Monday, November 06, 2017

Hypothetical Ballot: Rookie of the Year

Let's assume for a moment that you care about post-season awards (I've lost at least 30% of you).

Then let's suppose you care about my opinion about how should win them (another 50% gone...I'd guess higher but you are reading this blog after all).

So for the 20% of you left (those percentages were based on the original population for those checking math), do you care about who I think should finish second - fifth on a ballot for awards which will almost certainly and deservedly be unanimously decided? Especially if the awards in question are Rookie of the Year?

I didn't think so. Rookie of the Year is the least interesting award for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:

1. For as much as people like to argue about what "valuable" means, RoY has even more contentious questions: how much should perceived future potential outweigh current year performance, and how should players who are new to the Major Leagues but veterans of high-level professional baseball in other countries (or in segregated leagues when the award was young) be treated?

2. While winning a RoY award might become a part of the standard broadcaster rundown and a line in the Baseball Register (RIP), it rarely takes on any significance beyond that. In contrast, Cy Youngs and MVPs enter a feedback loop of subjective awards when they are cited in Hall of Fame discussions.

Because of this, particularly #2, downballot selections on the Cy Young or MVP ballot take on a little more importance, even if the winner of the award gets so many first place votes that the downballot choices don't factor into the outcome. Award shares, top 5 MVP finishes, etc. may not be that important in the grand scheme of things--but compared to who finished fourth in the RoY voting, they might as well be the list of pennant winners.

This is a long-winded way of saying that:

1) Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger are going to, and should, easily win the 2017 RoYs
2) The 20% of you who might theoretically have some interest in this post really aren't going to care who I say should be fourth. It was more fun to write this explanation than to write a detailed breakdown of why I think
Yuli Gurriel deserved to rank ahead of Trey Mancini while still having a respectable word count for a blog post:

1. RF Aaron Judge, NYA
2. SP Jordan Montgomery, NYA
3. 1B Yuli Gurriel, HOU
4. RF Mitch Haniger, SEA
5. 1B Trey Mancini, BAL

1. 1B Cody Bellinger, LA
2. SS Paul DeJong, STL
3. SP German Marquez, COL
4. SP Kyle Freeland, COL
5. SP Trevor Williams, PIT

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