Award goofs 2021

This isn’t one of those, “look how smart I am” posts, but rather an admission that I wish I’d reviewed my season award picks before I filed them last week.

I got two responses to my posts about my votes on the ballots for the Central and Pacific league, and in one case, I’ll admit I absolutely got it wrong by failing to notice Hanshin Tigers center fielder Koji Chikamoto deserved one of my three votes for the CL Best Nine Award.

Chikamoto should have been my second pick and Tyler Austin of DeNA my third. Instead I had Seiya Suzuki, Austin, and DeNA center fielder Masayuki Kuwahara, while I blithered about choosing Kuwahara over Yoshihiro Maru.

Partly this mistake occurred because since last season, I’m relying on data organized by others to work out who the candidates are, and because I can’t sort it with the fields I want.

I found Austin, but because he won’t appear on the table with players who qualified for the batting average title, a lot of voters might miss his contributions. Delta Graphs had him at 4.6 WAR, third among outfielders to Seiya Suzuki’s 8.7 and Chikamoto’s 5.5.

It’s hard to fathom how I missed Chikamoto, since he was one of the league’s best players the whole season, but when it came to scanning a list for outfielders among ranks of all position players, these old eyes missed it and I never went back and asked if I’d missed anyone, which is the real error. I hope he wins. If he loses by one vote, then I’ll owe him something.

Another comment I heard was that my choice for the PL’s Best NIne Award at first base should have gone to Seibu’s slugging former MVP Hotaka Yamakawa instead of to Rakuten’s Daichi Suzuki.

That’s also an informed opinion, but on reflection, I don’t think I missed it. Yamakawa’s season suggested he’s a better player than Suzuki in general. According to Delta Graphs, Yamakawa hit the ball as hard as anyone in the PL except Yuki Yanagita, but stiillcouldn’t buy a hit on balls in play, posting a .247 BABIP, the lowest of any player in either league with 350-plus plate appearances, while striking out A LOT.

You can’t fault Yamakawa for hitting the ball hard at people, but he also missed a large chunk of the season being hurt, and durability is essential to value and the strikeouts are part of his game. I wouldn’t fault you for voting for Yamakawa but I’m satisfied I didn’t screw it up like I did my CL outfield vote.

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