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June 10, 1998

BP Polling: Who's Looking Good?

Our takes on the season's winners and losers thus far

by Baseball Prospectus

Basically for little more than grins, we polled ourselves to see who we thought ranked where in various categories: the top ten teams in MLB, the three most disappointing teams, MVPs, Cy Young Awards, Rookies of the Year, and Managers of the Year. You'll find links to each of our ballots below, but here are the tallies, with first-place votes in each category in parenthesis...

Top Ten Teams
1. New York Yankees (5)
2. Atlanta Braves (2)
3. Houston Astros
4. San Diego Padres
5. Cleveland Indians
6. Texas Rangers
7t. Boston Red Sox
San Francisco Giants
9. New York Mets
10t. Chicago Cubs
Seattle Mariners
If there's a surprise here, it may be the Mariners' strong showing and/or the Cubs' weak showing, but in both cases, the voters were probably thinking about more than just the last nine weeks' worth of baseball.

Top Three Turkeys
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (2)
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Baltimore Orioles (1)
As you can see, there was considerable disagreement here. Cincinnati, Montreal, and the Cardinals also all got votes as the most disappointing team in baseball, and 11 teams were named for this dubious honor.

NL Most Valuable Player
1. Mark McGwire, St. Louis (7)
2. Chipper Jones, Atlanta
3. Barry Bonds, San Francisco
No real surprises in this grouping, unless you're a diehard Alou man; he and Biggio probably split what little Astros voting there was.

AL Most Valuable Player
1. Ivan Rodriguez, Texas (5)
2. Alex Rodriguez, Seattle (2)
3. Bernie Williams, NY Yankees
Positional biases aren't the only consideration here, since Pudge and A-Rod have been among the league's top run producers.

NL Cy Young
1. Greg Maddux, Atlanta (7)
2t. Andy Ashby, San Diego
Al Leiter, NY Mets
Ashby was on more ballots, but Leiter got more second-place votes.

AL Cy Young
1. Chuck Finley, Anaheim (4)
2. Pedro Martinez, Boston (2)
3. Hideki Irabu, NY Yankees
Where's the missing first-place vote? Brad Radke wound up just behind Irabu in the voting, and was unfortunately named on only three ballots.

NL Rookie of the Year
1. Kerry Wood, Chicago (5)
2. Masato Yoshii, NY Mets (1)
Wood and Yoshii got all of the top votes, with no one naming the same man in the third slot.

AL Rookie of the Year
1. Ben Grieve, Oakland (5)
2. Rolando Arrojo, Tampa Bay (1)
3t. Mike Caruso, Chicago
David Ortiz, Minnesota
Again, very little consensus after you get past the first two.

NL Manager of the Year
1. Larry Dierker, Houston (3)
2. Bobby Valentine, NY Mets
3. Bobby Cox, Atlanta (1)
AL Manager of the Year
1t. Joe Torre, NY Yankees (2)
Johnny Oates, Texas (1)
3. Tom Kelly, Minnesota (1)
There was significantly more disagreement about the American League than the National League; I suppose if Gene Lamont were still in the AL, let alone Davey Johnson, there'd be a stampede in his direction. In the NL, behind current stathead fave Dierker, the agressive Bobby V., and the consistent Cox, he didn't even rate a mention on a single ballot.

Individual Ballots
Clay Davenport
Gary Huckabay
Chris Kahrl
Dave Pease
Steven Rubio
Greg Spira
Michael Wolverton

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MORE FROM JUNE 10, 1998
BP Polling: Michael Wolverton's Ballot
BP Polling: Greg Spira's Ballot
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