Yesterday we saw Josh Hamilton retain his dubious honor for the second year in a row (maybe we ought to re-christen Hambone as Butterbone), and also Erick Aybar winning the David Eckstein Award in quite the tight race between himself, Chris Iannetta and Kole Calhoun.
Today, the races aren't as close.
We'll start today with the First-Time Halo Award, the honor given to the player who had the best debut season as an Angel. The award is open to Angels rookies and to acquisitions/signings/waiver claims who played their first "full" season as an Angel.
This year's winner had quite the impact on the Angels. Not originally thought of as an impact piece, the team waited until a month after the season's beginning to bring him on board. Even after his arrival, it was two months until he permanently carved his niche with the team, and a month further beyond that when he placed his stamp on the 2014 Angels legacy. Oh, by the way, this guy also won the Trout-Salmon Award. Here he is.
2014 FIRST-TIME HALO AWARD: MATT SHOEMAKER (16-4, 3.04 ERA, 1.074 WHIP, 3.26 FIP, 8.2 K/9, 8.1 H/9, 5.17 K/BB, 136.0 IP, 2.5 bWAR)
For the second year in a row, the First-Time Halo and Trout-Salmon winners coincide. In 2012, when the Trout-Salmon Award had not come about, it was Albert Pujols who laid claim to the award (though also in 2012, rookies were ineligible for the award; this highly unpopular rule changed last season). Shoemaker certainly earned this award this season, even in the midst of several great debut seasons. Voting was conducted on a 5-3-1 scale; details are below. Players in italics were ineligible for this award, but received votes regardless.
Now to honor the Angels' most outstanding hitter of 2014. This player is no stranger to hardware, even this hardware in particular. The Vladimir Guerrero Award may be named so because of how prolific Vladdy was as a hitter with the Angels, but in due time the award may be named after this player. The fact that he wins the award this season is really not much of a mystery, so I'll stop the needless delaying.
2014 VLADIMIR GUERRERO AWARD: MIKE TROUT (.287/.377/.561, 36 HR, 111 RBI, 115 R, 338 TB, 83 BB, 167 OPS+, 7.9 bWAR)
The statistically "worst" season in Trout's brief career has turned out to be his most noteworthy. Yes, he struck out a AL-leading 184 times, but he also paced the AL in runs batted in, as well as leading ALL OF BASEBALL in runs scored and total bases. In all honesty, I doubt that Mike Trout will ever NOT win this award in any full season he plays, unless (God forbid) it should be his final aging season where he dares hit below .285. Though he did not even lead his TEAM in batting average (that honor belonged to Howie Kendrick, who clipped a .293 average), Trout was so out-of-this-galaxy in all other facets of the bat, that it would be blasphemy to see this award go to anyone else. Voting was conducted on a 5-3-1 scale; details are below.