Baltimore Sports Report posted their 2010 Orioles bloggers season awards, which were voted on by a number of O’s blogs. Seems like my votes were out of step with the others, but it happens.
Biggest Surprise: Winner: “Votes went a few ways here, but Jason Berken took it in the end. As Camden Chat put it, “Berken’s success in the bullpen was a surprise given his complete lack of it in the 2009 starting rotation. He was lights out for much of the season before he got injured and one of the few reliable members of the pen early on.””
My vote: “I guess Nolan Reimold’s collapse is probably the biggest surprise to me. I didn’t think he’d quite repeat his 2009, but he completely fell off the face of the earth offensively.” I guess they meant surprise in a good way as opposed to “least likely event”. Berken wasn’t a surprise at all to me; 5.10 xFIP in 2009 and a 4.08 xFIP in 2010. It dropped by a run, which is about what you’d expect for a guy moving from the starting rotation to the bullpen. He just went from ERA > FIP > xFIP to ERA < FIP < xFIP.
Biggest Disappointment: Winner: “Not much of a surprise here, as Nolan Reimold received the dubious distinction after a season where he looked completely confused at the plate, even in AAA. The odd vote went to Nick Markakis, and that was from Camden Crazies. I am not sure how increasing your average by 3 points, your on base percentage by over 30 points, and tying a record for most consecutive seasons with at least 40 doubles can count as a disappointment, but to each his own. Sure the RBI and HR were way down, but at this point we know what Markakis is and it’s hard to get RBI when the hitters around you are so terrible for so much of the year.”
My vote: “The whole team? Individual player-wise, I’d say Nick Markakis. He’s establishing himself as just a “decent” player instead of the All-Star level guy the team needs him to be. We may never again see the combination of defense, power, and OBP that he showed in 2008. Given the heights he reached then, his fall has been a huge disappointment.” Reimold wasn’t that big of a disappointment because his upside isn’t that high. I doubted he could repeat his 2009 anyway, and he was never going to be a cornerstone for the franchise. I’m much more disappointed getting 2.8 fWAR out of Nick instead of 5-6, rather than -0.4 from Nolan instead of 1.5. It’s a matter of perspective, and I think I explained my vote well enough.
Most Valuable Oriole: Winner: “Luke Scott took this going away, though I put in Markakis for his newfound leadership role on the team giving something extra off the field. On Scott, Oriole Post may have put it best. “Luke Scott. He avoided the slumps that have affected him during his time in Baltimore this season. With solid power numbers at the plate, Luke’s truly defined himself as a legitimate hitter in the league.””
My vote: “Tough choice between Markakis and Luke Scott. I’d have no issue with either of those picks (slim pickings), but I’ll go with Luke considering he was the only plus-plus bat in the O’s mediocre line-up, and ended up leading the team in Wins Above Replacement (according to FanGraphs) despite people writing him off when he started out slumping.” Not sure how Scott defined himself as a legitimate hitter in the league, except in the sense that he’s a good hitter (as he was before). Expect a wOBA next year that’s closer to 2009’s .355 mark than 2010’s .386 though. Also, Luke clearly started the year not hitting well (.285 wOBA in April) when many people where saying he was done as a player (oops).
Player that Gave You the Most Hope for 2011 and Beyond: Winner: “This one was unanimous, and Brian Matusz was the guy. Camden Chat again had it on the nose. ” Watching Matusz shut down other teams over second half was one of the most encouraging things I witnessed all year long. I think the mass disappointment in Matusz in the first part of the season was actually a result of too high expectations on the young man, and I think next year he will be a star.”” My vote: “Brian Matusz maybe? He gave me hope that the O’s could have a solidly above average starter. To be honest, this season was more about hopes being crushed than the other way around.”
Matusz could be the 5th best* left-handed in the AL East next year! Woo!
* Sabathia, Price, Lester, and then perhaps Romero. Plus Lee maybe? Matusz might be right there with Brett Cecil though**! ** Mostly being snarky – I really do like Matusz.
Orioles’ Cy Young: Winner: “Almost unanimous (one vote went to Matusz), Jeremy Guthrie took this one for his bounce back season and for providing an anchor in the rotation when Millwood started struggling after the first month or so. The Orioles keep looking out for a new ace to take over the role, but Guthrie keeps performing well. He had a disastrous season last year, but he may be one of the most overlooked solid starters in the AL East.”
My vote: “Matusz. You can make an argument for Jeremy Guthrie given that he pitched more innings and had a lower ERA (and has a record of posting ERAs below his FIP and xFIP numbers). I’m not prepared to give him full credit for the ERA though, and Matusz was the best strike-out pitcher in the rotation, had decent control, and didn’t give up that many home runs given his flyball tendencies. He might appear on some AL ROY ballots this season as well.” Matusz had the higher fWAR (2.7 to 2.3) but Guthrie had the higher brWAR (4.3 to 3.1). No problem at all with Jeremy winning it.
Orioles’ Manager of the Year: Winner: “Since there were three choices, all who managed at least 50 games, I thought I would get a laugh and throw that out there. Naturally, Buck took it going away, though Camden Crazies had an interesting take on it. “Buck, but not because the team won more games when he was at the helm. More of a ‘in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king’ situation.””
My vote: Noted above. I don’t know why my take was interesting. I don’t have a particularly high opinion of most managers or their abilities to greatly affect wins/losses over the course of a full season, so I picked Buck as the O’s top manager because I thought he was the best one the team had as opposed being genuinely really good. So that was fun. I imagine we’ll do it again next year.