Friday, October 15, 2010

VSBB ballot for the Willie Mays Award

The Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (VSBB) is a proud member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA). Similar to the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA), the alliance is organized into different chapters. Gus, the founder of the VSBB, is President of the alliance's Other Baseball Chapter. 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 Tuesday, we posted our ballot for the Connie Mack Award, presented to the top manager in each league. This morning, the alliance announced the results of the Connie Mack Award voting. San Diego manager Bud Black and Texas manager Ron Washington were named the winners in their respective leagues. Today we present the VSBB ballot for the Willie Mays Award, presented to the top rookie in each league. Casting the ballot on behalf of the VSBB is guest blogger Michael Poplawski.

National League

The National League had the cream of the Major League rookie crop, with any of several rookies having strong enough seasons to challenge their American League counterparts for honours.

Jason Heyward lived up to his advance billing with only an injury preventing him from having one of the best rookie seasons ever, an effort rewarded with an All-Star selection and a trip to the postseason with the Braves. A great first season from a very young player who appears on the way to having an outstanding career. Key stats: 142 GP, 131 On-Base Plus Slugging Plus (OPS+), 4.4 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), batted mostly second.

Buster Posey's late start kept him from challenging for the top spot among NL rookies. The Giants were able to get an excellent performance from their young backstop right from his callup at the end of May on their way to reaching the postseason. Key stats: 115 GP, 122 OPS+, 3.0 Wins Above Replacement, batted mostly cleanup.

Jaime Garcia was one of the more consistent pitchers for the St. Louis Cardinals before their late-season fade, showing a remarkable recovery from Tommy John surgery. Key stats: 28 starts, 163.1 IP, 145 ERA+, 132 SO, 64 BB, 2.9 WAR

Our NL ballot is therefore:

1. Jason Heyward
2. Buster Posey
3. Jaime Garcia

American League

Over in the American League, we have a tight race between several players essentially equal on adjusted stats, but I will give the nod to Detroit Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson. Jackson took over center field for the Tigers on opening day and gave the Tigers solid all-round play in the field and in their leadoff spot. Key stats: 151 GP, 102 OPS+, 2.5 Wins Above Replacement.

Neftali Feliz took over the closer's role and was excellent throughout the season, and nearly untouchable after his trip to the All-Star Game. Key stats: 70 Relief Appearances, 40/43 in Save Chances, ERA+ of 159, 2.4 WAR.

Danny Valencia took over third base for the Minnesota Twins mid-season and took away much of the sting of Jason Morneau's season-ending injury. Key stats: 85 GP, 115 OPS+, 2.5 WAR.

Our AL ballot is therefore:

1. Austin Jackson
2. Neftali Feliz
3. Danny Valencia

- Michael Poplawski

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