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SnakePit Round Table: Awards season

Arizona has its first Rookie of the Year

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Texas Rangers v. Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Corbin Carroll wins Rookie of the Year and comes fifth in MVP. Which impressed you more?

Makakilo: From a player viewpoint, the Hall of Fame is more impressive than MVPs or ROYs because it reflects a successful career instead of a season.

Any team with enough salary money can acquire MVP candidates. Beyond ‘money talks’, nothing very impressive with MVPs.

Each player only has one shot at Rookie of the Year. Teams pick that season, thereby they take a risk with an uncertainty of gaining a draft pick.

  • I’m impressed that the Diamondbacks started Carroll’s service time clock this season (risking a year of MVP caliber performance) in order to possibly be awarded an extra draft pick if he won (which he did).
  • I’m impressed that Corbin Carrol had the mental strength to stay strong, overcome his minor injury from running into the outfield wall, and continued to successfully compete for Rookie-of-the-Year.

Justin: Both were impressive, but I would lean towards 5th in MVP. Just because he was the preseason guy that was “supposed to” win the ROY. I remember for a while there, that wasnt a guarantee, though. Outman was giving him a run for it for a month or so.

Spencer: MVP. It’s extremely difficult for any player to jump out and have a season as excellent as Carroll’s 2023. To do that in your first full season? Just insane.

DBacksEurope: MVP.

Steven: Current MLB is incredibly top heavy, to immediately plant your flag as a top-10 player and squarely in the MVP conversation in your first full season is just tremendous stuff. Especially considering he escaped serious injury in July that sapped almost all of his home run power. I’m really excited to see how he handles an abbreviated offseason coming off a World Series appearance.

Zac Gallen was third in the Cy Young. Too low, too high or about right?

Makakilo: Two points:

  • “Although Blake Snell was the better pitcher this season, there are six reasons to believe that next season Zac Gallen will be the better pitcher.” – Makakilo. For details see this article scheduled to post Tuesday.
  • This season, Zac Gallen pitched 210 innings (plus 33.2 innings in the postseason). That was much more than the 180 innings that Blake Snell pitched. I very much liked what Ken Rosenthal wrote about the value of throwing more innings. A short excerpt follows:

“...My opinion has not changed. The more innings a starting pitcher work, the more valuable he is to his team, saving his bullpen, making an impact beyond the day he throws….”— Ken Rosenthal

Justin: That is about where I figured he would be, maybe 4th. Very good season, just not good enough to win CYA. His back to back starts against the Dodgers and Orioles at the end of August likely cost him. He did have 5 other starts where he gave up 5+ runs, though. Snell gave up 6 runs once, 4 runs once and the rest of his starts are 3 runs or less.

Spencer: I was pleasantly surprised to see him as a finalist. I did not expect him to be Top 3. Top 5 yes, but not a finalist.

DBacksEurope: Too high. I think he has faltered a lot this season, too streaky from time to time and definitely not on level in the postseason. But, hey, it’s second year in a row that he shows he is one of the best in the league, that’s for sure.

Steven: Just about right. He was a frontrunner for most of the season, but like Carroll, had a performance dip that knocked him out of contention late in the year and seeped into the playoffs. Looking at the whole picture, I think each of the Cy Young contenders each had warts that kept Gallen in the conversation at least but Snell walked away with it once you stared at his peripherals long enough. Gallen earned every offseason day off.

Torey Lovullo came fourth in Manager of the Year voting. Should post-season performances be taken into account?

Makakilo: I could strongly argue that Torey Lovullo deserved to win the NL Manager of the Year.

  • Luck explains a lot of Schumaker’s team (Marlins) surprisingly making the playoffs (his team won 70% of 1-run games). Lovullo’s team (Diamondbacks) had no luck (his team won 50% of their 1-run games).
  • Torey Lovullo managed a young team with relatively little playoff experience. This young and inexperienced team made it to the World Series.
  • Torey Lovullo managed a team with roughly half the budget of the other teams. And yet they won the Wild Card Series, the Division Series, and the Championship Series to reach the World Series.
  • Torey Lovullo started a revolution by redefining how to play winning baseball (athletic and chaotic, with added excitement from taking extra bases, base stealing, and bunts).

Justin: I agree with all of Kilo’s points. To answer the question, I don’t think post season should count. The awards are voted on before the playoffs. I feel like if we made an exception for MOY then… why not ROY? CYA? MVP?

Spencer: Firstly, no postseason should not be factored into seasonal awards. It is a perk added onto the season for teams that did the best, not part of the season as a whole.

Torey is a great manager. I really wouldn’t trade him for anyone right now. But he was not manager of the year to me. Schumaker won that award hands down. Whether or not Lovullo should’ve finished higher… Sure, I could see that. But I’d put David Bell up there for the NL right now too. Ditto for Derek Shelton. The Reds and Pirates both broke out in significant ways this season. Snitker, Roberts and Counsell had a lot more to work with than Lovullo, Bell, or Shelton did on paper last March. MOY is an award that I think should just go to the team that overperformed the most each year.

DBacksEurope: Well, I think postseason should count depending on what team is overperforming. I mean, Dodgers won hands down in the NL West, just like the Braves in the NL East, but then flamed out in the playoffs. Something like that should count too, right? Torey won it in 2017 and I think he highly overperformed expectations this year just like back then, even reaching the World Series. The Diamondbacks went from huge loss seasons to a playoff run. I really don’t understand why he got it in 2017 and not in 2023.

Steven: I really wasn’t a big fan of Torey’s decision making this season. Some of his lineup (Evan Longoria starts) and bullpen choices (Castro, McGough) in particular were just head scratching. And while I don’t think it’s fair to take his playoff decisions into account, they’re front of mind. The bunting has to stop and he needs to let the players know that too.

Any other thoughts on how the awards went down this year?

Justin: I am fine with them

Spencer: Not a single part of the final awards or voting breakdowns really surprised me.

DBacksEurope: I am egocentric in such a way that I want the best D-backs players to be recognised for what they’ve done. Carroll, Marte and Moreno have been recognised for their work, so that’s all good for me. Walker was once again the best at 1B and Gallen and Thomas got recognition too. Conclusion: I am happy, I don’t care about the rest.

Makakilo: Ronald Acuna Jr, who won the NL MVP with an unanimous vote, was amazing:

  • Overcame 2021 ACL surgery on right knee.
  • Hardest hit of the season (121.2 MPH, homer to center field).
  • Fifth player to join the club of 40 homers, 40 stolen bases (41 homers, 73 stolen bases).

Steven: Moreno getting a gold glove is just so impressive. Catching is hard enough as is, but doing so as a rookie with zero former experience with your pitchers is just mind-boggingly good. Walker grabbed an MVP vote which I’m shocked by, and I’m not surprised that Thomas saw gold glove votes as well.

What do you think of the new uniforms?

Justin: My favorites are the home uniform and the black alternate. I am not particularly fond of the road gray…and it looks too much like the University of Arizona’a baseball uniforms, imo.

Spencer: I still don’t really like the home “whites.” They feel pulled straight from an era of baseball Arizona was not a part of. Someone commented recently that the team ought to be focused on the future with such a young and exciting team to wear the jerseys and that resonated with me in a big way. I hope next time they look to the future instead of the past when updating them.

Overall I like them though. They do at least feel more unique than the last batch which is nice. More turquoise teal is always a good thing to me. I miss the charcoal, but that’s a tiny nitpick. All in all, I will likely buy at least one of them when they release player names and/or personalized ones online.

DBacksEurope: Although I love the teal, I feel there is a bit too much of it in the uniforms. I was surprised by the new home unis, but they look pretty awesome. I am not a big fan of the Los D-Backs uniforms, so indifferent to those. The grey away ones are terrible. I actually liked the grey-green ones they had, not sure why they didn’t continue with those. To end, my favourite jersey kit has always been the Sedona red with the grey pants. I love how they squeezed in “Diamondbacks” on it.

Makakilo: Although I will miss purple, I like the boldness of the new uniforms’ red, teal, and black. And Hawaii has something in common with Sedona, Arizona - much of the soil in Hawaii is red.

Steven: They’re whatever. Kendrick wants to have as little as possible with the Colangelo as possible but I can’t think of a singular near-positive move that going back to purple would do. The teal is cool, but black and red is already seen throughout the league, it’d be nice to have something that sets Arizona apart from everyone else.

If you could send one modern object back 500 years with a note attached explaining its use, what would it be and why?

Makakilo: The lack of electricity (or solar panels and batteries) limited my choices. I would send back a book describing how in 1796 Edward Jenner used cowpox as a vaccine against smallpox. Smallpox killed between 300 Million and 500 Million people. The book would give mankind a 273 year head-start in eradicating smallpox, saving many more than 100 Million lives.

If books are out-of-bounds, perhaps I would send back a telescope…

Spencer: Going to 1523 would be near the beginning/middle of the Renaissance in Europe. So unfortunately you wouldn’t really be able to stave off any of the Dark Ages and modernize faster. But like Mak, I think a book would be the perfect item to send back. A textbook or manual would make the most sense to help alter societal growth in some way. But instead, I think I’d send a fiction novel back so the minds that already helped society make giant leaps would have new inspiration. Rather than give them exactly the tool to create one or a few things, giving them new inspiration could result in entirely new industries or means of development. I don’t have a particular novel in mind, but some sort of optimistic Science Fiction story would be the ideal. Something that showcases all that we still dream on in 2023: flying cars, magnetically propelled trains, space travel, etc.

If no books, I like the telescope idea, but I’d send back the Apollo Space Rocket and instructions to build it and all the necessary components (like fuel). In the height of the exploration boom toward new continents, just imagine if we could add space at the same time! What would our modern options be? Could some of us have been born on Mars? Europa? Would we have settlers landing on a nearby Goldilocks planet in a different Solar System? FTL drives? Who knows!

Justin: I like the idea of sending a book back.

DBacksEurope: We are talking about sending a note to my forefathers in the 16th century, who were on their way to establish the first industrial park in world history, the first stock market in world history, who established the first multinational company in world history, won land from the sea, were already contributing to science and were about to take up a fight against the biggest and strongest world power to fight for freedom and liberty of religion. It is hard to think of what I could send them, which they could value. Since their Dutch writing and speaking was a bit different from nowadays, I’m not sure if I could send anything that could be of use to them…perhaps deodorant, because apparently people smelled terribly because they would hardly wash themselves. Then they could analyse the bottle and I am sure they’d be able to fabricate something similar.