Monday, October 10, 2005

2005 Baseball Awards

Inspired by the great work Tom Verducci does at Sports Illustrated, including his under-25 team, here are my year-end awards. For each position, there are multiple categories of winners: the overall category, the "rising star," and the no-name. The "rising star" is a player under 30 with less than 3 years of playing experience. The no-name is someone that most people haven't heard of, and who usually doesn't fit into the rising star category. For each category, there are three winners: the Verducci winner, the Gammons winner, and the Kanka winner. Tom Verducci seems to be quite into statistics, so the Verducci winner is the person with the best statistical year, according to CBS Sportsline's Player Rankings. Peter Gammons goes more on gut feeling than numbers, so there I went with whomever he may pick. Then, since this is my site, I also threw in a Kanka winner, based on my own criteria.
Without further ado, here they are:


Verduccily Speaking: Victor Martinez, Indians. .305 AVG, 20 HR, 80 RBI. Martinez proves that it's not how you start, but how you finish. Early in the season, Jason Varitek was flirting with .350 while Martinez was struggling to stay above the Mendoza line. After an incredibly hot August and September, Martinez, who shared the catcher Silver Slugger award with Pudge Rodriguez last year, will likely be the sole recipient of that trophy this year.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Martinez
Kankaly Speaking: Martinez
Rising Star
Verduccily Speaking: Martinez
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Martinez
Kankaly Speaking: Martinez
Verduccily Speaking: Bengie Molina, Angels. .295 AVG, 15 HR, 69 RBI. Wait, this guy is batting 5th for a playoff team?
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Ramon Hernandez, Padres. .290 AVG, 12 HR, 58 RBI. Injuries have slowed his progress, but he's a good hitting catcher.
Kankaly Speaking: Javier Valentin, Reds. .281 AVG, 14 HR, 50 RBI. Jose's brother put up those numbers in a mere 76 games as a backup catcher/first baseman. He may never be a star, but he'll be a solid catcher.

First Base

Verduccily Speaking: Mark Teixeira, Rangers. .301 AVG, 43 HR, 144 RBI. Both Derrek Lee and Albert Pujols hit in the .330s and had more runs and stolen bases. (Lee also had 3 more HR.) But, apparently RBI are the most important to CBS Sportsline.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Pujols. Just a natural baseball player. He can flat-out hit, and he's excelled at every position he's been put at.
Kankaly Speaking: I'm a huge Pujols fan, but you have to give Lee some credit here. He did lead first basemen in home runs, and led the entire league in average. Plus, he's always been a Gold Glove first baseman. No need to punish him just because his team fell out of the playoff picture.
Rising Star
Verduccily Speaking: Teixeira, assuming Pujols is an established star.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Teixeira, for the reasons above.
Kankaly Speaking: Teixeira
Verduccily Speaking: Teixeira
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Chad Tracy, Diamondbacks. .308 AVG, 27 HR, 72 RBI.
Kankaly Speaking: Shea Hillenbrand, Blue Jays. .291 AVG, 18 HR, 82 RBI. Not bad for a guy who was driven out of Boston for not taking enough pitches.

Second Base

Verduccily Speaking: Brian Roberts, Orioles. .314 AVG, 18 HR, 73 RBI, 92 R, 27 SB. Started the season like gangbusters, before an injury took him down for a few weeks. Somehow, Roberts' numbers edge out Chase Utley's .291 AVG, 28 HR, 105 RBI, 16 SB.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Utley.
Kankaly Speaking: Ron Belliard, Indians. .284 AVG, 17 HR, 78 RBI. The numbers don't look like much, but what he did for the Indians this year can't be put on paper. Of course, his defense can be put on "Web Gems," and his clubhouse and on-field antics can be put on audio tape.
Rising Star
Verduccily Speaking: Roberts barely still qualifies for this category.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Utley
Kankaly Speaking: Roberts. He had shown glimpses of greatness while sharing time with Jerry Hairston. In his first full season, he showed how great he is.
Verduccily Speaking: Placido Polanco, Tigers. .331 AVG, 9 HR, 56 RBI. Don't look now, but that .331 average led the league.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Jorge Cantu, Devil Rays. .286 AVG, 28 HR, 117 RBI. Big potential to move into the "Rising Stars" category next year, and big potential to pick up some Rookie of the Year votes as well.
Kankaly Speaking: Cantu. People talk about Robinson Cano because he plays for the Yankees, and Cantu because he's a great hitter. If they changed teams, no one would be talking about Cano.

Third Base

Verduccily Speaking: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees. .321 AVG, 48 HR, 130 RBI, 124 R, 21 SB. There's still a huge difference from playing heads-up baseball and cheating, Alex.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Morgan Ensberg, Astros. .283 AVG, 36 HR, 101 RBI.
Kankaly Speaking: Chone Figgins, Angels. .290 AVG, 113 R, 62 SB. Led the league in steals by a slim margin over Jose Reyes, Scott Podsednik, and Juan Pierre. Plus, did you really expect me to not pick the utility guy? (And yes, split infinitives are now gramatically acceptable. I don't think starting a sentence with the word "and" is, however.)
Rising Star
Verduccily Speaking: Figgins
Gammonsesquily Speaking: David Wright, Mets. .306 AVG, 27 HR, 102 RBI, 17 SB. Again, not bad for the first full season of work. Plus, he turned in two of the best defensive plays of the year.
Kankaly Speaking: Wright beats out Hank Blalock in an off year by Blalock.
Verduccily Speaking: Ensberg
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Ensberg
Kankaly Speaking: Ensberg


Verduccily Speaking: Michael Young, Rangers. .331 AVG, 24 HR, 91 RBI. Tied for the highest average in the AL, and second only to Miguel Tejada (26) for home runs by a shortstop. Not bad numbers for a natural second baseman.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Young.
Kankaly Speaking: Not Derek Jeter.
Rising Star
Verduccily Speaking: Felipe Lopez, Reds. .291 AVG, 23 HR, 85 RBI, 15 SB. Not bad for his first full season in the bigs.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Jhonny Peralta, Indians. .292 AVG, 24 HR, 78 RBI. In spring training, he was fighting Brandon Phillips for a roster spot. Then, he was hitting 9th and not playing every day. By the end of the season, he had worked his way up to the third spot in the lineup, and he proved that he can be an every day Major League shortstop. Honorable mention to Clint "Deer Meat" Barmes of the Rockies.
Kankaly Speaking: Peralta. Yes, I know he "can't" spell his first name. Have you seen him turn a double play with Ronnie Belliard? And how clutch is he in the late innings?
Verduccily Speaking: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies. .290 AVG, 41 SB, 115 R. He shouldn't be a no-name by any sense of the imagination. But, for some reason, no one talks about him.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Julio Lugo, Devil Rays. .295 AVG, 39 SB, 89 R. Plus, he finally learned how to play defense consistently.
Kankaly Speaking: Jack Wilson, Pirates. .257 AVG, 8 HR, 7 SB. OK, so 2004 was the only season where he hit above .260. But, have you seen what this guy can do on defense?

Left Field

Verduccily Speaking: Manny Ramirez, Red Sox. .292 AVG, 45 HR, 144 RBI. Hey Ellen, here are some pictures of Manny being huggy.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Miguel Cabrera, Marlins. .323 AVG, 33 HR, 116 RBI. OK, so it's hard to top Manny. But Miguel certainly tried.
Kankaly Speaking: Cabrera. Still some mention should go to Jason Bay, whose .306 AVG. 32 HR, and 21 SB somehow wedged him between Manny and Miguel in the Sportsline rankings.
Rising Star
Verduccily Speaking: Bay
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Cabrera
Kankaly Speaking: Carl Crawford, Devil Rays. .301 AVG, 15 HR, 46 SB. Let's put it this way: If you're building a young franchise, and you can't get Cabrera, don't be too upset if you're left with Crawford.
Verduccily Speaking: Pat Burrell, Phillies. .281 AVG, 32 HR, 117 RBI.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Carlos Lee, Brewers. .265 AVG, 32 HR, 114 RBI, 13 SB. In the hunt for the HR and RBI titles for a while.
Kankaly Speaking: Randy Winn. .306 AVG, 20 HR, 63 RBI, 19 SB. Why not. You only hear his name when he gets traded, but he is a career .288 hitter who can play all three outfield positions. (Which is approximately three more positions than Carlos Lee can play.)

Center Field

Verduccily Speaking: Andruw Jones, Braves. .263 AVG, 51 HR, 128 RBI. He still can't hit for average, but this year he made up for that. Plus, even if he's starting to lose a step, he's still ahead of most center fielders defensively.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Jones
Kankaly Speaking: Jones
Rising Star
Verduccily Speaking: Grady Sizemore, Indians. .289 AVG, 22 HR, 81 RBI, 111 R, 22 SB. Not bad for a guy who didn't even break camp with the team. Verducci even put Sizemore at #7 in his list of AL MVP finalists.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Sizemore. The Tribe lineup gelled when Sizemore was moved to the leadoff spot.
Kankaly Speaking: Sizemore. When the Indians Team Shops started selling pink "Mrs. Sizemore" t-shirts, they sold out in one day. The women in Cleveland love him, and most of the men have man-crushes on him.
Verduccily Speaking: Vernon Wells, Blue Jays. .269 AVG, 28 HR, 97 RBI. Don't know why he's still a no-name, but here he is.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Brady Clark, Brewers. .306 AVG, 13 HR, 94 R, 10 SB. A breakout year for Clark, buried by Carlos Lee's surge and the Brewers lack of success.
Kankaly Speaking: Clark, but only because Jim Edmonds' .263 AVG/29 HR/89 RBI season is an off year for him.

Right Field

Verduccily Speaking: Gary Sheffield, Yankees. .291 AVG, 34 HR, 123 RBI. Hey, he does have great badspeed and a Stan Musial-esque ability to keep his bat level.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Vlad Guerrero, Angels. .317 AVG, 32 HR, 108 RBI. The numbers speak for themselves.
Kankaly Speaking: Guerrero
Rising Star
Verduccily Speaking: Craig Monroe, Tigers. .277 AVG, 20 HR, 89 RBI. I kid you not.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Jeff Francoeur, Braves. .300 AVG, 14 HR, 45 RBI. That's in only 70 games.
Kankaly Speaking: Francoeur.
Verduccily Speaking: Geoff Jenkins, Brewers. .292 AVG, 25 HR, 86 RBI. Hmm... good veteran outfield, three Baseball America Top 100 infielders, a proven #1 starter, and a solid closer (see below). Can the Brewers start to turn it around?
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Jermaine Dye, White Sox. .274 AVG, 31 HR, 86 RBI. Hey, it doesn't look like much, but it was enough for this team.
Kankaly Speaking: Jenkins

Designated Hitter

Verduccily Speaking: David Ortiz, Red Sox. .300 AVG, 47 HR, 148 RBI. An MVP candidate, and very worthily so.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: It's hard to argue with Ortiz.
Kankaly Speaking: ...unless you're an Indians fans. Travis Hafner, Indians. .305 AVG, 33 HR, 108 RBI. Pronk is an absolute manchild. Even after missing almost a full month thanks to a Mark Buehrle curveball to the face, Hafner was still third in Verducci's list of AL MVP finalists. Verducci has a great point - Hafner is a very valuable member of the Tribe lineup.
Rising Star
Verduccily Speaking: Hafner
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Hafner
Kankaly Speaking: Hafner
Verduccily Speaking: Raul Ibanez, Mariners. .305 AVG, 33 HR, 108 RBI. That's a great season that went almost entirely overlooked.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Ibanez, although special mention goes to Dave Dellucci, who hit 29 HR out of the leadoff spot for the Rangers this year.
Kankaly Speaking: Ibanez

Starting Pitcher

Verduccily Speaking: Dontrelle Willis, Marlins. 22-10, 2.63 ERA, 170 K. Let the debate begin.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Chris Carpenter, Cardinals. 21-5, 2.83 ERA, 213 K. I believe that Verducci actually placed Carpenter just ahead of Willis in his NL Cy Young finalist list.
Kankaly Speaking: Carpenter, although I honestly just flipped a coin to decide that.
Rising Star
Verduccily Speaking: Willis
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Willis, but only because Johan Santana doesn't qualify, and Jake Peavy's 13-7 record is an off year for him.
Kankaly Speaking: Clifford Lee, Indians. 18-5, 3.79 ERA, 143 K. Bartolo who?
Verduccily Speaking: Carpenter
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Roy Oswalt, Astros. 20-12, 2.94 ERA, 184 K. Is he only a no-name because he plays in Houston, or because he plays along side Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte?
Kankaly Speaking: Carpenter. I had Carpenter, Jason Marquis, and Rodrigo Lopez as finalists for my last fantasy baseball roster spot. Of course, I took Lopez.

Relief Pitcher

Verduccily Speaking: Mariano Rivera, Yankees. 43 SV, 1.38 ERA, 80 K.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Chad Cordero, Nationals. 47 SV, 1.82 ERA, 61 SV. By the way, he's the Major League saves leader this year.
Kankaly Speaking: Bob Wickman, Indians. 45 SV, 2.47 ERA, 41 K. He wasn't fun to watch, but the Tribe wouldn't have been knocking on Chicago's door if it wasn't for him. Wickman tied for the AL lead in saves.
Rising Star
Verduccily Speaking: Derrick Turnbow, Brewers. 39 SV, 1.74 ERA, 64 K. How he beats Brad Lidge's 42 SV, 2.29 ERA, and 103 K, I'm not sure.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Huston Street, A's. 23 SV, 1.72 ERA, 72 K. Project out over a full season, Street would likely beat Turnbow, Cordero, Lidge, and Frankie Rodriguez (45 SV, 2.67 ERA, 91 K).
Kankaly Speaking: Lidge. Does that make me a "Domer Homer?" Lidge and BJ Ryan were the only closers to top the 100 K mark. Lidge is said to have one of the best sliders in baseball.
Verduccily Speaking: Turnbow
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Todd Jones. 40 SV, 2.10 ERA, 62 K. It was a great comeback season for the not-so-openminded Jones.
Kankaly Speaking: Jason Isringhausen, Cardinals. 39 SV, 2.14 ERA, 51 K. Why has no one heard of this guy?


Verduccily Speaking: Tony LaRussa, Cardinals. The Cards' 100-62 record was a game better than the White Sox 99-63 record.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: Ozzie Guillen, White Sox. Everyone thought he was crazy bringing small ball to US Cellular Field, but he made it work, and he's still making it work.
Kankaly Speaking: Eric Wedge, Indians. He's still learning on the job, and his teams can be downright terrible at small ball, but he's managed to turn a bunch of youngsters into a pennant contenders.

General Manager

Verduccily Speaking: Ken Williams, White Sox. He somehow managed to make the Esteban Loiaza for Jose Contreras and Carlos Lee for Scott Podsednik deals look good, and added key pieces in Tad Iguchi and Jermaine Dye.
Gammonsesquily Speaking: John Schuerholz, Braves. Normally, teams have to rebuild to get the young talent the Braves have. Eighteen rookies! Where did they all come from?
Kankaly Speaking: Mark Shapiro, Indians. Technically, Shapiro should be the Gammonsesque pick as well, but someone deserves credit for what the Braves have done. But, even more credit goes to Shapiro. The cupboards were bare when he came in, and he traded away the present to restock them. In the Bartolo COlon trade, Shapiro got two players who may be All Starts as early as 2006 (Lee and Sizemore). His philosophy of using players with good character led to the trade of Milton Bradley, for whom Franklin Gutierrez was acquired. The Bradley trade also allowed Coco Crisp, and eventually Sizemore, to play every day. The Indians have a bright future for years to come.

KankaNation Movie Reviews

Saw a few movies this weekend. Here are the mini-reviews:

  • Waiting: Went to see this in the theater with F-Bomb. Good choice, considering the characters in the movie were basically me and F-Bomb's friends. There's not much of a plot - it's more of a "day in the life" movie. But, the one liners and random moments more than make up for plot. It was a good show, if not raunchy. Overall, it's the type of movie you enjoy, but maybe don't want to admit to enjoying.

  • Family Guy Presents: Stewie Griffin, The Untold Story: Basically three successive episodes combined into one story. If you only watch the show for Quagmire or Cleveland, you're out of luck. But, if you're a fan of the main characters, prepare for many laugh out loud moments.

  • Napoleon Dynamite: I've only seen this once, so technically the jury's still out. But, I think I know now why so many of my readers suggested this to me: like my writing, this movie is just very absurd. Funny, but absurd.

  • Team America, World Police: Hilarious if you're not easily offended. As you can expect from the creators of South Park, it's a great social commentary as well.

  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life: OK, actually haven't seen this one yet. It's next on the list.

Rumor Mill

Judging by the Google searches that have been leading to my site lately, there must be a rumor going around campus (ND's campus, that is) that Bon Jovi will be at this weekend's pep rally. Has anyone else heard this?

...and some randomness

Check out Five Bucks to Friday, a comic by a Notre Dame grad. Do these two strips remind you of a certain group of friends?