Awards time for the Rockies … finally
Rockies fans usually smile when they remember 2007. What a giddy time. But things went kind of downhill at the very end, and I’m not talking about the sweep at the hands of the Red Sox in the World Series.
The mainstream postseason awards system essentially ignored the Rockies. Then-Rockies star Matt Holliday was pushed aside in the Baseball Writers Association of America for the Most Valuable Player Award, which went to the Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins. By no means was Rollins a flimsy choice. He was heart and soul of a Phillies team that has become dominant. But some of the reasoning against Holliday — mainly that Coors Field inflated his numbers — ignored the fact the Phillies play a homer-friendly bandbox, Citizens Bank Park. That, and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki losing out to the Brewers’ Ryan Braun for NL Rookie of the Year (Braun struggled so much defensively that he later changed positions, while Tulowitizki’s glove made a huge difference), reinforced the feeling that among local fans that the writers who vote paid no attention to the Rockies until it was unavoidable. Holliday was the only player to earn a Louisville Slugger Silver Slgger Award. No one won a Rawlings Gold Glove Award despite an outstanding overall defensive performance.
At least Tulowitkzi was taken care of outside the traditional media voting. He earned a 2007 Fielding Bible Award from ACTA Sports, which bases the award on a scientific system, and fans voted him the NL’s outstanding rookie via MLB.com in The Year in Baseball Awards.
Now, though, one major honor has come the Rockies’ way. Sporting News has named Jim Tracy its NL Manager of the Year, and Tracy is a favorite for the BBWAA’s manager award.
Now is a good time to look at a couple of other possible awards for the Rockies.
– Tulowitzki is up for a Gold Glove again. Rollins, however, has won the award the last two years. It’s hard to beat an incumbent, and Rollins had a slightly higher fielding percentage, .990 to .986. But it’s hard to ignore Tulowitzki’s overall role in the turnaround. And the baseball people who vote tend to let offense creep into the equation. Tulowitzki had a much bigger year offensively.
– That’s why Tulowitzki should win his first Silver Slugger Award for his complete offensive season — .297 (including .344 after the All-Star break), 32 home runs, 92 RBIs and 20 steals.
– How about first baseman Todd Helton for the various NL comeback player of the year awards? He finished fourth in the NL in batting. Who expected that after back surgery at the end of last season?
– By the second half, Helton began showing his former range. He has a shot at his fourth Gold Glove. By the way, the Rockies haven’t had a Gold Glove winner since Helton won his last, in 2004.
– I doubt center fielder Dexter Fowler will win Rookie of the Year, but it’ll be interesting to see where he finishes in the voting.
Any other thoughts on awards?