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October 28, 2004

Internet Baseball Awards

2004 National League Winners

by Greg Spira

For the American League wrapup, click here. For complete results, click here.

It's time to announce the winners of the 13th annual Internet Baseball Awards. More than 1,500 cyberspace baseball fans participated in this effort to honor those players and managers whose performance in 2004 were most deserving of honors.

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 tenth-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 is the one award where our point system differs from the BBWAA point system, because we use a longer ballot.)

  • Rookie of the Year ballots: five points for first-place votes, three points for second-place votes, and one point for third-place votes.

  • Manager of the Year ballots: five points for first-place votes, three points for second-place votes, and one point for third-place votes.

And now, the results from the National League:

National League Player of the Year

Rk Name             1    2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10     B      P
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
 1 B. Bonds      1257   65  18  14  14   3   3   1   0   0  1375  18539
 2 A. Pujols       41  518 415 223 102  33  10   4   5   0  1351  10956
 3 A. Beltre       65  530 321 170  75  23  11   6   4   2  1207  10075
 4 S. Rolen        16   66 169 312 254 138  88  54  32  26  1155   7172
 5 J. Edmonds       3  111 197 236 247 138  64  53  18   9  1076   6901
 6 J.D. Drew        1    5  29  59 106 132 114 120  66  45   677   2993
 7 C. Beltran       5   26  75  77  80  78  58  44  24  30   497   2755
 8 B. Abreu         3    8  19  57  98 110 103 101  89  48   636   2744
 9 L. Berkman       0    7  21  39  79  94 123  94  74  44   575   2414
10 T. Helton        0    9  41  31  62  76  74  58  68  69   488   2053

Complete results for NL Player of the Year

The National League Internet Player of the Year Award isn't named after Barry Bonds. Yet. This year was the fifth consecutive year and eighth overall that Bonds has finished at the top of the Internet NL Player of the Year balloting. As usual, it wasn't close; Bonds received more than thirty times the number of first-place votes the second-place candidate earned. In 2004, Bonds continued playing "Can You Top This?" with his other seasons by posting the highest single-season on-base percentage of his career (or of anyone else's), .609, as well as the fourth-highest single-season slugging average of all-time, .812 (behind a couple of seasons by a guy named Ruth and Bonds' own 2001 season).

It's clear that the NL Internet Player of the Year voting is more interesting in the years that Bonds doesn't finish first, such as 1996, when he finished fourth, 1997 and 1998, when he finished third, and 1999, when he ended up a lowly twenty-first after missing half the season with an injury. If Bonds did not exist, Albert Pujols would be raking in the awards; Pujols finished second in Internet NL Player of the Year voting to Bonds for the second straight year. Previously, Pujols had finished fourth twice; he is the only player in Internet Player of the Year voting history to finish in the top four each of his first four full seasons. Adrian Beltre received the second-highest number of first place votes and finished third overall. With Pujols' teammates Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds finishing fourth and fifth, three members of one team, the St. Louis Cardinals, finished in the top five spots for the first time in Internet NL Player of the Year voting history. The highest ranking pitcher was Randy Johnson, who finished eleventh, while the highest ranking relief pitcher was Eric Gagne, who finished fifteenth.

National League Pitcher of the Year

Rk Name             1     2     3     4     5       B       P
-------------------------------------------------------------
 1 R. Johnson     864   221    62    39    18    1204   10632
 2 R. Clemens     270   361   244   128    87    1090    6918
 3 B. Sheets       42   300   178   123   118     761    3897
 4 J. Schmidt      48   133   201   156   103     641    2987
 5 R. Oswalt       54    91   112   119    76     452    2170

Complete results for NL Pitcher of the Year

Randy Johnson won the 2004 Internet NL Player of the Year Award, marking the fifth time in the last six years he has captured the award. Johnson's recent NL reign, which will almost certainly land him in the Hall of Fame some day, was interrupted in 2003 by an injury that allowed him only 18 starts during the season and left him out of the running. Johnson is the all-time leader in Internet Player of the Year awards with six; Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez have each won four, though Maddux and Martinez have also each earned an Internet Player of the Year award. Clemens finished a strong second in his first post-retirement season pitching in Houston. Ben Sheets, who finished third in ERA and strikeouts while ending up fourth in innings pitched, finished third in the voting after a breakout year. Jason Schmidt, who has clearly moved into the realm of the league's elite pitchers, followed last year's third-place finish with a fourth-place finish in 2004. The league's ERA leader, Jake Peavy, finished sixth. The highest ranked reliever was again Gagne, though he plummeted from his second-place finish in 2003 to ninth in 2004. Mark Prior, last year's winner, finished in a tie for twentieth.

National League Rookie of the Year

Rk Name            1     2     3     B     P
--------------------------------------------
 1 J. Bay        643   322    80  1045  4261
 2 K. Greene     468   537   114  1119  4065
 3 A. Otsuka      44   140   272   456   912

Complete results for NL Rookie of the Year

In what was by far the closest race on the 2004 ballot, Jason Bay edged out Khalil Greene for the Internet NL Rookie of the Year award. Bay was clearly the superior offensive player, finishing with a .358 OBP and .550 SLG after being traded to the Pirates along with Oliver Perez for Brian Giles. Greene, who used to be Bay's roommate when they played together in the San Diego minor league system, made his mark for the Padres with impressive defensive play at shortstop, and was very solid offensively with a .349 OBP and a .446 SLG before a broken bone ended his season in mid-September. Greene actually made it onto 74 more ballots than Bay did, but Bay received 175 more first place votes than Greene. Akinori Otsuka, another Padre, finished third and after a dominating rookie season in 2004 season with 77.1 innings pitched, 56 hits allowed, 26 walks, 87 strikeouts, a .263 OBP allowed and a .305 SLG allowed. David Wright, who was called up to the Mets in late July and quickly became his team's most productive hitter, finished fourth.

National League Manager of the Year

Rk Name            1     2     3     B     P
--------------------------------------------
 1 B. Cox        774   262    90  1126  4746
 2 P. Garner     199   305   213   717  2123
 3 J. Tracy      147   294   255   696  1872

Complete results for NL Manager of the Year

Bobby Cox became the first baseball manager to win two Internet Manager of the Year Awards (since the award's inception in 1998) after he led a revamped and seemingly weakened Atlanta Braves to yet another NL East title. Despite receiving significant criticism in the past for his team's postseason failures, Cox has now garnered two victories and four third-place finishes in the seven years that Internet voters have been selecting the best managers. Phil Garner finished second in the voting after taking over a seemingly moribund Houston Astros team in mid-season and leading them on a spectacular streak that included the first playoff series victory in the franchise's existence. Garner had previously finished no higher than eighth in Internet Manager of the Year voting. Jim Tracy, who won this award in 2002 and finished sixth last year, finished third after leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to an unexpected division title. The only other manager to receive significant support was Tony LaRussa, who finished fourth after leading the St. Louis Cardinals to 105 regular season victories, the most in major league baseball. Last year's winner, Jack McKeon of the Florida Marlins, finished tenth.

To see past winners, check out the IBA history page.

Thank you to all the folks who have helped to promote these awards in various corners of the Internet. These award results may be excerpted from this article in any form provided full credit is given to the Internet Baseball Awards and Baseball Prospectus. Join us at the end of the 2005 season for the 14th Annual Internet Baseball Awards.

Internet Baseball Awards is a trademark of Prospectus Entertainment Ventures, LLC.

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