Pinstriped Bible awards: Part I

I don’t get a vote, but as we wait for the quantum states of the Yankees playoff opponents to collapse into a single hostile force, the Pinstriped Bible awards ballot:

girardi_250_100409.jpgAL MANAGER OF THE YEAR
1. Joe Girardi, New York Yankees
2. Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels
3. Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers

Sure, Girardi got all the big-ticket Christmas presents last winter, but let’s review: First, last year he was insecure and came off like Captain Queeg. That wasn’t the case this year. Second, he cut down on the one-run strategies (that guys that were bunting were the ones who probably should have been, like Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli) and self-defeating intentional walks. Third, he remade the bullpen on the fly for the second year in a row. Finally, he was sensitive to having a veteran team and made a point of resting his regulars.

Against this, we have the Joba Chamberlain rules screw-up, a strange loyalty to Sergio Mitre, the weird survival of non-entities like Angel Berroa on the roster and his favoring of Xavier Nady over Nick Swisher at season’s outset. I’m not sure how many of these issues were solely Girardi’s call or how many current managers would have done better. Let’s also throw in the team’s recovery from a rough start and early abuse at the hands of the Red Sox, and the fact that not all of those expensive toys performed up to expectations from the get-go. Girardi is as good a choice as any manager, despite the Yankees’ bulging payroll.

Scioscia managed a very different kind of Angels team this year, a unit that survived more on its offense, which was the apotheosis of the high-average Scioscia/Mickey Hatcher style, albeit with more power, than its pitching staff that endured many injuries and the murder of Nick Adenhart. They also outplayed their third-order winning percentage by 10 games. Leyland’s team was a mess, but he did restlessly experiment throughout the year with patching its various holes. In the end they outplayed their expected record by eight games.

NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR
1. Jim Tracy, Colorado Rockies
2. Tony LaRussa, St. Louis Cardinals
3. Bud Black, San Diego Padres

In reverse order: Black had nothing to work with and an unstable ownership situation not only meant that the club couldn’t be improved, but that some of his good players, like Jake Peavy, would be sold out from under him. To his credit, the club didn’t quit and actually posted a winning record in the second half. LaRussa started the season with Albert Pujols and pretty much nothing else, and it got worse from there as Khalil Greene imploded, some of the young relievers didn’t take, and Chris Duncan lost his bat. LaRussa improvised a competent lineup while his pitching czar, Dave Duncan, worked miracles with the hurlers. They outplayed their expected record by five games. Finally, Tracy took over a team that was dead in the water, playing at close to a hundred-loss pace through more than a quarter of the season and presided over a .640 finish and a playoff berth. That’s up there with what Bob Lemon did for the Yankees in 1978.

AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
1. Andrew Bailey, Oakland A’s
2. Jeff Neimann, Tampa Bay Rays
3. Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox
4. Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers
5. Brett Anderson, Oakland A’s
6. Nolan Reimold, Baltimore Orioles

There were many strong rookie seasons in the AL, but none that really popped, and as such it’s very hard to separate one from the other. Bailey pitched very well, but in a comparatively compressed amount of playing time compared to some of the other candidates. Beckham had a strong year, but his weak August (.223/.313/.393) depressed his numbers just enough that it underscores a future in the middle infield and not the hot corner, while Neimann slipped a bit in the second half. Porcello and Anderson probably have the brightest futures of any of them, and of course if the Tigers does something astounding on Tuesday in saving the division title for his team that could change this ranking.

NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
1. Chris Coghlan, Florida Marlins
2. J.A. Happ, Philadelphia Phillies
3. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
4. Tommy Hanson, Atlanta Braves
5. Casey McGehee, Milwaukee Brewers
6. Garret Jones, Pittsburgh Pirates

As with the AL, the Senior Circuit enjoyed many solid rookie seasons. Coghlan finished at .321/.390/.460 (128 games) and gave the Marlins the leadoff man they’d desperately needed all season. McCutchen finished at .286/.365/.471 in 108 games. McCutchen may be the better long-term bet, but Coghlan had the more impactful season. On a per-game basis, Garrett Jones was better than either of them on a per-game basis, but didn’t play nearly as much. If Happ took the award it wouldn’t be a crime given the important role he played in stabilizing a pitching staff that was flying apart.

MVP AND CY YOUNG AWARD WINNERS…
…In the next entry.

6 Comments

First time, long time and all that, but I had to ask: no Elvis Andrus in the *top 6* for AL RoY? I can understand not loving his bat, but he played shortstop for a team that took its playoff aspirations late into September and, from what I’ve read, played the position well. He is the only rookie with enough at bats to qualify for the batting title (again, with te caveat that he is a below average hitter–but again, he’s a shortstop and a good one). And he did it in his age 21 season. Maybe these are not all reasons to hand someone the award, but I would think he’s a better choice than some of the guys you have listed.

I’m so shocked that a Yankee writer thinks that Girardi should be the manager of the year. LOL!How generous of you to put Scoscia second to Girardi. You dont think Gardenhire deserves to be on that list? He had to deal with Mauer being out for over a month with some young inexperienced pitchers that we didnt heard about and in top of that he lost Mornaeu in the last month he still manage to make it this far. Lets switch the two managers and put Gardenhire with the Yankees and Girardi with the Twins. Do you think Girardi would have made it this far with the Twins lineup? I dont think so.

terry180-
You must not read many of Steven’s columns. He is about as far from a Girardi-apologist as you will find in the NY media. But hey, have fun with your preconceived notions.

I would agree with you across the board. At first I didn’t like Bud Black even in the conversation, but you bring up some good points. I was thinking maybe LaRussa could take it, but when you have Pujols it makes things easier, but a similar argument could be made about Girardi. I think Girardi has brought a lot more to the table though.

http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com

Terry Francona does’t get nearly enough credit for the job he does with the Red Sox. I’m not going to make a case for his winning the AL Manager of the Year, but he had three fifths of his expected starting rotation disappear on him (Smoltz, Penny, Wakefield) so much so that they had to bring up pitchers from AA ball. He delt with many more injuries and made the best of a black hole at shortstop. By overcoming those and by getting the best out of his best players, he managed to win 95 games in the AL East. I think that warrents his entry into the discussion of MotY.

He’s done a heck of a job in Boston for a long time and for some reason he never seems to get serious mention in the Manager of the Year voting. Francona has finished 5th, 6th, and 4th twice. Not that how he or his team have performed or how past MotY voters thought Francona had performed should matter this season, but I think Francona’s results have been better than Leyland, Scioscia’s, and Gardenhire’s, who’s insistence on “small-ball” tactics drives me up a wall.

This isn’t to take away from the job that Girardi has done, though I think the bungling of Joba is a serious dent in his 103 win armor.

How can Leyland even be considered for manager of the year. At the least, Gardenhire should be ahead of him in the manager of the year vote. Any manager that lets his team blow a 3 game lead with 4 to play should not be mentioned in any manager of the year debate.

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