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November 7, 2001

Staff Ballots

Our individual picks for the postseason awards

by Baseball Prospectus

Joe Sheehan

American League MVP

1. Jason Giambi, Athletics
2. Alex Rodriguez, Rangers
3. Bret Boone, Mariners
4. Roberto Alomar, Indians
5. Jim Thome, Indians
6. Edgar Martinez, Mariners
7. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
8. Carlos Beltran, Royals
9. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
10. Derek Jeter, Yankees

Giambi gets a little credit over A-Rod because of the notion of importance-to-a-winning-team, but his real advantage is his better RARP and VORP numbers. Nearly 80 points of OBP is a huge gap, comparable to the distance between Rodriguez and Carlos Lee. Boone over Alomar is the same thing: Boone's a bit better offensively anyway, and gets the nod thanks to his defensive performance.

The gap between Alomar and Thome is large. The three hitters can be pretty much thrown in a hat. I ordered them by time in the field. Beltran is a surprise, but his defensive performance warrants this ranking. He had a better year with the glove than Suzuki, who in turn has a playing time edge over Juan Gonzalez. Jeter's defense knocked him down from about sixth.

National League MVP

1. Barry Bonds, Giants
2. Sammy Sosa, Cubs
3. Luis Gonzalez, Diamondbacks
4. Rich Aurilia, Giants
5. Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks
6. Chipper Jones, Braves
7. Curt Schilling, Diamondbacks
8. Mike Piazza, Mets
9. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
10. Phil Nevin, Padres

The top of the ballot has been argued to death, but I have to believe that Bonds's sweep of the three records he was chasing, his massive September, and the sheer weight of the gap between him and the other guys will carry the day. I thought Aurilia or Johnson would crack the top three, but the seasons by Sosa and Gonzalez were so amazing that they easily outdistanced the other two.

After that, the NL has a ton of good hitters who didn't play much defense. Jones is a clear #6, while Schilling was worth more than just about every other position player in the league. Pujols has had a hell of a year, but isn't a third baseman, not this year. Nevin's glove is really bad, dropping him to tenth. Brian Giles, Gary Sheffield, Lance Berkman, Larry Walker... a whole bunch of guys are perfectly valid down-ballot candidates.

American League Cy Young Award

1. Mike Mussina, Yankees
2. Joe Mays, Twins
3. Freddy Garcia, Mariners
4. Mark Buehrle, White Sox
5. Mark Mulder, A's

I'm comfortable with my top three, and recognize that just about any ordering of them would be valid.

Mays leads in SNWAR and VORP, and is going to be the stathead candidate, but what bothers me about him is that he threw more than a third of his innings against the Tigers and Royals, with an ERA of 1.84. I haven't done an analysis of all the candidates, but an eyeballing of splits showed that neither Mussina nor Garcia had anything quite that dramatic. I can't shake the feeling that giving Mays the Cy based on that performance would be wrong.

It helps that Voros McCracken's defense-independent numbers support the idea of Mussina as the best pitcher in the AL.

Even acknowledging that there's evidence of Roger Clemens pitching to the score, there's more evidence that he wasn't quite the pitcher Buehrle or pick-a-random-Athletic was. I can see putting him in one of the final spots, but there's no case for him in the top three that doesn't ultimately rest on the run support he received.

National League Cy Young Award

1. Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks
2. Curt Schilling, Diamondbacks
3. Darryl Kile, Cardinals
4. Matt Morris, Cardinals
5. Greg Maddux, Braves

That is one weird ballot, made more so by the fact that extending it to six names would add another Brave, John Burkett. Still, it was one of the easier lists to compile, and I doubt there's a serious argument to be had here. Jon Lieber fans, note that he was the luckiest pitcher in the NL, per Michael Wolverton.

American League Rookie of the Year Award

1. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
2. C.C. Sabathia, Indians
3. David Eckstein, Angels

People who want to deny Ichiro the AL Rookie of the Year award based on his experience in Japan ignore both the award's history and the fact that Karl Rhodes just hit 55 jacks over there.

All three of these players are a credit to their respective front offices. The Mariners threw a lot of money at both Ichiro and his old team to acquire his services. The Indians took a 20-year-old Sabathia north with them, stuck with him through his command problems, and didn't make the mistakes the Cubs made with Kerry Wood in 1998. The Angels grabbed Eckstein on waivers, and gave him an opportunity to heal their shortstop scar.

National League Rookie of the Year Award

1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
2. Roy Oswalt, Astros
3. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies

You know what I'm curious to see? Whether any BBWAA ballot is turned in with a name other than these three on it.

AL Manager of the Year Award

1. Tom Kelly, Twins
2. Lou Piniella, Mariners
3. Jimy Williams, Red Sox

NL Manager of the Year Award

1. Jim Tracy, Dodgers
2. Dusty Baker, Giants
3. John Boles, Marlins

Mat Olkin

American League MVP

1. Jason Giambi
2. Alex Rodriguez
3. Bret Boone
4. Roberto Alomar
5. Jim Thome
6. Juan Gonzalez
7. Edgar Martinez
8. Manny Ramirez
9. Carlos Delgado
10. Ichiro Suzuki

National League MVP

1. Barry Bonds
2. Sammy Sosa
3. Luis Gonzalez
4. Albert Pujols
5. Lance Berkman
6. Chipper Jones
7. Gary Sheffield
8. Larry Walker
9. Todd Helton
10. Rich Aurilia

American League Cy Young Award

1. Tim Hudson
2. Mark Mulder
3. Mike Mussina
4. Joe Mays
5. Freddie Garcia

National League Cy Young Award

1. Randy Johnson
2. Curt Schilling
3. Chan Ho Park
4. Wade Miller
5. Al Leiter

American League Rookie of the Year Award

1. Ichiro Suzuki
2. C.C. Sabathia
3. Alfonso Soriano

National League Rookie of the Year Award

1. Albert Pujols
2. Roy Oswalt
3. Jimmy Rollins

AL Manager of the Year Award

1. Jimy Williams
2. Art Howe
3. Lou Piniella

NL Manager of the Year Award

1. Larry Bowa
2. Jim Tracy
3. Tony La Russa

Keith Woolner

AL MVP

1. Alex Rodriguez
2. Jason Giambi
3. Bret Boone
4. Roberto Alomar
5. Joe Mays
6. Derek Jeter
7. Bernie Williams
8. Jim Thome
9. Eric Chavez
10. Juan Gonzalez

Hon mention: Edgar Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki, Carlos Beltran, Troy Glaus, Mike Cameron, Freddie Garcia, Mike Mussina, Mark Buehrle, Mark Mulder

NL MVP

1. Barry Bonds
2. Sammy Sosa
3. Rich Aurilia
4. Luis Gonzalez
5. Chipper Jones
6. Randy Johnson
7. Mike Piazza
8. Albert Pujols
9. Curt Schilling
10. Phil Nevin

Hon mention: Brian Giles, Shawn Green, Gary Sheffield, Lance Berkman, Cliff Floyd, Jim Edmonds, Jeff Kent, Paul LoDuca, Vlad Guerrero, Aramis Ramirez, Larry Walker, Ryan Klesko, Todd Helton, Bobby Abreu, Darryl Kile, Greg Maddux, John Burkett, Matt Morris, Wade Miller

AL Cy

1. Joe Mays
2. Freddie Garcia
3. Mike Mussina
4. Mark Mulder
5. Mark Buehrle

Hon mention: Brad Radke, Tim Hudson, Roger Clemens, Jamie Moyer, Pedro Martinez, Bartolo Colon, Barry Zito.

NL Cy

1. Randy Johnson
2. Curt Schilling
3. Greg Maddux
4. Darryl Kile
5. John Burkett

Hon mention: Matt Morris, Wade Miller, Javier Vazquez, Roy Oswalt, Octavio Dotel, Felix Rodriguez, Steve Kline

The rookies of the year this season are so obvious, I'm going to cheat and skip the #1 position so as to mention other rookies that may not have gotten the attention they deserve:

AL RoY

2. C. C. Sabathia
3. Joel Pineiro
4. David Eckstein

Honorable mention: Toby Hall, Shawn Wooten, Bob File, Victor Zambrano, Erik Hiljus, Joe Kennedy

NL RoY

2. Roy Oswalt
3. Shawn Chacon
4. Jimmy Rollins

Hon mentions: Craig Wilson, Adam Dunn, D'Angelo Jimenez, Marcus Giles, David Williams, Nelson Figueroa, David Coggin, Kane Davis, Brian Lawrence, Bud Smith

Jeff Bower

AL MVP

Giambi
Arod
Boone
Alomar
B. Williams
Thome
Edgar
Jeter
Cameron
Suzuki

NL MVP

Bonds
Sosa
L. Gonzalez
Aurilia
Chipper
R. Johnson
Pujuls
Schilling
Nevin
Green

AL CYA

Mulder
Garcia
Mays
Mussina
Buehrle

NL CYA

R. Johnson
Schilling
Kile
Morris
Vazquez

AL ROY

Suzuki
Sabathia
Eckstein

NL ROY

Pujols
Oswalt
Rollins

AL MOY

Piniella
Howe
J. Williams

NL MOY

Tracy
Baker
Bochy

Jeff Hildebrand

NL MVP

1. Barry Bonds
2. Sammy Sosa
3. Luis Gonzalez
4. Randy Johnson
5. Rich Aurilia
6. Chipper Jones
7. Lance Berkman
8. Curt Schilling
9. Shawn Green
10. Albert Pujols

AL MVP

1. Alex Rodriguez
2. Jason Giambi
3. Bret Boone
4. Roberto Alomar
5. Derek Jeter
6. Mike Mussina
7. Manny Ramirez
8. Jim Thome
9. Troy Glaus
10. Edgar Martinez

NL Cy

1. Randy Johnson
2. Curt Schilling
3. Matt Morris
4. Darryl Kile
5. Greg Maddux

AL Cy

1. Joe Mays
2. Mike Mussina
3. Mark Mulder
4. Mark Buehrle
5. Freddie Garcia

NL ROY

1. Albert Pujols
2. Roy Oswalt
3. Jimmy Rollins

AL ROY

1. Ichiro Suzuki
2. C.C. Sabathia
3. Joel Piniero

NL Manager

1. Tony LaRussa
2. Jim Tracy
3. Larry Bowa

AL Manager

1. Lou Pinella
2. Art Howe
3. Joe Torre

Michael Wolverton

AL MVP

1. Jason Giambi
2. Alex Rodriguez
3. Brett Boone
4. Roberto Alomar
5. Jim Thome
6. Bernie Williams
7. Ichiro Suzuki
8. Carlos Delgado
9. Derek Jeter
10. Joe Mays

For the second year in a row, the distinction of best position player in the AL comes down to Giambi vs. ARod. But unlike in 2000, when ARod had the clear advantage in my eyes, the 2001 decision is a tough one. (Admittedly, Pedro's dominant 2000 season, which earned him my IBA MVP vote, made the "best position player" distinction less meaningful last year.) In the end, I decided that Giambi's 10-run advantage in RARP makes up for his defensive shortcomings at first base.

NL MVP

1. Barry Bonds
2. Sammy Sosa
3. Luis Gonzalez
4. Randy Johnson
5. Rich Aurilia
6. Chipper Jones
7. Curt Schilling
8. Todd Helton
9. Albert Pujols
10. Lance Berkman

Not that I expect this to happen, but if Sosa or anyone else other than Bonds wins the baseball writers' MVP, it should mark a turning point in the public perception of that award. The BBWAA voting should go from being something that is discussed and debated by baseball fans, to something that receives no attention whatsoever from anyone remotely knowledgeable about the subject. It should become the sports equivalent of a Grammy Award.

AL Cy Young

1. Joe Mays
2. Mark Mulder
3. Mike Mussina
4. Mark Buehrle
5. Tim Hudson

In a tight AL Cy Young race with no dominant seasons, it's worth considering the disparate quality of opposition faced by the candidates, courtesy of the unbalanced schedule. Clay Davenport ran some numbers that showed that Mark Mulder faced the toughest set of opponents among the main Cy Young contenders, while Joe Mays faced one of the easiest. But when I incorporated Clay's numbers into some number-crunching of my own, I found that it still wasn't enough to get Mulder's 2001 value within shouting distance of Mays'. It was enough, though, to knock Mussina and Clemens down a couple of spots. The level of "hitters" faced by those two in the pathetic AL East was downright comical. Danny Almonte had it tougher.

NL Cy Young

1. Randy Johnson
2. Curt Schilling
3. Daryl Kile
4. Matt Morris
5. Javier Vasquez

The Big Unit should cruise to his fourth Cy Young award, both the IBA and the BBWAA varieties. Keep in mind that the Support-Neutral report doesn't include Johnson's 7 IP, 0 R relief appearance in the completion of a suspended game in July. So Johnson's lead over Schilling is even larger than that report shows.

AL ROY

1. Ichiro Suzuki
2. C.C. Sabathia
3. Bob File

As with the NL, the only real question here is whether the third place spot should go to a shortstop (David Eckstein) or a pitcher (File). As with the NL, I picked the unheralded pitcher, just to give him a little recognition if nothing else.

NL ROY

1. Albert Pujols
2. Roy Oswalt
3. Shawn Chacon

The NL Rookie scene hasn't changed much since July -- one starter (Sheets) dropped out of the picture but another (Oswalt) took his place -- so I'll just tweak what I wrote about my midseason award picks: The only real question here is whether Jimmy Rollins deserve the third place vote. I say no. Rollins's offensive numbers aren't that special -- 6 runs better than an average shortstop, according to Clay Davenport's measures -- and his defensive numbers are about average. Besides, I like the idea of Chacon getting at least a little recognition for the fine work he did in The Place Pitchers Go To Die.

Derek Zumsteg

AL MVP

1 Alex Rodriguez
2 Jason Giambi
3 Bret Boone
4 Roberto Alomar
5 Bernie Williams
6 Edgar Martinez
7 Derek Jeter
8 Carlos Beltran
9 Ichiro Suzuki
10 Jim Thome

After my mid-season ballot, I gave this a lot of thought and finally decided that weighing team performance at all is stupid. I'm also coming around to considering defensive ability as an asset. As a result, Alex regains his rightful position on my ballot. And while I must have watched 75% of Bret Boone's at-bats this year, I'm still at a loss to tell you whether he'll duplicate this next year.

Cy Young

1 Mike Mussina
2 Mark Mulder
3 Joe Mays
4 Tim Hudson
5 Mark Buehrle

I give Clemens no credit for run support: I think Mussina was by far the better pitcher.

RoY

1 Ichiro Suzuki
2 CC Sabathia
3 David Eckstein

Ichiro is a rookie, and he's by far the best one in the league. I couldn't be happier to put Eckstein on this ballot. While I think there are others (Michael Young, for instance) who may go on to have more productive careers, Eckstein helped the Angels fill a position that's troubled them for years, and did a fine job at it.

MoY

1 Lou Piniella
2 Art Howe
3 Mike Scioscia

Lou may be lucky and too focused on one-run strategies, but I haven't won 116 games lately. Mike Scioscia's willingness to look to Eckstein (above) and stick with him speaks volumes about his understated flexibility and talent evaluation skills (um, except for Garret).

NL MVP

1 Barry Bonds
2 Sammy Sosa
3 Chipper Jones
4 Luis Gonzalez
5 Rich Aurilia
6 Mike Piazza
7 Phil Nevin
8 Shawn Green
9 Brian Giles
10 Gary Sheffield

A wise professor of mine once said "If you made a list of the Top Ten Most Important Things in the Solar System, all ten of them would be the Sun." Barry Bonds should rightfully occupy all ten spots on this list, having put up one of the greatest performances in baseball history. My Bonds bobble-head doll nods in agreement.

Cy Young

1 Randy Johnson
2 Curt Schilling
3 Daryl Kile
4 Matt Morris
5 Javier Vazquez

It shocks me that I've left Greg Maddux off my ballot, but in the end the top four were clear to me and Vazquez edged Greg for the last spot.

RoY

1 Roy Oswalt
2 Albert Pujols
3 Jimmy Rollins

Adam Dunn is going to have a better career than either Pujols or Rollins, but this year contributed much less to his team over the season than either. We should have a separate category for "Most Auspicious Debut". I like Tim Redding, too.

MoY

1 Dusty Baker
2 Bruce Bochy
3 John Boles

Controversy! Dusty pulls off another season where his team finishes two spots above where you'd have thought they would, aided by two amazing performances from Bonds and Aurilia. Other than that for media-led candidates, I think Larry Bowa's done nothing for his team except alienate Scott Rolen, Tony LaRussa continues to make baffling decisions that cost his team. Bruce Bochy, meanwhile, managed to balance two historical tours while developing an improving squad. And John Boles may find a second career as a commentator or comedian -- he's got a great sense of humor and through a terrible season tried to shoulder all the blame and eventually was taken up on his offer. He gets a nod for his noble exit.

Rany Jazayerli

AL ROY

Suzuki
Sabathia
Soriano

NL ROY

Pujols
Oswalt
Rollins

AL Manager

Piniella
Kelly
Williams

NL Manager

Bowa
LaRussa
Brenly

AL CY

Mulder
Mussina
Garcia
Hudson
Buehrle

NL CY

Johnson
Schilling
Morris
Kile
Maddux

AL MVP

Giambi
A-Rod
Alomar
Boone
Thome
B. Williams
Suzuki
Ramirez
Edgar
Chavez

NL MVP

Bonds
Bonds
Bonds
Bonds
Bonds
Sosa
Gonzalez
Aurilia
Pujols
Chipper
Berkman
Piazza
Green
Helton

Clay Davenport

AL MVP

1 Jason Giambi
2 Alex Rodriguez
3 Bret Boone
4 Roberto Alomar
5 Ichiro Suzuki
6 Mike Cameron
7 Bernie Williams
8 Freddy Garcia
9 Manny Ramirez
10 Carlos Beltran

NL MVP

1 Barry Bonds
2 Sammy Sosa
3 Luis Gonzalez
4 Randy Johnson
5 Rich Aurilia
6 Scott Rolen
7 Curt Schilling
8 Chipper Jones
9 Lance Berkman
10 Albert Pujols

AL CY

1 Freddy Garcia
2 Mike Mussina
3 Joe Mays
4 Mark Mulder
5 Roger Clemens

NL CY

1 Randy Johnson
2 Curt Schilling
3 Greg Maddux
4 Darryl Kile
5 Chan Ho Park

AL Rookie

1 Ichiro Suzuki
2 C.C. Sabathia
3 David Eckstein

NL Rookie

1 Albert Pujols
2 Roy Oswalt
3 Jimmy Rollins

AL Manager

1 Lou Piniella
2 Art Howe
3 Tom Kelly

NL Manager

1 Bob Brenly
2 Larry Dierker
3 Don Baylor

Dave Pease

AL MVP

1 Jason Giambi
2 Alex Rodriguez
3 Bret Boone
4 Roberto Alomar
5 Derek Jeter
6 Bernie Williams
7 Joe Mays
8 Freddy Garcia
9 Edgar Martinez
10 Manny Ramirez

NL MVP

1 Barry Bonds
2 Sammy Sosa
3 Luis Gonzalez
4 Rich Aurilia
5 Chipper Jones
6 Randy Johnson
7 Phil Nevin
8 Mike Piazza
9 Curt Schilling
10 Albert Pujols

AL CY

1 Joe Mays
2 Freddy Garcia
3 Mike Mussina
4 Mark Mulder
5 Mark Buehrle

NL CY

1 Randy Johnson
2 Curt Schilling
3 Greg Maddux
4 John Burkett
5 Matt Morris

AL Rookie

1 Ichiro Suzuki
2 C.C. Sabathia
3 David Eckstein

NL Rookie

1 Albert Pujols
2 Roy Oswalt
3 Jimmy Rollins

Chris Kahrl

AL MVP

1 Alex Rodriguez
2 Jason Giambi
3 Bret Boone
4 Roberto Alomar
5 Mike Cameron
6 Derek Jeter
7 Jim Thome
8 Edgar Martinez
9 Manny Ramirez
10 Troy Glaus

NL MVP

1 Barry Bonds
2 Sammy Sosa
3 Rich Aurilia
4 Albert Pujols
5 Lance Berkman
6 Chipper Jones
7 Luis Gonzalez
8 Larry Walker
9 Gary Sheffield
10 Brian Giles

AL CY

1 Mark Muldur
2 Mike Mussina
3 Freddy Garcia
4 Joe Mays
5 Mark Buehrle

NL CY

1 Randy Johnson
2 Curt Schilling
3 Darryl Kile
4 Javier Vazquez
5 Matt Morris

AL Rookie

1. Suzuki
2. Sabathia
3. Soriano

NL Rookie

1. Pujols
2. Rollins
3. Oswalt

AL Manager

1 Mike Scioscia
2 Lou Piniella
3 Tom Kelly

NL Manager

1 Jim Tracy
2 Bruce Bochy
3 Larry Dierker

Gary Huckabay

AL MVP

1. Alex Rodriguez
2. Jason Giambi
3. Roberto Alomar
4. Bret Boone
5. Jim Thome
6. Derek Jeter
7. Edgar Martinez
8. Bernie Williams
9. Mike Cameron
10. Troy Glaus

I thought this would be a no-brainer, but it wasn't. The distribution of talent has dramatically changed. It's no longer three Gods and a bunch of chaff at SS in the AL, and 1B has weakened considerably. Roberto Alomar was, amazingly, underappreciated this year. Jeter's basically turned into Paul Molitor in his offensive prime who can play shortstop acceptably. Cameron's defense and offense combined get him on the ballot, and Glaus, for a guy who supposedly had an "off year" sure looks awfully good to me. But the bottom line is that ARod, despite playing in a hitters' paradise on a team where Shirley MacLaine would have gotten 8-12 starts in the rotation, was every bit as good as advertised and expected. And it's MVP, not MVPWGT.

NL MVP
1. Barry Bonds
2. Rich Aurilia
3. Sammy Sosa
4. Luis Gonzalez
5. Mike Piazza
6. Randy Johnson
7. Chipper Jones
8. Albert Pujols
9. Shawn Green
10. Phil Nevin

I hate the Allred/Limbaugh tactic of demonizing those you disagree with, but anyone who doesn't vote for Barry Bonds in the #1 spot is either congenitally stupid, or biased to the point where they should be strapped to an uncomfortable Ethan Allen couch and forced to explain why anyone knows who Bruce Vilanch is. I'll let others worry about the superlatives for Barry; Rich Aurilia had a year that would fit quite nicely in Alex Rodriguez's career. Sosa and Gonzalez pushed the talent distribution to the point where I'm curious about how the distribution actually looks these days. Piazza was Piazza with some nagging injuries. Johnson was his typical draft horse self, and Chipper Jones WAS the entirety of the Braves' offense. Albert Pujols might be a pretty good ballplayer someday, having just posted a Kevin Mitchell in his prime season during his first year out of the blocks. Shawn Green appears to have made the transition from the AL to the NL rather smoothly. Anyone wonder what might have happened in Seattle if they had acquired Phil Nevin to play 3B in that lineup?

Shudder.

AL CY

1. Mike Mussina
2. Mark Mulder
3. Joe Mays
4. Mark Buehrle
5. Tim Hudson

I've never had a harder time deciding on my CY ballot. You can make a case for ANY of these guys being in the #1 spot, and none will probably win the BBWAA award. The guy I most enjoyed watching pitch this year was Eric Milton, primarily because he made me pull my hair out all the time, throwing dazzling stuff for 75% of a plate appearance, then leaving a cookie in the middle of the plate. Look for Joe Kennedy on this ballot as early as 2003, and pencil in Barry Zito for the 2002 award if Pedro's not back and Dubya can convince Buddy and Donny to play nice for a year.

NL CY

1. Randy Johnson
2. Curt Schilling
3. Darryl Kile
4. Javier Vazquez
5. Matt Morris

As many as 14,000 different people managed to see Javier Vazquez pitch at home this year. I don't think any team in recent memory had as much talent packed into three players as the Diamondbacks did in LuGo, Johnson, and Schilling. Darryl Kile and Morris were both ridden hard enough so I'm concerned about them going forward. With Morris already having had TJ surgery, and Darren Dreifort having re-blown his rebuilt elbow and ending up "in uncharted territory" according to Dr. Andrews, I'd be looking for a long term deal if I'm Matt's agent. BTW -- It is a real pleasure to sit directly behind home plate when Johnson's pitching. Some pitchers are dull to watch from this vantage point (Moyer, for example), but watching Johnson, Steve Sparks, and Bartolo Colon is something that shouldn't be missed. Find a way to make that happen some time next year.

AL RoY

1. C.C. Sabathia
2. Ichiro Suzuki
3. Joe Kennedy

I hate even including Ichiro on my ballot. To me, Sabathia's the clear winner, because I think we dramatically underestimate the value of ANY starting pitcher who can take the mound 28-35 times a year. I also believe replacement level is much higher for corner OFs, 1Bs, and DHs than we think. Suzuki's a heck of a player, but I think Sabathia was better. C.C. threw 180 innings over 33 starts, and posted 171Ks and a 4.39 ERA in a hitters' park. I'd rather have that than Ichiro's impressive .311 EqA. Kennedy's a tweener (performance and potential) pick; I can't put into words how impressive I find this guy. He's only been pitching since he was out of high school, already knows how to work inside, has plus stuff, and shows a learning curve like some sort of genetically-enhanced super-genius monkey in a bad Matthew Broderick movie on HBO. (Eventually the monkey hypnotizes a surprisingly compliant Terry McAuliffe and begins an convoluted and sinister Ponzi scheme that lines the pockets of Richard Mellon Scaife.) Kennedy can pitch now, and he's going to be a lefty Mike Mussina, health willing.

NL RoY

1. Albert Pujols
2. Adam Dunn
3. Jimmy Rollins

Believe it or not, I'd rather have Dunn going forward. Both Pujols and Dunn are astonishing talents, and the inclusion of Jimmy Rollins is in part a reward for surviving the year working for Larry Bowa. Rollins' PT and position put him on here, but he's going to have to develop some plate discipline, lest his career path start to resemble that of his buddy in CF.

AL MoY

1. Art Howe
2. Lou Piniella
3. Jimy Williams

Howe gets my vote for the turnaround factor, plus his prudent use of the A's pitching staff. Oakland could have imploded after they resembled the Devil Rays in the first half of the season, but Howe prevented it, and made good use of the time to identify who was going to be useful where. People forget that Adam Piatt was supposed to be an important part of this club before his unfortunate illness. Piniella racked up 116 wins, brokered Bret Boone's Faustian deal, and turned Paul Abbott into Cory Lidle lite, while keeping everyone happy about roles that, under different circumstances, could have been problematic.

And then we get to Jimy Williams. Williams refrained from strangling Dan Duquette, and somehow kept the Red Sox in contention despite the absence of Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek, Pedro Martinez, and Carl Everett's production. In retrospect, Jimy in '01 might be the Manager of the Decade. Hard to believe that Felipe Alou didn't want to jump into Boston feet first, no? I think the idea of starting 2002 with a Trot Nixon/Carl Everett/Izzy Alcantara outfield sounds pretty cool. Perhaps they can get Chad Curtis to cool down the clubhouse.

NL MoY

1. Jim Tracy
2. Dusty Baker
3. Bobby Valentine

Tracy and Valentine deserve credit if only because they brilliantly masked the bungles of their front offices. The Met front office was under the delusion that they had the talent to win, despite their close resemblance to the 1996 Detroit Tigers. Valentine kept them afloat, then rode as close as possible until some questionable tactics in a game two weeks ago kind of broke their back. Still, a great run considering the production of the individuals. Dusty Baker worked his rotation, pen, lineup, and Marvin Benard well as always, maximizing the three hitters and six pretenders he usually had in the lineup. Jim Tracy, however, was a slightly more impressive in the same role. My main concern about putting Tracy on top is what happens to Kevin Brown's elbow tendon next year. Still, Tracy managed to keep his team in contention for 150+ games while having Marquis Grissom, a dilapidated rotation, Mark Grudzielanek, and Eric Karros stuffed down his throat by the now absent Sheriff. I prefer to give Tracy the benefit of the doubt and believe those were primarily GM decisions, which means I have no choice but to put Tracy at the top of the ballot.

Greg Spira

AL MVP

Jason Giambi
Alex Rodriguez
Bret Boone
Roberto Alomar
Jim Thome
Bernie Williams
Edgar Martinez
Manny Ramirez
Derek Jeter
Ichiro Suzuki

Choosing my top candidate for AL MVP was both hard and easy. Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez had really similar seasons in terms of quality. Both are probably among the top 50 seasons of all time. In the end, though, getting a team to the postseason is a totally legitimate tiebreaker, so Giambi ends up on top of my ballot for the second year in a row.

Next up are the two second basemen on this list, Robert Alomar and Bret Boone. There's very little to distinguish between their performances, but I'll give Boone the edge here because he was such a surprise.

I'm very pleased to be able to put Jim Thome in 5th place. At the beginning of the season, there were mumblings as to whether Thome was finished. Please! Yes, he came up with "old players skills." But he's always been underappreciated, and this temptation to write him off based on a lousy month was just another indication of that.

In 6th place is Bernie Williams, who folks better start taking very seriously as a Hall of Fame candidate. There was this bizarre theory around when the Yankees started winning a few years ago that they didn't have Hall of Fame players. Clearly, observers just didn't quite get what they were looking at.

DHs fill the 7th and 8th slots. Edgar Martinez had yet another great year. Edgar is almost certainly the most underpaid player (compared to his contemporaries) is baseball history. I think this year put him over the top of my Hall of Fame line. I don't think I will ever forgive the Mariners for keeping Edgar down in the minors in order to play no-hit no-field Jim Presley. Manny Ramirez was my first half MVP, and that first half performance earns him 9th place on my ballot.

The last two spots were a bit of a struggle. I considered Ichiro Suzuki, Mike Cameron, Carlos Beltran, and Derek Jeter. In the end, I gave the slots to Jeter and Suzuki. They're both overhyped, but still great, players.

NL MVP

Barry Bonds
Sammy Sosa
Luis Gonzalez
Rich Aurilia
Chipper Jones
Randy Johnson
Curt Schilling
Albert Pujols
Shawn Green
Brian Giles

Barry Bonds probably had the greatest offensive season of all time. That, I think, is just enough to earn him first place. Sammy Sosa had a pretty historic season himself, and he's an easy 2nd place pick.

Luis Gonzalez makes it into third place despite his September swoon.

Rich Aurilia, with a terrific season at both the plate and in the field, is the easy 4th place pick. Chipper Jones, who seemed at times to be the entire Braves offense, easily gets the 5th spot on my ballot.

Very easy, clear picks, all.

Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling were the two best starters in the majors. There were no extraordinary performances by a starter this year (unlike years past, where Pedro, Maddux and Clemens have all all-time great seasons), so no pitcher makes the top 5 of my MVP ballot (or the ASL ballot) at all, but Johnson and Schilling's value pit them in 6th and 7th place.

The rest of the ballot is hard to figure. I place Albert Pujols eighth because of the extraordinary rookie season he put up. Shawn Green gets my ninth spot, with Brian Giles edging in at tenth.

AL Cy

Mays
Mussina
Mulder
Buerhrle
Garcia

Mays was the biggest reason the Twins contended this year. He's not a great pitcher, but there were no great pitchers in the AL this year. His first place standing in SNWL is large enough to withstand close examination.

NL Cy

Johnson
Schilling
Kile
Morris
Vasquez

Schilling would win this award in many other years, and would easily win the AL version if he were there,but Johnson was overwhelming again.

NL RoY

Pujols
Oswalt
Rollins

Pujols obviously had one of the great rookie seasons of all time. As good as Oswalt was, it's not remotely close.

AL RoY

Suzuki
Sabathia
Eckstein

The controversy over whether a Japanese player should get this award is silly. The award has always been a first year player award, not a young player award. That's why many of the early winners were Negro League players.

AL MoY

Pinella
Howe
Scioscia

Pinella has clearly improved as a manager over the years, and this choice acknowledges that.

NL MoY

Tracy
Bochy
Dierker

Tracy kept his sanity in Dodgerland and kept the team in contention all yaer long despite the bungling of the front office.

Related Content:  Lou Piniella,  Darryl Kile,  MVP,  Matt Williams,  Barry Bonds,  Bob Boone,  Greg Maddux,  Alex Rodriguez,  Jason Giambi,  2002 AL MVP,  Jim Thome,  Jim Tracy,  Mike Cameron,  Edgar Martinez,  Bret Boone,  Freddy Garcia,  Bob Johnson,  Carlos Gonzalez,  Baseball Between The Numbers 2,  Ichiro Suzuki,  Manny Ramirez,  David Eckstein,  Carlos Martinez,  Joe Kelly,  A's,  Roy Oswalt,  Albert Pujols,  Aramis Ramirez,  Out Of My League,  Michael Choice,  Adam Jones,  Carlos Beltran,  Mike Piazza,  Shawn Green,  Lance Berkman,  Pedro Martinez,  Derek Jeter,  Jim Johnson,  Bruce Bochy,  Tim Hudson,  Randy Johnson,  Shawn Chacon,  Mike Scioscia,  Rookie Of The Year,  Chipper Jones,  Brian Giles,  The Who,  The Hall Of Very Good,  Mark Buehrle,  Jimmy Rollins,  Dan Johnson,  Inside The Park,  Kelly Johnson,  Larry Walker,  Jamie Garcia,  Chris Johnson,  Curt Schilling,  Jason Adam,  Alex Presley,  Larry Bowa,  Mark Mulder,  Al Leiter,  Phil Nevin,  Matt Morris,  Alex Gonzalez,  Jimmy Nelson,  Michael Gonzalez,  Luis Gonzalez,  Jim Edmonds,  Art Howe,  Rookies Of The Year,  2002 AL Cy Young,  2002 NL Cy Young,  Eric Young,  2002 NL MVP,  Sammy Sosa,  Derek Zumsteg,  Front Offices,  Robert Johnson,  Mike Mussina,  Player Ballot,  Rich Aurilia,  Jason Marquis,  First Place,  Bernie Williams,  C.c. Sabathia,  Contention,  10 Runs To A Win,  Al,  Nl,  Fourth Of July,  Alex Ramirez,  A-rod,  Mvp Award,  Hall Of Nearly Great,  Ichiro,  Top 10,  Bobby Jones,  Todd Jones,  Jeff Baker,  Manager Of The Year,  Al Mvp,  Award Voting,  Steve Johnson

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