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November 10, 2010
Internet Baseball Awards
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
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
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.