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November 10, 2009

The 2009 Internet Baseball Awards

NL Results and Wrap-Up

by Greg Spira

For full results to this year's IBA voting, look here.

It's that time of year when we announce the winners of the 18th annual Internet Baseball Awards. More than 1,200 baseball fans from cyberspace participated in this effort to honor those players and managers whose performances in 2009 were most deserving. Today we'll announce the winners of the National League voting, which featured both the closest IBA race ever and the most dominant Player of the Year voting performance ever.

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 point system we use for this award 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.

2009 IBA NL Player of the Year: Albert Pujols


Rnk Player             1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10  Ballots  Points
 1. Albert Pujols   1045   30    9    4    3    1    0    0    0    1    1093   15024
 2. Hanley Ramirez    15  472  221   91   48   45   18   14   12    4     940    7518
 3. Prince Fielder     2  105  171  148  125  103   58   46   34    9     801    5089
 4. Chase Utley       10  167  212  100   74   51   44   23   26    6     713    5041
 5. Troy Tulowitzki    3   47   86  104   76   69   73   46   19   29     552    3179
 6. Tim Lincecum       6   53   67  117   83   51   44   32   25   14     492    3005
 7. Matt Kemp          1   36   61   94  101   63   43   43   21   24     487    2772
 8. Pablo Sandoval     4   16   40   77   76   50   54   56   57   45     475    2308
 9. Adrian Gonzalez    0   39   31   54   77   54   62   53   36   36     442    2224
10. Ryan Howard        2   51   43   59   55   47   32   41   21   18     369    2120
11. Ryan Braun         0   15   27   62   69   59   56   43   40   38     409    1965
12. Chris Carpenter    2   14   16   27   41   37   37   27   36   18     255    1221
13. Andre Ethier       2   11   31   31   34   26   19   17   10    9     190    1082
14. Ryan Zimmerman     1    5    5   28   43   20   26   32   33   27     220     946
15. Adam Wainwright    0    0    8    7   29   33   28   25   26   21     177     712

All hail King Albert! For the fourth time in five years, Albert Pujols was voted the Player of the Year in the National League by Internet denizens. And he did it with a flourish, earning first-place votes from 95 percent of the electorate, the highest percentage won by an IBA Player of the Year candidate since 1993, while appearing on 99 percent of the ballots, another record. With this fourth Player of the Year award, Pujols trails only Barry Bonds (9) and Alex Rodriguez (5) in IBA Player of the Year trophies.

One of just three other players to reach double digits in first-place votes was Hanley Ramirez, who finished second in the NL Player of the Year voting for the second year in a row. The Marlins shortstop has now finished among the top four vote-getters three straight years. Pujols finished first in internet Player of the Year voting only after finishing among the top four vote-getters but behind winner Barry Bonds for four consecutive years.

Brewers slugger Prince Fielder finished third in the voting, marking his second top-five finish. Phillies second basemen Chase Utley finished just behind Fielder in fourth, his highest finish ever. Utley is the only player to have finished in the top six after each of the last three seasons. Four players in the top ten finished there for the first time. Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki finished fifth; his previous high was a 17th-place finish in his rookie season of 2007. Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp finished seventh. In his first full season, Giants cornerman Pablo Sandoval earned eighth place. Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who had managed to squeak into the top 25 in both the 2007 and 2008 balloting, finished ninth.

Tim Lincecum, the sixth-place finisher, was the top-placing pitcher for the second year in a row. The highest ranking reliever was Jonathan Broxton, who finished way down in 36th place. The highest-placing rookie was Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson, who finished 38th.

With his tenth-place finish, Ryan Howard became the only player besides Pujols to finish among the top eleven in each of the last four years. Mets third baseman David Wright, who had finished in the top 10 in each of the previous four years, fell to 31st. Wright was the only Mets to finish in the top 50. The Pirates and Astros were also represented by only one player each in the top 50-Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (tied for 40th) and Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada (tied for 50th).

Eleven of the top fourteen players finished for a team that won at least 80 games. Seven of those players made it into the playoffs.

2009 IBA NL Pitcher of the Year: Tim Lincecum


Rnk Pitcher              1      2      3      4      5  Ballots  Points
 1. Tim Lincecum       686    241     94     17      6    1044    9074
 2. Chris Carpenter    203    390    274     62     42     971    6358
 3. Adam Wainwright    142    264    382    121     41     950    5582
 4. Javier Vazquez      11     78     78    163     81     411    1616
 5. Dan Haren           17     39    103    141    126     426    1507
 6. Matt Cain            3     13     40    120    104     280     785
 7. Jair Jurrjens        1      3     28     52     68     152     395
 8. Ubaldo Jimenez       3      7     18     37     45     110     325
 9. Cliff Lee            7     13      5     30     27      82     303
10. Josh Johnson         0      5      9     53     57     124     296
11. Clayton Kershaw      1      5     12     17     25      60     181
12. Jonathan Broxton     3      2      7     15     24      51     148
13. Wandy Rodriguez      0      3      4     12     24      43     101
14. Johan Santana        2      3      0      6     11      22      70
15. Jorge De La Rosa     0      1      4      5      2      12      44

Tim Lincecum is the winner of the internet National League Pitcher of the Year for the second year in a row. The only previous back-to-back internet Pitcher of the Year honorees are Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, and Johan Santana. Lincecum led all major league pitchers with 261 strikeouts, and won 63 percent of all first-place votes, just a slightly lower percentage than he won last year.

Lincecum's primary competitor was Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter, who had barely pitched in 2007 and 2008 because of injuries, but was able to pick up where he left off when his arm was last healthy. The right-hander, who at 34 is the oldest pitcher to finish in the top ten, led the NL with a 2.24 ERA and placed second in the voting. This marks Carpenter's third finish in the top three; he previously placed second 2005 and third in 2006. Adam Wainwright, who clearly came into his own as a starter for the Cardinals in 2009 and lead the majors in innings pitched with 233, finished third. The 28-year-old Wainright was one of three pitchers who had never received any significant voting support before 2009 to make it into the top ten this year. The others were 23-year-old Braves starter Jair Jurrjens and 25-year-old Rockies fireballer Ubaldo Jimenez.

Two other newcomers to the top ten didn't have make quite as big a leap to get there. The Giants' Matt Cain, who finished sixth, finished in the top twenty in both 2009 and 2009. Meanwhile, the Marlins' Josh Johnson, who missed most of the 2008 season to an elbow season, improved on his 15th-place finish in 2007 by finishing tenth in the 2009 vote.

Diamondbacks starter Dan Haren finished fifth and was the only other pitcher besides Lincecum to finish in the top ten in NL Pitcher of the Year voting in both 2008 and 2009. Haren has actually now finished in the top ten three straight years and in the top twenty four straight years; no other pitcher in the National League has done either of those things Cliff Lee, who finished ninth, is a special case. Lee was the 2008 IBA AL Pitcher of the Year winner, and was traded to the Phillies from the Indians in midseason. Lee no doubt would have finished higher if his whole season had been played in the National League.

Javier Vazquez' fourth-place finish marked the third time he has finished in the top ten in NL Pitcher of the Year voting; he previously finished eighth in 2001 and tenth in 2003. His highest finish in his years pitching in the American League was 16th in 2007. Overall, he has finished in the top 30 six times. The highest-placing reliever was Jonathan Broxton in 12th, while J.A. Happ, who finished 16th, was the highest-placing rookie.

2009 IBA NL Rookie of the Year: Tommy Hanson


Rnk Name                  1      2      3      4      5  Ballots  Points
 1. Tommy Hanson        287    249    137     57     18     748    5487
 2. J.A. Happ           283    235    153     65     38     774    5473
 3. Andrew McCutchen    220    180    168    113     43     724    4682
 4. Chris Coghlan        95    112    137    126     76     546    2873
 5. Garrett Jones        25     55     70     86     81     317    1324
 6. Dexter Fowler        15     35     86     64     54     254    1071
 7. Colby Rasmus         18     33     66     65     54     236     990
 8. Randy Wells          15     29     61     78     76     259     968
 9. Casey McGehee         4     17     27     29     57     134     438
10. Everth Cabrera        2      4      8     14     15      43     145

The 2009 Internet NL Rookie of the Year race was the closest of any Internet Baseball Award vote ever. In the end, Braves starter Tommy Hanson finished first by only 14 of the 24,548 points available. Hanson won 267 first-place votes to the 263 of the Phillies' Happ. Voters were clearly split between Happ, who threw 166 innings, and Hanson, who was more effective and dominant in the 127 ⅔ innings he did pitch.

Multi-talented Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen finished a strong third, earning 220 first-place votes himself. Chris Coghlan, a 24-year-old Marlins outfielder who came up in May and just kept hitting, finished fourth, while Garrett Jones, an older rookie who brought power to the Pirates' lineup in the second half of the season, finished fifth.

2009 IBA NL Manager of the Year: Jim Tracy


Rnk Skipper            1      2      3  Ballots  Points
 1. Jim Tracy        448    140     65     653    2725
 2. Joe Torre        129    213    133     475    1417
 3. Tony La Russa    121    196    159     476    1352
 4. Charlie Manuel    93    128    106     327     955
 5. Fredi Gonzalez    49     70     80     199     535

For the second time in three years, a Rockies manager is the IBA National League Manager of the Year-it's just not the same manager. The 2007 winner, Clint Hurdle, was unceremoniously dismissed early in the 2009 season after the Rockies stumbled to an 18-28 start. Under Jim Tracy, the Rockies righted themselves and won 64 percent of their games, leading the team to an unexpected playoff berth. This is the second time online voters have presented Tracy with NL Manager of the Year honors; he also won this award in 2002.

The team Tracy managed in 2002 produced this year's second-place finisher, Joe Torre. Torre actually hasn't finished this high in IBA Manager of the Year voting since 1998, though the Brooklyn-born skipper has finished in the top five every year since except 2000. The Cardinals' Tony La Russa is often among the top vote-getters for this award, but has never finished first, and this year placed third. Last year's winner, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, finished fourth, while the Marlins' underrated Fredi Gonzalez drew enough attention for his efforts to merit a fifth-place showing.

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