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BBA: 2012 NL Willie Mays Award Ballot

Ok, finally getting into the awards that matter.

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, I have the privilege to vote for all the end of season awards that are given out. The Willie Mays Award is given to the league’s top rookie.

1) Bryce Harper, OF, Washington
I never thought in a million years that it would be possible for Harper to live up to the amount of hype that was bestowed upon him. But at age 19, he did. Harper led all NL rookies in Wins Above Replacement (4.9). He posted a line of .270/.340/.477 with 22 home runs and 18 stolen bases. He also stole 18 bases in 24 attempts and played very strong defensively (11.1 UZR/150).

2) Wade Miley, LHP, Arizona
Miley quietly put together the strongest campaign by any NL rookie pitcher. His 4.8 WAR was well ahead of the next candidate (Mike Fiers, 3.0). He finished the year 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA and 144:37 K:BB rate over 194 2/3 innings. Had it not been for Harper, he would have won this award.

3) Todd Frazier, IF, Cincinnati
Frazier stepped up big time when the Reds needed him when they lost Scott Rolen and Joey Votto for extended periods of time. Frazier hit .273/.331/.498 with 19 home runs. Also, his 2.8 WAR was 3rd among NL rookie position players.

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Monday Evening Pirates News and Notes

Yesterday marked the 20th Anniversary of “The Slide.” Screw you, ESPN.

Just a reminder to everyone that week one of the Arizona Fall League is in the books. The site’s AFL page is updated daily with how the Pirates’ prospects are doing.

Kristy Robinson reports that as of now, both Alen Hanson and Kyle McPherson are both listed on rosters in the Dominican Winter League, which began play yesterday.

If you haven’t gotten a chance, take a listen to the RumBunter Podcast from last week, where Clint Hurdle joins as a guest to discuss the Pirates’ late season collapse.

It was already known, but it is now official that ex-Pirates hitting coach Gregg Ritchie will be the new head coach of George Washinton University.

Alex Speier of Boston’s WEEI has an interesting article about how A.J. Burnett being traded saved the Yankees’ postseason. It was written before they fell down 2-0 to the Tigers in the ALCS, obviously.

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Starling Marte and Jeff Locke make International League Top 20

Baseball America recently released their Top 20 Prospect rankings for the International League and both Starling Marte and Jeff Locke made the top 10.

Marte played 99 games for Indianapolis before his promotion to Pittsburgh and .286/.347/.500 with 12 home runs over 388 at-bats. Marte also stole 21 bases in 33 attempts.

Locke made 24 starts before his promotion to Pittsburgh and probably put together his best season of his career. He was 10-5 with a 2.48 ERA and a 131:43 K:BB ratio over 141 2/3 innings.

Marte looks like he will be the Pirates’ starting left fielder in 2013 and Locke has a pretty good shot at starting the year in the Pirates’ rotation.

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2012 NL Connie Mack Award Ballot

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, I get to submit a ballot for all the season awards we give out. The first accomplishment we hand out goes to the league’s best manager in the Connie Mack Award. So here’s my ballot.

#1 Bruce Bochy
The Giants overcame a lot this year, and ended up running away with the NL West, finishing eight games ahead of the Dodgers. Brian Wilson, the team’s All-Star closer pitched all of two games before suffering a season-ending injury. Tim Lincecum had easily his worst season as a pro. Melky Cabrera was suspended on August 15th for 50 games. Somehow, with all of that, the Giants walked into the postseason.

#2 Davey Johnson
Johnson took over the Nationals midway through last year and finished this season with 18 more wins than the 2011 squad and won more games than any other NL team. Also, I feel like he dealt with the whole shutting down Strasburg thing pretty well by just going with it. I don’t think I could just go with that decision if my job is to win games in the present.

#3 Mike Matheny
Matheny took over for future Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa this year and didn’t miss a beat. The Cardinals had their first season without Albert Pujols, lost Chris Carpenter for basically the entire year, and lost Lance Berkman for the year after about a month. But once again, the Cards made the postseason.

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Wednesday Evening Pirates News and Notes

Brian over at Raise the Jolly Roger was watching the playoffs and compiled a list of all the former Pirates making an impact in October. There are a total of 14 ex-Pirates who are competing in this year’s postseason.

Bill Brink of the PG had his end-of-season chat yesterday. A few highlights:

Bill Brink: It’s sounding more and more like they’ll non-tender Jeff Karstens, so they’ll look to sign or trade for a starter.

Mark C.: Has Bob ever officially came out in support of Frank Coonelly’s statement that the entire management team will be reatianed? Has he came out in support of Coonelly himself?

Bill Brink: No and no, and that’s a good point. Nutting could fire Coonelly at a moment’s notice, or overrule him and fire members of the front office. Nutting would then have to honor the rest of those contracts and find (and pay) a new GM, who then has to pick his assistants, scouts, player development staff and manager. The manager then picks his coaching staff.

The further we get from the end of the season, the more I find this unlikely. This process takes time, and will hamper the team’s ability to sign free agents and make trades this offseason. But nothing surprises me with this team.

pghfaninstl: Hey, Bill. I may have missed this earlier, but what is Walker’s current condition? Will he need surgery on his back?

Bill Brink: He told me before the season ended that surgery was a very remote possibility. He has a herniated disc, and those heal with a combination of rest and strengthening the muscles in the core (abs, obliques, back, hips, quads/hamstrings). Trying to come back and play on it prevented the disc from healing. He should be good to go for spring, but these issues can linger, so we will have to watch it his entire career.

Keeping with the postseason theme, Baseball Prospectus put together a list of Eight Playoff Heroes and Goats. Out of the eight, three were Pirates in Bob Moose, Bill Mazeroski, and Jose Lind.

Fangraphs had their final post of “Getting and Not Getting the Calls” for the 2012 season. Throughout the season, they have calculated which teams and pitchers get best and worst calls when it comes to called balls and strikes. The Pittsburgh Pirates were found to be the most screwed team in the Majors with umpires calling pitches balls that should have been strikes an average of 19 times for every 1000 pitches thrown. Charlie Morton, Tony Watson, and Joel Hanrahan also were all in the Top 10 in blown calls on an individual pitcher level. Pretty interesting stuff.

Matt Eddy of Baseball America tweeted out today that LHP Doug Slaten has opted to become a minor league free agent this offseason. Slaten posted a 2.77 ERA and 6:8 K:BB rate over 12 innings for the Pirates. In 42 2/3 innings for Indianapolis, he had a 2.11 ERA and 24:12 K:BB ratio.

Just underneath the site banner, you will see that a new link has been added to the menu at the top of the site. Under the new 2012 Arizona Fall League page, you will find daily updates of how the Pirates’ prospects are doing and also updated season statistics all in one spot.

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Gerrit Cole Ranked as Third Best Prospect in Eastern League

Baseball America continued with its Top 20 prospect rankings and put out their list for the Eastern League (Double-A). Gerrit Cole was the lone Pirate on the list, coming in at #3 behind Manny Machado and Zack Wheeler.

After a mid-season promotion, Cole started 12 games for Altoona and posted a 2.90 ERA and a 60:23 K:BB ratio over 59 innings.

Baseball America does list Jameson Taillon as someone who played in the Eastern League and would have qualified for this list, but did not rack up enough playing time.

The Top 20 list for the International League will be released on Friday.

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