November 23, 2011 by Matt Musico
With the National League MVP being named on Tuesday, that ends the major award season in Major League Baseball for the 2011 season. So, who won what? How did they do it? Was anyone snubbed? All the answers are right here.
Rookies of the Year
American League: Jeremy Hellickson
National League: Craig Kimbrel
Like I said in my previous post about the AL and NL Rookies of the Year, both winners ran away with the award; Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson received 17 first place votes and 102 points total to beat out Mark Trumbo of the Angels, who came in second place with 63 points. I agree with Hellickson winning the award because every ounce of his 13-10 record, 2.95 ERA, and 189 innings were needed in order for the Rays to cap an incredible comeback and clinch a playoff spot. As I stated in my last post, I was surprised that Ivan Nova finished fourth overall. It’s pretty special when a rookie pitcher wins 16 games with a sub-4.00 ERA, especially in the AL East.
As for the NL race, Craig Kimbrel also ran away with all 32 first place votes and 160 points total, finishing in front of his teammate, Freddie Freeman, who ended up with only 70 points. Kimbrel broke the rookie record for saves with 46 saves and had a sparkling 2.10 ERA and 127 strikeouts. There were a few National League rookies that had breakout seasons, like Vance Worley and Danny Espinosa, but there was no doubt in my mind that Kimbrel deserved this award.
Comeback Players of The Year
American League: Jacoby Ellsbury
National League: Lance Berkman
When thinking about two players in each league who deserved to win the Comeback Player of the Year award, these were the two men that came to mind. Jacoby Ellsbury had a 2010 season to forget; he only played in 18 games due to various injuries, and didn’t even get off the interstate when talking about his batting average. However, he came back this year and had a career year in multiple ways, to the tune of a .321 average, 32 home runs, 105 RBI, 39 stolen bases, and 119 runs scored while hitting lead-off. In the National League, Lance Berkman decided to sign an incentive-laden contract with the Cardinals since he put together a lackluster 2010 season with a .248 average, 14 home runs, and 58 RBI. Not only did the St. Louis right fielder win a World Series this year, but he was a big reason why. He his .301 with 31 home runs, 94 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .412 on base percentage. Also, at the end of it all, he got re-signed by the World Champion Cardinals.
Managers of the Year
American League: Joe Maddon
National League: Kirk Gibson
Again, were either one of these choices any question? At the start of the 2011 season, just about everyone wrote off the Tampa Bay Rays from being any kind of relevant team. They lost their left fielder and lead-off man in Carl Crawford, their slugger in Carlos Pena, a starting pitcher in Matt Garza, and had to rebuild their entire bullpen. Then, add in having to deal with Manny Ramirez retiring in April because of more PED rumors, and that’s a lot to deal with. Maddon continued to guide his team and urged them to play hard through the dog days of August, even though it seemed as if they were out of the race. Couple their hot streaks with the enormous cold streak of the Red Sox and their 91-71 record clinched the Wild Card spot on the last day of the season. Jim Leyland and Ron Washington came in a distant 2nd and 3rd respectively. I think Manny Acta should have come in a little higher than fourth place because of how he kept the Indians playing meaningful baseball late into the season, even though they couldn’t compete with the elite.
In the NL, Kirk Gibson took his Arizona Diamondbacks from the worst team in the NL West in 2010 to division champions in 2011 with a 94-68 record, denying the defending champion Giants a chance to repeat. Two managers that showed up in the top-ten that I think should have been much higher on this list were Clint Hurdle of the Pirates and Don Mattingly of the Dodgers. Yes, neither one of these teams challenged for the play-offs come September, but they did some wonderful things this year. For Hurdle’s case, he had to come into a franchise that hadn’t seen a winning season since 1992, and they were in the pennant race into the beginning of August! It was so weird to see Pittsburgh act as buyers at the trading deadline instead of sellers. They have a bright future. As for Mattingly, keeping his team focused enough and getting hot enough down the stretch to finish with an 82-79 record is remarkable, considering all of the off-field issues that LA had to deal with regarding their ownership issue.
Come back tomorrow when I talk about the results of the American League and National League Cy Young and MVP award winners and give my opinion on whether anyone got snubbed.
Category Sports | Tags: 2011 MLB awards, comeback players of the year, Craig Kimbrel, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hellickson, Joe Maddon, Kirk Gibson, Lance Berkman, managers of the year, rookies of the year