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November 1, 2007

The 2007 Internet Baseball Awards

Results and Wrap-Up

by Greg Spira

Click here for the full results of the voting.

It's time to announce the winners of the 16th annual Internet Baseball Awards. More than 1,400 baseball fans from cyberspace participated in this effort to honor those players and managers whose performance in 2007 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. As with the Pitcher of the Year, we use a longer ballot than the BBWAA.
  • Manager of the Year ballots: five points for first-place votes, three points for second-place votes, and one point for third-place votes.

2007 IBA AL Player of the Year: Alex Rodriguez

After not finishing among the top eleven finishers in 2006 for the first time in nine years, Alex Rodriguez captured his fifth Internet AL Player of the Year award in a landslide. Rodriguez earned over 90 percent of all first-place votes, the largest share of any player in Internet AL Player of the Year voting history. This is the third straight year a New York Yankee infielder has captured the Internet AL Player of the Year, with Derek Jeter having edged out Joe Mauer last year, and Rodriguez having won it himself in 2005. Rodriguez' first-place finish also marks his eighth time finishing as one of the top two vote-getters.

The second-place finisher was Magglio Ordonez, who had never before finished in the top 10. Ordonez ranked second on the ballots of more than 55 percent of the voters, and had previously finished only as high as eleventh in 2002, and twelfth in 2000. Overall, Ordonez had earned three top 20 finishes and six top 30 finishes before this year's voting, but his best (and only) finish since 2002 was 27th place in 2006, a season which turned out to be not only a comeback year for Ordonez, but also a year that foreshadowed the best season of his career by far.

Red Sox DH David Ortiz finished in third place. He has been the most consistent player in the AL Player of the Year voting in recent years, having now finished in the top five four years in a row after a seventh-place finish back in 2003. A second Yankee cracked the top five by finishing fourth, but it was not one of the usual suspects--Jorge Posada had only finished in the top 25 once in his career, with his 15th-place finish in 2000. Fifth place has a familiar name, Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels; he has now finished in the top five in five different seasons, and the top twenty in ten consecutive years, one of only two players ever to do so in Internet Player of the Year voting history (the other being A-Rod).

Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson finished sixth. He might have been the surprise of the year if it wasn't for ex-Tiger, now-Devil Ray first baseman Carlos Pena, who finished seventh after only making the major league roster of the worst team in baseball because of another player's injury; Pena's only previous appearance in the voting was a 58th-place finish in 2004. C.C. Sabathia was the pitcher with the most votes, finishing in eighth place, while his battery-mate on the Indians, Victor Martinez, finished in ninth. Rounding out the top ten is Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.

Seven of the top ten and eleven of the top fifteen finishers came from playoff teams; J.J. Putz, the highest ranking relief pitcher, finished 17th. The highest-ranking rookie was Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who finished in 32nd place. Another second baseman, Mark Grudzielanek, finished in a tie for 83rd place as the highest-ranking Royal, and was thus the lowliest of any AL team's top-ranked player.


Rnk Name                1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10 Ballots Points
 1. Alex Rodriguez   1354  39  11   7   9   2   3   1   0   4  1430   19527
 2. Magglio Ordonez    23 823 232 117  40  20  13   8   4   3  1283   10831
 3. David Ortiz        26 211 345 219 150  79  54  41  21  13  1159    8245
 4. Jorge Posada        6  78 180 206 161  83  67  44  29  12   866    5519
 5. Vladimir Guerrero   6  51 153 174 163 113  98  71  43  27   899    5246
 6. Curtis Granderson   6  58 105 121 146 115  97  58  57  38   801    4458
 7. Carlos Pena         3  41  74 125 151 122 104  96  72  69   857    4311
 8. C.C. Sabathia       2  28  65  94  92  85  72  66  45  26   575    3037
 9. Victor Martinez     5  20  63  69  99  64  52  61  47  32   512    2668
10. Ichiro Suzuki       0  14  47  65  90  97  60  61  69  58   561    2601
11. Grady Sizemore      4  25  35  67  72  63  48  53  50  43   460    2271
12. Josh Beckett        4  20  30  44  56  31  32  35  29  15   296    1581
13. Mike Lowell         6  14  39  35  39  33  33  19  18  14   250    1405
14. Fausto Carmona      3   6  10  27  26  26  32  28  27  22   207     939
15. Johan Santana       0   3  13  14  16  13  15  16  10  11   111     529

2007 IBA NL Player of the Year: Matt Holliday

The most divided Internet NL Player of the Year vote in history ended with Matt Holliday of the Colorado Rockies as the winner. Holliday's only previous appearance in Internet Player of the Year balloting was his 18th-place finish in the NL last year. He is the first Rockies everyday player to ever win an Internet Baseball Award, and, despite this year's Rockies' great finish, the only 2007 Rockies player to finish in the top fifteen.

Seven different players received at least 40 first-place votes. Mets third baseman David Wright finished in second place, his third straight finish in the top ten. Only once before has a Met finished in the top five in Internet Player of the Year voting--Mike Piazza also finished second in 2000. Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, whose previous high finish was 25th in 2005, finished third.

Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, last year's winner of the Internet Rookie of the Year balloting, finished fourth. Another 2006 rookie, Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, finished fifth a year after not appearing on a single Player of the Year ballot his rookie season, while Phillies second baseman Chase Utley finished sixth despite missing three weeks in the middle of the pennant race. Having also finished sixth last year, Utley had the best previous finish of any of this year's top six in Internet NL Player of the Year voting. Utley also finished 16th in 2006 and 30th in 2004, so he has now finished in the top 30 in four different years, also more than any of this year's top six finishers.

Albert Pujols, the winner of the 2005 and 2006 Internet NL Player of the Years, finished seventh, marking his seventh straight year in the top seven but also the first time in his career he has not finished in the top four. Padres ace Jake Peavy finished as the highest-ranking pitcher in eighth place after leading the NL in ERA this season; he had previously finished in the top 30 twice. Braves third baseman Chipper Jones finished ninth, by far the oldest player in the top ten. Jones won the Internet NL Player of the Year back in 1999, and now has five top ten and eight top twenty finishes.

Marlins hitting machine Miguel Cabrera finished in tenth place for his third straight appearance in the top ten. Last year's Internet NL Player of the Year winner, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, finished eleventh, putting three Phillies infielders in the top eleven. Brewers slugger Ryan Braun was the highest-ranking rookie in thirteenth place. Eight-time IBA Player of the Year Barry Bonds finished in fourteenth place, marking the thirteenth time in fifteen years he has finished in the top fifteen. Tom Gorzelanny tied for 50th place, and as the highest-ranking Pirate was the lowest ranked of any NL team's top-ranked player.

Only four of the top ten and six of the top 15 finishers played on a team that made the playoffs, a far lower percentage than in the American League. An even more interesting comparison between leagues reveals that the top ten finishers in NL Player of the Year voting are far younger and less experienced than their AL counterparts, who are on average more than four years older than the NL top ten; the average age of the top NL candidates this season was under 27 years old, while the average age of the top AL candidates was nearly 31.


Rnk Name               1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  10 Ballots Points
 1. Matt Holliday    407 331 192 130  73  33  20  11   7   6  1210   11859
 2. David Wright     299 194 153 144  86  54  35  19  12   9  1005    9180
 3. Jimmy Rollins    226 227 145 117  78  62  45  38  33  25   996    8349
 4. Hanley Ramirez   128 128 146 121 120  92  83  52  40  27   937    6734
 5. Prince Fielder    76  92 199 144 140  97  77  56  68  47   996    6476
 6. Chase Utley       41  74 100 106 131  90  70  68  52  33   765    4639
 7. Albert Pujols     25  72  80  88 128  93 108  88  80  43   805    4386
 8. Jake Peavy        40  65  84  92  96  83  70  62  42  22   656    4024
 9. Chipper Jones     16  20  56 105 105 107  71  91  55  46   672    3465
10. Miguel Cabrera     4  14  28  55  61  93 103  95  79  67   599    2544
11. Ryan Howard        1  14  22  35  53  52  42  52  34  41   346    1572
12. Brandon Webb       1   8   9  27  34  29  43  34  47  41   273    1105
13. Ryan Braun         1  10   7  17  27  29  30  30  41  45   237     923
14. Barry Bonds        4   3   3  10  20  20  19  31  21  38   169     646
15. Jose Reyes         1   5   8  10  19  15  16  15  24  13   126     552

2007 IBA AL Pitcher of the Year: C.C. Sabathia

New names dominated the Internet AL Pitcher of the Year voting this year, and at the top was Indians ace C.C. Sabathia, who dominated hitters in 2007 with 209 strikeouts while issuing only 37 bases on balls, a combination which meant he had the 12th-best strikeout-to-walk ratio in AL history. Sabathia's highest previous finish in Internet Pitcher of the Year voting was twelfth in both 2000 and 2006, and he has not finished in the top 20 in any other season. The only other to receive significant support for first place was Josh Beckett, who was placed first by about 20 percent of the electorate. In his second year with the Red Sox, Beckett bounced back from a mediocre 2006 season and helped lead the team to their first division title in over a decade. Beckett has never before attracted significant support in Internet Pitcher of the Year voting, though he did squeak into the top 25 in the NL balloting every year from 2003 to 2005.

Finishing in third place was Sabathia's teammate, Fausto Carmona. Carmona had a mediocre rookie season in 2006, and few thought of him as Pitcher of the Year material coming into the season, but the young pitcher came out of almost nowhere to be perhaps the best pitcher in the league in the second half. The fourth-place finisher, Angels starter John Lackey, did not come from out of nowhere; he just improved on his eleventh-place finish last season and ninth-place finish in 2005. The most familiar name in the top five was Johan Santana, who followed up his two straight first-place finishes in 2006 and 2005. Orioles pitcher Erik Bedard led the AL in K/9 and opposition batting average in 2007, which helped him achieve sixth place. The highest-ranking reliever, J.J. Putz, finished eighth, while the top-ranked rookies, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima, finished back to back in 18th and 19th.


Rnk Name                   1      2      3      4      5   Ballots Points
 1. C.C. Sabathia        819    287     95     46     18    1265   10830
 2. Josh Beckett         292    435    192    147     73    1139    7439
 3. Fausto Carmona        83    219    301    205     91     899    4574
 4. John Lackey           27    123    262    207    120     739    3182
 5. Johan Santana         43    115    179    203    217     757    2956
 6. Erik Bedard           26     57     96     94    173     446    1594
 7. Dan Haren             10     28     54     89     99     280     932
 8. J.J. Putz             10     18     39     43     84     194     634
 9. Chien-Ming Wang        2      9     25     36     40     112     356
10. Kelvim Escobar         2      4     21     23     40      90     262
11. Scott Kazmir           4      6     12     26     36      84     256
12. Jonathan Papelbon      0      9      8     16     17      50     168
13. Roy Halladay           4      3     10     13     17      47     167
14. Justin Verlander       2      6      7     13     13      41     149
15. Rafael Betancourt      1      2      4      7      8      22      73

2007 IBA NL Pitcher of the Year: Jake Peavy

After leading the National League with a scintillating 2.27 ERA and a strikeout total of 240, Padres ace Jake Peavy won the Internet NL Pitcher of the Year Award handily. Peavy won 85 percent of the electorate's first-place votes, and appeared on 98 percent of all ballots. His victory came after three straight appearances in the top 15 in Pitcher of the Year voting; he finished twelfth last season after finishing seventh in 2005, and sixth in 2004. Peavy's only competition came from last year's Internet NL Pitcher of the Year winner, Brandon Webb. In addition to his first-place finish last year, Webb also finished fourth in the NL Internet Pitcher of the Year voting in 2003, the same year that he was voted the Internet NL Rookie of the Year. Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny finished in third place to round out the top three.

The most reliable pitcher in the National League in recent years may well be the Astros' Roy Oswalt, who finished in fourth place in the voting in 2007. Oswalt has now finished in the top seven in six of the last seven years, including a second-place finish last year, and a third-place finish in 2002. The seemingly ageless John Smoltz finished in fifth place, marking the twelfth time that Smoltz has finished among the top fifteen vote-getters in this race. Smoltz has finished in the top ten eight times, but his highest finish came in 1996, when he finished second to Kevin Brown.

The highest-ranking reliever was Dodgers closer Takashi Saito, who finished in twelfth place, and the highest-finishing rookie was Giants starter Tim Lincecum, who placed 22nd.


Rnk Name                    1      2      3      4      5   Ballots Points
 1. Jake Peavy           1097     82      5      5      1    1190   11585
 2. Brandon Webb           87    902     89     24      4    1106    7705
 3. Brad Penny              1     50    347    151     78     627    2626
 4. Roy Oswalt              0     12    114    198     91     415    1339
 5. John Smoltz             1     21    119    111     79     331    1164
 6. Cole Hamels             4     19    117     91     93     324    1124
 7. Aaron Harang            3     30     88     83     70     274     999
 8. Tim Hudson              2     18     82     70    128     300     894
 9. Carlos Zambrano         3     19     58     50     41     171     644
10. Chris Young             2     17     47     48     40     154     558
11. Jeff Francis            1     13     36     46     32     128     451
12. Takashi Saito           0      9     20     17     25      71     239
13. Jose Valverde           0      3     20     24     16      63     209
14. Tom Gorzelanny          1      2      7      6     14      30      91
15. Matt Cain               1      0      9      5      9      24      79

2007 IBA AL Rookie of the Year: Dustin Pedroia

The Red Sox dominated the Internet AL Rookie of the Year voting almost as much as they later dominated the World Series. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia started out slowly offensively, but picked things up in May, and played the field well all season, which translated into a first-place by a wide margin. Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, who often showed why the Red Sox crossed an ocean to acquire him but also was somewhat inconsistent, finished second, while another Red Sox import, Hideki Okajima, finished fifth after having much more important impact as the club's top lefty out of the pen than anyone anticipated. Royals hurler Brian Bannister used a new two-seam fastball to become a much more effective pitcher than he had been in the minors, and finished third. With Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie finishing fourth, Yankees phenom Joba Chamberlin placing seventh, and Royals closer Joakim Soria finished eighth, 2007 proved to be a year when the rookie pitchers of the American League clearly outperformed the more hyped class of hitters, a group that included prospects such as Delmon Young and Alex Gordon.


Rnk Name                   1      2      3      4      5   Ballots Points
 1. Dustin Pedroia       838    178     89     21     11    1137   10145
 2. Daisuke Matsuzaka    138    328    275    115     61     917    5457
 3. Brian Bannister       57    150    151    155     87     600    2927
 4. Jeremy Guthrie        66    155    124     86     49     480    2672
 5. Hideki Okajima        16    115    130    119    121     501    2093
 6. Delmon Young          34     96    105     76     61     372    1826
 7. Joba Chamberlain      25     33     50     39     48     195     896
 8. Joakim Soria           9     31     50     55     51     196     773
 9. Reggie Willits         4     36     46     60     59     205     761
10. Alex Gordon            5     17     29     33     35     119     448

2007 IBA NL Rookie of the Year: Ryan Braun

In a debate that might revolve around questions of offensive versus defensive value, Brewers slugger Ryan Braun outpolled Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Braun received 55 percent of the electorate's first-place votes to Tulowitzki's 40 percent. Braun was only called up in late May, but once he made it to the majors he slugged like few if any rookies have before, and finished the season with a slugging average of .634. Braun's only real shortcoming was his poor defense at third, while Tulowitzki proved to be one of the best defensive shortstops in the game in his rookie year. Voters were divided over how much Braun's defense hurt his value, and whether Tulowitzki's glovework made the shortstop more valuable than Braun.

Hunter Pence, a young center fielder who injected some energy into a rather listless Astros lineup when he came up to the majors in May, finished a strong third place. Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young's defense and power earned him fourth place, while Giants starter Tim Lincecum was the highest-finishing pitcher in the fifth spot.


Rnk Name                   1      2      3      4      5   Ballots Points
 1. Ryan Braun           666    405     69      8      7    1155    9871
 2. Troy Tulowitzki      487    523    106     20      6    1142    9127
 3. Hunter Pence          16    154    501    137     56     864    4210
 4. Chris Young            8     30    150    113     91     392    1470
 5. Tim Lincecum           7     25    109    139    104     384    1311
 6. Josh Hamilton          2      8     53     96    122     281     751
 7. James Loney            3     10     36    123     75     247     724
 8. Yovani Gallardo        1     14     50     96     72     233     718
 9. Micah Owings           2      8     33     49     40     132     428
10. Kevin Kouzmanoff       1      6     24     35     37     103     314

2007 IBA AL Manager of the Year: Eric Wedge

Eric Wedge went from worst to first to win the 2007 Internet Manager of the Year Award. Wedge had finished second in his first year of managing in 2005, but he finished dead last in the vote after the Indians disappointed high expectations in 2006. The Indians were far from an overwhelming favorite before the 2007 season, but the team ended up winning the AL Central title by a significant margin, earning Wedge the first-place vote of more than half the electorate. The other first-place votes were distributed rather evenly between Mike Scioscia, Terry Francona (who earned more first-place votes than Scioscia), and Joe Torre, who finished fourth in his final year as Yankees manager. Jim Leyland, the 2006 winner of this award, finished sixth.


Rnk Name                 1      2      3    Ballots Points
 1. Eric Wedge          566    252    100     918    3686
 2. Mike Scioscia       166    300    187     653    1917
 3. Terry Francona      189    220    187     596    1792
 4. Joe Torre           142    198    142     482    1446
 5. Mike Hargrove        23     40     41     104     276

2007 IBA NL Manager of the Year: Clint Hurdle

Leading the Rockies on an almost impossible run in late September garnered just enough support for Rockies manager Clint Hurdle to win the 2007 Internet NL Manager of the Year Award in one of the closest races in the history of the IBAs. Bob Melvin's effort leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to an almost as shocking NL West title received only two fewer first-place votes than Hurdle, and finished a very strong second. Manny Acta finished third after taking over a Washington Nationals team that was widely viewed as lacking talent and leading them to a much better record than expected. Acta was closely followed by Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who brought playoff baseball back to Wrigley in his first year on the job, and Charlie Manuel, who steered the Phillies to a come-from-behind division title despite having a pitching staff decimated by injuries. Last year's winner, Joe Girardi, spent 2007 in the Yankees television booth, but will manage that team in 2008, while last year's runner-up, Willie Randolph, watched his Mets blow a big September lead and fell to tenth place.


Rnk Name                 1      2      3    Ballots Points
 1. Clint Hurdle        339    305    125     769    2735
 2. Bob Melvin          337    231    112     680    2490
 3. Manny Acta          172    119    115     406    1332
 4. Lou Piniella        114    160    154     428    1204
 5. Charlie Manuel       78    152    163     393    1009

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