clay Buchholz not get more votes for Cy Young Award? His ERA was 2.33 barely above Felix's and his record was 17-7. I personally felt he should win, but know there are legitimate cases for the others too. What I don't understand is him not making the top 5. I understand that there is a big luck component to how many runs your teams scores in games you win, but 13-12???? I feel people voted for Felix so that they could denounce the "old way of thinking". Grienke deserved it last year at 15-8 because his team sucked, but 13-12 is completely different than 13-12. There are pitchers who know how to win games and bare down when a game is close. The same pitcher who is up 3 or 4 runs in a different game may not throw his best stuff because he doesn't want to tire his arm out and hopes to go nine innings. Felix had 12 losses, you need to put some of the blame on him. He was an amazing pitcher, but he lost those games not his bullpen.

Nov 10, 2010 13:31 PM
rating: -11

Best FAIL post of the day

Nov 10, 2010 13:34 PM
rating: 0
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"but 13-12 is completely different than 15-8"

In 2008 Cliff Lee was 22-3 on the god awful Indians. Good pitchers win games. Also Felix stats are even better than what they should be because he pitches in one of the best pitchers parks in baseball. Guys like Sabathia have to pitch in the the new Yankee Stadium where pop-flys become HRs.

Nov 10, 2010 14:29 PM
rating: -5

The myth you cite has been debunked over and over and over again by people much smarter than me. Citing a straw-man argument as your proof won't convince many people here, or even work on that many people on MSM sites.

Nov 10, 2010 14:52 PM
rating: 1

"Felix had 12 losses, you need to put some of the blame on him. He was an amazing pitcher, but he lost those games not his bullpen."

I can't tell if this is a troll. You seem to understand that Wins and Losses aren't a good metric for determining whether a pitcher had a good season, but you don't seem truly convinced that they can actually be "misleading" to that degree.

To help you in this regard (or to amuse you, if you are indeed a troll), I went back and checked the box scores for the 12 games where Hernandez was "credited" with the loss for his team.

In 4 of those 12 games where he got the loss, he really didn't pitch well. He gave up 25 earned runs in just 20-1/3 innings. Ouch. Definitely deserves the loss here.

In 1 of the 12 losses, he went 6-1/3 innings and gave up 4 earned (Sept 11). Well, he actually gave up 2 earned runs through 6, and then he allowed two guys on after just one out in the 7th, at which point he was relieved. Tori Hunter then doubled off the relief pitcher and plated those runs. But those are the breaks. Loss goes to Hernandez.

In the other 7 games with an "L" next to his name, he threw 6 or more innings and gave up 3 or fewer runs, for a Quality Start. Six of those were games where he went 7 innings, which I believe is unofficially called a Super-Quality Start. So, he threw a "Super-Quality Start" six times, and his team couldn't produce enough runs to even keep the game tied long enough to get the game to the bullpen.

So, of the 12 Losses in Hernandez' record in 2010, 4 were his and his alone, 1 he can thank his bullpen for, and 6 or 7 he can definitely thank his offense for. Like the game on September 13, where he threw 8 innings of 2 hit ball, but got the loss anyway.

And, since that "Win" stat can also be a bit misleading, I went back and checked the 9 games where Hernandez got a 'no decision.' In those 9 games, he gave up 14 runs. Over 65 total innings (that's a 1.94 ERA). In those 9 games, he threw 9 Quality Starts, and 7 Super-Quality Starts. In those 9 games, he got credited for 0 Wins.

So, I'm just saying, the W-L record doesn't exactly tell the whole story. If his offense gave him some more support in half of those Quality Start losses, and if his bullpen helped him out a bit more in half of those Quality Start no-decisions, he could easily have been 21-9.

And, with just that little bit of support from his teammates, you'd be saying, well hot-dang, why would anyone vote for Clay Buchholz over Felix, when he pitched 75 fewer innings and struck out 112 fewer players!

Nov 10, 2010 16:01 PM
rating: 3

Like the game on September *23*, where he threw 8 innings of 2 hit ball, but got the loss anyway.

Nov 10, 2010 16:19 PM
rating: 0

I don't disagree that Felix is a great pitcher and one of the best in baseball, but the Cy Young is an award that relies heavily on win loss percentage of pitchers. This is not a solo driven stat, just like the MVP relies a lot on RBIs and how well your team does. I know Felix was great, but so were a lot of other pitchers who also pitched extremely well not in the one of the best pitchers parks in baseball.

Nov 10, 2010 16:39 PM
rating: -1

Historically, yes, the Cy Young has gone to players with some of the best W-L records. So why should that stop us from actually rewarding the most deserving pitcher now?

Are you really going to deny the best pitcher in baseball the Cy Young award because his teammates let him down?

And so, the question for you to consider is not how the Cy Young Award used to be given. The question from this day forward is whether you want to reward the pitcher who actually pitched the best over the course of the season.

Or, should we change the award description: "to be awarded to the pitcher who had a pretty darned good season for a competitive team who supported him more often then not by scoring runs when he was on the mound."

Nov 10, 2010 16:54 PM
rating: 1

Well then should the MVP also just go to the best hitter and we should disregard how the team ends up. RBIs definitely should not be accounted for when voting for the MVP. Should we disregard ERA because that isn't the best indicator of a pitchers skill. There are many pitchers who get lucky or unlucky in the coarse of a game. Should we not take into account pitchers playing in bad or good hitting stadiums. I think that Price, Sabathia and Buchholz all had amazing years too. They were players who pitched well in pressure situations on teams that had at least a chance of making the playoffs, and did not pitch in the pitcher friendly park.

The fact is these awards are given for the results players produce. Wins are the biggest impact a pitcher can have on their team and that is why it is coveted. I realize their is luck involved, but there also is a lot of luck in the game of baseball and many of the stats. There is a reason why there are some pitchers are awful consistently while their peripherals say they are much better.

Nov 10, 2010 17:13 PM
rating: -2

You know that the IBAs are not the BBWAA awards, right? That this is not the official voting for the actual physical trophies that get handed to players in front of cameras?

Why on earth would you cite the tradition of the BBWAA votes as justification for a pattern of voting the exact same way for these alternate awards? The whole point of the IBAs is to shake off the weight of the historic voting patterns established by the BBWAA.

Nov 10, 2010 17:44 PM
rating: 3

These are the very reasons why baseball analysts have spent years developing a myriad of stats to isoloate player performance from its context. What can we credit a player for, and to what degree do we credit his teammates, or the ballpark.

More than 80% of the baseball fans who voted online this year felt that Felix was deserving of the AL Cy Young award. Since the voting takes place here at BP, you can assume that many of these voters are familiar with these advanced metrics. And, it is perfectly reasonable for you to disagree, as almost 20% of the voters did.

Nov 10, 2010 17:52 PM
rating: 2

I understand that wins are a stat in which luck/team performance also attributes. Both ERA and WHIP can also be attributed to luck.

Side question: Some pitchers pump up there team when they pitch through their charisma and enthusiasm. If a pitcher can generate more out of his team while he is pitching should that be contributed to him? and the reverse too, if a team hates the pitcher do they not want to win for him?

Also I would like to know if there has ever been an article on the physical presence of pitchers. Like if a teams continues to hit bad while a certain pitcher pitches or hit better. I understand that the Ace usually face another Ace so stats can be skewed but it feels possible that something could be there.

Nov 10, 2010 15:20 PM
rating: -3

I recall a long-ago study by a David Grabiner that tested if some pitchers got more support than others. The study took a look at AL pitchers (NL pitchers were ignored, because their hitting ability would have a real effect) to see if there was any pattern of some pitchers getting better support than others compared to his team's average run scoring ability. The study found no evidence that some pitchers inspire more run support than others. Pitchers who get above-team-average support one year are no more likely to get above-team-average support the next year than a pitcher with below-team-average support.

Nov 11, 2010 05:07 AM
rating: 0

The one comment I will make is that I routinely hear players (and broadcasters) say they like pitchers who work fast. The players, I imagine, feel like they are in the game and on their toes more, and this certainly can't hurt performance. (If hitting is 90% mental as Yogi says, then maybe fielding is at least some %age mental, too.)

As a fan, I love pitchers who work fast as the game has way more flow. Watching Roy Halladay is a treat, and it doesn't cost me 4+ hours like those *epic* Yankees-Red Sox tilts. I just thank God that a) Rafael Betancourt is a reliever, and b) he never faced Mike Hargrove. Watching Betancourt pitch is like being in the dentist's chair; time has no meaning and you feel like you are in some alternate universe.

Nov 10, 2010 16:22 PM
rating: 0

Ron Washington as manager of the year? Anyone who watched the Rangers in the postseason should know better. The Rangers won in spite of Ron Washington. The man who decided throwing one of our top young arms (Derek Holland) in relief then sending him back out to make his start was a good idea (no coincidence that Holland went to the DL right afterward). Not to mention Ron is extremely bunt happy and horrible at bullpen usage
I sure hope he has a great personality to make up for all that...Cue the negative ratings

Nov 13, 2010 11:10 AM
rating: 0
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