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October 25, 2000
My IBA Ballot
Our Staff Makes the Call
(All next week, we'll be bringing you the winners of the 2000 Internet Baseball Awards. This week, we'll be running some ballots submitted by the Baseball Prospectus staff, along with their commentary. Keith Law submits today's ballot.)
AL Player of the Year
Like Joe Sheehan, I'm definitely biased towards players who bring something to the table defensively, particularly at a position on the left side of the defensive spectrum (catcher, middle infield or center field). I also believe that pitchers should be included in the Player of the Year voting, since they're not excluded by the guidelines for the award.
That latter point is what makes Pedro Martinez an easy #1 choice for me. Not only did he have yet another season for the ages--his ERA was more than three runs below the league average, and nearly two runs better than his closest competitor, Roger Clemens--but he took a woeful team to the brink of the playoffs.
Also worth explaining is Jorge Posada, my #10 choice, which is largely a matter of principle: he was the best catcher in the American League this season, since Ivan Rodriguez missed 40% of it. Posada also had an incredible year in his own right. That's worth something.
NL Player of the Year
The NL ballot shouldn't include many surprises, although really #5-9 could be scrambled any which way and I wouldn't have any argument.
The omission of Todd Helton is deliberate; it was a wonderful rotisserie season, but he played half his games in the most extreme hitters' park the game has ever seen. Anyone who puts him in the top half of his ballot simply doesn't know how to do the math.
AL Pitcher of the Year
Nothing earth-shattering here. Mike Mussina deserves a lot more credit for his pitching this year than he's getting, and he was a pretty clear #2 to me.
NL Pitcher of the Year
Tom Glavine doesn't make the NL ballot because all the run support in the world can't hide the fact that he wasn't one of the five best pitchers in the league this year. Mike Hampton probably would have had a shot at the top spot if it weren't for his horrendous April.
AL Rookie of the Year
The AL's rookie crop this year was particularly thin, as I only counted six candidates who had full-time roles for most of the season, and was so dissatisfied with some of them (like the Angels' twin outmakers, Adam Kennedy and Bengie Molina) that I went with a half-season player as my third choice.
NL Rookie of the Year
The NL, on the other hand, had plenty of good candidates. It's a shame that Adam Eaton hit the wall in September; he could easily have walked away with the award had he kept his ERA close to 3.00.
Keith Law can be reached at email@example.com.