The inevitable announcement of Roy Halladay as the National League Cy Young award-winner today stands to take a back seat to the down ballot shenanigans and histrionics which make awards season so much fun. The impossible-to-pin-down criteria used by the various writers and voters certainly generates its fair share of partisan tears.
Yesterday’s Rookie of the Year voting was a perfect example of why this back and forth debate is both pointless and vital at the same time. The 2010 R.O.Y. contenders made for an absolute win/win for the voters. No matter who the BBWAA selected between Buster Posey and Jason Heyward, they were picking a bona fide star. No Angel Berroa-type “right guy in a weak year”, a legit impact player.
The perceived slights outlined by Parkes yesterday opens numerous entertaining debates. We get to watch professional writers scramble to justify their out of left field picks. Dejan Kovacevic strained credulity as he contorted numbers to support his case against Heyward. The Pirates beat guy went so far as suggesting that Neil Walker and Jose Tabata ranking 1-2 in second half hits by rookies makes them more viable candidates than Jason Heyward.
Not to be that guy, but Jason Heyward ranked fourth in the entire National League in on base for the entire season. His second half OBP was third best in all of baseball, rookies or otherwise. Kovacevic groped for a fielding justification for selecting Tabata over Heyward. Like Parkes, I admire Kovacevic’s acceptance of advanced statistics but UZR/150 is dangerous tool. In the wrong hands, deadly!
Like Dave Cameron of Fangraphs said yesterday, a writer admitting he voted for guys he sees every day does not devalue his opinion completely. If anything it is refreshingly honest and Kovacevic hasn’t backed away from his selections, crazed as they might be.
The debate spawned from these “egregious oversights” is fun and gets even the creakiest of minds working again. It’s also a great way to vet your Twitter followers and RSS’d beat writers. Give a thoughtless boob enough rope, he’ll provide more than enough reason to unfollow in hurry, freeing up more valuable space for 40 people to make slight variations of the same joke.
The true test comes Thursday after the AL Cy Young bloodwars. None will be spared, none will be wrong. The battle of wins versus sanity will be tested to within the very limits of tolerance. Strident voices from either side of a futile debate will decry the outcome as soulless ghouls destroying the very fabric of our great nation(s).
But you know what? It beats talking about Michael Vick.