WASHINGTON — We all know that art and athletic performance are subjective in nature and just because one person thinks Dadaism best expresses the human condition or Adrian Gonzalez’s performance can be measured by newfangled metrics, doesn’t mean that everyone has to appreciate it.
That’s what makes the world go around.
Nevertheless, since the regular baseball season is all over except for a couple of playoff teams and the ledger sheets are all but balanced, it the perfect time of year to submit a non-voting/non-BBWAA submission to the post-season award discussion. That is, if I were allowed to vote, this is the way it would go.
We can debate the works of Marcel Duchamp in a post to come. For now, the arts (National Leaguers only):
- Joey Votto, Reds
- Albert Pujols, Cardinals
- Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
- Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
- Roy Halladay, Phillies
- Adrian Gonzalez, Padres
- Matt Holliday, Cardinals
- Brian McCann, Braves
- Aubrey Huff, Giants
10. Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies
Generally when selecting these types of awards I prefer to eschew the stats and focus on the best player on the best team. As my good friend and producer of the Daily News Live program on CSN, Dan Roche, says, “Wins are a fancy metric that explains which teams gets to go to the playoffs and which does not.” So based on that astute (and right) point, Joey Votto is the MVP over Albert Pujols in the National League.
Of course it helps that Votto also rates in the top three in the Triple Crown categories and has the best OPS in the league, but simply, Votto’s team was much better than those of Pujols and Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m a sucker for a good story and Votto and the Reds are all of that. Last season Votto went on the disabled list for clinical depression brought on by the sudden death of his father, a condition that inflicts many but is still kind of a taboo issue in the slow-to-change world of baseball. Meanwhile, the Reds ran away with the NL Central just a season after their ninth straight losing season. The Reds success comes from their improved hitting, which paced by Votto, led the National League in batting, runs, slugging and homers.
So Votto is the MVP because winning matters.
- Roy Halladay, Phillies
- Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies
- Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
Go ahead and rate the No. 2 or No. 3 finisher wherever you like, just put Halladay at the top of the Cy Young list. Indeed, the winning argument plays big here since Halladay went 21-10 and had just two no-decisions, which means when the game was on the line he was in there.
Then again, with 250 2/3 innings and the league leadership in complete games, shutouts, wins and walks per nine innings stand out, too. But here are some other interesting stats on Halladay’s season.
- Halladay walked just four batters in four pitches in 2010. That’s up from one in 2009.
- 26 percent of the hitters Halladay faced in 2010 fell into an 0-2 count.
- Nearly 70 percent of Halladay’s first pitches were strikes.
Obviously, Halladay’s command and repertoire of pitches plays well. So too does his standing as the ace amongst aces on the Phillies staff. Not only was he the first Phillies pitcher to win 20 games since Steve Carlton in 1982 and the first righty in club history to win 20 since Robin Roberts in 1955, but also no Phillies pitcher has sniffed at 250 innings since Curt Schilling tallied 268 in 1998.
Meanwhile, Halladay should be the first Phillies pitcher to win the award since Steve Bedrosian in 1987 and the fourth different Phillie to do it (Bedrosian, Carlton, John Denny).
Rookie of the Year
- Buster Posey, Giants
- Jason Heyward, Braves
- Jaime Garcia, Cardinals
Wait a second… where’s Stephen Strasburg? Perhaps he’ll return to battle for the Cy Young Award in 2012 after a partial rookie season ended with an appointment with the orthopedist. Nevertheless, the 2010 rookie class in the National League is pretty solid. Gabby Sanchez and Mike Stanton of the Marlins had strong seasons, but didn’t make the list. In the NL Central Neil Walker of the Pirates, Chris Johnson of the Astros, and Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin of the Cubs, should be mainstays.
Still, the Giants Buster Posey can hit, and better yet, he’s a catcher who can play some first base when he needs a break from squatting. Really, it’s a pretty crowded field where six or seven different guys could win and no one should complain.
Manager of the Year
- Dusty Baker, Reds
- Charlie Manuel, Phillies
- Bud Black, Padres
One of these years Charlie Manuel should win the manager of the year award, and if there was ayear to do it, 2010 seemed right. After all, Manuel might have done his best skippering this year, keeping together the team as it busted at the seams and fell to 48-46 shortly after the All-Star Break only to go 47-18 the rest of the way. But Dusty Baker gets it since the Reds had nine straight losing seasons and haven’t been to the playoffs since 1995.
Plus, Dusty is just so cool, isn’t he? With the always-present toothpick, fashionable glasses and wristbands it’s hard to deny Dusty’s style. Why would a manager need wristbands? Really, Dusty… wristbands? Does Ttto Francona even wear a jersey under his windbreaker?
Besides, who didn’t want to see Dusty smack up Tony La Russa during that brawl between the Reds and Cardinals last month? Come on… admit it. You wanted to see Dusty put him in a figure-four leg lock.