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More hardware…

…now for the National League.  Full disclosure:  The Blowhard watches a whole helluva more American League baseball than National League.  This may be quick…

Most Valuable Player:

  1. Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
  2. Daniel Murphy, Washington
  3. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
  4. Nolan Arenado, Colorado
  5. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta
  6. Joey Votto, Cincinnati
  7. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona
  8. Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets
  9. Buster Posey, San Francisco
  10. Corey Seager, LA Dodgers

10 guys is definitely steep here, as from what I can tell it’s Bryant and then 9 other guys to fill out the ballot.  Murphy 2nd?  Why not?  He led the league in OPS.  He was 13th in WAR?  Oh no!!  I can’t in good conscience put Arenado at #2.  Sure, his numbers are once again great.  But again…Colorado.  I felt like Murphs deserved to be higher than Rizzo and it feels like 2-4 is the next “tier” after Bryant.

5-7…MVP’s?  I don’t know.  These guys all had great years, but their teams were awful.  I have friends that would probably put Freeman 2nd, since he was 3rd in both OPS and WAR and well, it doesn’t matter that his team finished 26 and a half games out of first.  They also probably would put Jon Lester 3rd, since he is…Jon Lester.  You know who you are.

8-10 I was just throwing darts.  Even considered Wilson Ramos.  Ryan Braun had some decent numbers, but…

Speaking of Lester, he may well have been worthy of a top 10 nod, along with Max Scherzer.  And perhaps Madison Bumgarner.  Didn’t feel it here though.  If you do, I wouldn’t argue with it.  Like I said, the whole list was basically a crapshoot anyway.

Cy Young:

  1. Max Scherzer, Washington
  2. Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs
  3. Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco
  4. Johnny Cueto, San Francisco
  5. Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs

Here’s a ballot that could use the 10 spots.  Not that all of those 10 could be considered the winner of the Cy Young.  But there were several others in the league that warranted “end of ballot” consideration.  These include, Noah Syndergaard, Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Martinez, Jake Arrieta and the late Jose Fernandez.  Perhaps Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon too, if you like your closers.  We know I don’t though.

I see this as between just Scherzer and Lester.  And, of course, as a Boston homer, I would’ve loved to give this to Jon.  But after going deeper into the numbers there was no way I could do it.  Lester had a better ERA by about a half a run.  But that’s where it ends.  Max had a better WHIP by a smidge, pitched about 26 more innings, had one more win, almost 90 more strikeouts…and for those who like WAR, it was 6.2 to 5.3 in favor of Max.  The competition in their divisions were similar with one playoff or near playoff team, one average team and 2 putrid ones.  Plus the Cubs won their division handily and surely faced less pressure…not a major consideration, but it was all part of the equation that added up to Max.

Bumgarner and Cueto were a pretty clear next tier to me.  Hendricks got the last spot largely because he led the league in ERA by a healthy margin and was 2nd in WHIP by a slim margin.  Pushed him ahead of Noah for me.  But I didn’t lose a ton of sleep over 5th place.

Rookie of the Year:

  1. Corey Seager, LA Dodgers
  2. Kenta Maeda, LA Dodgers
  3. Trea Turner, Washington

Seager was the clear-cut choice here.  No other hitter played enough to qualify, while Seager played the whole year at a high level.  I don’t love putting Maeda second, not after 8 years of pitching in the Japanese leagues.  Yes, Japan is not the majors.  But it’s probably better than Triple-A teams stateside.  Either way, the rules say he is eligible for this award.  Since he was also around for a full season and put up some pretty good numbers on a playoff team, he gets the runner-up position.

Third place could have gone a few ways, but I picked Turner.  Showed great speed (33 steals) and good power (13 dingers) in about half a season.  Throw in the high average (.342) and that sealed up third for me.  Trevor Story was on his way to throwing up some monster numbers before missing the last 2 months or so with injury, but…Colorado.  Aledmys Diaz also threw up decent numbers before he missed the better part of the last two months himself.  And he was an All-Star, for whatever that’s worth.  Seung-hwan Oh had a very nice year in relief for the Cards.  After 9 years in Korea and 2 in Japan.  Plus…reliever.  Junior Guerra, Steven Matz, etc.  There were a bunch of NL rookies who offered pretty good contributions for a half or three-quarters of a year.

Manager of the Year:

  1. Dusty Baker, Washington
  2. Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs
  3. Bruce Bochy, San Francisco

Between Baker and Maddon and I hate Maddon, so gimme Baker.  Nah, that’s not the reason.  But it’s hard to vote for a guy that won the division by 17 and a half games and was on cruise control for pretty much the whole season.  That’s what I think anyway.  Sure, he had to keep the team full of All-Stars focused and all.  Sometimes that can be hard (see Francona, Terry and Torre, Joe, among others).  But I went with Baker for the top slot.  Dusty took over for Matt Williams and guided the Nationals to 12 more wins…despite a MAJOR drop off from 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper.

If you wanted to put Terry Collins of the Mets 3rd, that would be ok.  He had to deal with many injuries, specifically in his rotation, where among all his young studs 43-year-old Bartolo Colon ended up making the most starts.  The team suffered injuries in his lineup as well.  And Collins still got them to the playoffs.  Bochy didn’t necessarily have to deal with a boatload of injuries.  But he did have to deal with a subpar everything, other than Posey, Bumgarner and Cueto.  Either one works for 3rd for me.

That about sums it all up…

Flotsam and Jetsam, Part III

One last brain dump, I promise:

*Red Sox Hall of Fame comments:

The Red Sox Hall of Fame induction ceremony was last week.  Four individuals were enshrined:  Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, and Joe Castiglione.  Interesting group, to say the least.

As big a clown, liar, joke, and any other disparaging word you can say about Rog, and there are many, he does belong in the Red Sox Hall…and the Major League Baseball Hall as well, but that is a topic for a different day.  The guy was one of the best pitchers in baseball for a long time.  Maybe even better once he got those ‘roids going strong, but still a great one even before that.  I have trouble stomaching him, so that’s all I want to say for now.

Pedro absolutely belongs as well.  There can be no dispute on that.  But Nomar?  Hmmmmm…sure he burst on the scene like a house of fire.  But he also fizzled out pretty quickly…though admittedly in other cities.  He technically was around for 9 years in Boston, though 3 of the seasons were abbreviated for one reason or another.  So 6 years of dominance?  OK, Pedro was around for 7 years.  So if you are going to be fair, I suppose due to this deeper look, Nomar belongs as well.

My biggest question is with Joe Castiglione.  By all accounts, Joe is a great guy.  He is a capable announcer.  And he is clearly a big fan of the team…as they say, you can always tell whether the Red Sox were winning or losing by the tone of Joe’s voice.  But this induction has gotten me to wonder if announcers really deserve to be in any Halls of Fame?  There is some skill to announcing a game, don’t get me wrong.  Especially on radio, where you have try a little harder to keep someone’s interest, specifically in today’s day and age with all the distractions in the world.  Some announcers are waaaaay better than others.  Some are complete gasbags.  Some get into the field because their Dads are “legends”.  Some are just simply not knowledgeable.  All different kinds are out there.  But are the top announcers really “Hall of Famers”?  Do they make a real difference in the game?  I’m not entirely sure about that.  It’s not like they are providing any fresh viewpoints on the game or its strategies…they have color analysts for that.  They just tell us what they see on the field.  I have not really thought too much about this until recently.  But a decent topic to debate.

*Tom Werner was almost the commish.  OK, that wasn’t going to happen.  But the fact that they even let him in the voting is kind of laughable.  Most people don’t believe that he was a legit candidate. But he supposedly got 8 votes the first time around.  So some of the owners may have felt otherwise, crazy as that idea sounds.

*Joe Maddon is starting to get on my nerves.  OK, he has been on my nerves for quite some time.  But his recent comments regarding the whole Derek Jeter standing ovations were ridiculous.   In case you missed it, he was upset that Jetes got standing O’s at Tropicana Field when the Yanks were in town.  Wants the fans to cheer the Rays too…first and foremost actually.  Now, you all know my feelings on Jetes.  But it is his farewell tour, so it is what it is.  Also, it does make sense for the home fans to cheer, you know, the HOME team.

But remember, this is Tampa.  No one goes to games.  So when visiting teams are in town, most notably the Yankees and Red Sox, the transplants from up north fill a great deal of the empty seats.  And other transplants may go as well, especially if it’s a nice day and want to enjoy the outdoors (whoops, strike that…stupid dome), who don’t root for Tampa either.  What does Maddon expect from this type of crowd?

So Joe, here are some ideas to get fans to root for Tampa going forward:

  1. Move to a real city that will actually support a Major League Baseball team.
  2. Don’t trade your best pitcher (David Price) while you are still at least within striking distance of a playoff spot (not to mention with a year plus left on his contract, and while you receive a minimal return, which is what they got by all indications).
  3. When your best players come to a time in their career where they deserve a sizable raise in their first free agent contract, don’t trade them EVERY TIME either. Then people will just think you are the Miami/Florida Marlins…though ummmm, they have actually won World Series’.
  4. Get a real ballpark. Catwalks?  Dome cover where tons of balls get lost against?
  5. I could probably go on…but I’m bored with the topic of Maddon now.

*What’s the purpose of sending Jackie Bradley Jr. down to Pawtucket now?  You stick with the guy all year and he is atrocious offensively the whole time.  And you think sending him down with like 15 games to go in Pawtucket’s season will change him around any?  If they were going to send him down, they should have just done it in like June.  Why bother?  I saw some gibberish about saving his options and a 20 day rule and some silliness like that.  I’m sure that is all technically true, but seriously, what’s the sense?  Did Mookie Betts all of sudden become a stud CF the last 3 weeks in AAA?

Speaking of Mookie, you knew this guy is a prospect.  You also knew that he played 2B exclusively.  You also knew Dustin Pedroia’s 8 year extension kicked in this year.  Wouldn’t it have made sense for the Red Sox to experiment playing him in various positions BEFORE this year?  Instead of force feeding him halfway through the season?  And if they do it with Betts (and to other guys like Brock Holt and even Garin Cecchini playing some outfield in Pawtucket this year), why not do it with Yoenis Cespedes?  They want him to play RF for this team, but don’t want to make the move in-season because “they don’t want to throw that much at him now…” or some nonsense like that.  What’s the difference?  Is it that Yoenis is a veteran and they don’t want to tick him off or something?  Seems foolish to me…especially when this season is already over.

Do they send Xander Bogaerts down now as well?  It’s not like he has been that much better than Bradley…and Bradley has the decisive defensive edge.  I wouldn’t.  But it would be nice if he got his head out of his keister.

*Very briefly on the Patriots’ 2nd exhibition game:

I wonder if this whole Stevan Ridley fumbling thing has reached its boiling point.  I essentially said a few weeks ago that the people that thought Ridley would get cut are stupid.  Then he put the ball on the ground again…even though I suppose the fumble would have been overturned had it gone to replay.  No matter, he just can’t be dropping balls on the turf.  So I am starting to wonder myself now.  I really don’t think they will cut him.  But it’s getting to the point that I think they may be willing to take a late round pick for him.  Guys like Tiki Barber and Kevin Faulk overcame their fumbling issues.  Ridley apparently has not.  Adrian Peterson fumbles a lot.  But he also rushes for a billion yards and touchdowns every year, against defenses always stacked to stop him.  Ridley is no AP.  He’s a good back, but not exactly irreplaceable.  Not that Brandon Bolden, Jonas Gray or Roy Finch (or even Shane Vereen or James White) are bell cows…but you don’t need those kinds of backs anymore.  Interesting to see how they handle the 3rd exhibition game.  Then things should clear up a little anyway.

Ryan Mallett played better…but was the last QB off the bench…and it was the Eagles he was playing to boot.  They carried 3 QB’s in Mallett’s first year, as he became acclimated to the pro game a little bit.  Leaning towards that they may do the same thing in Jimmy Garoppolo’s first year as well.  But we will probably get a better feeling on this after the next game too.

I can’t even talk about all the flags.  Please stop.

Mark Sanchez completed ALL of his passes attempted!  Well, one was to the Pats, but still…I found this interesting anyway.

Special teams…ugh…but I have to say, I can’t remember anything special about the special team play from the Patriots in past seasons.  Not that I would anyway.  But I remember saying last year that special teams looked ugly because they were probably trying new bodies and new combinations every time.  Once they figure things out, those guys will be ready for the season and theoretically should play better as a unit.  That’s what I tell myself anyway.  Although this all has nothing to do with Ryan Allen watching a snap fly through his hands.

Please do not try to make a tackle ever again in an exhibition game, Tom Brady.  I’m imagining an injury right now…I have to go…

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