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2015 End-of-Season Awards; results vs predictions

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Harper & Donaldson deservedly win MVPs. photo via si.com

Harper & Donaldson deservedly win MVPs. photo via si.com

There’s few long running posts I have managed to do year after year in this blog; this is one of them.  Every year I predict the awards, then report on how my predictions went after the fact.  And then I brag about how good a job I did in reading the tea leaves and predicting the awards.

This is that post for 2015 :-)

Here’s the same prediction posts with my BBWAA award prediction results for 2014 (6 for 8), 2013 (8 for 8), 2012 (7 for 8), 2011 (8 for 8), and 2010 (8 for 8).

For 2015, here were my original predictions and the actual winners for the major BBWAA Awards plus the “Comeback” awards for 2015:

My Final Predictions with discussion: We went 7 for 8 in predictions for 2015.  I missed on the NL manager of the year.

  • NL MVP: Predicted Bryce HarperActual winner: Harper unanimously.  After all the angst about narrative, the voters did the right thing and selected the only guy who made sense to select.
  • NL Cy Young: Predicted Jake ArrietaActual winner: Arrieta, with 17 1st place votes.  Scherzer 5th.
  • NL Rookie: Predicted Kris BryantActual winner: Bryant.  Unanimous winner, no real challenger in the NL.
  • NL Manager: Predicted Terry CollinsActual winner: Joe Maddon, with 18 1st place votes.  My guess (Collins) came in third.  This was probably a dumb prediction; I should have “read the tea leaves” a bit more in terms of narrative, which drives these awards so much, and correlated the fact that it was the Cubs (a high profile team), Maddon (a high profile manager) and the fact that the Cubs did in reality really exceed expectations this year.
  • AL MVP: Predicted Josh DonaldsonActual winner: Donaldson, with 23 1st place votes over Mike Trout, who many argue (yet again) had a better statistical season.
  • AL Cy Young: Predicted Dallas KeuchelActual winner: Keuchel with 22 1st place votes over David Price‘s 8.
  • AL Rookie: Predicted Carlos CorreaActual winner: Correa, in a close race over Francisco Lindor (17-13 in terms of 1st place votes)
  • AL Manager: Predicted Jeff BanisterActual winner: Banister with 17 1st place votes

In my 2015 post I also predicted the “Comeback Player of the year awards,” given a couple of weeks ago.

  • NL Comeback: Predicted Matt Harvey.  Actual winner: Harvey, as announced on 11/5/15.  Really no better option in the NL than Harvey, who had a very solid season after missing the entirety of 2014 with Tommy John surgery.
  • AL Comeback: Predicted Prince Fielder.  Actual winner: Fielder, as announced on 11/5/15.  Really, unless you were going to give Alex Rodriguez the award for his drug-related suspension, there was no better NL candidate.

Other Awards given that I don’t try to predict anymore.

  • Fielding Bible Awards: not an official award but certainly a better way of evaluating defenders than the Gold Gloves (though, to be fair, they’re getting much much better at identifying the true best defenders year in, year out).
  • Gold Gloves; A couple of questionable awards for the Gold Gloves; we’ll post a separate fielding award post reviewing the Gold Gloves, Fielding Bible awardees and look at the various defensive metrics to see if/how they all align.
  • Silver Sluggers: Bryce Harper wins, no real surprises.
  • Hank Aaron awards for “Most Outstanding Offensive Player” in each league: Bryce Harper and Josh Donaldson, who not surprisingly is who I chose for my MVP predictions.  I kinda wish this was a more prevalent award than the constant arguing we have about MVP.
  • Relievers of the Yearformerly known as the “Fireman’s reliever awards” and now named for legendary relievers Mariano Rivera/Trevor Hoffman: won this year by Andrew Miller of the Yankees, Mark Melancon of the Pirates.
  • Sporting News Executive of the Year: Toronto’s Alex Anthopoulis, who announced he was stepping down the same day he got the award.
  • A slew of other Sporting News awards, mimicking the BBWAA awards: googleable but more or less following the above.
  • MLB Player’s Choice Awards: Donaldson beats out Harper for POTY; also awards BBWAA-emulating awards that more or less follow how the actual BBWAA awards went.
  • Links to all the awards I know of plus the full off-season schedule of events is on my 2015-16 Off-Season Baseball Calendar.

That’s it for the silly season!  On to the fun business of player moves for 2016.

25 Responses to '2015 End-of-Season Awards; results vs predictions'

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  1. If you look at the Donaldson and Trout offensive stat lines, they’re amazingly close all the way across. I was a little surprised that Donaldson was considered so much of a favorite in the MVP voting. About the only real difference was that Donaldson’s stacked team won its division, while Trout’s less-stacked team didn’t.

    The Donaldson trade nearly ruined my Thanksgiving weekend last year. I had been talking up the Nats trying to get him and was basically getting laughed at, as no one thought the A’s would trade him. (To quote Bryce from last night: “If they’re not laughing at your dreams, you’re not dreaming big enough.”) Sigh. It boggles the mind at the stats if the Nats had Donaldson batting behind Harper.

    Two interesting takes on a potential Harper extension, from Kilgore and Boz:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/sports/wp/2015/11/19/what-bryce-harpers-next-contract-could-be-worth/

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/harpers-path-mirrors-ovechkins-will-that-continue-come-contract-time/2015/11/19/e393733c-8e40-11e5-ae1f-af46b7df8483_story.html

    KW

    20 Nov 15 at 10:45 am

  2. I think Donaldson wins over Trout because of east coast bias frankly. If Mike Trout was playing for the Yankees i think he’d have four straight MVP titles right now. Instead he plays all his good baseball when 2/3rds of the narrative-driven sportswriters in this country are asleep and/or past their publishing deadlines.

    Harper contract; you have to start with Giancarlo Stanton in terms of total value and go up from there. 13 years/$325M for an AAV of $25M, but the opt-out after 2020 really turns it into a 6yr/$107M contract, which is “only” 17.8M AAV. Stanton will face an interesting choice; the contract is so backloaded, that if he walks away in 2020 he walks away from essentially an 8yr/$218M contract extension, which is $27.75M AAV. During mostly his decline years. I think he’d be a fool to opt-out. but who knows.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/national-league/miami-marlins/

    Todd Boss

    20 Nov 15 at 11:12 am

  3. Trout not only plays on the West Coast, he plays in Orange County. He’d get more buzz as a Dodger, and of course a lot more in the Eastern time zone. Part of the amazement about Donaldson this year may have been due to the same thing, since he had previously been toiling in relative anonymity in Oakland.

    Is Stanton’s contract already a cautionary tale, because of his injuries? If he keeps getting hurt, the Marlins may be praying that he opts out. As it is, look at two of the notes under his Cots entry:

    -matches Josh Hamilton for contract with highest average annual value for an outfielder

    -matches Ryan Howard for contract with highest average annual value for player with four-plus years of ML service

    Ouch! Not good company, at least on the long-term scale.

    KW

    20 Nov 15 at 12:38 pm

  4. Fact of the matter is, *any* FA contract extension for Harper will be “bad” at some point. So its kind of like, well you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    Todd Boss

    20 Nov 15 at 12:53 pm

  5. Well, six years for Harper should hold up well, even though you’re “overpaying” for the arb years, but in 15 years, he’ll be Werth.

    I have no problem whatsoever giving Harper 6/180-200. I’d rather do that than 15/500 with the inevitable opt-out. I do think Rizzo and the Lerners will make a big push this offseason to get an extension, though, even though they would be “buying high.” If Bryce tops 50 HRs, the price goes up even more. My bet would actually be for 15/500, as Boras and Bryce are into big slashes. Uncle Ted isn’t going to be here in 2030, so what does he care?

    KW

    20 Nov 15 at 1:46 pm

  6. A quick scan of the unprotected folks for Rule 5 doesn’t show much at all, certainly nothing like DeShields and Canha of last year. No team left any of its top 10 players exposed. Honestly, Skole may be one of the best players available, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets picked.

    The curiosity hitting the waiver wire today was former local standout Danny Hultzen, the #2 pick in 2011, ahead of Rendon. It’s pretty well known that Rizzo always had a thing for Hultzen, so it will be interesting to see if he makes a claim, perpetually wounded wing and all.

    KW

    20 Nov 15 at 10:34 pm

  7. I thought the same about the DFA of Hultzen. I could see that going two ways. one: he just re-signs with Seattle to stick with the system he’s familiar with or two, he remembers back to someone like Rizzo or another org that really liked him and made an impression prior to his drafting and goes with them. While I like the “he’s from DC so he should sign with DC” theory, in reality he’s going to be living in either Florida or Arizona for an extended time period while rehabbing no matter who he signs with. So, we’ll see. Shoulder injuries are tough to come back from so it may just be a lost cause. A shame. I was thinking of doing a “1st round draft review of local connected players” at some point, with Hultzen being the pre-eminent name talked about. I may do it.

    Todd Boss

    21 Nov 15 at 7:57 am

  8. Pretty interesting article on Tanner Roark. Says he should shift back to the 1b side of the rubber. Be nice if it was that easy

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2015/11/21/9767106/tanner-roark-nationals-lefty-platoon-struggles?utm_campaign=beyondtheboxscore&utm_content=chorus&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

    Wally

    21 Nov 15 at 1:00 pm

  9. Wally – the author is a soph small-college pitcher who writes with a lot of attitude, but he does ultimately get around to making some interesting points. McCatty was big on watching release points, so I’m sort of surprised that he didn’t catch some of these things. Maddux will bring some new eyes and new ideas.

    A piece rolled up on MLBTR gives the best “forget Chapman” evidence that I’ve seen: the report says that the Reds wanted more from the Bosox for one year of Chapman than Boston paid (some think overpaid) for three years of Kimbrel. Wow. The Reds are delusional. They were said to be mentioning guys like Giolito and Turner last season with the Nats. The Reds should have gotten some deals done at the trade deadline for guys like Chapman and Bruce, but the way they’re playing it, they’re going to keep overvaluing them and end up with 98 losses again.

    So what are we looking at now? Miller, the one-year wonder? Sticking with Pap? I do think they will trade Storen, but beyond that, I have no idea. I’m surprised that there isn’t more buzz about Storen on the general trade front. He would make sense for a lot of teams.

    KW

    21 Nov 15 at 8:55 pm

  10. College sophomore? That’s impressive.

    As for relievers, I’d guess Pap stays. I thought maybe DET would be interested, but no more. Could eat some money and try ATL, maybe for Bourn as a bad contract exchange?

    As for who we get, I’d say most likely a few Blevins types, and we’ll give ODay a good run, maybe get to 4/$28m like is rumored. I wouldn’t rule out Melancon either.

    Wally

    21 Nov 15 at 10:48 pm

  11. Good recap on things Todd and great predictions. At least you did better than Mel Antonen of MASN.

    Ghost of Steve M. (TalkNats.com)

    22 Nov 15 at 11:58 am

  12. The closer market has been nuts for a few years. I think that’s a big part of the reason that Rizzo gave up banging his head against the wall and agreed to take Papelbon. It hasn’t helped that two of the best closers in the game, Chapman and Kimbrel, have been held hostage by bad teams. (It’s still not clear that Kimbrel is now with a good team, either, as a top closer probably wasn’t the priority need for a 78-win squad.)

    I’m not sure what the answer is for the Nats. If it’s possible to put aside all the psycho-social stuff (a big “if”), Papelbon and Storen are above-average back-end relievers, and Rivero and Treinen have shown flashes of back-end stuff. If Stammen comes back healthy, he will stabilize the bridge innings. These facts probably make them reluctant to overspend on O’Day, and even more so to invest top prospects on Chapman. I don’t blame them. But neither do I feel comfortable with what we’ve got, and I imagine that Rizzo and Co. don’t, either.

    One wild card in all of this that I haven’t seen mentioned is that Maddux had Soria in Texas for a season and a half during his comeback and should know him pretty well.

    KW

    22 Nov 15 at 12:13 pm

  13. If you want Tanner Roark to return to his 2013 performance, the first thing you do is to use him the same way you used him in 2013! Look at his game log in 2015: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=roarkta01&t=p&year=2015

    He was a 7th inning guy, then was a mop-up guy (pitching 3 innings in a blow out), then he was more of an 8th inning guy, getting a save opportunity, then in May-June he was back starting, then he’s alternating between mop-up guy and 6th-7th inning guy, then he starts the whole month of September. Just ridiculous usage for a guy who demonstrated what he can do when you just let him be an every-4-days starter.

    Todd Boss

    22 Nov 15 at 8:05 pm

  14. Lots on the Nats from Rosenthal. He says that he hears that both Papelbon and Storen will be moved, and that Detroit inquired about both before trading for KRod. He also thinks the Nats are still heavily in the market for Chapman.

    On other fronts, Rosenthal hears that the Nats are one of the front-runners for O’Day (citing his wife’s Fox News gig), that the Nats really believe that they need to add a LH hitter (perhaps more than a reliever), and that they’re also exploring adding another starter. (Which gets us right back to the comment on Roark’s usage, since he’d likely be the one headed to the ‘pen . . . or out in a trade.)

    Whew! Really, none of this is completely new, but it seems to validate a lot of it coming from a national guy with a lot of sources around the league.

    Despite all the trade talk, though, if they were to sign O’Day, Zobrist, and Thornton, they’d give up nothing and already be a significantly better team.

    KW

    22 Nov 15 at 8:47 pm

  15. LAD signed a couple more Cuban defectors for close to $40m when you count penalties. I gotta say, that money pit seems endless, but whenever a team spends like this, we usually find it doesn’t end well. Even NYY are budget limited now. I have to believe this is going to come back to haunt them somehow.

    The time is coming for Rizzo to make some moves. Curious to see them.

    Wally

    22 Nov 15 at 9:17 pm

  16. The Nats seem to be doing significantly better than they were at finding Dominicans, so we’ll leave the over-priced Cubano teenagers to the Dodgers.

    Speaking of Big Blue, they’ve *finally* settled on Dave Roberts as their manager, so Dusty will need to find another choice for bench coach.

    KW

    23 Nov 15 at 5:07 am

  17. Suffice it to say that I am suspicious that simply putting Roark in the rotation is the magic bullet that makes him a 3.00 ERA man again. He was used in a variety of roles in 2013 and thrived in all of them – why was 2015 different? Unless you subscribe to the idea that “once you go rotation, you never go back.”

    Of course, if Roark struggles in the rotation in 2016 there will be fans that will blame it on the way he was used in 2015. They will say that the Nationals “ruined a good asset” or some such. Falling back on the adage “anything good that happens is because of the player; anything bad is because of the manager/coaches/organization.” At some point in time it’s up to the player to perform.

    John C.

    23 Nov 15 at 10:05 am

  18. Jim Bowden wrote a “5 trades i’d like to see” column (http://espn.go.com/blog/the-gms-office/insider/post?id=11767) and he proposed this Nats-Reds trade:
    – Nats get Chapman (no salary relief mentioned)
    – Reds get Storen, Difo, and Taylor.

    And with that proposal, he loses a *lot* of his reputation for analysis in my mind. There’s just no way the Nats make that trade, for several reasons. Chapman is just one year away from FA. Kimbrel cost the Red Sox a ton of prospects b/c he was under club control for 3 years. Nobody pays this much in terms of for-real players for ONE YEAR of control. And Bowden makes no mention of the fact that Papelbon took the deal to come hear under the guarantee of being the closer! His analysis taks about how the Nats will have the best 1-2 punch in the game … uh no they wont! Because Papelbon is the closer. Unless the team moves him, acquiring Chapman makes for yet another clubhouse headache.

    I would spit nails if we traded Storen, Difo and Taylor for Chapman frankly. And not only because closers are over-rated, blah blah.

    Todd Boss

    23 Nov 15 at 10:07 am

  19. I might have considered Storen/Difo/Taylor for three years of Kimbrel, but not for one year of Chapman. Regardless of what one thinks about Taylor – and I have my concerns of an Espy-like career arc at the plate – you can’t include a guy with 25-30 HR potential who is controlled for five years in a deal for a one-year rental. It makes no sense. Of course it makes little sense for the Reds to take on Storen’s salary, either, which would give them minimal savings over what Chapman would earn.

    Meanwhile, Wagner is reporting that Papelbon has modified his list of teams to which he would allow himself to be traded, presumably in an effort to make him more marketable. We’ll see.

    KW

    23 Nov 15 at 12:36 pm

  20. Do you buy the whole “Harper buried the hatchet” with Papelbon reporting? Is he still with this team come spring training?

    Todd Boss

    23 Nov 15 at 1:42 pm

  21. Arguably, Rizzo’s two biggest overreaches have been in pursuit of true closers: the Soriano signing and the Papelbon trade. Chapman is better than either of these, but a wild pursuit of him wouldn’t be healthy, either.

    I do buy that Harper and Papelbon have talked; I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Werth orchestrated it. I actually think the team can move on from the Pap issue, particularly with a strong leader like Dusty in the dugout, but whether the fans can, I don’t know. I think that would only be possible if Harper goes out of the way to sell it. I don’t think it would be ideal for Pap to stay, but making another overreach trade to try to rectify the problem might only make it worse.

    Here’s something I haven’t seen discussed: could O’Day be an effective closer? We’re talking Chad Bradford straight out of Moneyball, but he’s been brilliant at getting guys out, he’s been exceptional for years, and the NL largely hasn’t seen him. Also, he has a history with Maddux in Texas, where he really found himself.

    KW

    23 Nov 15 at 3:06 pm

  22. Trade Papelbon, keep Storen, put O’Day in the more important 8th inning role, get one more veteran arm to compete and then give a hard look at Reynaldo Lopez in spring training to be a back of the bullpen type arm in the short term if you still need power arms. KC has shown the way; they had 4 or 5 arms that could frigging deal all year and it paid off in the end.

    Todd Boss

    23 Nov 15 at 3:24 pm

  23. Storen is going to be traded. He has value, he desperately needs a new start, and, like Clippard last season, he’ll be overpriced for a setup man. The Nats would like to move Papelbon as well, but he’s more complicated, with the attitude, the limited no-trade clause, and the perceived lack of value. Rizzo keeps insisting that he will get a “real baseball deal” for these guys. Jayson Stark says that he has heard from three teams that the Nats are shopping both.

    Could the Nats put together a young power-arm ‘pen by late in the season? I doubt they would want to use Giolito in higher stress situations, but Lopez certainly is on the horizon. Koda Glover and Andrew Lee would have farther to rise, but it’s possible. Nick Lee is closer and is said to be in the 93-96 range. And of course Rivero and Treinen are already there, still trying to figure out consistency, as is Solis, who has always been billed as a “power lefty.” It will be very interesting to see what Maddux and whoever else joins the staff can do with this young crop.

    KW

    24 Nov 15 at 5:31 am

  24. I’ve been advocating for moving both guys, for differing but equally important reasons, but man it is tough to start over on a bullpen like that.

    Todd Boss

    24 Nov 15 at 9:53 am

  25. Agreed.

    KW

    24 Nov 15 at 10:58 am

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