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My ballot for the Internet Baseball Awards, sponsored by Baseball
Prospectus
and coming to a browser near you this week.

I’ve written about most of these at length elsewhere, so commentary will be
brief.

American League MVP

1. Jason Giambi, Athletics
2. Alex Rodriguez, Rangers
3. Bret Boone, Mariners
4. Roberto Alomar, Indians
5. Jim Thome, Indians
6. Edgar Martinez, Mariners
7. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
8. Carlos Beltran, Royals
9. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
10. Derek Jeter, Yankees

Giambi gets a little credit over A-Rod because of the notion of
importance-to-a-winning-team, but his real advantage is his better RARP and
VORP numbers. Nearly 80 points of OBP is a huge gap, comparable to the
distance between Rodriguez and Carlos Lee. Boone over Alomar is the
same thing: Boone’s a bit better offensively anyway, and gets the nod thanks
to his defensive performance.

The gap between Alomar and Thome is large. The three hitters can be pretty
much thrown in a hat. I ordered them by time in the field. Beltran is a
surprise, but his defensive performance warrants this ranking. He had a
better year with the glove than Suzuki, who in turn has a playing time edge
over Juan Gonzalez. Jeter’s defense knocked him down from about
sixth.

National League MVP

1. Barry Bonds, Giants
2. Sammy Sosa, Cubs
3. Luis Gonzalez, Diamondbacks
4. Rich Aurilia, Giants
5. Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks
6. Chipper Jones, Braves
7. Curt Schilling, Diamondbacks
8. Mike Piazza, Mets
9. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
10. Phil Nevin, Padres

The top of the ballot has been argued to death, but I have to believe that
Bonds’s sweep of the three records he was chasing, his massive September,
and the sheer weight of the gap between him and the other guys will carry
the day. I thought Aurilia or Johnson would crack the top three, but the
seasons by Sosa and Gonzalez were so amazing that they easily outdistanced
the other two.

After that, the NL has a ton of good hitters who didn’t play much defense.
Jones is a clear #6, while Schilling was worth more than just about every
other position player in the league. Pujols has had a hell of a year, but
isn’t a third baseman, not this year. Nevin’s glove is really bad, dropping
him to tenth. Brian Giles, Gary Sheffield, Lance
Berkman
, Larry Walker… a whole bunch of guys are perfectly valid
down-ballot candidates.

American League Cy Young Award

1. Mike Mussina, Yankees
2. Joe Mays, Twins
3. Freddy Garcia, Mariners
4. Mark Buehrle, White Sox
5. Mark Mulder, A’s

I’m comfortable with my top three, and recognize that just about any
ordering of them would be valid.

Mays leads in SNWAR and VORP, and is going to be the stathead candidate, but
what bothers me about him is that he threw more than a third of his innings
against the Tigers and Royals, with an ERA of 1.84. I haven’t done an
analysis of all the candidates, but an eyeballing of splits showed that
neither Mussina nor Garcia had anything quite that dramatic. I can’t shake
the feeling that giving Mays the Cy based on that performance would be
wrong.

It helps that Voros McCracken’s defense-independent numbers support the idea
of Mussina as the best pitcher in the AL.

Even acknowledging that there’s evidence of Roger Clemens pitching to
the score, there’s more evidence that he wasn’t quite the pitcher Buehrle or
pick-a-random-Athletic was. I can see putting him in one of the final spots,
but there’s no case for him in the top three that doesn’t ultimately rest on
the run support he received.

National League Cy Young Award

1. Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks
2. Curt Schilling, Diamondbacks
3. Darryl Kile, Cardinals
4. Matt Morris, Cardinals
5. Greg Maddux, Braves

That is one weird ballot, made more so by the fact that extending it to six
names would add another Brave, John Burkett. Still, it was one of the
easier lists to compile, and I doubt there’s a serious argument to be had
here. Jon Lieber fans, note that he was the luckiest pitcher in the
NL, per Michael Wolverton.

American League Rookie of the Year Award

1. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
2. C.C. Sabathia, Indians
3. David Eckstein, Angels

People who want to deny Ichiro the AL Rookie of the Year award based on his
experience in Japan ignore both the award’s history and the fact that
Karl Rhodes just hit 55 jacks over there.

All three of these players are a credit to their respective front offices.
The Mariners threw a lot of money at both Ichiro and his old team to acquire
his services. The Indians took a 20-year-old Sabathia north with them, stuck
with him through his command problems, and didn’t make the mistakes the Cubs
made with Kerry Wood in 1998. The Angels grabbed Eckstein on waivers,
and gave him an opportunity to heal their shortstop scar.

National League Rookie of the Year Award

1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
2. Roy Oswalt, Astros
3. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies

You know what I’m curious to see? Whether any BBWAA ballot is turned in with
a name other than these three on it.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by
clicking here.

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