It’s the start of the second decade in the new millennium on MLB Monday as we move closer to the present day in professional baseball. The sport keeps evolving, of course, right before our very eyes, and it’s up to us to remain constantly vigilant on everything going down around us.
This was a decade of many scandals, once again, so here we go, sifting through the shit again …
2010 AL MVP: Josh Hamilton (original), Brett Gardner (revised)
Seven players from the junior circuit placed in the MLB Top 10 for WAR value, starting with AL MVP vote winner, Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton (8.7). He was followed by Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (8.2), New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Canó (8.1), Boston Red Sox 3B Adrián Beltré (7.8), Yankees OF Brett Gardner (7.4), Rays left fielder Carl Crawford (7.0), and Toronto Blue Jays utility man José Bautista (7.0).
We know Canó was a cheater, and the two Tampa players eliminate each other, so we’re down to Hamilton, Beltré, Gardner, and Bautista. Texas won the AL West by 9 games, while Boston and Toronto missed the postseason entirely. New York won the wild-card spot by 6 games, so it looks like Gardner should be our pick for the MVP. He posted 3.4 dWAR to finish third overall there in the majors.
His offensive numbers: 47 SBs, 79 BBs, .383 OBP, and and 97 runs. He only hit .277 with 5 HRs, but Gardner’s other abilities paid off for the Yankees as they charged into the postseason as the defending World Series champions.
2010 NL MVP: Joey Votto (original), Troy Tulowitzki (revised)
The three best players in the senior circuit were St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols (7.5 WAR), Cincinnati Reds 1B Joey Votto (7.0), and Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (6.7). In a surprise, Votto won the vote as the Reds beat the Cardinals by 5 games for the NL Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Rox finished 9 games out of the postseason, so we can confirm this vote for Votto.
Or can we? He posted -0.6 dWAR, so we cannot. Shocker, right? It’s been a long time since we had to disqualify a “winner” for bad defense. But guess what? Pujols also came in on the wrong side of the value ledger with -0.1 dWAR, so we’re down to Tulo: He qualifies, winning his second NL MVP from us in a surprise result of analysis, thanks to 2.7 dWAR.
His offense? He hit .315 with 27 HRs, 95 RBI, 11 SBs, and a .949 OPS. Colorado only managed 83 wins, but Tulo was good enough to claim this award nonetheless, by a sliver. If Pujols had made one less error, etc., he would have snared his fifth MVP trophy from us. As it is, Tulowitzki gets another piece of hardware for his mantle.
2010 AL Cy Young: Félix Hernández (original), Cliff Lee (revised)
This was a weird year, where the voters went to the sabermetric extreme in voting this award to Seattle Mariners ace Félix Hernández (7.2 WAR) despite the Ms winning just 61 games. We’re not that foolish. The real contenders include Boston phenom Clay Buchholz (5.6), Red Sox southpaw Jon Lester (5.2), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim workhorse Jered Weaver (5.2), and Rangers midseason acquisition Cliff Lee (5.1).
Obviously, the two Boston pitchers eliminate each other from consideration, leaving us with Weaver and Lee. The Angels finished under .500, while the Rangers won the AL West. Lee only made 15 starts for Texas, but his full season with his Seattle starts included amounted to a 12-9 record and a 3.18 ERA over 212 1/3 IP. He also posted the best WHIP in the American League (1.003).
Lee won this vote in 2008, but we took that trophy away from him—not this time, as he also topped the league in fewest walks allowed per 9 IP (0.8) and highest K: BB ratio (10.28). He was pretty impressive, despite pitching for his fourth team in two seasons, as a true hired gun.
2010 NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay (original), Tim Hudson (revised)
With eight pitchers in the MLB Top 10 for WAR, it was a crowded field of contenders here. But three of them pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies—Roy Halladay (8.5), Roy Oswalt (6.0), and Cole Hamels (5.5)—so they’re out. Halladay won the vote, so it doesn’t seem fair, but our rules are our rules. That leaves us with five options for this award.
Colorado ace Ubaldo Jiménez (7.5), Florida Marlins star Josh Johnson (7.0), Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright (6.2), Atlanta Braves workhorse Tim Hudson (5.8), and Los Angels Dodgers youngster Clayton Kershaw (5.6) all have a shot here. We know where the Rox and the Cards finished; the Marlins and the Dodgers ended up below .500 for the year.
With the Braves claiming the wild card by 1 game, this award goes to Hudson, shockingly. With a 17-9 record and a 2.83 ERA, he also compiled a 1.150 WHIP over 228 2/3 IP in total. The WAR mark was his highest since the 2003 season when he pitched for the Oakland Athletics.
2010 AL ROTY: Neftalí Feliz (original), John Jaso (revised)
Five rookies finished with at least 2.0 WAR for the season: Detroit Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson (5.1), Baltimore Orioles starter Brian Matusz (2.8), Tampa Bay catcher John Jaso (2.6), Texas closer Neftalí Feliz (2.5), and Minnesota Twins 3B Danny Valencia (2.0). With Feliz winning the vote as the Rangers won the AL West, is there room here for anyone else?
Detroit did not have a winning season, although Jackson was clearly the best rookie. Baltimore posted a losing record. Tampa Bay won the AL East by 1 game over the Yankees, though, which gives Jaso more significant value than Feliz. The Twins won the AL Central by 6 games. We’re going with Jaso here over Feliz, because without him, the Rays do not win the AL East.
He posted 0.3 dWAR, while hitting 263 with a .750 OPS. His 44 RBI and 59 BBs really played into his offensive contributions, and Jaso also played some first base to help wherever it was needed.
2010 NL ROTY: Buster Posey (original), Jason Heyward (revised)
In one of the more tragic votes in recent years, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (3.9 WAR) won the NL ROTY vote despite trailing the top rookie in the circuit by 2.5 WAR! So while voters rewarded King Felix, they punished Atlanta right fielder Jason Heyward (6.4). How do the same voters fuck up twice so badly in different sabermetric directions, without rhyme or reason?
We’re here to correct this error: Heyward’s team also finished with less playoff margin, so he doubly should have won this award. So much for mythmaking, right? Heyward posted a higher OPS+ than Posey did (131 to 129), and he also posted a higher dWAR mark as well (1.0 to 0.8). He also had more total bases than the Giants’ pretty boy, as well (237 to 205).
Heyward also was better because of his walk rate: Posey walked only 30 times, while Heyward—two years younger—walked 91 times. The list goes on … either way, this was a misguided vote result, and the year was a bad one for the awards: Once again, we revised all six awards, showing how clueless the BBWA membership really was in 2010.