The Comeback Player of the Year: an award you never want to be a candidate for, but one which, if you win, represents a triumph. It’s gotta feel pretty good overall. And Mariano Rivera and Francisco Liriano are probably feeling pretty good today, because won the Comeback Player of the Year Awards for the AL and NL, respectively, last night.
The award, voted on by MLB.com writers, is presented annually to one player in each league who has re-emerged on the field during the season. Often the award is given to a player who missed a season or a large part of a season due to injury or illness. But, as is the case with Liriano, it can go to a guy who simply bounced back from ineffectiveness.
And Liriano was in the competitive wilderness for a while. He posted ERAs of 5.34 and 5.09 in 2012 and 2011, with a combined record of 15-22 bouncing from the Twins to the White Sox. This season he put it altogether, though, going 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA in 26 starts for the Pirates. This after breaking his arm in the offseason. He was a key part to the Pirates improbable playoff run.
As for Mariano Rivera: the fact that I forgot he was injured and missed most of 2012 with that ACL injury until I saw the announcement probably tells you that it was a pretty good and thorough comeback. Indeed, he didn’t miss a beat in his final year, saving 44 games while compiling a 6-2 record with a 2.11 ERA and 54 strikeouts and nine walks. All at age 43.
The 2013 Gold Glove Award winners have been announced. Now you can help determine which of those recipients deserves a Platinum Glove — given each year (since 2011) to one player in each league.
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has won it both times in the NL and has to be considered the favorite again given his reputation around the league and among baseball fans for his game-changing defense. He won his sixth consecutive Gold Glove Award on Tuesday. Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons — a defensive wizard with a treasure trove of amazing highlights — is probably Molina’s biggest competitor.
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre won the first two Platinum Gloves in the AL, but he was ousted by the Orioles’ Manny Machado this year in the Gold Glove balloting and won’t be eligible for a third.
Voting is now open on Rawlings.com. It closes next week. So rock it. Or whatever.
The MVP is not the same thing as the best player. An MVP has to come from a winning team. The best pitcher has the most wins. The manager of the year has to be a comeback story.
These are some of the many silly fictions of awards voting. Especially that first one because, man, you think that the BBWAA would’ve invented an award for the best player by now, but some folks would have you believe they never have.
Today Joe Posnanski takes those ideas — he calls them the Four Points of Awards Voting — and explains why he disagrees with them. In doing so he doesn’t scorch the Earth, Brian Kenny-style in explaining why anyone who adheres to them is foolishly walking in the forest of ignorance. He acknowledges that all of these ideas have been drilled into our heads for years and that, because of them, you have to at least engage them.
And when Posnanski engages something, well, he’s quite engaging.