2011 National League Awards

The other week I posted my American League regular season awards and today I present you with my National League Awards.

Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel

My NL rookie of the year candidates list was dominated by Braves players; Kimbrel, Brandon Beachy, and Freddie Freeman. My other candidates were Vance Worley and Danny Espinosa. I am not the biggest fan of the save statistic but it is hard not to give Kimbrel the award after what he accomplished this year. Kimbrel picked up a very impressive 46 saves, setting the all time rookie record. The 46 saves were also tied for first amongst closers in the NL. He led all relievers in WAR (3.2) and had the second best K/9 in the NL (14.84). He also had a very impressive 2.10 ERA and an NL leading 1.52 FIP. Not only was he one of the best rookies in the NL, but possibly the best closer as well.

Most Valuable Player: Matt Kemp

This award was very close for me between Kemp and Ryan Braun. Kemp gets the edge though and he really had an impressive year. He led the National League in WAR with 8.7, which was 0.9 wins better than the second place Braun. Kemp’s stats almost earned him a triple crown but he fell short. His .324 AVG was third best in the National League. He had 39 homeruns and 129 RBI which both led the NL. He had 40 stolen bases and just missed a 40-40 season. He had a .399 OBP, .586 SLG, and .262 ISO which were all amongst the best in the league. Kemp has a fantastic year and is very deserving of the National League MVP award.

Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw

This award was even harder for me to pick than the NL MVP but I’m giving Kershaw the very very slight edge over Roy Halladay. Kershaw was second in the NL in war (6.8). He led the league in both K/9 (9.57) and ERA (2.35) and was also tied for the most wins with 21. He was third in the league in innings pitched (233.1) and tied for first in quality starts with 25. Kershaw really shut hitters down as he had the lowest BAA in the NL with .207. The young lefty was fantastic this year and should have many more years like this to come.

Here how my Awards compare to Jonathan’s:

  Mitchell Schwartze
MVP Matt Kemp Matt Kemp
Cy Young Roy Halladay Clayton Kershaw
ROY Craig Kimbrel Craig Kimbrel

Willie Mays Award – National League

Continuing on with my postseason awards, we will move to the Willie Mays Award. The award is given by members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA) to the most outstanding rookie each year. Willie Mays was one of the first to ever win the award back in 1951.

Below is my National League ballot and a list of those who barely missed the cut. This year’s National League rookie of the year award probably should have been renamed the Braves vs. Nationals award.

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Kimbrel’s Historic Season

If you follow me on twitter, know me personally, or have frequented the site here, you probably know by now how I feel about closers and the save stat. If you do not know then I will make it brief: I hate the save stat and the closer role is one of the most overrated roles in all of sports. Now, that is not to say that one-inning pitchers don’t have a place in the game, they do, but I would never vote one in for Cy Young, let alone MVP, and it would take a historic season for me to even consider one for Rookie of the Year.

I generally prefer outings like Tiger’s reliever Phil Coke had last night against the Rays where he pitched two full innings to earn an actual save in a 2-1 ballgame. Relievers rarely go more than an inning and the specialist reliever rarely goes more than a third of an inning. But, there are instances where all those things that I hate (short stints, saves) are outshadowed by historic relevance that leaves me in awe.

Atlanta Braves Craig Kimbrel will probably win the National League Rookie of the Year award and this may be one time I do not mind. Sure, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has a valid argument as to why he should win the award, and if I had a vote I would be torn between the two because Kimbrel’s season has been that good.

Kimbrel has appeared in 65 games and logged just 63.2 innings, or less than one inning per outing, something I hate. But what he has done in those 63.2 innings is nothing short of historic. He has already eclipsed 100 strikeouts and has a K/9 rate of 14.56 which stands as a record for rookies with at least 60 innings of work and ranks 6th all-time among any pitcher with at least 60 innings of work in a season and is one of only 8 pitchers to accomplish this feat. Billy Wagner is the only one to accomplish it more than once and he did it three times.

What is even more remarkable is that he also has a 1.70 ERA and 1.21 FIP and has allowed only one homerun. Only two other pitchers have had a K/9 greater than 14.0 and an ERA lower than Kimbrel’s 1.70. Eric Gagne is one, and he won a Cy Young award, and Billy Wagner is the other and finished 4th in Cy Young award voting.

Kimbrel’s career marks are even more incredible. In 84.1 innings he has a 15.26 K/9, 1.39 ERA, 1.29 FIP, and allowed only the one homerun. His fastball/slider combo are matched by few in the game and the short stints allow him to dial it up and go all out on every pitch.

There are very few relievers that can leave me in awe of their numbers and Kimbrel has done that. The fact that he has been worth 3.1 fWAR and is on pace for roughly 3.7 fWAR and the great Mariano Rivera has only surpassed that mark once in his career makes this season one to remember for Kimbrel.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and you can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert and follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt

2011 Top 175 Prospects

There is no need to bore you with multiple paragraphs that you will not read or maybe skim over at best. Everyone wants to see the list, whether they will agree with it or not. One note is that I did not include anyone that does not qualify as a rookie, meaning anyone over 130 at-bats, over 50 innings pitched, or more than 45 days on the active roster will not make my list. Hope you enjoy it, critique it, and then tell me how awesome I am.

I kid, but seriously, without further ado here is the list:

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2011 Fantasy Rankings – Firstbasemen

Albert Pujols

As I was reading through some of my favorite blogs today I came across a great bit by Jess Coleman at Seamheads.com about Major Leaguers born in August. The article showed that the Majors far and away have more players born in August than any other month, especially among American born players. This made me sad because, well, I was born in August and I missed my calling. Who would’ve known my birth month would’ve been my ticket to the Majors? I kid. But since I never made it, or even tried to make it, I resort to playing softball with my buddies and fantasy baseball, and I do them shamelessly!

I only play in keeper leagues and I love dynasty leagues. My favorite league is my Franchise Fantasy Baseball League. For a deeper rundown check my boy Charlie Nehl’s post about it here. Basically we took a real team in the beginning with their current year’s contract and minor league system and assigned an allotted amount of years to players. The rest became free agents and were open for bidding. We have $210M salary caps and deep rosters that in includes minor leagues and minor league drafts. This is by far my favorite league I have ever done and I base all my rankings off this league’s scoring. Our offensive stats are AVG, OPS, HR, SB, R, and RBI and we start one each at C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MIF, CIF, and 4 in OF, and 2 UT.  Also, my rankings at a position do not include versatility. This is where I rank players if I were to play them at the listed position only.

With that, here are my rankings:

 Rank  Player  Tier
 1  Albert Pujols  1
 2  Adrian Gonzalez  2
 3  Miguel Cabrera  2
 4  Joey Votto  2
 5  Prince Fielder  3
 6  Mark Teixeira  3
 7  Ryan Howard  3
 8  Kevin Youkilis  3
 9  Adam Dunn  4
 10  Justin Morneau  4
 11  Kendry Morales  4
 12  Buster Posey  4
 13  Billy Butler  4
 14  Paul Konerko  4
 15  Victor Martinez  4 
 16  Aubrey Huff  5 
 17  Ben Zobrist  5 
 18  Carlos Pena  5
 19  Mike Napoli  5 
 20  Derek Lee  5 
 21  Adam Lind  5
 22  Adam LaRoche  5
 23  Gabby Sanchez  5
 24  Russell Branyan  5
 25  Carlos Lee  5
 26  Lance Berkman  5
 27  Pablo Sandoval  5
 28  Luke Scott  6
 29  Ike Davis  6
 30  James Loney  6
 31  Justin Smoak  6
 32  Howie Kendrick  6
 33  Freddie Freeman  6
 34  Dan Johnson  6
 35  Michael Cuddyer  6


Three I’d Reach For  Reason
Adrian Gonzalez His move out of Petco and into Fenway I feel equates to .300/.400/.575 with 40 bombs, 100 runs, 100 RBI.
Mike Napoli Love the park, love the power, love the lineup, love the potential.
Russell Branyan Always loved the power. Mark it down, if he gets 500 at-bats he will hit 35+ homeruns, but a big if.


Three I’ll Let Pass  Reason
 Ryan Howard ISO that has dropped 5 years in a row and BB% that has dropped 4 years in a row.
 Aubrey Huff 34 years old and set too many career highs in age 33 season for me to expect a duplicate.
 Carlos Lee Dwindling power, can’t run anymore, and does not get on base enough. Aging poorly.


Top 3 Rookie 1B Reason
 Freddie Freeman Hit .319/.378/.518 as a 20 yr  old in AAA. 1B job is his in ATL.
 Eric Hosmer My #4 prospect in baseball is going to hit and hit and hit.
 Brandon Belt No one doubts his hitting tool but Huff blocks him at 1B. Could get PT in OF.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at his other site Figure Filbert and on twitter at @FigureFilbert

My 2011 MLB Predicitons

Troy Tulowitzki

I decided to dig a little deeper and lay out my predicitons from our inaugural post with the Win-Loss records and award winners that go up to five deep.

While I do not use fancy projection systems like PECOTA or Marcels, I do run my own numbers to try and garner a win total for a team based on my 2011 projections for that team’s players. By doing that, most teams end up with an extra win or two because I cannot predict injuries that ruin a player’s entire season and I have to trim those extra wins in order to make sure the total wins match the total losses (I usually end up with about 30 more wins than losses with my initial numbers). That is where some of the “human element” comes in to play.

With that, here are my projected standings and awards:

AL East
1. Red Sox (94-68)
2. Rays (90-72) (Wild Card)
3. Yankees (89-73)
4. Blue Jays (82-80)
5. Orioles (77-85)

AL Central
1. White Sox (87-75)
2. Twins (86-76)
3. Tigers (84-78)
4. Indians (70-92)
5. Royals (61-101)

AL West
1. Rangers (90-72)
2. Athletics (86-76)
3. Angels (78-84)
4. Mariners (65-97)

NL East
1. Phillies (94-68)
2. Braves (89-73) (Wild Card)
3. Marlins (79-83)
4. Mets (77-85)
5. Nationals (73-89)

NL Central
1. Cardinals (90-72)
2. Brewers (87-75)
3. Reds (87-75)
4. Cubs (80-82)
5. Astros (66-96)
6. Pirates (63-99)

NL West
1. Rockies (88-74)
2. Giants (86-76)
3. Dodgers (81-81)
4. Padres (81-81)
5. Diamondbacks (70-92)

World Series

Rockies over Red Sox in 7.

World Series MVP

Dexter Fowler

AL: Adrian Gonzalez, Evan Longoria, Nelson Cruz, Shin-Soo Choo, Miguel Cabrera

NL: Troy Tulowitzki, Chase Utley, Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun, Ryan Zimmerman

Cy Young
AL: Jon Lester, Felix Hernandez, Brett Anderson, David Price, Dan Haren

NL: Roy Halladay, Adam Wainwright, Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, Mat Latos

Rookie of the Year
AL: Jeremy Hellickson, J.P. Arencibia, Hank Conger, Kyle Drabek, Jesus Montero

NL: Domonic Brown, Freddie Freeman, Aroldis Chapman, Brandon Belt, Kenley Jansen

Comback Player of the Year
AL: Grady Sizemore, Conor Jackson

NL: Carlos Beltran, Pablo Sandoval

-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at his other site Figure Filbert and on twitter at @FigureFilbert

MLB Dirt Predictions

Welcome readers and this is MLB Dirt, your baseball headquarters for news, analysis, and everything baseball. In our inaugural article, we have posted our predictions for the upcoming Major League Baseball season.

You will find our predictions for each division, the playoffs, and who we think will win this year’s major awards in each league. This is the first step in the development and expansion of the site. Please tell your friends about MLB Dirt and be prepared to get dirty in baseball news.

For more MLB Dirt, make sure you follow us on Twitter @MLBdirt and “like us on Facebook

Without further ado, here are the 2011 Dirt Predictions:

 Division  Mitchell  MLB Reports  Schwartze
 AL East 1. Red Sox
2. Rays*
3. Yankees
4. Blue Jays
5. Orioles
1. Rays
2. Red Sox*
3. Blue Jays
4. Yankees
5. Orioles
1. Red Sox
2. Rays
3. Yankees
4. Orioles
5. Blue Jays
 AL Central 1. White Sox
2. Twins
3. Tigers
4. Indians
5. Royals
1. White Sox
2. Tigers
3. Twins
4. Royals
5. Indians
1. Twins
2. White Sox
3. Tigers
4. Indians
5. Royals
 AL West 1. Rangers
2. Athletics
3. Angels
4. Mariners
1. Rangers
2. Athletics
3. Angels
4. Mariners
1. Rangers
2. Athletics*
3. Mariners
4. Angels
 NL East 1. Phillies
2. Braves*
3. Marlins
4. Mets
5. Nationals
1. Phillies
2. Braves
3. Nationals
4. Marlins
5. Mets
1. Phillies
2. Braves*
3. Mets
4. Marlins
5. Nationals
 NL Central 1. Cardinals
2. Brewers
3. Reds
4. Cubs
5. Astros
6. Pirates
1. Reds
2. Cardinals*
3. Brewers
4. Cubs
5. Astros
6. Pirates
1. Cardinals
2. Brewers
3. Reds
4. Cubs
5. Pirates
6. Astros
 NL West 1. Rockies
2. Giants
3. Dodgers
4. Padres
5. Diamondbacks
1. Dodgers
2. Rockies
3. Giants
4. Padres
5. Diamondbacks
1. Rockies
2. Dodgers
3. Giants
4. Diamondbacks
5. Padres

* Wild Card Winner


 Award  Mitchell  MLB Reports  Schwartze
 AL Cy Young 1. Jon Lester
2. Felix Hernandez
1. C.J. Wilson
2. J. Papelbon
1. Jon Lester
2. Felix Hernandez
 AL MVP 1. Adrian Gonzalez
2. Evan Longoria
1. Adam Dunn
2. Miguel Cabrera
1. Evan Longoria
2. Adrian Gonzalez
 AL ROY 1. J. Hellickson
2. J.P. Arencibia
1. J. Hellickson
2. Kyle Drabek
1. J. Hellickson
2. Nick Weglarz
 AL Come Back 1. Grady Sizemore
2. Conor Jackson
1. Brad Penny
2. Alex Gordon
1. Josh Beckett
2. Grady Seizmore
 NL Cy Young 1. Roy Halladay
2. A. Wainwright
1. Roy Halladay
2. Cliff Lee
1. Cliff Lee
2. A. Wainwright
 NL MVP 1. Troy Tulowitzki
2. Chase Utley
1. Albert Pujols
2. Andre Ethier
1. Hanley Ramirez
2. Albert Pujols
 NL ROY 1. Domonic Brown
2. Freddie Freeman
1. Brandon Belt
2. Julio Teheran
1. Aroldis Chapman
2. Mike Minor
 NL Come Back 1. Carlos Beltran
2. Pablo Sandoval
1. Carlos Pena
2. Jesus Flores
1. Javier Vasquez
2. Carlos Beltran


World Series

 Picks  Mitchell  MLB Reports  Schwartze
 AL Champ  Red Sox  Rays  Red Sox
 NL Champ  Rockies  Phillies  Phillies
 WS Champ  Rockies  Phillies  Red Sox