Thursday, October 21, 2010

VSBB ballot for the Walter Johnson Award

The Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (VSBB) is a proud member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA). This year, the VSBB has the honour of casting the Other Baseball Chapter ballot for each of the five awards given to players and managers in both the National and American Leagues.

On Monday, we posted our ballot for the Goose Gossage Award, presented to the top reliever in each league. This morning, the alliance announced the results: San Francisco's Brian Wilson and Rafael Soriano of the Tampa Bay Rays were named the winners in their respective leagues. Today we present the VSBB ballot for the Walter Johnson Award, presented to the top pitcher in each league. Casting the ballot on behalf of the VSBB is guest blogger Michael Poplawski.

I didn't see any relief pitchers really show the kind of dominance that would bring them on par with the best starters this season, so my ballot is loaded with starting pitchers for both leagues. Here we go...

National League

The Philadelphia Phillies' Roy Halladay switched leagues but his excellence remained in a season where he led the majors in ERA, wins, complete games and shutouts. To top it off, he tossed MLB's 20th perfect game of all time. Key stats: 33 Starts, 25 Quality Starts (QS), 250.2 IP, 30 BB, 219 SO, 165 ERA+, 6.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR).

Ubaldo Jiminez had a remarkable start to the season, earning wins in 15 of his first 16 decisions for the Colorado Rockies. Key stats: 33 GS, 25 QS, 221.2 IP, 92 BB, 214 SO, 161 ERA+, 6.5 WAR.

Adam Wainwright was again the ace for the St. Louis Cardinals, reaching 20 wins for the first time in his career. Key stats: 33 GS, 25 QS, 56 BB, 213 SO, 161 ERA+, 6.1 WAR.

Tim Hudson is back! His return as the Atlanta Braves rotation anchor helped lead them back into postseason territory once again. Key stats: 34 GS, 25 QS, 74 BB, 139 SO, 138 ERA+, 5.7 WAR.

Josh Johnson was the NL's ERA+ leader for the Florida Marlins in a somewhat shortened season. Key stats: 28 GS, 23 QS, 48 BB, 186 SO, 182 ERA+, 5.9 WAR.

1. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies
2. Ubaldo Jiminez, Colorado Rockies
3. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
4. Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves
5. Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins

American League

The choice for me in the American League was the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, who led the majors in batters faced, ERA, and pitched consistently throughout the season. Unfortunately, the awful run support provided by the Mariners left him with a 13-12 record to go with his sparkling 2.27 ERA. We're not going to penalize him for his poor-hitting teammates. Key stats: 34 Starts, 30 Quality Starts, 6 CG, 1 ShO, 249.2 IP, 70 BB, 232 SO, 174 ERA+, 6.0 WAR.

The Los Angeles Angels' Jered Weaver was another pitcher who could sue for a lack of support. The majors' strikeout leader had two or fewer runs to work with 12 times (compare with Hernandez's 15 and Sabathia's 7). His lack of run support left him with a 13-12 record as well, but that mark masks a brilliant season. Key stats: 34 GS, 27 QS, 224.1 IP, 54 BB, 233 SO, 135 ERA+, 5.4 WAR.

CC Sabathia had another excellent year for the playoff-bound New York Yankees. Key stats: 34 GS, 26 QS, 237.2 IP, 74 BB, 197 SO, 134 ERA+, 5.4 WAR.

David Price was the Tampa Bay Rays' consistent ace in their division-winning effort. Key stats: 31 GS, 25 QS, 79 BB, 199 SO, 145 ERA+ 5.3 WAR.

The Boston Red Sox' Jon Lester led the majors in ERA+ in a season shortened by injury. By far the best value for money on my ballot, earning a mere $500,000. Key stats: 28 GS, 19 QS, 67 BB, 120 SO, 187 ERA+, 5.4 WAR.

1. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
2. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels
3. CC Sabathia, New York Yankees
4. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
5. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox

- Michael Poplawski