Sunday, October 7, 2012

2012 Walter Johnson Award

The Victoria Seals Baseball Blog (VSBB) is a proud member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA). Once again this year, the VSBB has the honour of casting ballots for the five BBA awards given to players and managers in both the National and American Leagues. Today we give you the VSBB ballot for the Walter Johnson Award, which is presented to the top pitcher (starter or reliever) in each league.

In my opinion, the most overrated pitching statistic is the won-loss record. Too many variables that are completely out of the control of a pitcher (e.g. run support) determine who is awarded the win in a ballgame. With that in mind, it's not really a shocker that R.A. Dickey wasn't at the top of our National League ballot. Although he won 20 games, we feel there are more deserving candidates.

In the NL, I'm giving the nod once again to Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kershaw won both the Walter Johnson and the Cy Young awards for the NL in 2011 with a spectacular 21-5 record and a 2.28 ERA / 0.98 WHIP. Although his record fell to 14-9 in 2012, his numbers were still worthy of being the top-ranked pitcher in the National League. Kershaw posted a 2.53 ERA / 1.02 WHIP this season and struck out 9.1 hitters per nine innings while only walking 2.5 per nine.

Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals came a close second in our voting. Gonzalez had a record of 21-8 and registered a 2.89 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.

Cliff Lee, Wade Miley and R.A. Dickey rounded out our ballot. Honourable mention goes to Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati Reds.

Our NL ballot for the Walter Johnson Award stands at:
  1. Clayton Kershaw, LA Dodgers
  2. Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
  3. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies
  4. Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks
  5. R.A. Dickey, NY Mets
In the junior circuit, Justin Verlander was the obvious choice for the first spot on our ballot. Verlander won both the Walter Johnson and Cy Young awards for the AL in 2011, and he had an equally-good campaign this season. Verlander notched a 17-8 record with a sparkling 2.64 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.

Felix Hernandez had an outstanding season for the anemic Seattle Mariners, posting a 13-9 record, 3.06 ERA and 1.14 WHIP.

David Price, Yu Darvish and Chris Sale snagged the last three votes that we cast.

Our AL ballot for the Walter Johnson Award is:
  1. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
  2. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
  3. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
  4. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
  5. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox