Yesterday, we unveiled the winners of the First-Time Halo and Vladimir Guerrero Awards: Matt Shoemaker and Mike Trout.
Trout, however, was newsworthy yesterday for a far bigger reason: our 23-year-old phenom won the American League MVP Award, by unanimous vote. He is the first American League player since Ken Griffey, Jr. in 1997 to do this, and he is the youngest ever to win a unanimous MVP.
Can he repeat that feat today? We'll find out in a bit, but first, it is time to honor the Angels' most outstanding pitcher of 2014 with the Dean Chance Award.
This pitcher's impact on the 2014 Angels (though his time was abbreviated) is almost immeasurable. Long considered a prize of the Angels' system, though overlooked in recent years, he got his first consistent opportunity to step up and do damage this season--and boy, did he jump on it. Establishing himself as not just a rising Angels pitcher, but a rising star overall, he looked en route to a Cy Young Award until his season was unpredictably and tragically cut short by a devastating knee injury. Even with his season being cut short, he still had the lowest home run rate of any pitcher this season across Major League Baseball. His value to the team, and the volume of his performance, however, were still significant enough that he receives the honor of the Dean Chance Award.
2014 DEAN CHANCE AWARD: GARRETT RICHARDS (13-4, 2.61 ERA, 3.22 K/BB, 0.3 HR/9, 1.038 WHIP, 2.60 FIP, 164 K, 139 ERA+, 4.4 bWAR)
Missing the season's final five weeks did not diminish what Garrett Richards meant to the Angels this season. Emerging as the staff's ace as the summer swelled on, he made good--and made great, and then greater--on the snippet of the season he was given in 2013 to pitch consistently as a starter. His one flaw was his control; he led the majors with 22 wild pitches throughout the season. Inexplicably, Garrett Richards was not named an All-Star in the American League, instead subjected to the dog-eat-dog Final Vote, where he narrowly finished runner-up to Chris Sale, despite winning the social media vote on the final day of voting. That fateful August 20th may have ended his season, but his reputation and 2014 legacy were affirmed: Garrett Richards is the new ace of the Los Angeles Angels. Voting was done on a 5-3-1 scale; details are below.
And now, for the finale: Mr. Halo.
This award honors the player who held the most VALUE to the 2014 Angels. All voters were asked to vote on their own definition of value. That definition can take its roots in intangible qualities, tangible statistics, or a healthy hybrid of the two. One statistic may be valued as more valuable than another, or all might be given equal weight. Sabermetrics may or may not have a role to each individual voter. There was, however, one constant: the player that brought the most value to the Angels in 2014 was...
2014 MR. HALO: MIKE TROUT (.287/.377/.561, 36 HR, 111 RBI, 115 R, 338 TB, 83 BB, 167 OPS+, 7.9 bWAR)
Was there any doubt? The surprise is this, however: Unlike the ladies and gentlemen of the BBWAA, the HHVB did NOT (for whatever possessed reason) give this award to Mike Trout unanimously. He has yet to win this award unanimously, but he is its only winner in the three years it's been awarded. And boy, did he earn it this season. His Royal Troutliness on High served up baseball's best WAR and paced the majors in runs scored and total bases. He's the face of MLB that helped lead his team to their first postseason in five years. To be real, Derek Jeter carried the torch of MLB's face, and handed it off to Trout at season's end, and he will bear it for many, many seasons to come. He led the Angels this season and that is irrefutable. Though his AL MVP was his first, this Mr. Halo is his third, and soon this award, too, may well bear his name, just as the top rookie honors (partially) do. Voting was conducted on a 10-6-3-2-1 scale; details are below.
The wrapup will come tomorrow, when we review the awards overall, AND I reveal an intriguing new feature of the 2015 Halos Heaven Awards that you won't want to miss.