Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2009 DIBS Awards

This year, I had the privilege of being invited to participate in the annual awards of the Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes (or DIBS, for short). Voting was done in a similar fashion to how the Cy Young and MVP awards are done, with votes for first place, second place, and third place. Awards were given in four categories: Position Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, Breakout Player of the Year, and Most Improved Player. So without further ado, here’s the results:

Position Player of the Year: Miguel Cabrera
One of the two categories in which the first-place voting was unanimous, Cabrera was the Tigers’ biggest offensive threat all year long. He led the team in average, home runs, and RBIs. Although his season ended on a sour note (to put it mildly), more often than not he was invaluable to his team and oftentimes was the only hitter other teams feared. And those who don’t follow the Tigers may be surprised to learn that he’s actually turning into quite a good defensive first baseman. He’s worked really hard to improve his defense, and it’s seemingly paid off. I don’t follow sabremetrics at all, but the metric-faithful tell me that he’s ranked second among all AL first baseman. Based on my observations, I could agree with that. This past season, he made numerous nice plays and became quite proficient at picking balls out of the dirt (being able to practically do the splits is a big help; for a big guy, he’s surprisingly flexible). Assuming he can put his off-the-field problems behind him, one hopes that he continues to put up big numbers for the Tigers for years to come (Screw you, Ken Rosenthal). Your runners-up were Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco, with Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn also receiving votes.

Pitcher of the Year: Justin Verlander
JV’s the other unanimous choice for first place. And why not? He led the starting staff in wins, strikeouts, and ERA (3.45). Hell, he tied for the Major League lead in wins (19) and his 269 strikeouts were the most in baseball. If it weren’t for a certain guy by the name of Zack Greinke, Verlander would be a serious threat for the Cy Young award (Though in that scenario, I think they would’ve given it to Felix Hernandez). JV led a pitching staff that for most of the year was one of the best in baseball. And like Cabrera, I hope he stays in the Olde English D and dominates hitters for a long time to come. Runners-up were Edwin Jackson and Rick Porcello. Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon also received votes.

Breakout Player of the Year: Rick Porcello
This award goes to a young player who has put up big numbers for the first time. I’d say Porcello definitely qualifies, and he received 18 of the 20 first-place votes. He finished with a 14-9 record, a 3.96 ERA, and a takedown of Kevin Youkilis on his resumé. He formed part of the May/June dominant trio with Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson and after some midsummer struggles came back strong in September, which proved to be crucial once Jackson seemingly hit a wall. And you couldn’t ask for more that what he did in the tiebreaker game. And he still can’t drink until next month. I feel so old. Edwin Jackson and Ryan Raburn received the other first-place votes. In addition, Fu Te Ni (whom I completely forgot about when I filled out my ballot, embarrasingly enough) was given runner-up consideration.

Most Improved Player: Justin Verlander
From leading the AL in losses in 2008 to leading in wins in 2009, JV received 11 of the 20 first-place votes. None of us could figure out what was going on with him in ’08, and once he began ’09 struggling, well, let’s just say I was one of the few bloggers who still believed in him. Then in late April against the Yankees, Justin rewarded my faith in him and showed the world that he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. Also garnering first-place votes were Brandon Inge (who probably would’ve won this had he not been hampered by the knee injury) and Fernando Rodney.

Established in 2005, the Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes now has 21 members who write primarily on the Internet. Its member writers are affiliated with such online organizations as MLive.com (Booth Newspapers), SB Nation, ESPN.com, Freep.com, Bleacher Report, Yardbarker, MVN, Fan Blog and Fan Huddle.

The Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes include:

Bless You Boys -- Ian Casselberry
Daily Fungo -- Mike McClary
DesigNate Robertson -- Scott Rogowski
Detroit Tigers Den -- Austin Drake
Detroit Tigers Weblog -- Bill Ferris
Eye of the Tigers -- J. Ellet Lambie
Fire Jim Leyland -- Mike Rogers
It's Just Sports -- Patrick Hayes
Jamie Samuelsen's Blog -- Jamie Samuelsen
Mack Avenue Tigers -- Kurt Mensching
MLive's The Cutoff Man -- James Schmehl and Scott Warheit
Old English D -- Jennifer Cosey
Roar of the Tigers -- Samara Pearstein
Spot Starters -- Blake Vande Bunte
Take 75 North -- Matt Wallace
Tigers Amateur Analysis -- Erin Saelzler
Tigerblog -- Brian Borawski
Tiger Geist -- John Brunn
Tiger Tales -- Lee Panas
Tiger Tracks -- John Parent
Where have you gone, Johnny Grubb? --Greg Eno
Detroit4lyfe -- Bob Biscigliano

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