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November 2, 2006

Internet Baseball Awards

The Results Are In

by Greg Spira

Click here for the full results of the voting.

It's time to announce the winners of the 15th annual Internet Baseball Awards. More than 1,400 cyberspace baseball fans participated in this effort to honor those players and managers whose performance in 2006 were most deserving.

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: Ten 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 always differs from the BBWAA point system, because we use a longer ballot.
  • Rookie of the Year ballots: Ten 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. Because of the unusually large rookie crop this year, we used a longer ballot and different point system than we have in the past; we have usually used the same ballot we use for Manager of the Year balloting.
  • Manager of the Year ballots: five points for first-place votes, three points for second-place votes, and one point for third-place votes.

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2006 INTERNET NL Player of the Year: ALBERT PUJOLS

National League Player of the Year

Rnk Name                      1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10       B       P
 1. Albert Pujols           800  316   57   16    7    1    0    0    2    0    1199   14663
 2. Ryan Howard             276  502  182  119   52   17    9    4    6    3    1170   11131
 3. Carlos Beltran           77  200  265  231  152   62   25   21   11    1    1045    8023
 4. Miguel Cabrera           19   93  304  230  134   64   33   19    8    1     905    6475
 5. Lance Berkman            12   31  162  240  250   91   49   30   14   10     889    5702
 6. Chase Utley               3   18   29   42   88  145  118   76   49   24     592    2805
 7. Jose Reyes               10   14   54   65   87   81   80   71   44   23     529    2724
 8. David Wright              4    6   27   59   85  107   99   70   55   32     544    2532
 9. Alfonso Soriano           6   12   55   60   73   73   66   68   56   28     497    2463
10. Roy Oswalt                1    3    6   25   29   25   45   38   27   22     221     933
11. Chris Carpenter           0    2   11   14   20   39   24   36   41   15     202     820
12. Jason Bay                 0    3    5   10   25   34   39   36   25   30     207     801
13. Brandon Webb              1    2    4   13   19   29   35   29   40   21     193     742
14. Brian McCann              2    2    6    6   19   24   27   49   27   42     204     721
15. Barry Bonds               1    2    4    6   22   23   21   15   18   27     139     545

Albert Pujols was the National League Internet Player of the Year for the second year in a row, easily beating out runner-up Ryan Howard. Pujols did it by capturing almost two-thirds of the first-place votes, his strongest showing ever, on the way to his sixth consecutive finish in the top four. He had previously finished fourth in 2001 and 2002 and second in 2003 and 2004 before winning his first Internet Player of the Year award in 2005.

Pujols (.331/.431/.671, 12.9 WARP3) and runner-up Ryan Howard (.313/.425/.659 9.4 WARP3) had very similar overall offensive statistics in 2006, but Pujols' defensive play and his team's division championship may have given him an edge in the minds of the voters. Howard's strong second-place finish came in just his second year in the major leagues, a remarkable achievement after he won the Internet NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2005.

Carlos Beltran (.275/.388/.594, 11.8 WARP3) finished third, and was the only other player to receive a significant number of first-place votes. His defense in center field no doubt helped him, and perhaps also his career-high 95 walks. Beltran had slumped badly in his first year with the New York Mets in 2005, and thus did not receive any Player of the Year votes, but he twice previously finished in the top ten in Internet Player of the Year: seventh in 2004's NL voting, and ninth in the 2003 AL balloting.

The Marlins' Miguel Cabrera (.339/.430/.568, 11.7 WARP3) finished fourth in this year's voting; he previously finished fifth and 2005 and 20th in 2004. Lance Berkman (.315/.420/.621, 9.9 WARP3) recorded a fifth-place finish, marking the third time he has made the top ten; he previously finished ninth in 2004 and sixth in 2002. Chase Utley (.309/.379/.527, 8.6 WARP3), who finished sixth, made the top ten for the first time; he previously finished 14th in the 2005 voting.

Mets third baseman David Wright (.311/.381/.531, 10.2 WARP3) followed up his eighth-place finish in 2005 by moving up a notch to seventh, while fellow Mets infielder Jose Reyes (.300/.354/.487, 7.2 WARP3) received significant voting support this year for the first time, and finished eighth. In ninth and tenth were two more newcomers to the top ten: Alfonso Soriano (.277/.351/.560, 10.2 WARP3) in ninth place (his previous high finish was 20th in the 2003 AL voting), and Astros ace Roy Oswalt, the highest-ranking pitcher (220 IP, 166 K, 8.9 WARP3) in this year's NL Player of the Year voting.

The two NL West teams that made the playoffs had no players in the top 15; the Dodgers' highest player was Nomar Garciaparra in 16th place, while the Padres' highest was Trevor Hoffman, also 2006's highest-placing relief pitcher (22nd). The Cubs, Reds, and Brewers all failed to place a player in the top 24 slots. The Mets finished with four players in the top 20; no other team except the Braves finished with even three players in the top 30. Eight-time winner Barry Bonds (.270/.454/.545, 6.9 WARP3) finished 15th.

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2006 INTERNET NL Pitcher of the Year: BRANDON WEBB

Rnk Name                       1      2      3      4      5       B       P
 1. Brandon Webb              392    400    220     65     16    1093    8031
 2. Roy Oswalt                401    276    232     83     28    1020    7379
 3. Chris Carpenter           274    333    389    101     26    1123    7345
 4. Carlos Zambrano            61     55     93    131    112     452    1965
 5. Trevor Hoffman             52     42     60     92     64     310    1454
 6. Bronson Arroyo             12     31     51    164    138     396    1222
 7. John Smoltz                10     21     49    109    151     340     970
 8. Billy Wagner               18     18     22     28     37     123     537
 9. Roger Clemens               6     17     20     32     31     106     406
10. Aaron Harang                7     11     13     43     34     108     375
11. Chris Young                 0      5     10     28     31      74     200
12. Jake Peavy                  3      9     10     14     13      49     198
13. Derek Lowe                  3      6     10     18     12      49     188
14. Tom Glavine                 5      6     12      8     10      41     186
15. Josh Johnson                1      7     11     18     13      50     181

The 2006 Internet NL Pitcher of the Year race was an extremely close three-way hunt in which the Diamondbacks' Brandon Webb (235 IP, 178 K, 9.2 WARP3) outpolled Astros ace Roy Oswalt and last year's runner-up, Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter (221.2 IP, 184 K, 7.8 WARP3).

Carpenter, who finished second to Roger Clemens in the 2005 voting, appeared on more ballots than either Webb or Oswalt, but finished third as a result of receiving far fewer first-place votes than either of his two major competitors.

Webb had previously earned a fourth-place finish in 2003, the same year he won the Internet NL Rookie of the Year award, but was not a factor in 2004 or 2005. Oswalt's second-place finish, his highest ever, makes him the only pitcher in baseball to have finished among the top ten in Internet Pitcher of the Year voting in five of the last six years--he previously finished sixth in 2005, fifth in 2004, third in 2002, and seventh in 2001.

Carlos Zambrano's (214 IP, 210 K, 8.4 WARP3) fourth-place finish is also his highest finish ever; he previously finished 11th in 2005 and seventh in 2004. Trevor Hoffman (63, 50 K, 5.9 WARP3), the highest-ranking reliever, grabbed fifth place. The sixth-place finisher, John Smoltz (232 IP, 211 K, 8.8 WARP3), has never won an Internet Pitcher of the Year, but has finished in the top ten eight times and the top 20 13 times since the award's 1991 inception. Five-time winner and 2005 Internet NL Pitcher of the Year Roger Clemens (113.1 IP, 102 K, 5.5 WARP3) finished ninth after posting the lowest ERA in the majors of any pitcher with more than 100 IP. Clemens has now finished in the top 20 in every year of Internet Pitcher of the Year voting except 1993.

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2006 INTERNET NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: HANLEY RAMIREZ

Rnk Name                       1      2      3      4      5       B       P
 1. Hanley Ramirez            497    252    144     49     19     961    7620
 2. Dan Uggla                 228    354    295     99     50    1026    6580
 3. Ryan Zimmerman            308    249    162     69     44     832    5884
 4. Joshua Johnson             38     64    112    151     73     438    1914
 5. Prince Fielder             26     44     78     81     80     309    1281
 6. Matt Cain                  22     36     49     71     86     264    1016
 7. Takashi Saito              15     46     52     66     44     223     974
 8. Anibal Sanchez              7     21     49     53     70     200     691
 9. Russell Martin             16     22     32     50     40     160     664
10. Josh Willingham             9     13     35     48     45     150     545

Many observers didn't think Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez (.292/.353/.480, 8.7 WARP3) was ready for the majors, including the Red Sox front office that traded him to Florida in the deal that netted Josh Beckett. Ramirez had long been regarded as a good prospect, but he had not lived up to his hype in the minor leagues. Florida nevertheless gave Ramirez the chance to be the team's everyday shortstop, and Ramirez responded with a spectacular debut season. Hanley not only posted an OBP of .353 and stole 51 bases, he also played strong defense at shortstop and slugged .480. Dan Uggla (.282/.339/.480, 9.3 WARP3), Ramirez' double-play partner, finished a strong second after the Rule 5 draftee slammed 27 home runs while playing a solid second base. Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (.287/.351/.471, 8.1 WARP3) finished third, and was less of a surprise, but hitting .296 with a .357 OBP and a .471 SLG while playing sparkling defense was still much more than expected for a player out of college less than a year. Yet another Marlin rookie--starting pitcher Josh Johnson (157 IP, 133 K, 5.8 WARP3)--finished fourth after posting a 3.10 ERA.

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2006 INTERNET NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: JOE GIRARDI

Rnk Name                        1      2      3       B       P
 1. Joe Girardi               871    173     43    1087    4917
 2. Willie Randolph           235    469    165     869    2747
 3. Bruce Bochy                42    172    142     356     868
 4. Grady Little               23    139    147     309     679
 5. Tony La Russa              19     54     60     133     317
 6. Charlie Manuel              9     55     64     128     274
 7. Phil Garner                 7     48     54     109     233
 8. Jerry Narron                3     32     40      75     151
 9. Bobby Cox                   5     29     21      55     133
10. Frank Robinson              5     19     42      66     124

The Marlins hired Joe Girardi to guide their young team, and he did a good enough job to win the 2006 Internet NL Manager of the Year Award. Most pundits predicted that the very low payroll Marlins would crash and burn, but Girardi helped keep in the team in the playoff hunt for much of the season. Girardi is the first rookie manager to ever win an Internet Manager of the Year Award, and he is the youngest manager to ever earn NL Internet Manager of the Year honors. He is also the first Internet Manager of the Year to be fired before winning the award.

Willie Randolph finished second in the voting after leading the Mets to the best record in the league in his sophomore season as manager. Bruce Bochy also led his team to the playoffs and finished third, his highest showing since he finished second to Larry Dierker in 1998. Last year's winner, Bobby Cox, finished ninth, his lowest finish ever.

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2006 INTERNET AL Player of the Year: DEREK JETER

Rnk Name                      1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10       B       P
 1. Derek Jeter             533  333  193  103   60   33   16   10    5   12    1298   13365
 2. Joe Mauer               259  346  221  144  105   50   34   29    9    7    1204   10644
 3. Johan Santana           252  219  257  128  110   73   33   23   11    7    1113    9706
 4. David Ortiz              98  118  164  191  185  131  104   78   52   28    1149    7630
 5. Travis Hafner            82  103  137  180  154  108   95   67   47   27    1000    6597
 6. Justin Morneau          100  121  129  119  119   87   83   64   66   48     936    6207
 7. Jermaine Dye             15   40   65  138  136  134   97   84   67   49     825    4365
 8. Frank Thomas             58   50   68  107  112   62   78   62   44   46     687    4169
 9. Grady Sizemore            6   30   57   83  105   85   75   56   66   29     592    3075
10. Carlos Guillen           11   19   40   68   92   62   78   54   40   31     495    2568
11. Manny Ramirez             2    9   20   41   49   50   49   50   63   41     374    1613
12. Vladimir Guerrero         1    3    8   11   19   31   32   37   47   43     232     827
13. Miguel Tejada             1    2    5   11   21   28   32   39   36   30     205     762
14. Jim Thome                 0    1    7   15   15   19   33   35   41   35     201     709
15. Roy Halladay              0    3    1    9   16   33   18   36   39   27     182     644

For the second year in a row, but also only the second time in Internet Player of the Year voting history, a New York Yankee has been voted the Internet American League Player of the Year. Last year it was Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez who captured the honor, while this year it's his fellow infielder, shortstop Derek Jeter (.343/.417/.483, 12.1 WARP3). Jeter was named on the most ballots, and earned 37.3% of all first-place votes, by far the highest total of any player. But he was far from a unanimous choice--seven different players received first-place ballots from a significant number of voters, making this year's balloting the most divided in Internet Award history.

Despite having the highest profile of any currently active baseball player, Jeter had not received a particularly large amount of support from Internet Player of the Year voters over the last decade. Before his first-place finish this year, Jeter had made the top ten in only three previous seasons: he finished tenth in 2001, ninth in 1998, and second in 1999, that last being the year most people think of as the best of Jeter's career.

Catcher Joe Mauer (.347/.429/.507, 10.6 WARP3) helped lead the Minnesota Twins to the AL Central title, finishing a very strong second; no receiver had ever before finished higher than fifth in AL Internet Player of the Year voting. Johan Santana, the highest finishing pitcher on the ballot for the third year in a row, finished in 3rd place, just as he did in 2004; no pitcher has won an Internet Player of the Year Award since Pedro Martinez in 1999.

David Ortiz (.287/.413/.636, 9.4 WARP3) has clearly become one of the premier hitters in the game, and finished fourth this year, putting him in the top ten for the fourth year in a row. He finished second in 2005, fifth in 2004, and seventh in 2003. Travis Hafner (.308/.439/.659, 9.2 WARP3), another DH who probably had the best offensive season of anyone in the majors before an injury ended his year in September, followed up his fourth-place finish in 2005 with a fifth-place finish this season. Justin Morneau (.321/.375/.559, 8.6 WARP3) became the first Twin to hit 30 homers in a season since the 1980s, and finished sixth, giving the Twins three of the top six slots. Outfielder Jermaine Dye (.315/.385/.622, 10.4 WARP3) finished in seventh place, and was perhaps the biggest surprise in the American League in 2006; in his ten previous major league seasons, his highest finish was 22nd place in the 2000 Internet AL Player of the Year voting. Two-time Internet Player of the Year award winner Frank Thomas (.270/.381/.545, 5.8 WARP3) returned to the top ten for the first time since 2000 by finishing eighth. Shortstop Carlos Guillen (.320/.400/.519, 8.2 WARP3), the highest ranking member of the American League champion Tigers, proved that his spectacular breakout season in 2004 was no fluke and finished tenth.

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2006 INTERNET AL Pitcher of the Year: JOHAN SANTANA

Rnk Name                        1      2      3      4      5       B       P
 1. Johan Santana            1375     22      7      0      2    1406   13941
 2. Roy Halladay                7    817    178     78     41    1121    6954
 3. Chien-Ming Wang             8    131    270    132    115     656    2858
 4. Justin Verlander            5    116    168    139     67     495    2186
 5. Francisco Liriano           8     79    198    129    118     532    2128
 6. Jonathan Papelbon           6     75    153    129    105     468    1842
 7. Barry Zito                  2     32     86     86     78     284    1010
 8. Joe Nathan                  0     26     73     50     37     186     734
 9. Mariano Rivera              2     27     43     41     28     141     575
10. Francisco Rodriguez         1     24     36     32     27     120     481
11. John Lackey                 1      7     36     28     29     101     352
12. C.C. Sabathia               0     11     31     25     37     104     344
13. Mike Mussina                0      3     26     37     14      80     276
14. B.J. Ryan                   0      6     22     28     34      90     270
15. Jeremy Bonderman            0      6     17     23     21      67     217

Johan Santana (233.2 IP, 245 K, 10.7 WARP3) captured his third Internet AL Pitcher of the Year Award in a row in as one-sided a vote as the Internet Baseball Awards have ever held. Santana won 96.7% of all first-place votes, his highest total yet. Santana earned this overwhelming victory by leading the American League this year, in ERA, strikeouts, innings pitched, batting average allowed, on-base percentage allowed, slugging average allowed, and too many other categories to list. With this victory, Santana becomes the first American League pitcher and third pitcher overall in Internet Pitcher of the Year history to win three IBA Pitcher of the Years in a row. Greg Maddux (1992-1994) and Randy Johnson (who won four in a row from 1999-2002) previously accomplished this feat in the National League.

In July of 2005, Roy Halladay (220 IP, 132 K, 8.6 WARP3) looked like he might be able to outduel Santana for the 2005 Pitcher of the Year Award, but a line drive resulted in an injury which ended his season prematurely, and in 2006 he has to settle for second place behind Santana. Halladay was the last pitcher to win the Internet AL Pitcher of the Year (in 2003) before Santana's reign began, and he's pretty clearly established himself as the second best pitcher in the league after finishing in the top five in four of the last five seasons.

Yankees sophomore righthander Chien-Ming Wang (218 IP, 76 K, 7.0 WARP3) finished a surprisingly strong third after a year during which his sinker consistently kept opponents off the scoreboard. It remains to be seen, however, if a pitcher with as low a strikeout rate as Wang's can succeed in the long term.

Justin Verlander's 186 innings pitched of 3.63 ERA ball helped take the Tigers from the basement to a league championship; it also helped him finish fourth in the balloting. Placing fifth was Twins lefthander Francisco Liriano (144.2 IP, 177 K, 7.2 WARP3) struck out 10.7 per nine and posted a 2.16 ERA over 121 innings pitched before his season was cut short by injury. Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon (68.1 IP, 75 K, 8.4 WARP3) posted an amazing 0.92 ERA before he was shut down for the season, and finished sixth. Whatever his feats this season, he's likely to move to the rotation next season, for good or ill.

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2006 INTERNET AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: FRANCISCO LIRIANO

Rnk Name                        1      2      3      4      5       B       P
 1. Francisco Liriano         475    396    234     70     33    1208    8935
 2. Justin Verlander          513    335    221     87     16    1172    8857
 3. Jonathan Papelbon         255    369    327    162     49    1162    7303
 4. Jered Weaver               37    108    276    300    116     837    3522
 5. Joel Zumaya                10     43     92    149    190     484    1498
 6. Kenji Jojima               20     27     57    105    147     356    1136
 7. Nick Markakis              11     21     52     76    138     298     883
 8. Melky Cabrera               7     10     27     39     69     152     461
 9. Ian Kinsler                 3      7     17     53     82     162     405
10. Jeremy Sowers               4      2      5      6     13      30     110

The battle for the Internet AL Rookie of the Year came down to three remarkable rookie pitchers. In the closest Internet Award race ever, Francisco Liriano just barely edged Justin Verlander. Jonathan Papelbon finished third, Angels starter Jered Weaver (123 IP, 105 K, 5.7 WARP3) finished fourth, while flamethrowing Tiger reliever Joel Zumaya (83.1 IP, 97 K, 4.7 WARP3) came in as the fifth-palce finisher. Verlander's success was evaluated by Nate Silver earlier this season.

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2006 INTERNET AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: JIM LEYLAND

Rnk Name                        1      2      3       B       P
 1. Jim Leyland               889    259     75    1223    5297
 2. Ron Gardenhire            189    454    242     885    2549
 3. Ken Macha                 131    348    266     745    1965
 4. Joe Torre                  79    179    225     483    1157
 5. Ozzie Guillen               6     14     35      55     107
 6. Mike Scioscia               3     16     21      40      84
 7. John Gibbons                5     12     19      36      80
 8. Joe Maddon                  2     10     12      24      52
 9. Buck Showalter              4      5      7      16      42
10. Terry Francona              1      6     16      23      39

Jim Leyland returned to the major league managerial ranks for the first time since he quit the Rockies after the 1999 season, and he proceeded to earn Internet AL Manager of the Year honors by leading the Detroit Tigers to 95 wins--20 more than they had in 2005--and the American League pennant. Finishing second was Ron Gardenhire, who led Minnesota to the AL Central title. Ken Macha guided the Athletics to a division title, and finished third for the second time in his four years with the Athletics, but his performance wasn't enough to hold onto his job. Joe Torre finished fourth, marking the eighth time in nine years he has finished in the top five, though he hasn't won the award since 1998. Last year's winner, Ozzie Guillen, fell to fifth place.

Greg Spira is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus. You can reach Greg by clicking here.

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