Thursday, October 20, 2011

Martinez, Kemp are my BBA Stan Musial MVPs

Stan, "The Man" Musial is one of the great ball players in baseball history.

Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals had 3,630 hits, 725 doubles, 475 home runs, 1951 RBI, 3 MVP Awards, 20 All-Star Game selections.

Musial is the namesake for the annual Baseball Bloggers Alliance MVP Award, handed out annually to the best player in the American and National Leagues.

As a member of the BBA, it is my honor and privilege to cast my ballot for the Stan Musial Award.

In the American League, there has been quite a bit of talk over the second half of the season about who should win the A.L. MVP.

The names of Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Elsbury, Jose Bautista, and Justin Verlander have been debated over and over again.

One name that hasn't been heard from much is Victor Martinez of the Detroit Tigers.

The DH/catcher for the Tigers is my choice for the American League BBA Willie Mays Award.

Martinez was the MVP of the Tigers offense this season, batting .330, with 12 home runs and 103 RBI.

Those numbers only begin to tell the story of why Martinez was my choice as the A.L. MVP.

The Tigers offense the last few years would get in trouble when their slugging first baseman, Cabrera, would get intenionally walked.

In the off season Tigers GM Dave Domrowski signed Martinez to a free agent contract, and manager Jim Leyland placed Martinez in the 5th spot in the Tigers batting order, giving Cabrera the protection he needed.

In 2011 Martinez led all A.L. batters in hitting with 2 strikes, at .299, and he hit .393 with runners in scoring position.

With runners on base with 2 outs Martinez hit a whopping .377.

Oh, and those walks to Cabrera?

After opposing teams walked the Tigers slugging first baseman, Martinez hit over .400, protecting Cabrera, getting on base, and allowing the players behind him in the order to hit without a lot of pressure on themselves, as they did in years past.

2nd place...Cabrera.

Cabrera played in 161 games, taking 1 day off for the birth of a his child.

The Tigers slugger hit .388 with runners in scoring position, 2nd to Martinez, and with 2 outs Cabrera hit .340.

Miguel Cabrera led the A.L. in hitting for 4 days this year, the last four, winning his first batting title(.344 avg.), belting 30 home runs, with 48 doubles, 105 RBI, 108 walks, and a .586 slugging percentage.

Cabrera and Martinez were simply the best back to back hitters in any line up in the A.L. in 2011.

3rd place...Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees.

Granderson had a huge year, belting 41 home runs, driving in a league leading 119 runs, and scoring a league leading 136 runs.

4th place. Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

Joey Bats once again led all of baseball in home runs, with 43, and the slugging Jays right fielder also walked a 132 times, and had a  .608 slugging percentage, both of which were best in the big leagues.

5th place...Justin Verlander, P, Detroit Tigers

There has been a lot of talk about Verlander winning the MVP Award, something last done by a starting pitcher in 1986, by the Red Sox Rogers Clemens.

The last pitcher to win the award was the A's Dennis Eckersley, who won the MVP as a closer.

If Verlander, who won 24 games and led all A.L. pitchers in wins, ERA, and strikeouts, had won his last start, getting him to the 25 win mark, I would probably have voted Verlander #1 on my ballot.

6th place...Robinson Cano, Yankees, .302, 28 HR, 118 RBI.
7th place...Jacoby Elsbury, Red Sox, .321, 32 HR, 121 RBI.
8th place ....Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox, .300, 31 HR, 105 RBI.
9th place...Adrian Gonzales, Red Sox, .338, 27 HR, 117 RBI.
10th place...Casey Kotchman, Tampa Bay Rays, .306, 10 HR, 48 RBI.

In the National League, my Willie Mays Award choice goes to the Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp.

Kemp was the best all around player for most of the season in the National League, even though he and his club were immersed in turmoil with the off field problems of the Dodgers.

Kemp led the league with 39 home runs, 132 RBI, 115 runs scored, had a .586 slugging percentage(tied #1...Fielder), and was third in batting average, at .324.

Kemp 195 hits were 2nd in the N.L., and his on base percentage was .399, 4th in the league.

Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers is my 2nd place pick,

Braun hit .332, finishing second(Reyes) in the league, and he hit 33 HR and drove in 111 runs, while scoring 109, second only to Kemp.

The Brewers won their first Division Title since 1982, and Braun was a big part of that win, teaming with slugging first baseman Prince Fielder to power the Milwaukee offense.

Fielder gets my 3rd place vote.

The son of former big leaguer "Big Daddy" Cecil Fielder, Prince smacked 38 home runs, and drove in 120 runs, 2nd to Kemp in both categories.

Fielder collected 36 doubles, and was 2nd in the N.L. in walks, 107, and on base percentage, .415(Votto).

4th place goes to Lance Berkman of the Cardinals.

From the start of the 2011 season Berkman was as good as any hitter in the N.L., solidifying the Cardinals line up, finishing with a .415  on base percentage, second best in the league,  while batting .301, with 31 HR and 94 RBI.

5th place goes to Berkman's teammate, Cards 1st Baseman Albert Pujols.

The future Hall of Famer was once again his usual dominate force, batting .299, bashing 37 HR(3rd in N.L.) and driving in 99 runs.

6th place...Jose Reyes, New York Mets, .337 batting average(#1 in N.L.), 101 runs scored, 31 doubles, 39 stolen bases.

7th place...Michael Morse, Washington Nationals, .303, 31 HR, 95 RBI.
8th place...Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies, .253, 33 HR, 116 RBI.
9th place...Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds, .256, 32 HR, 97 RBI.
10th place...Clayton Kershaw, P, L.A. Dodgers, 21-5, 2.28 ERA, 248 K's.

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