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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2012 Ryan Howard Awards

In keeping with a tradition I started last year, I would like to award the 2012 Ryan Howard Award Winners. Basically, the award is for the player whose finish in MVP voting most overstated their season. The Award is named for Ryan Howard, perhaps the best example of this phenomena (did you remember that Howard finished tenth in MVP voting last year? Tenth!?!).

This year, with Mr. Howard out of commission for most of the season, the BBWAA had to find a new target. They settled on two different targets in the National League. Adam Laroche finished tied for sixth with my midseason favorite, David Wright. Meanwhile, Jay Bruce finished tenth. LaRoche put up 3.8 fWAR and 4.0 bWAR, neither of which is bad, but both still stick out in the top seven. He did play first base (which did allow him to hit a solid, but not-spectacular-for-a-corner-position 128 OPS+) on a winning team, though, which helped him rack up 100 RBIs and woo voters.

Bruce, on the other hand, finished tenth with only 2.4 fWAR and 1.4 bWAR. His 118 OPS+, coupled with his average defense in a spot generally for power hitters, hurt his overall value. He did rack up 99 RBI, though, which voters, again, love.

In the AL, the choices were more solid. Derek Jeter probably takes the cake, with a 3.2 fWAR and a 2.1 bWAR. He wasn't awful, but his poor fielding as a shortstop gave back a lot of his value. Even with a 114 OPS+, it wasn't enough to totally cover up his deficiencies. Jeter had a great bounce-back year, but he was definitely not the seventh-best player in the AL.

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