BBA Awards: The Stan Musial Award

Last but definitely not least, the Stan Musial Award is the highest honor of all the BBA Awards. It acknowledges the the (AL) MVP of league. To learn more about BBA and the BBA Awards read my earlier post. Deciding the top players in the AL was a long thinking and research process, and ultimately an extremely tough choice. So many players put up terrific numbers in 2011, making it nearly impossible for me to order the top ten best. Here they are:

1.) Miguel Cabrera– Another great year to a great career for the slugging first baseman. Last year Cabrera finished second in the AL MVP voting, right behind Josh Hamilton. It looks like he will definitely be finishing in the top three again, as he has put out some terrific numbers. First off, Cabrera leads the MLB with a stellar .344 BA. He also has 30 homers, 105 RBI’s, and 111 runs. He leads the AL in doubles, OBP (by far), and games played (161 G). Incredible for a big guy like Miggy, to only miss 1 game, hit the most doubles, lead in OBP, and lead in average. The only part of his game that is not MVP- caliber, is his speed and defense. When I considered that all his competitors were good in at least one of those two things, it made the choice even tougher. But I decided to give it to him because he lead in the most stats, and quite frankly has hit the baseball better than anybody in the MLB. My last factor in this vote, was that his team went farther than any of the other candidates (besides Michael Young and Verlander). 

2.) Adrian Gonzalez– Another terrific slugging first baseman, similar to Cabrera. With the second-best avg. (tied with Michael Young) in the Majors (.338), Gonzalez has probably had the best year of his career so far. Adrian has really made a bid for first in this award, knocking in 12 more RBI’s than Cabrera and playing much better defense. I still had to give it to Cabrera though, because he leads in everything else and they both aren’t good baserunners. Also, Gonzalez had more hits, but Cabrera’s less K’s in more ABs definitely evened that out. 

3.) Jacoby Ellsbury– At number 3, Ellsbury was almost good enough for me to put him at #1. It was really hard for me to put the young center fielder at #3, after the amazing season he had this year. Every part of his game was MVP- caliber, but the most surprising was the power numbers. Incredibly, Ellsbury has more homers that Gonzalez and Cabrera with 32. Also, he knocked in 105 runs which is tied with Cabrera. He finished the season ranking top 5 in every offensive stat; including runs, hits, and stolen bases. His 39 thefts are much better than any other MVP candidate (including Granderson). Also, his Gold Glove worthy defense in CF is definitely not something I overlooked. Really, the only thing that kept out of #1 or #2 in the voting was his average. A .321 average is terrific, but it’s just not as good as Gonzalez’s or Cabrera’s. Considering the lack of speed of those two big guys, having a higher average than Ellsbury means that they hit a lot more solid line-drives.

4.) Curtis Granderson– The only thing that got in the way of a #1 vote, was Granderson’s .262 average. Average is something that I weigh heavily in these votes, and .262 is not an MVP number. Besides that, everything else Granderson does on the baseball field is MVP- caliber. His run-producing numbers are ridiculous, and he’s also an impressive outfielder and baserunner.

5.) Jose Bautista– It’s really hard for me to put a player like Bautista 5th in this voting. Out of all these candidates, Jose may mean the most to his team. He leads the league in WAR and is the MLB home run champion. His fielding is also above average. The average is really what brought him down.

6.) Michael Young– Let me just start with this: the Rangers would not be in the World Series if it wasn’t for Young. A true ballplayer, Young was moved to SS this year and still performed. His .338 average is second-best in baseball and his 106 RBIs are also remarkable. 

7.) Adrian Beltre– Another great Ranger infielder. Beltre struggled through hamstring injuries throughout the year, and still amazingly was able to rack up 105. RBIs.  In addition to that, his stellar defense and high average were also impressive.

8.) Robinson Cano– Cano’s ridiculous second half of the season is what puts him in the conversation. He ended the season with 118 RBIs (2nd in AL) and a .302 average. He also had another great year at second base.

9.) Paul Konerko– Now here’s a great baseball player that doesn’t get nearly enough credit. Once again, Pauly has posted terrific offensive numbers. He hit .300 with 105 RBIs and 31 dingers. 

10.) Evan Longoria– Well this one may be a little bit bias. Longoria saved his season by ending it on fire. After recovering from an early-season injury, Longo still ended the season with 99 RBIs and 31 homers. His defense was terrific once again, and it looks like he will get his 3rd Gold Glove Award this year. His .244 average is what hurt him though.

Honorable mentions- Some other players with great seasons include:  Justin Verlander (pitching Triple Crown champ), Mark Teixeira (111 RBIs, Gold Glove- caliber season), Victor Martinez (.330 average, 103 RBIs), and Josh Hamilton (.298, 94 RBIs, great defense)

If you are a member of the BBA and have posted your Willie Mays Award (or any other award) votes, I’d really like to see what you think. Comment the link of your post below. I would also love to see anyone else’s opinions. You also can rate the post from 1-5 stars, evaluating my voting. If you’re a blogger interested and joining the BBA, click here.

And remember to check out the previous 4 BBA Awards: The Connie Mack Award, The Willie Mays Award, The Goose Gossage Award, and The Walter Johnson Award.

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33 comments

  1. An Original Senators Fan

    A lot of great players out there. Your ballot isn’t the same as mine but it’s no less valid. Unlike the pitching category, any one of the top six in voting here would be deserving if they were in the top spot!

    • Michael

      Not to mention the fact that it’s way more fun wahcitng an underdog compete and win than it is to watch a “sure-bet” win from a vet. That’s the way the Yankees winning the world series felt last year – it’s such a foregone conclusion did it really, actually excite anyone?

      • Suzanne

        Well it would be from a trade standpoint. Kid is rdleibuing and wants a young player. I am trying to go for the win and Joyce seems to have slowed down and from his injuries seems to have lost some power and playing time. -4

  2. Red State Blue State

    I would have to give Granderson the nod over all the rest. I really don’t know how that Yankees team does so well without him to protect. In a year where Tex and A-Rod were a little disappointing, he really stepped it up with his bat and his feet.
    –Jeff

  3. mlblogsyossif

    An Original Senators Fan- Very true, they all had unbelievable seasons.

    Jeff- I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing Granderson winning the MVP, he was the rock of the the team this year. It was extremely hard for me to leave him out of the top 3 after the amazing year that he had, and how he turned his offensive career around. Are you the Cardinals fan or the Detroit fan?

  4. mlblogsyossif

    Virginia- hahaha, but Granderson is for sure a candidate that could deserve the award. Cano on the other hand, well not so much. He still had a great season and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins the award next year.

  5. Peter DeMarco

    I don’t believe this award is supposed to go to the “Most Valuable Player” rather it is to be awarded to the “Best” player. Therefore I think Jose Bautista should be the winner, he led the league in WAR, Home runs, SLG and was only .001 point behind Cabrerra who finished first in OBP. That .001 point cost Bautista the sabermetric triple crown (leading the league in OBP, SLG and OPS). Bautista also was strong defensively at two positions (3B and RF), while Cabrerra offered negative value defensively.

    With all that being said, this was my vote:
    http://somethoughtsonbaseball.blogspot.com/2011/10/stan-musial-award-ballot.html

  6. mlblogsyossif

    Bryan- Thanks. And I also focus a lot on that which is why I had Gonzalez and Ellsburry right behind.
    Peter DeMarco- Considering all that, I still think that Ellsbury would have to be a much better candidate. Ellsbury is better in the defensive and running game than Bautista. On the offensive side, Ellsbury has a much higher average and more RBI’s than Bautista. Ellsbury is a more well-rounded player, and also is very important to his team.

    • Hazel

      I dont think anyone can get exiectd about baseball if you are not a fan of a team. If you are a fan of a good team the game is very fun to watch, but if you are a fan of a bad team the game can be slow and painful to watch. I think people that play baseball are more prone to watching the games more also, you truly have to love baseball if you want to watch it though. The bottom line is become a fan of a good team and stick with them through the good times and the bad times. That is how you watch a whole entire season of baseball. NEVER abandon your team.

  7. Peter DeMarco

    Yossif,

    I don’t value the RBI and Batting Average statistics as much as you do, as they can be misleading or team dependent. Simply put Bautista got on base a lot more often than Ellsbury did and that is much more important than batting average.

    Also, the defense aspect is debatable some statistics prefer Bautista and others prefer Ellsbury. Baseball-Reference which I like to use because it does a good job at measuring exactly what happened, rather than what should have happened, identifies Bautista and Ellsbury as providing equal value defensively (both posted a 0.4 defensive WAR). Also, watching both play quite a bit, I think they are both very good defensively.

    While Ellsbury did steal 30 more bases than Bautista, Bautista was actually deemed the better runner of the two on the bases (going first to third, not making unnecessary outs, etc.), also Ellsbury was caught stealing 15 times taking away most of the value his SB’s provided.

    I respect your opinion as Ellsbury did have a fantastic season, however it is my belief that Bautista was the better player last year.

  8. mlblogsyossif

    Peter DeMarco- But you’re forgetting the fear factor of having a runner like Ellsbury at first. As a Rays fan, I know very well how this can mess up a pitchers focus and effect the whole game. Good points though.

    • Jonathan C. Mitchell

      Much different than mine but no less valid.

      I do not value stats like RBI and Runs and team W-L record when it comes to this award so my ballot is completely different. I will post it on my site shortly. I also value defense a bit more. Not saying I am right, just saying our differences.

      Just one small criticism would be to refrain from using phrasess like “by far” when it’s not true. You said Cabrera “…leads the AL in OPS (by far), doubles, OBP (by far)…” He leads in OBP .448 to .447 so it’s not “by far” and he is behind Bautista in OPS 1.034 to 1.055.

  9. mlblogsyossif

    Jonathan Mitchell- Thank you. And I’m really sorry for that…. I don’t know how I missed that. I’ll correct that mistake ASAP. I’m looking forward to see your award voting.
    Freehan11- V-Mart had a terrific season, but I can’t agree that it was MVP-worthy. His teammate Miguel Cabrera was better than him in average, homers, RBIs, OBP, OPS, and he actually played the field. I’m very much looking forward to your explanation.

  10. Bill

    “Out of all these candidates, Jose may mean the most to his team. He leads the league in WAR and is the MLB home run champion.”

    That pretty much makes him the MVP, yeah? No matter what your definition of “most valuable” is, doesn’t “mean the most to his team” have the exact same meaning?

    I think “most valuable” should really just be interpreted as “best,” in which case it absolutely has to be either Bautista or Ellsbury.

  11. mlblogsyossif

    Bill- I agree 100% about your interpretation of MVP. And that’s exactly why Bautista didn’t get in the top 3. For individual stats, Ellsbury and Cabrera are better in my opinion. Thank for the comment.
    Bryan- That’s a bit ridiculous saying that, considering that Young is leading the team with a .338 average. What replacement could get on base and hit as clutch as this guy? He’s a true team player and a true professional.

    • Bill

      Why do people keep saying that about Young? He’s been asked to change positions twice (because he can’t play defense, at all), and both times, he’s done it pouting and kicking and screaming and asking to be traded. I look at Young and I see the opposite of a “true team player.” I don’t get where that whole idea comes from.

      And I just don’t think there’s any rational way to argue that any of the four guys you’ve listed ahead of Bautista, aside from Ellsbury, were better, statistically, than Bautista. But then I also don’t think batting average matters much at all if you have OBP and SLG, so I guess there’s no point in arguing that.

  12. mlblogsyossif

    I don’t understand what’s wrong with hitting .338 and playing all season long. He may be the best all around hitter on the pennant-winning Rangers. He also can field and has won a gold glove before.

  13. Pingback: 2011 BBA Award Winners announced! « The Rays Rant
  14. Fernanda

    Where’s the silver linnig? Maybe that in life, you should never give up? The Braves and the Sox, both leaders in the wild card race for the last month, each falter in ninth inning of the last game of the season. They each only needed to finish off the ninth with the lead of 3-2 they had going into it. Too weird and too sad. But this is, unfortunately a year to remember (since it will be impossible to forget).

    • Fatai

      So essentially MLB would rvreet back to the way it was prior to the Wild Card days, except two teams would make the playoffs from each division instead of one.If they balanced out the schedule, that would probably work. It would eliminate those weaker teams from the traditionally weaker divisions right off the bat, too.

  15. Annat

    Thanks Kujo Lets seeCasilla is the only player with SS eltigbiliiy on my roster (when he was hot this year he was scoring runs).I am willing to do the zimmer/weeks trade as I think they both will be solid options. I would def see if I can make a deal for pujols with Bautista (doubt it he wants Tulo over Bautista by a lot).I will hold the Tulo/Zimmer deal for Bautista as my Plan B and try and get Konerko into a deal +7Was this answer helpful?

    • Frank

      I can’t believe you doelodd that in the middle of the night. It is gorgeous! Not sleeping is awful and lonely but if you can find some positive in it then maybe you’ll be able to bear it for a bit. I do hope it goes away soon though and that you can sleep through. X

  16. Auth

    I think the debate about a pitehcr being eligible for a MVP vote is an interesting one. Obviously we have watched a historic season with Zoolander this year. It has just been a joy to watch a guy with terrific stuff mold himself into being a complete pitehcr. He is(this year) our MVP, without question. Miggy is great but this years line-up has proven to be a team’ line-up. Cabrera is a guy that makes everyone else around him better. That has never shown better than this season. He was the MVP last year in my mind(obvious kool-aid goggles on, but the numbers bear it out). Now going back to the pitehcr debate. As a starting pitehcr in this day and age, you get to see them in approximately twenty percent of the games. Is this enough to be considered the MVP of the league? Who knows. The last one was Ek back in ’92(I believe) but he was involved in over thirty-three percent of the games for his team.Either way, it should be interesting.Nice blog you have here, look forward to its continued progression.

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