Not so fast, friends and fellow baseball fans. MLB’s awards season isn’t over quite yet.
On Friday night, the league handed out 22 Esurance Awards during a broadcast on MLB Network, with Chicago Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta coming away the big winner. Arrieta took home the awards for Best Major Leaguer, topping both Bryce Harper and Josh Donaldson, the respective NL and AL MVP as voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America, as well Best Pitcher and Best Breakout Player.
That’s quite an impressive haul, but it should be stated that the Esurance MLB Awards are a different animal all together from the awards voted on by the BBWAA, which dominated headlines all week.
Here, league affiliation is discounted, but postseason performance is included. Perhaps in some cases it’s even a deciding factor in who emerged with the hardware. There are even categories dedicated to the postseason. For example, Wade Davis of the Kansas City Royals was voted the Best Player of the Postseason.
In addition to encompassing the entire season, the Esurance MLB Awards also give us a broader perspective of how player performance and value is perceived. The balloting process for each category is made of five different components, including media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at MLB.com and members of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
Everyone wants to feel like they have a voice in such matters, and the Esurance MLB Awards provide that on some level. Each component makes us 20 percent of overall vote, so it’s a fair and equal assessment from the varying segments that study and observe the game.
Is it an exact science or a perfect setup? Perhaps not, but it does allow us to get outside certain baseball bubbles and collect as many opinions are possible. That’s not a bad thing, as it’s sure to create more thinking, studying and debating.
As for the 2015 awards, every category was narrowed to three finalists on Friday, with the winners announced by Brian Kenny and Dan Plesac of MLB Network. Other big winners included Bryce Harper, who was voted Best Everyday Player, Kris Bryant, the Best Rookie, and Prince Fielder, MLB’s Best Bounceback Player.
It’s not all serious baseball business though. There were categories decided to the fans, celebrities and social media. Jerry Seinfeld won Best Social Media Post for his reaction the Mets trade for Yoenis Cespedes. Meanwhile, Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates was acknowledged for his interaction with two young Pirates fans in San Diego.
You can read the full list of winners here.
Of note, the final two categories — Best Manager and Best Executive — will be announced at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., next month.
It seems like everybody is handing out awards these days, but the Esurance MLB Awards seem to be worth acknowledging as a good gauge of baseball’s best.
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