MLB End of the Year Awards: ROY and Manager of the Year
Rookie Of The Year:
AL: Brian Matusz-SP Orioles: While there are some other candidates like the Tigers Austin Jackson, the Rangers Neftali Feliz and the Twins Danny Valencia, Matusz is the most talented rookie in the field. While his 10-12 record with an ERA over 4.00 doesn’t look the greatest, he did pitch in the A.L. East this year with the Orioles’ offense, defense, and bullpen supporting him. Matusz proved himself a future ace, and that says a lot more than a solid CF like Jackson, a closer like Feliz and a decent 3B like Valencia.
NL: Jason Heyward-OF Braves: The number of quality candidates for the National League ROY is incredible, as guys like Pedro Alvarez, Stephen Strasburg, Mike Leake, Drew Storen, Neil Walker, Ian Desmond, and Jose Tabata aren’t even in the conversation. And as impressive of a list of prospects as that, it might pale in comparison to the players that Heyward just beat out. Fellow N.L. East Rookies Ike Davis and Mike Stanton look to have bright futures, but couldn’t match Heyward’s overall numbers. Jamie Garcia came up with a big year for the Cards, but struggled some down the stretch. Giants catcher Buster Posey was probably Heyward’s biggest competition, but with the Giants starting him out in the Minors this year, it was clear that Heyward is more valuable. Going forward Heyward (as are many of these guys) is a cornerstone for the Braves and a complete middle of the order hitter.
Manager of the Year:
AL: Joe Maddon Tampa Bay Rays: While I think an honorable mention should go to new Orioles skipper Buck Showalter, Joe Maddon wins this award based on what he has done all season. You can make a case for any of the playoff teams, for their manager to get the nod. Or even the Red Sox based on just how well they played despite the numerous injuries. Overall though I give this award to Maddon, who got the most out of his players each day. The Rays don’t have the budget to match up with the Yankees or Red Sox, but they ended up winning the division. Although no one debates that Maddon had plenty of talent to utilize, at the end of the day this is still a young team and Maddon did a great job getting the most out of them.
NL: Bud Black San Diego Padres: Black might be a surprising choice given the fact that his team missed the playoffs, but he is the most deserving candidate. While Dusty Baker’s Reds were a surprise team in the Central, and you can make the case for Bobby Cox in his final season ‘willing’ the Braves into the postseason, my pick is still Black. And I even agree with those who talk about how Charlie Manual dealt with a high number of major injuries was deserving, but its not nearly as impressive as what Black’s team did. The Padres weren’t expected to go anywhere this season as they had MLB’s second lowest payroll, and on top of that didn’t have the youth, talent or farm system of say a Florida Marlins team. There were only a handful of truly quality players on this team, and I didn’t think they would go anywhere. Had I fallen asleep through the entire season, and was told two separate stories of the Padres season; In one they finish one game away from trying the Giants and forcing a playoff and in another they finish last not only in the N.L. West but in all of baseball, I would have immediately chosen the latter. This team wasn’t supposed to come close to competing but where in the race right up until the very last day. That to me is pretty well deserving of the Manager of the Year award.