Major League Baseball’s Rookie of the Year awards were announced today, and to the surprise of no one, the two winners were Neftal Feliz of the Texas Rangers and Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants.

Now, the National League award could have just as easily gone to Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves, and I’m pretty sure no one would’ve complained too much, or at least they wouldn’t have until they saw the ballot of Yasushi Kikuchi of Kyodo News.

Kikuchi, a correspondent for Japan’s “leading news network” out of the Los Angeles / Anaheim BBWAA Chapter, decided that not only did Posey not rank as the best rookie in the NL this season, he didn’t even rank in the top three.

According to Kikuchi, Gaby Sanchez was first, Heyward was second and Jaime Garcia ranked third.

The only reasonable way to explain Posey’s omission is that Kikuchi has never acknowledged the existence of the San Francisco Giants, and a vote for their rookie catcher would cause too much confusion for his readers in Japan.

Similarly, the normally reliable Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, left Heyward off of his ballot, placing Posey first, followed by Neil Walker and Jose Tabata.  Walker and Tabta both happen to play for the team that Kovacevic covers, and one has to wonder if there was maybe a bonus stipulation for Rookie of the Year votes in either players’ contract.

Either way, I’m sure Kovacevic will be reaping the reward of a couple exclusives next season from these two, as long as they’re not shipped off somewhere in exchange for a player even more mediocre.

In other bits of insanity Greg Cote of the Miami Herald (once again a local paper) was the only other voter to believe that Gaby Sanchez was the best rookie in the NL last season.  Meanwhile, Hal McCoy of Dayton Daily News was deluded enough to think Jaime Garcia to be the best of the first year class.

It’s one thing to make terrible decisions based on RBIs over OPS or wins and losses over other statistics that better measure how a player actually performed, but there is no reasonable justification for leaving Posey or Heyward off of one’s ballot in this case.

If Major League Baseball is at all interested in having their awards contain any honour whatsoever, they would do well to clean up the acts of idiotic renegade voters.  It’s one thing to let managers and coaches act out their MVP voting fantasies with Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers, but allowing idiocy to continue with writers paints a sad picture for everyone involved.

Massive campaign fund raising to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News for information on the voting.

Comments (2)

  1. You are really only talking about one or two voters who were off base. And ‘off base’ in this case means that they didn’t all vote in the same way. My question would be what is the point of having a democratic voting system if you don’t allow for the fact there may be renegade votes? That one or two people didn’t ‘get it right’ or ‘vote along with the majority’ isn’t cause to say the system is somehow broken – these votes that are ‘wrong’ still show that the system is working because the ‘wrongs’ don’t rule the day. I think this comes down to a false sense of objectivity we assume beat writers will have (also reflected in your post which suggests you are hovering above these voters noting how wrong some people got it). Complaining about the two voters who got it wrong, suggesting that system is somehow broken because of these two votes and then implying we should have some sort of voting Gestapo seems to be a bit much. Then again, I think the fact you and others know who voted for whom means that these people can thus be shamed and ridiculed. That is probably the more effective form of control over renegade voters rather than whatever form of oversight your article implies. It is these voters who lack integrity, not the system.

  2. I do enjoy shaming and ridiculing people, but I’d also argue that this isn’t as democratic of a process as you’re imagining it to be.

    There are enough metrics in baseball measuring the success and failure of a player to limit the subjectivity of these types of decisions. To compare it to an election, it would be like having a reputable system that accurately predicts who would be the better leader, and then have the people who follow that system and use it for their analysis on a daily basis vote against the one the imaginary system said was better.

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