2014 BBA Player Awards

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The Baseball Bloggers Alliance, also known as the BBA is a collection of Baseball blogs/sites that are unified together under one internet roof with the purpose of encouraging collaboration, cooporation, and communication, among Baseball writers across the internet. Lasorda’s Lair is a proud member of the BBA. At the end of each season, the BBA has their own awards in which they vote on the postseason awards. Each site gets one vote per editor, and can vote for both the National, and American leagues.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Today I will be casting my vote for the National League. I will be doing so with no bias whatsoever. No I’m not going to be voting for all Dodgers, as tempting as that sounds. There are five awards in each league. These aren’t exactly the same awards as MLB, but very similar. The awards are presented to the best manager, top reliever, top starting pitcher, best player, and top rookie. Here are my choices for the annual BBA postseason player awards for 2014.

Connie Mack award for best manager of the year- Matt Williams – Washington

2. Don Mattingly Dodgers

3. Bruce Bochy Giants

This was a close one between Williams and Don Mattingly. But I’m going to give it to Williams. The reason is because the Nationals not only had a bounce back year, but they wiped the floor with the NL East division. They won the division crown by 17 games and finished with the best record in the National League after not making the playoffs last season. They had to deal with some injuries to key players and all of this in Williams’ first season as manager.

The Willie Mays Award for the top rookie of the year – Jacob deGrom-New York

2. Ken Giles- Philadelphia

3. Jeurys Familia – Mets

This was a tough one. There wasn’t a dominant rookie in the Nationals League this year. Billy Hamilton stole a lot of bases for the Reds, but his batting average and on base percentage were lackluster. Otherwise I can’t think of any other offensive player who really deserved it. So this year I am giving it to the Met’s young right hander Jacob deGrom. The long haired right hander finished with a 2.69 ERA and nine wins in 22 starts.The 26-year old whiffed 144 and walked just 43 in 140 innings pitched. He finished with a 9.3 whiff per nine rate, and just a 7.5 hits per nine rate. His FIP was 2.67, and he allowed just seven home runs. His strikeout to walk ratio was just 3.5-1. He also won the NL rookie of the month in July, and for September. In the month of September deGrom was 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts. He whiffed 38 and walked 6 in 27 frames. Perhaps the flowy haired right hander is coming into his own?

The Goose Gossage Award-Top Reliever of the year – Craig Kimbrel– Atlanta

2. Aroldis Chapman – Reds

3. Kenley Jansen- Dodgers

This award for best reliever should go to Atlanta’s dominating closer Craig Kimbrel. He throws upwards of 100 MPH, and has devastating off-speed pitches to mix in with the ridiculous heaters. He led the league in saves this year with 47, but that’s not the reason why he deserves to win this award. Before you chastise me for using “saves” as a metric for anything, check out this guy’s peripheral numbers. Kimbrel posted a 1.61 ERA in 63 games, with a 1.83 FIP. He whiffed 95 in 61.2 innings pitched, and allowed just 26 free passes. That gave him a strikeout rate of 13.9, and a WHIP of just 0.908. Kimbrel served up just two home runs all season long, and allowed just 11 earned runs. Quite simply Kimbrel is probably the best closer in the game today.

The Walter Johnson Award-Top Starting Pitcher – Clayton Kershaw– Dodgers

Duh! Kershaw. Enough Said.

2. Adam Wainwright – St. Louis

3. Johnny Cueto – Reds

4. Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco

5. Zack Greinke – Dodgers

The Stan Musial Award-Top Player of the year – Clayton Kershaw – Dodgers

2. Andrew McCutchen – Pirates

3. Giancarlo Stanton – Marlins

4. Buster Posey – San Franciso

5. Justin Morneau – Colorado

6. Adrian Gonzalez – Dodgers

7. Justin Upton- Atlanta

8. Jonathan Lucroy-  Milwaukee

9. Adam Wainwright- St. Louis

10. Anthony Rizzo – Chicago

Let me explain why this is going to Kershaw, and most deservedly so. There is no rule that says a pitcher can’t win the MVP award. It’s actually happened quite a few times. Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Don Newcombe. It happens, and hasn’t happened since Gibson won it in 1968. Generally speaking you would give it to a position player. But these are not ordinary times. And Clayton Kershaw is an extraordinary pitcher. Yes Andrew McCutchen, and Giancarlo Stanton had great years, and you could even make a bit of an argument for Kershaw’s teammate Adrian Gonzalez. But Kershaw was by far the most valuable player to his team this year. Not to mention he had one of the most outstanding seasons for a starting pitcher of our generation.

Kershaw finished with a 21-3 record, and a 1.77 ERA. He whiffed 239 and walked just 31, giving him an outstanding 0.857 WHIP. He allowed just 6.3 hits per nine, and whiffed 10.8 per nine while leading the National League with six complete games. No to mention he tossed a no-hitter as well. Kershaw might have to setup a whole separate room in his house for all of the awards he wins each season.

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