For the first time ever, some members of Halos Heaven—including one of our national-scale friends—have selected our own award winners. Not just the traditional MVP and Cy Young awards, though; these are OUR awards, to be handed out yearly. Next year we will try to expand the voting to include more members; this year, however, as voting was conducted via email, we had nine members take place in the balloting. This year’s voting members:
Of Maicer and Men
Sam Miller, Baseball Prospectus (yes, he was quite eager to vote, too)
And here at Halos Heaven, we have FIVE end-of-year awards we’d like to hand out. The individual ballots of each will be released at the voter’s discretion (i.e. I’ll likely publish/explain my own ballot as a FanPost; other voters may not be so inclined). I’ll explain each award and their respective criteria briefly before announcing the inaugural winners!
DAVID ECKSTEIN AWARD: This award goes to the player who each voter felt had the most underrated performance this season in an Angels uniform. The definition of "underrated" was up to the individual voter, be it simply someone whose good season was overshadowed, or someone whose impact on the team went beyond their stats, or a combination of both. A minimum of either 400 PA or 50 IP was required for this award; however, there were exceptions made for Chris Iannetta and for Bobby Wilson, whose combined appearances at catcher were equivalent to a full season, and in far excess of 400 plate appearances. Voting for this award is done on a 5-3-1 scale.
FIRST-TIME HALO AWARD: This award goes to the player who each voter felt had the best debut season as an Angel. This is an award for simply the most OUTSTANDING effort, not necessarily the most VALUABLE, as a first-year Angel. Though technically speaking, Mike Trout and Garrett Richards were not rookies until this season, because they made their Angels debuts in 2011, they were not eligible for this award. This award requires that 2012 be the first year any candidate suited up for the Angels, and the 400 PA/50 IP minimum is still intact (though, again, waived for Iannetta and Wilson for ALL awards they qualify for otherwise). Voting for this award is done on a 5-3-1 scale.
VLADIMIR GUERRERO AWARD: As the name would suggest, this award goes to the Angel with the most outstanding hitting season. Of course, it is extremely fitting that we name it after one of the most prolific hitters in franchise history. A minimum of 400 PA is still required here, and voting is done on a 5-3-1 scale.
DEAN CHANCE AWARD: This award goes to the pitcher with the most outstanding season in an Angels uniform. It’s only right that we name it after the first Angels pitcher to win a Cy Young (that, and the OTHER Cy winner on the team…well, it’s questionable exactly why he won it). A minimum of 50 IP is required, and voting is done on a 5-3-1 scale.
MR. HALO: This is the big one. This award, regardless of position, goes to the player who not only displayed the most outstanding effort throughout the entire season, but also to the player whose value to the team was greater than any other’s—in all reality, the one player the team would’ve suffered the most without. Voters were allowed whatever rationale they wanted for their definition of "valuable," be it quantified through statistics or simply gathered via the ol’ eye test. There, once again, is a minimum of 400 PA or 50 IP for any candidate. Voting for THIS award is done on a 9-7-5-3-1 scale.
Some awards were pretty easy to decide; others sparked a bit of surprising contrast amongst us voters. Let’s start, then, from the bottom up!
2012 DAVID ECKSTEIN AWARD: Erick Aybar, SS (.290/.324/.416, 215 TB, 4.0 WAR)
We’re pretty lucky to have a guy put up a WAR of 4 and call him underrated. This award, however, was one that spurred a LOT of disparity amongst this year’s voters. Nine ballots were cast for all awards. Aybar was the only player to appear on at least six. Seven players each got first place votes, including three of whom that weren’t named in any slot on any other ballot. Aybar clinches the award by just six points, and if he can put up more years like this, maybe he won’t quite be getting the "underrated" tag much longer. Total voting is below.
**Mills was ineligible for the award but received one second-place vote.
2012 FIRST-TIME HALO AWARD: Albert Pujols, 1B (.285/.343/.516, 30 HR, 102 RBI, 4.6 WAR)
The closest vote of ANY award, with a lot less disparity than with the Eckstein. Pujols didn’t come over and be the Pujols of 2003-09, but he certainly was a very valuable contributor. A dip was slightly expected, due to his transition over from hitter-friendly Busch to pitcher-friendly Anaheim, and after his horrific first six weeks, he was near unstoppable, batting over .300 from June to season’s end. His overall first season in an Angels uniform was not typical Pujols, but it was nonetheless valuable, and, in the eyes of the voters, the most outstanding performance for any of this year’s first-year Halos. Total voting is below.
**Mills and Hester were each ineligible for the award, but received one third-place vote apiece.
2012 VLADIMIR GUERRERO AWARD: Mike Trout, CF (.326/.399/.564, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 171 OPS+)
This really shouldn’t be a question—and yet, he was completely left off of one ballot. A minor oversight on behalf of the voter, I’d assume, but I don’t know the mind of that voter. Trout’s offensive season was not just the greatest rookie season we’ve ever seen, it was among the greatest seasons for a hitter EVER. Maybe five individual hitting seasons can be considered better than the one Trout put up this season, his age-20 season. He may not have gotten Major League Baseball’s outstanding hitter award, but he certainly—and deservingly—got ours. Total voting is below.
2012 DEAN CHANCE AWARD: Jered Weaver, SP (20-5, 2.81 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 7.0 H/9, 3.7 WAR)
Weaver was our rock on the mound this season—and that’s with missing three starts. As has been the case since Lackey left, Weaver showed again this season he is a true ace, whether the BBWAA agreed or not. He was the first 20-game winner for the Angels in seven years, and posted the lowest H/9 and WHIP in the league. He threw his first career no-hitter this season (mark my words, I don’t think it’s his last one, either) and was the definition of consistent, save for only ONE horrific outing against Tampa Bay in August. He was a unanimous choice amongst the voters—was there someone else you expected? Total voting is below.
2012 MR. HALO: Mike Trout (.326/.399/.564, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 171 OPS+, 129 R, 49 SB, .988 FLD%, 10.7 WAR)
Again, not surprising, but all the more awe-inspiring. This hardware might not exactly mean much (or maybe to Trout, it will; he’s a very down-to-earth guy), but it’s indicative of just how much the legend of Michael Nelson Trout has started, will continue to grow, and how 2012 is not just a footnote in baseball lore. He put up not just one of the best offensive seasons of all time, but one of the best all-around seasons of all time. We’ve all practically memorized the bit about him being the first to score 120 runs, steal 45 bases, hit 30 homers and bat .320 in a season, ever. Not much attention, though, is given to his .988 fielding percentage—just four errors did Trout commit, all season long. He also robbed four home runs, easily negating the pain factor for us fans. He was just a beast. Plain and simple. Michael Nelson Trout, you are the man—and for 2012, you are Mr. Halo. Total voting is below.
**Some writers chose not to cast votes for fourth or fifth place.
So let these awards start a tradition, spark some debate, and maybe, just maybe, gain some significance beyond THESE Angels faithful. Soon, some writers may choose to reveal and explain their ballots; I will be one of them, and will probably do so within the next week. Feel free to discuss the awards below. Did we get it right, did we get it wrong? Anything to do differently in 2013? Most of all, hope you enjoyed them all!