Authored by Jason Follain - 11th October, 2010 - 10:00 am
By now, you have probably read about 73 or so different articles with their respective authors? picks for the various regular season awards. I must admit, I read them all too. I enjoy reading everyone?s takes on why they think an individual earned that particular award and why others didn?t deserve it. If you?ve read some of my past articles, especially the one that spawned this silly little exercise, you would have read about my Player Rating statistic that is designed to measure starting pitchers and offensive players on the same scale. Please refer to the link above for a more in-depth explanation of Player Rating, but if you choose not to, the higher the rating, the better the hitter/pitcher. It?s as easy as that.
What I promised the readers in that article above was a final season edition of a group of imaginary awards that I have dubbed the MidVP, the Andy Ashby Award as well as Mr. Mediocre. Now, if only these players would accept my calls, I would be more than happy to present them personally. However, I can?t see why anyone would want to claim these titles, as I?m sure every player aims to excel at their craft rather than be branded simply an average performer at their chosen vocation.
So as to include only players who are on the field fairly regularly for their teams, I have set minimum qualifications for both hitters and pitchers. Hitters must have accumulated at least 400 plate appearances and pitchers must have compiled no less than 120 innings pitched during 2010. While this definitely raises the bar slightly, as it can be assumed that the worse one performs, the less one plays, the goal of this exercise is to determine the most average player of 2010 that played on a regular basis. Without further ado, the following is possibly the most egregiously meaningless application of a perfectly useful statistic that you have ever read.
National League Mid Valuable Player
Brandon Phillips ? While Phillips may be headed to the playoffs as the National League Central Division champion Cincinnati Reds? leadoff man, Player Rating has determined that, theoretically, if you had eight of him around the diamond, you would most likely finish the season 81-81. Second base, or leading off for that matter, isn?t typically a position that produces big offensive numbers, so Phillips is already ahead of the game. In fact, Yadier Molina?s sparring partner has averaged 21 home runs per season during his five year run in Cincinnati. To top off the power speed combo, Phillips has also averaged 24 steals in the same period.
Alas, we have our first middling medal winner. True to form, among National League second basemen with 400 plate appearances, Brandon Phillips ranked 10th out of 17 in batting average, 12th out of 17 in on base percentage and 7th out of 17 in slugging percentage. Mix all of those up into a pot and you have the most normal hitter in the National League. Congratulations, Brandon (Call it intuition, but something tells me he would feel the same way about me as he does about the St. Louis Cardinals if I were to personally bestow this honor upon him).
NL MVP (according to Player Rating): Joey Votto, NL Anti-MVP: Pedro Feliz
National League Andy Ashby Award
Livan Hernandez ? After tapping into the fountain of youth in April, in which he compiled a 0.87 ERA in his first four starts, Hernandez settled into his role as the elder statesman of the Nationals? rotation. In his case, being deemed an average starter at the ripe old age of 35 (I must admit, when I was writing that, I truly chuckled a little. I?m waiting for the day the news comes out that he is actually 52), could quite possibly earn him a job next year. The man spent the past four years proving to us that he was one of the worst starters in the game, but his second tour of duty in Washington saw an incredible comeback. Nationals fans, if I offered to bet you that Livan Hernandez would, at season?s end, wind up leading your pitching staff in games started, innings pitched, complete games, shutouts and strikeouts, there?s a chance I may have bankrupted you given that most of you would?ve staked all of your earthly possessions on that bet.
NL Cy Young Award: Adam Wainwright, NL Belly Itcher Award: Zach Duke
American League Mid Valuable Player
Marco Scutaro ? When the Boston Red Sox signed Scutaro to a two-year contract in the offseason, they had to know that they weren?t going to get the kind of production that he enjoyed in 2009. That said, I think they may have gotten what they expected out of him. It was unlikely that he was going to, one, post a slugging percentage over.400, which he had never done prior to 2009, and two, post an on base percentage anywhere near his 2009 figure of .379. In fact, both of these numbers fell to exactly a 0.003 difference compared to his career averages, so it would have been foolish of the Red Sox to expect anything different. However, when you put Scutaro?s 2010 performance into context and compare him to his peers, among regular shortstops in the American League he ranked 3rd in batting average, 3rd in on base percentage and 4th in slugging percentage. So, when evaluating the performance of the BoSox shortstop, it is apparent that wholly average offensive output from a customarily defensive-minded position is a very valuable asset to have.
AL MVP: Josh Hamilton, AL Anti-MVP: Aaron Hill
American League Andy Ashby Award
Wade Davis ? The latest in a long line of potential frontline starters that have made the leap to full time duty for the Rays, Davis didn?t set the league on fire in his first full season. However, when you consider that he is pitching against stiff opposition night in and night out in the AL East, being run of the mill might figure to be a compliment. The three top offenses (Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays) in the American League reside in the division and 31% of his starts were against those very teams. So, while his 4.07 ERA might not open your eyes, the Rays believe that they have yet another pitcher capable of handling the rigors of pitching in the toughest division in baseball as well as someone with the potential to improve over his next five years of team control.
AL Cy Young Award: Felix Hernandez, AL Belly Itcher Award: Brian Bannister
Jorge Posada ? While he is the highest paid player highlighted in this article, we have another individual in Posada who plays a position in which offense is typically second on the priority list. That said, the Yankees are used to him putting up much more robust numbers than he did in 2010. Posado will, however, turn 40 years old next season, so the days of him putting up the stats that Yankee fans have become accustomed to over his 15 year tenure are probably behind him. What might work in his favor, though, is the fact that top prospect Jesus Montero is surely to be in the fold sometime next season and might push Posada to spend a more significant portion of his playing time at designated hitter. This season, he spent 30 games at the DH position and that figure is surely to rise in 2011. The Yankees hope this will be somewhat of a boon to his production at the plate.
Best overall Player Rating: Felix Hernandez, Worst Overall: Brian Bannister
While it was totally unintentional, the three hitters that were just handed awards celebrating mediocrity play what are considered the three least offensive-minded positions on the diamond. Essentially, they are all above average hitters compared to their peers. So, while the net effect of this exercise is basically nothing, I hope you enjoyed it. Let?s face it, we?d all love to be so-so performers at the major league level. In fact, the five players outlined in this piece raked in an average of $5.23 million in base salary in 2010. At the very least, one thing we know is that it is lucrative to be considered middle of the road while playing at the highest level.
I will leave you with my final overall Player Ratings for the 2010 season.
Jason Follain is the Senior Baseball Writer for RealGM.com. Please feel free to send comments, suggestions and feedback to Jason Follain directly at Jason.Follain@realgm.com
|Name||Final 2010 Player Rating|
|Jorge de la Rosa||5.34|