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November 1, 2005

Internet Baseball Awards

2005 National League Winners

by Greg Spira

For complete results, click here.

Now, it's time to complete our look at the winners of the 14th annual Internet Baseball Awards. Yesterday we covered the American League results; today we'll see which players and managers in the National League our 1,300 plus voters honored for their performances in 2005.

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 National League results:

National League Player of the Year

 Rnk Name                      1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10       B       P
  1. Albert Pujols           638  454   55   15    7    1    2    1    1    0    1174   13623
  2. Derrek Lee              405  497  165   44   14    8    3    0    2    1    1139   11912
  3. Andruw Jones            133  149  323  125   86   53   30   30   30   26     985    7739
  4. Jason Bay                 5   13  201  170  142   82   42   36   30   15     736    4598
  5. Miguel Cabrera            1    9   97  229  186   94   60   35   26   19     756    4476
  6. Roger Clemens             6   20  125  127   95   44   38   26   18   12     511    3221
  7. Morgan Ensberg            1    3   51  104   91   60   76   50   44   29     509    2594
  8. David Wright              2    1   18   41   50   73   69   60   80   49     443    1798
  9. Bobby Abreu               2    6   17   52   84   58   47   33   26   26     351    1741
 10. Dontrelle Willis          2   10   28   39   42   53   34   48   40   32     328    1524

Complete results for NL Player of the Year

For the first time since 1999, the winner of the Internet NL Player of the Year Award is not Barry Bonds. In fact, Bonds didn't even appear on a single ballot after missing most of the 2005 season

As a result, Albert Pujols, who finished fourth in 2001 and 2002 and second in 2003 and 2004, finally moves into the winner's circle. Pujols posted an OBP of .430 and a SLG of .609 in a season in which he actually generated less power than he had in the two previous years. With no Bondsian performer in the way, an average Pujols season was sufficient to win more than 52% of the Internet electorate's first-place votes. This was a clear, though not overwhelming, victory in the Player of the Year voting after a season in which the Cardinals overcame injuries to romp their way to a division title.

Pujols' primary competition came from Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, who posted an OBP of .418 and a SLG of .662 in a career year in 2005 which was perhaps a bit better statistically than Pujols' season but was not enough to lead the hapless 2005 Cubs anywhere. Lee was impressive enough to capture over a third of netizens' first-place votes after barely registering a pulse in previous IBA voting; his previous high-water mark was a 34th place finish in the 2003 Internet NL Player of the Year voting. Andruw Jones finished third after hitting a career high 51 home runs (leading the majors in 2005) and achieving a career high .575 slugging percentage, providing the Braves with their only productive middle-of-the-order bat that was healthy all season. Jones was the only other player besides Pujols and Lee to gain significant support for first place; he won the first-place votes of over 11% of the electorate despite a lower batting average than any Player of the Year winner (Internet or BBWAA) has ever posted.

2004 Internet and BBWAA NL Rookie of the Year Jason Bay only got five first-place votes, but the second-year player overcame the curse of the sophomore slump to earn a fourth-place finish in the Player of the Year voting with a .402 OBP and a .559 SLG along with 20 steals (against 1 caught stealing) after finishing in a tie for 67th in his rookie year. Marlins up-and-comer Miguel Cabrera may still be learning how to be a professional, but, like Bay, he slugged his way into the elite in his second full season, finishing fifth; Cabrera had finished 20th in the 2004 vote. Five-time Internet Pitcher of the Year award winner Roger Clemens, finishing in sixth place, was the highest ranking pitcher in the balloting. Clemens' finish marks the fifth time he has been voted into the top ten in Internet Player of the Year voting; he finished eighth in 1991 and 1993, third in 1997, and seventh in 1998. Another Astro finished in seventh place, but this one is a relative newcomer, Morgan Ensberg, whose only previous appearance in Player of the Year voting was a sixty-first place finish back in 2003. In 2005, though, Ensberg was the only big bat Houston had in the lineup for the whole season, and he came through with a .388 OBP and a .577 SLG while playing an excellent third base defensively. David Wright, who finished eighth, used his first full season to become the first Met to appear in the top ten since Mike Piazza finished second in 2000. Bobby Abreu, in ninth place, was the only player besides Pujols who finished in last year's NL top ten to make it again this year.

In fact, the only players in this year's top ten to have previously appeared in any year's top ten were Pujols, Abreu, and Clemens. 2005 may very well mark the changing of the guard in the National League to a new set of stars. Todd Helton played like a somewhat faded star in 2005, finishing twenty-third and out of the top twenty for the first time since 1999. A star who has definitely faded in recent years, Ken Griffey Jr., made a significant comeback in 2005 and finished twentieth, his highest finish in Internet Player of the Year voting since 1999. Griffey was the top AL performer of the 1990s, and finished in the top ten in Internet AL Player of the Year voting seven times in nine years, but injuries have prevented Griffey from being even a moderate force in the game.

Meanwhile, Internet Player of the Year voters gave little support to relief pitchers this year; the highest placing reliever, in 30th place, was Chad Cordero, the Nationals closer. His 47 saves and 1.82 ERA were key to keeping his team in the pennant race for almost the entire season. His 30th place ranking is the second lowest "top" finish for a reliever in Internet NL Player of the Year Award voting history.

National League Pitcher of the Year

 Rnk Name                        1      2      3      4      5       B       P
  1. Roger Clemens             622    253    193     48     23    1139    9123
  2. Chris Carpenter           282    364    328     77     38    1089    7277
  3. Dontrelle Willis          229    309    287    156     52    1033    6408
  4. Andy Pettitte              24    148    149    216    133     670    2802
  5. Pedro Martinez              6     35     66    166    205     478    1338

Complete results for NL Pitcher of the Year

Roger Clemens survived a mediocre September to win the 2005 Internet NL Pitcher of the Year Award, his first National League Internet Pitcher of the Year and his fifth overall. For much of the year, Clemens looked like he might be able to hold his ERA under 1.50 for the entire season, an accomplishment only one pitcher--Bob Gibson in 1968--has achieved since the dead ball era. Injuries sapped Clemens' effectiveness in September, however, and his ERA rose significantly, but he still finished the season with a 1.87 ERA, the best mark of his illustrious career and the ninth lowest ERA in a season since 1968. Hampered by the fourth worst run support in the league, Clemens did not get credited for many wins this season and is thus unlikely to win the BBWAA vote, but more than 52% of Internet voters made him their first choice.

Clearly, though, there was more than one Pitcher of the Year quality season in the National League in 2005, and Chris Carpenter, the second-place finisher, also had such a season, and as a result was the first choice of over 23% of the voters. The Cardinals hurler threw 241.2 innings while posting a 2.83 ERA, and was the clear ace on a team which won over 100 games. Posting career highs in virtually every important pitching statistic and a strikeout to walk ratio of over 4 to 1, Carpenter tied for the league lead in quality starts and had a year to remember. Carpenter's first appearance in the IBA results was just last year, when he finished fourteenth; he had never received a single vote before 2004. Dontrelle Willis, who finished in third place just behind Carpenter, also had a Pitcher of the Year worthy season on the mound in 2005, and had a very good season (for a pitcher) with the bat as well. Willis, who finished thirteenth in 2003 and 64th in 2004, captured over 19% of the electorate's first-place votes after a 2005 season in which he threw 236.1 innings and posted a 2.63 ERA.

Three Astros besides Roger Clemens also finished in the top ten. Andy Pettitte rebounded from an injury plagued 2004 and finished fourth after posting a 2.39 ERA in 222.1 innings. This marks Pettitte's third top ten finish; he previously finished third in 1996 and sixth in 2000 as a Yankee in the American League. Roy Oswalt's 2.97 ERA in 241.2 innings pitched won him a sixth-place finish, his fourth top ten finish in the last five years; he finished fifth in 2004, third in 2002, and seventh in 2001. Brad Lidge, another Astro, finished ninth after saving 42 games in 46 opportunities. Lidge, who finished tenth in 2004, was the highest ranking relief pitcher in this year's balloting, finishing just ahead of Chad Cordero.

Pedro Martinez, meanwhile, may have found a new team with the Mets but he still pitched like the Pedro of old, finishing in the top five for the eighth time in nine years. A four-time Internet Pitcher of the Year winner with victories in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002, he finished fifth the last two seasons and finished second in 1998 and 2003.

National League Rookie of the Year

 Rnk Name                        1      2      3       B       P
  1. Ryan Howard               536    276     56     868    3564
  2. Jeff Francoeur            210    368    290     868    2444
  3. Zach Duke                 241    210    199     650    2034
  4. Willy Taveras              50     66    100     216     548
  5. Rickie Weeks               13     44     47     104     244

Complete results for NL Rookie of the Year

The 2005 Internet NL Rookie of the Year would never have gotten a chance to play regularly in the majors last season if his team's biggest star hadn't been felled by injury. When Jim Thome went down, however, Ryan Howard took full advantage of his opportunity, defying his doubters by posting a .356 OBP and a .567 SLG in 348 plate appearances. As a result of his performance, Howard earned the first-place votes of 48% of the electorate and the award. Jeff Francoeur edged Zach Duke for second place by exceeding the Braves' expectations with a .549 SLG in 70 games. Francouer was one of many rookies and young players who kept the Braves' division hopes afloat when the team's veterans went down. Duke finished third after pitching 85.1 dominating innings for the Pirates with a 1.81 ERA. Willy Taveras proved that you can too steal first base by banging out 71 infield hits and finished in fourth place, while uberprospect Rickie Weeks showed enough potential in a half-season with the Brewers to finish fifth.

National League Manager of the Year

 Rnk Name                        1      2      3       B       P
  1. Bobby Cox                 862    146     34    1042    4782
  2. Phil Garner                83    290    169     542    1454
  3. Tony LaRussa               85    254    202     541    1389
  4. Frank Robinson             48    163    171     382     900
  5. Ned Yost                   32    153    120     305     739

Complete results for NL Manager of the Year

No, it's not a misprint; the results for the 2005 Internet National League Manager of the Year Award look very similar to the 2004 results. Bobby Cox once again finished first by taking an unstable Braves team to yet another division title. Cox is now the first three-time Internet Manager of the Year Award winner; he has four third-place finishes along with his three victories in the eight years Internet voters have been selecting the best managers. Phil Garner once again finished second by bringing an Astros team that looked hopelessly behind in June to a playoff spot. Tony LaRussa once again got solid but not overwhelming support from the electorate after managing his talented team to the NL Central title; he finished third. Jim Tracy, however, got fired after the 2005 season, a very different result from his third-place finish at the end of 2004. Frank Robinson, meanwhile, finished fourth after escaping from Montreal to Washington, DC and keeping an ownerless, mediocre Nationals team in the playoff hunt all season, and Ned Yost finished fifth as a result of leading the Brewers to their first non-losing record since 1992.

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