One of the beauties of MLB's new policy of releasing all the major award finalists a week or so in advance of the actual awards is we get to freak out about the process so much earlier. It combines the joys of award seasons with the frustration of All-Star roster announcements and vice versa.
And, boy, do Rockies fans have a lot of frustration this time around. Manager Bud Black is a finalist for the Manager of the Year award, and with good reason: He took over a young roster and in his first year managing the team he took them to the playoffs, exceeding plenty of expectations. But he’s the only one listed as a finalist
Despite pitching like an ace for the last few months of the season, Jon Gray is not in sight of Cy Young Award territory just yet. And no one even really understands what Executive of the Year means. No, it's the other two major awards that rightfully have Rockies fans tearing their collective hair out.
But first, let’s retread some old territory. Two weeks ago Rawlings and MLB announced the finalists for the Gold Glove Awards, which will be awarded tonight. Nolan Arenado and DJ LeMahieu we're both rightly named as finalists, but DJ's double-play partner Trevor Story was not. Those of us who watched Trevor on a regular basis saw his development into a fantastic defender this year. It was arguably what kept him in the lineup as he continued his sophomore slump at the plate well into the summer. And the numbers back it up as well; he was first among National League shortstops with 11 DRS, just edging out fellow sophomore Corey Seager of the Dodgers, who had 10.
But did not earn him a mentioned among the finalists? Of course not. Instead, Seager, Brandon Crawford of the Giants (9 DRS), and, strangely enough, Freddy Galvis of the Phillies (-5 DRS) ended up being the top three vote-getters. Galvis’s inclusion is particularly galling considering the award is supposed to include DRS as a major component.
Now, in the interest of fairness, it was surprising that Gerardo Parra was named to finalists for left field. While he did seem to rebound from last year, and he does have a Gold Glove in his trophy case already, his numbers were just okay. It's likely that he was helped by in over a week class in left field now that MLB awards then based on Outfield position, not just giving Awards to the top three outfielders.
Rookie of the Year
Look, Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers deserves to win this award. I would be surprised if it wasn't unanimous. For Kyle Freeland, or even Antonio Senzatela, to not earn a top-three finish is disappointing. But for German Márquez to not finish in the top three is downright egregious. As long as writers, reporters, Talking Heads, and Twitter Bots are going to discount hitters in Colorado for getting to play at Coors Field, they should at least be logically consistent and give pitchers who succeeded there extra credit.
Consider the numbers of Freeland and Marquez compared to last year’s AL Rookie of the Year winner, Michael Fulmer.
|Michael Fulmer, 2016||26||159||11-7||3.06||1.12||42||132||139||3.5|
|Kyle Freeland, 2017||33||156||11-11||4.10||1.49||63||107||122||3.4|
|German Marquez, 2017||29||162||11-7||4.39||1.37||49||147||114||3.1|
Those numbers are all at least comparable to Fulmer’s. And while his are surely better than the Rockies’ duo (while pitching in a tougher league), remember that Cody Bellinger, with his .267/.352/.581 line with 39 home runs and 87 RBI, is going to run away with this award. The point is not that Freeland or Márquez will not win, it’s that they weren’t deemed to be better than either Paul DeJong (.285/.325/.532 with 25 home runs) or Josh Bell (.255/.334/.466 with 26 home runs). Yes, they hit a lot of dingers, but so did a guy named Scooter.
This is the one that has Rockies fans most up in arms today. To have a legitimate MVP candidate on your team not finish in the the top three in voting would be enough to drive anyone to be a bit mad online. When you have two legitimate MVP candidates and neither of them make the top three, prepare to watch the internet burn.
NL MVP Candidates
It's hard in this case because Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Votto both had excellent seasons, even though they played for teams that finished well out of playoff contention. It's a credit to the voters that they weren't penalized for playing on such lackluster teams. But this gets into the argument about what constitutes “valuable,” which I will let you all hash out in the comments. Just remember what Branch Rickey told Ralph Kiner after the player was looking for a raise after 1952 season: “Son, we finished in last place with you, we could have finished last without you.”
I'm glad the stigma of finishing on losing teams didn't hurt Stanton and Votto. I just wish the stigma of Coors Field didn't do the same to Charlie and Nolan. If you don't think it did, just go and see all the people who cited their home-road splits. Now go and check to see how many cited a Coors hangover effect.
In September I penned the case for both Nolan and Charlie to win the MVP. My point was they both had strong cases and that nobody in the National League had a slam dunk case. In such a crowded field it's not so much a disappointment that neither of them will win the MVP, but that neither of them even finished in the top three. We will have to wait until next week to see what the vote breakdown was (it could be that they split votes, or didn't garner enough down-ballot support from those who didn't put them first). Whatever the results show won’t lessen the sting.
★ ★ ★
Sometimes when you are a fan of a smaller market team, you look for reasons to be slighted. Weather it’s lack of coverage this or not enough credit given that, it's easy to develop a bit of a complex. But this feels very different. If Story, Márquez, Blackmon, and Arenado can't get credit for what they accomplished this year, it's difficult to imagine what it will take for a Rockies player to receive highest honors in the game.