Thursday, February 2, 2017

It's Awards Season


Afraid the MVP races are going to be boring this year (and they probably should be), as Jin-Chi Itou in the AL and Ike Allen in the NL put up 2 of the greatest offensive seasons in Hobbs history.

Where to start?  Itou's 67 HR's were the 4th-most all-time, his .758 slugging percentage was the best all-time, and his OPS of 1.180 was #2 all-time.  His runs created of 178.9 was #4 all-time and his rc/27 of 12.23 was 4th all-time.  Given that most of the top seasons in all those categories came in the early days of Hobbs and its higher scoring, Itou's year has a claim of being the best offensive season ever.

But so does Allen's.  He's not quite the power hitter Itou is - he "only" hit 51 HRs.  But he added 41 doubles and 9 triples for a total of 101 extra base-hits.  Our player records sections doesn't keep records of extra base-hits,  but 100+ seasons are exceedingly rare.  On top of that, Allen had 222 total hits - tied for 3rd all-time, and set a new single-season record for runs created with 191.675 (his rc/27 of 12.189 is right behind Itou's mark for 5th all-time).

There were some other great seasons - Hugh Pierre's .347/48/153 stands out - but Itou and Allen probably win in runaways.  Seasons like those just don't come around often.

AL Cy Young

Looks like the Sam Stock show (again), as the crafty middle reliever goes for his 3rd straight CY.

He should win again, and not because of the 32 wins.  For the 3rd time in 4 seasons, he led both leagues in all 5 qualitative categories (OAV, OBP-against, Slugging %-against, WHIP and ERA) by wide margins.  He led in Slugging %-against by 60 points.  For the 2nd time, he flirted with the magical .500 OPS-against barrier, finishing at .505.  As best I can tell, the only pitcher who has finished a season with a sub-.500 OPS against (with the required 162 innings pitched) was Orlando Fernandez in his incredible Season 22 (.485 OPS-against).

What will the AL's starters have to do to wrest the award from Stock in the future?  I don't know, but his most immediate threat may come from Stock-clone Bralin Kohn of Philadelphia.  The Erffdoggs appear to have used him much like New Orleans uses Stock - 2-3 innings at a time in the mid-game.  He responded with 22 wins and a fine 2.76 ERA in 160 innings pitched.

NL Cy Young

Finally, a race.  I think it comes down to Dawkins vs. Johnson in a matchup of 2 former winners.  Dawkins had the lowest OPS-against of the group - an excellent .585. Johnson wasn't much above that - .614 but in a little tougher park for pitchers.  It's very close to a tossup, but I'll go with Dawkins.


In an unusual twist, all 5 candidates are pitchers.  Makes the comparison a bit easier.  Kohn's qualitative numbers are far and away the best across the board.  OK, and Kohn threw more innings than all except Nunally (who tossed 8 more innings than Kohn).  Pretty easy call here - Kohn might win unanimously.


OK, sometimes WIS has "0's-across" on the stat line for awards candidates, and I'll bet it's cost players the award here and there.  Could happen with Buffalo's Laynce Vogelsong, who actually hit .365 with 19 HR and 62 RBI in 427 plate appearances.  Charlotte's 1B Pep Walsh (.289/38/122 in nearly 700 plate appearances) probably wins, and he probably deserves it given the almost 300 more plate appearances than Vogelsong.  But Vogelsong was quite a bit better by some measures...1.002 OPS to .860, for example.  Consider my ballot for Vogelsong a protest vote.

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