Tagged: MLB Awards

Hellickson Drawing Interest, Price and Molina Win Awards

Entering the offseason, James Shields was expected to be the No. 1 trade rumor name of the Rays’ plethora of starting pitchers. Right now it doesn’t appear that way, however, as Jeremy Hellickson has drawn more interest than anybody else in the rotation so far (per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com). No team has yet to publicly announced that they’re pursuing Helly, but things could get interesting at the GM meeting this week.

As the MLB award season continues, more Rays players continue to take home hardware. David Price—who makes a strong case for the AL Cy Young Award (announced next week)—was chosen as the AL’s top pitcher by the players (Players Choice Awards) on Monday.

Also in award news, Jose Molina was named the Rays’ top defensive player by Wilson.

More Rays News and Notes:


2011 Rays Team Awards


Two Rays were honored in the BWAA’s MLB awards this offseason; Joe Maddon and Jeremy Hellickson. Also part of the baseball award season, is MLB.com’s team awards. The MLB.com team awards include Breakout Player of the Year, Player of the Year (top non-pitcher), and Pitcher of the Year. The Breakout Player award went to Hellickson, who added that accolade to his prestigious 2011 ROY award. I wouldn’t describe Hellboy’s fantastic season as a ‘breakout year’ exactly, as his 2010 previewed great things to come. James Shields’ unbelievable season was a picture perfect example of a great breakout year though. But with how the MLB.com team awards work, it is unlikely that one player wins multiple awards. The Player of the Year Award was the most anticipated of the three, and was won by Ben Zobrist. The choice for the award was mainly between Longoria and Zobrist, as both put up the best offensive production during the season. Zorilla’s consistency and ability to serve as baseball’s best utility man separated him from Longo’s great glovework and powerful bat. I strongly agree with the decision to honor Zobrist as the Rays’ top player in 2011, after such a terrific season. All season long I felt as if Zobrist was one of the most underrated players in the game, considering how much he contributed to such a successful team. The third team award acknowledges the ace of the Rays talented young pitching staff. Obviously, the 2011 Pitcher of the Year award went to James Shields, who also finished third in the Cy Young Award voting. The stats did all the talking for ‘Big Game’ James, as 11 complete games and a 2.82 ERA were simply impossible to argue with.

The MLB.com awards were not the only official team awards passed out this offseason. The Tampa Bay Chapter of the BWAA gives out three team awards of their own; MVP, the Outstanding Rookie Award, and the Paul C. Smith Champion Award. The MVP award went to Shields, which was definitely the right choice. Many people tend misinterpret the Player of the Year Award and the MVP award, and get them mixed up. Since the MLB.com team awards also acknowledge the best pitcher, the Player of the Year award basically refers to the best player that’s not a pitcher. In the BWAA team awards there is the MVP Award and no Pitcher of the Year award, giving pitchers an opportunity to win the team MVP. That’s exactly what happened in the Rays’ case this year, as Shields deservingly took home the team MVP. The third BWAA team award is the Paul C. Smith Champion Award. This award is handed to the player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field. The award was given to Johnny Damon, who I believe represents this award perfectly and was the obvious choice. Johnny Damon not only is a great clubhouse guy and person, but also a real winner on the field. His tremendous effort and hustle displayed on the diamond day after day is what makes him such a great baseball player, and keeps him still playing the game he loves. Those are all the Rays’ team awards for 2011, but that’s not all the accolades for Rays players this fall. The J.G. Taylor Spink Award (Minor League Player of the Year) was won by Rays’ phenom top-prospect Matt Moore. Moore earned the extremely high honor by putting up ridiculous numbers (in AA and AAA combided), including a 1.92 ERA.

The Rays’ award isn’t season over, MLB.com’s GIBBY Awards (Greatness in Baseball Yearly) feature 5 nominated Rays. Click here to vote today!

To see my choices for the 2011 Rays team awards click here.

Way to go Joe! Maddon named MOY


For the second time in the last three days, a Ray has won an MLB award. Just two days after Jeremy Hellickson became the 2011 Rookie of the Year, skipper Joe Maddon was awarded as the AL Manager of the Year . The exciting (and predictable) news was announced yesterday, when 133 voting points and 26 first-place votes gave Joe his second MOY award. Just like in 2008, Maddon proved to everyone that he was very deserving of the Top Manager title. Winning this revered award this year, was simply just another highlight in his legacy as an MLB manager. There are not many baseball personnel as talented as this man. His unconventional style of baseball, his people skills, and his ability to work with young players are all things that make Joe a one of a kind. No other big league skipper represents their team a well as Maddon does. Maddon’s uniqueness and leadership abilities are what make him one of the most successful coaches in the world of sport. It’s definitely safe to say that the Rays would not be the same team without Joe Maddon leaning on the dugout railings. Maybe only Rays fans can truly realize how special Maddon is, but the BWAA committee still seemed to agree that Maddon was the obvious choice for the award. Here are the official voting results below:

Manager Team 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Joe Maddon Rays 26 1 133
Jim Leyland Tigers 1 13 10 54
Ron Washington Rangers 1 7 5 31
Manny Acta Indians 3 7 16
Joe Girardi Yankees 3 5 14
Mike Scioscia Angels 1 1 4
The Connie Mack Award (which is part of the BBA Awards) results were similar to the official results. Here are the results below:
Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay (22) 113 (My 1st place vote)
Jim Leyland, Detroit 48 (My 3rd place vote)
Ron Washington, Texas (3) 37
Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles of Anaheim 13 (My 2nd place vote)
Joe Girardi, New York 9
Manny Acta, Cleveland 5
John Farrell, Toronto 1

Hellboy wins the ROY Award!


After the many days of waiting and debating, Jeremy Hellickson has officially won the AL Rookie of the Year Award. Congratulations to Jeremy for winning this fantastic honor, and joining Evan Longoria in being the only Rays players to get this award. The Rays’ great young talent continues to be acknowledged and well-noticed throughout the baseball nation. Even with some impressive young players in the ROY running, Hellickson was clearly the most deserving to win the award. Jeremy’s had a great start to his career, which is now just a year and a half old. The 24 year-old posted terrific numbers leading AL rookie pitchers in five stats, including ERA and quality starts. He finished the season with a stellar 2.95 ERA, 189 IP, a .210 opponent average, and 13 wins. Not only did Hellickson’s terrific stats prove him to be the best AL rookie pitcher, but also probably the best #3 starter in baseball. Hellickson’s contribution to the team’s success is what I found the most amazing about his great rookie season. In the midst of the Rays great comeback, Hellboy won 5 consecutive starts against AL East opponents. His ability to perform in the clutch is what really separated him from his two main competitors in the voting; Mark Trumbo and Eric Hosmer. The Angels’ Trumbo and the Royals’ Hosmer both had excellent seasons for their respective teams. Still the BWAA were able to notice Hellickson as the deserving player for the award, as the voting results ended up as a landslide:

Player Team 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Jeremy Hellickson Rays 17 5 2 102
Mark Trumbo Angels 5 11 5 63
Eric Hosmer Royals 4 4 6 38
Ivan Nova Yankees 1 5 10 30
Michael Pineda Mariners 3 2 11
Dustin Ackley Mariners 1 1 6
Desmond Jennings Rays 1 1
Jordan Walden Angels 1 1
If you recall, a few months ago The Rays Rant participated in the BBA Awards (being a part of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance). The results were strikingly much different than the official, here they are again :


Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay (8) 67 (My 1st place vote)
Eric Hosmer, Kansas City (9) 67 (My second place vote)
Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles of Anaheim (3) 27
Michael Pineda, Seattle (3) 23
Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay 7
Ivan Nova, New York 7 (My 3rd place vote)
Brett Lawrie, Toronto (1) 5
Dustin Ackley, Seattle 4
Zach Britton, Baltimore 3
Alexi Ogando, Texas 3
Jordan Walden, Los Angeles of Anaheim 2
Chris Sale, Chicago 1

Hopefully there will be more Rays names to hit the MLB Award spotlight in the next couple of weeks. Maddon is the front runner for the AL Manager of the Year Award, which is announced on Thursday. Besides Maddon, it doesn’t look like there’ll be any more Rays (non-team) awards. But looking ahead to next year, it’s very possible that another Ray rookie will be named the 2012 ROY. Matt Moore and Desmond Jennings are two bright rookies who have already made a splash in the 2011 season. It’s always exciting for a Rays fan to know how much great things are awaiting in the next year.

2011 BBA Award Winners announced!

The BBA Award voting has just came to a conclusion and the results are out. If you want to know more about the BBA and its awards, read my earlier post. Here are the 5 American League BBA Awards:

The Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year):

Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay (22) 113 (My 1st place vote)
Jim Leyland, Detroit 48 (My 3rd place vote)
Ron Washington, Texas (3) 37
Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles of Anaheim 13 (My 2nd place vote)
Joe Girardi, New York 9
Manny Acta, Cleveland 5
John Farrell, Toronto 1

This one was one of the three awards I thought was a no-brainer, along with the Walter Johnson Award and the Willie Mays Award. Joe Maddon had another unbelievable season as the Rays skipper, and lead the team to their historic comeback. He’s been talked about on sports sites everywhere including mine (article here and here), and most have agreed that he is the best manager in all of baseball. He was just awarded the top AL manager by Sporting News a few days ago. It’s nice to see Maddon get some good recognition here, and hopefully he will take home his second Manager of the Year Award in the coming weeks. For my Connie Mack Award article, click here.

 The Willie Mays Award (Rookie of the Year):

Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay (8) 67 (My 1st place vote) 
Eric Hosmer, Kansas City (9) 67 (My second place vote)
Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles of Anaheim (3) 27
Michael Pineda, Seattle (3) 23
Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay 7
Ivan Nova, New York 7 (My 3rd place vote)
Brett Lawrie, Toronto (1) 5
Dustin Ackley, Seattle 4
Zach Britton, Baltimore 3
Alexi Ogando, Texas 3
Jordan Walden, Los Angeles of Anaheim 2
Chris Sale, Chicago 1

Overall, I would have to say I am satisfied with the result of this voting. It was at least a sigh of relief to see the much deserving Hellickson tie for first. I was convinced the whole season that Hellickson was deserving of the ROY Award and was favoring Hosmer as the runner-up. Jeremy was recently acknowledged as Baseball America’s Rookie of the Year, rating him the best rookie in all of baseball. It wasn’t ideal to see Hellboy not the sole winner in this one, but it was still good to see him and Hosmer stand as the one-two in the voting. I was also very happy to see Desmond Jennings get recognition with 7 votes, after the boost he gave the Rays since his call-up. For my Willie Mays Award blog post, click here.

The Goose Gossage Award (Top Relief Pitcher):

Jose Valverde, Detroit (13) 74 (My 1st place vote)
Mariano Rivera, New York (4) 56 (My 2nd place vote)
David Robertson, New York (3) 39 (My 3rd place vote)
Jonathan Papelbon, Boston (1) 21
Koji Uehara, Texas (1) 6
Alfredo Aceves, Boston (1) 5
Neftali Feliz, Texas 2
Greg Holland, Kansas City 2
Chris Perez, Cleveland 2
Brandon League, Seattle 1
Vinnie Pestano, Cleveland 1

The 1-2-3 order was identical to my voting on the Goose Gossage Award. Valverde was the obvious choice for winner on this one after the incredible season he had. Not really much to be said on this award, click here for my Goose Gossage Award post.

The Walter Johnson Award (Cy Young Award):

Justin Verlander, Detroit (21) 147 (My 1st place vote)
Jered Weaver, Los Angeles of Anaheim 67 (My 2nd place vote)
CC Sabathia, New York 58
James Shields, Tampa Bay 40 (My 3rd place vote)
Dan Haren, Los Angeles of Anaheim 20
CJ Wilson, Texas 9
Josh Beckett, Boston 6
Ricky Romero, Toronto 5
Felix Hernandez, Seattle 2
Doug Fister, Detroit 1
Brandon McCarthy, Oakland 1
David Price, Tampa Bay 1

This result may have been the most disappointing out of all of them. Verlander was the obvious winner and Weaver was the sure runner-up, but I strongly disagree with Sabathia being in he top three. Apparently Shields’ better ERA and 11 CG (yes I meant 11) wasn’t good enough to get him front of C.C. I don’t want to take anything away from Sabathia, he had another great season, but Shields frankly just had a better year. To read a full argument, click here to see my Walter Johnson Award post.

The Stan Musial Award (MVP)

Jose Bautista, Toronto (11) 225 (My fifth vote)
Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston (5) 200
(My third vote)
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit (3) 183
(My FIRST vote)
Curtis Granderson, Detroit (1) 135
(My fourth vote)
Justin Verlander, Detroit (2) 126
Adrian Gonzalez, Boston 109
(My second vote)
Dustin Pedroia, Boston 68
Robinson Cano, New York 55
(My eighth vote)
Ian Kinsler, Texas 35
Michael Young, Texas 28
(My sixth vote)
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay 25
(My tenth vote)
Alex Gordon, Kansas City 20
CC Sabathia, New York 13
Paul Konerko, Chicago 12
(My ninth vote)
Adrian Beltre, Texas 10
(My seventh vote)
Alex Avila, Detroit 8
Jered Weaver, Los Angeles of Anaheim 6
Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay 6
Mike Napoli, Texas 4
James Shields, Tampa Bay 3
Victor Martinez, Cleveland 2
David Oritz, Boston 2
Melky Cabrera, Kansas City 1

Even though the winner of the voting was ranked number 5 in my ballot, I’m still not disappointed to see Jose Bautista get the award. I was also relieved to see the top 3 as Bautista, Ellsbury, and Miguel Cabrera. There are some parts of the results I strongly disagree with though. For example, Ian Kinsler finishing ahead of teammates Adrian Beltre and Michael Young. Young had an average .58 points higher than Kinsler as well as more RBI’s. I also thought that Dustin Pedroia was overrated in this voting, finishing ahead of Cano and Young. Overall, these results could of been much worse and it will be interesting to see how similar this will be to the MVP results. Click here for my Stan Musial Award post.

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.

The 2011 Casey Kotchman


Yesterday, Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox won the Comeback Player of the Year Award. Although he seemed to many as the obvious winner of the award, another candidate is probably more deserving. One of the unsung heros in the MLB this season is Rays first baseman, Casey Kotchman. Kotchman, who has had a terrific season, surprised everyone in baseball in 2011. In his career before this year, Casey had never been a good hitter in the majors and mostly showed his skills on the field. His incredible defense at first base was frankly the reason that he made a MLB roster for six years.

After a poor season with Seattle last year, the future looked very dull for the (then) 26 year-old Kotchman going into free agency. When he was signed by the Rays in the offseason, it wasn’t really a shocker that he agreed to a minor league contract. With the big loss of Carlos Pena, the Rays were praying that Casey would be a MLB-quality ballplayer in 2011. Not only did he meet that goal, but he remarkably exceeded the expectations. He lead the Rays in average, batting a terrific .306 this season with maybe his best defensive year of his career. He’s one of the great stories in the big leagues this year with how he turned his career around. Not only did he help himself, but he also was a rock in the Rays lineup all-year long. The Rays definitely wouldn’t be playing October baseball this season if it wasn’t for Kotchman. His clutch hitting, consistent on-base ability, and his stellar defense were all big contributions to the Rays success.


Now on the other side of things, Jacoby Ellsbury has had a unbelievable season up in Boston. He’s a very strong candidate for MVP and every part of his game was excellent this year. Even though he had a better season than Casey, I still don’t think he was deserving of the award. Ellsbury never really had to comeback from anything except injuries; which was the only thing that got in the way of performing last year. He was always a phenom player in my eyes, and after three straight impressive seasons (’07 – ’09) everybody knew that the next healthy season would be another good one. I just wish Kotchman would get more recognition for this season. Winning this award would be a perfect fit for him and all his hard work. Hopefully the Rays will have him next year, so he can once again prove what a great player he is.