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August 28, 1998

BP Polling: Joe Sheehan's Ballot

by Joe Sheehan


  1. Yankees

  2. Braves

  3. Astros

  4. Padres

  5. Red Sox

  6. Mets

  7. Indians

  8. Cubs

  9. Rangers

  10. Angels
No real surprises. Cleveland is where you'd expect them, but that's by default. They haven't played good baseball since May. The Oriole run is a nice story, but it's over. I still think Seattle's got one big push left in them, same as in 1995, when they won, and 1996, when the made up eight games in nine days but fell short.

The gap between San Diego and the Mets is roughly equivalent to that between whatever Karl Ravech just said and reality. San Diego and Houston will now be classified as "large market", which will finally be accurate characterizations.


  1. Mariners

  2. Indians

  3. Blue Jays


  1. Bernie Williams, Yankees
  2. Nomar Garciaparra, Red Sox
  3. Ken Griffey, Jr., Mariners
  4. Alex Rodriguez, Mariners
  5. Jim Thome, Indians
Three of the top five candidates have missed significant time this year, making this a very difficult race to call. When healthy, Bernie and Nomar have played well above the league. Ivan Rodriguez since June 1: .282/.308/.380


  1. Mark McGwire, Cardinals
  2. Chipper Jones, Braves
  3. Craig Biggio, Astros
  4. Sammy Sosa, Cubs
  5. Moises Alou, Astros
I don't care if you're defensively challenged at DH: if you are near a 1.300 OPS, you're the MVP. Mac is a fair defensive first baseman, and hits like, well, Babe Ruth. Chipper will have his turn again, and after that, it gets murky. Credit to Alou: he's improved his game in every way the past few years. Jason Kendall is the new "Best Player No One Knows About", having the best year of any catcher in the league and just outside the list above.


  1. Pedro Martinez, Red Sox
  2. Roger Clemens, Blue Jays
  3. Chuck Finley, Angels
  4. Bartolo Colon, Indians
  5. Kenny Rogers, Athletics
All those who had those last two names in their AL Cy Young office pool raise your hands. This is going to be a fantastic race down the stretch, both pitchers grabbing for a piece of history (Pedro: Cys in two leagues; Rocket: Cy #5, a new record); I'm betting on Clemens: he has the better chance to rack up shutouts, CGs and innings, as Williams is likely to baby Pedro a bit down the stretch.


  1. Greg Maddux, Braves
  2. Kevin Brown, Padres
  3. Andy Ashby, Padres
  4. Tom Glavine, Braves
  5. Robb Nen, Giants
That #5 slot is a bear, so we'll call the Nen vote a compromise. Al Leiter's got a good case. Maddux is still the favorite, but after the past two weeks, he's not the lock he once appeared to be. Brown is within .5 of ERA and close enough everywhere else that you can't just hand the award to My Favorite Pitcher.


  1. Ben Grieve, Athletics
  2. Rolando Arrojo, Devil Rays
  3. Bobby Smith, Devil Rays
Grieve and Arrojo seem intent on giving it away. Arrojo's decline is very reminiscent of Rene Arocha's in 1993. They had similar starts, similiar appraoaches and similar problems with left-handed hitters. Mike Caruso has managed to be about as good as you can be without walking in double digits, and Orlando Hernandez is lots of fun to watch, if prone to OquistLines (tm).


  1. Kerry Wood, Cubs
  2. Steve Woodard, Brewers
  3. Masato Yoshii, Mets

I wanted to put Woodall on the ballot, but.... For all the hype about the first basemen, only two are having even decent years, and neither Travis Lee nor Todd Helton have been anything special. Jesus Sanchez and Kerry Ligtenberg also have cases.


Jaime Navarro, White Sox

One of two White Sox dueling, but at least Mike Cameron plays defense. Just a terrible pitcher.


Kevin Orie, Marlins

Hey, it was close, as the league has a number of excellent candidates, including a pair of Cubs (Servais and Blauser). Honorable mention to Todd Hundley, with a lower OPS than Rey Ordonez and, um, less defensive value.


  1. Joe Torre, Yankees
  2. Jimy Williams, Red Sox
  3. Terry Collins, Angels
Yeah, they have a $135 million payroll or whatever, but it's a .740 record. And Torre has had to juggle injuries to two of his best players and his top two relievers. In addition, he finally flipped Posada and Girardi, kept all 14 left fielders reasonably happy and didn't get fired when he started out 0-3.

Jimy Williams is doing it with mirrors, but they're his mirrors. His handling of Saberhagen deserves credit, and he's managed to make something out of nothing at second base, catcher and the outfield.

Collins is a default choice, based on finding the manager who's put up with the most crap this year and still has the team alive.


  1. Larry Dierker, Astros
  2. Bruce Bochy, Padres
  3. Jim Riggleman, Cubs
To me, Dierker gets a bit too much credit for the Astros' success, without being held accountable for the injuries his system has caused (Holt, Garcia; I fully expect to see Jose Lima down next year). That said, he's a good offensive manager, and has milked good performances out of guys like Bill Spiers and Carl Everett.

The Padres' success is more attributable, IMO, to Kevin Towers, but Bochy hasn't screwed it up and has done a good job of finding ABs for Ruben Rivera.

Jim Riggleman is the best of an unimpressive bunch, although I'm tempted to give Felipe Alou a vote here because he's developing a wicked pitching staff up north. The Expos will lead the league in ERA in 2000.

Other Ballots
Chris Kahrl
Dave Pease
Steven Rubio
Greg Spira
Michael Wolverton

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

Related Content:  Jim Riggleman

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1998-09-29 - Playoff Preview - New York vs. Texas
1998-09-28 - Prospectus Notes
1998-09-11 - Prospectus Notes - American League
1998-08-28 - BP Polling: Joe Sheehan's Ballot
1998-04-24 - Leagues Crack Down on Players
1998-03-04 - Lineupectomy: AL Central
1998-01-19 - Winter Lineupectomy