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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Renegade BBWAA awards

Today, Pizza Cutter posted the first annual renegade BBWAA awards. He has a nice article discussing the results at The Hardball Times, and you can see the complete results here at "his" website.

These work much like the Fielding Bible awards. PC polled a bunch of statistically-friendly blogger types, compiled the results, and used that as the basis for the awards. Despite my almost complete lack of activity here the past several months, Pizza was kind enough to ask me to participate, and you can see my ballot here.

As you can see, while I seriously doubt that any of the other voters (there were 18 in all, myself included) used my total value rankings to make their decisions, the overall rankings of players conforms very closely to my rankings. For example, my AL MVP pick, Grady Sizemore of Cleveland, has generated several critical comments over the past month or so. But he came in tied for first with Minnesota's Joe Mauer (who I picked third). That's reassuring and gratifying--at the risk of sounding like a blowhard, I really do think that the data I post are the best of their kind that you can find on the internets.

There were only a handful of players who got a top-3 ranking in the Renegade awards who didn't also get at least a mention in my awards post. Here they are, along with what the total value stats say about them:

For NL Cy Young: Cole Hamels (60.2 RAR, 47.6 FIPRAR), voted to a tie for third.

Hamels was in a 3-way tie with Sabathia & Webb for third place in the votes. It's a very defensible choice: he ranked 3rd overall in the NL in RAR. But his FIP (3.56) wasn't quite as glorious as his ERA (3.09), and that knocked him down to "just" 7th place according to FIPRAR. I'd like to think that doesn't take anything away from him--he had a fabulous season, and he flat out overmatched the Brewers in the first playoff game.

For AL Rookie of the Year: Alexi Ramirez (17 RAR, -9 field, +2 position adjust = 10 total value), voted third.

Here's the only one that I have some actual issues with. Ramirez didn't net any first place votes (Evan Longoria was the unanimous winner), but he got two second-place votes and three third-place votes, ranking him third overall, though well behind Mike Aviles. Offensively, while Ramirez showed nice power, he also proved to be very averse to the walk, resulting in a below average OBP of 0.317 and a fairly unimpressive RAR of 17. And defensively, at least based on one year of data, he doesn't look particularly good either. I discarded my rookie rankings by accident after making my awards post, but 10 runs above replacement in total value puts him very far down on the rookie rankings according to my numbers. Maybe in the 10th to 15th range among AL rookies?

By contrast, mine was the only vote for Denard Span of Minnesota. Now, we're only talking about a third place vote here, but I think the guy deserves a bit more recognition. Oh well!

For the NL Rookie of the Year: Joey Votto (38 RAR, +10 field, -11 posadj = 37 total value), voted second.

I actually did mention Votto in my awards post, but by the numbers he was just barely outperformed by the strong rookie pitching tandem of Jurrjens and Kurota. Nevertheless, the guy had an outstanding season, showing a nice balance between on-base ability and power. It's true that he wasn't a world beater for a first basemen on offense, and I wonder if he'll get much better...but his plus defense for his position puts him in the second tier of first basemen this year, behind only Pujols, Teixeira, Berkman, and Youkilis, and essentially tied with Carlos Pena. I'm very happy to have him on my team moving forward.

Thanks again to Pizza Cutter for asking me to participate in his project!