Who are the 2016 Angels’ Award Winners?

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Updated: October 1, 2016

As the Angels head into the final series of the season, it’s time for fans to truly begin contemplating the offseason. First, another postseason comes and goes without the Angels and a champion is crowned. Shortly after, awards season begins, another year for Mike Trout to be screwed out of a deserving MVP award.

Today, however, we begin awards season early. Who deserves the Angels awards? Who is our Rookie of the Year? Who is our CY Young? Who is our Least Valuable Player? Let’s hand out some awards!

MVP – Let’s not spend too much time here; I’ve already discussed in length Trout’s historical greatness, and broke down the complete race for Halo MVP. Let’s move along! Winner – Trout. Runner Ups – Albert Pujols, Kole Calhoun.

Least Valuable Position Player – Usually this award would highlight a single player’s particularly dreadful year, a player who failed to live up to high expectations, a player who failed to live up to a massive contract, or some combination of all three.

This year, however, the award belongs to a single position. The Angels followed up an historically awful left field situation last year with… an even more historically awful left field situation. We could pare this award down to just Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry, the two uninspiring answers to the problem GM Billy Eppler signed this past offseason.

That, however, would completely ignore the parade of pathetic players that attempted to fill the spot this year. Between offensive no-shows (Nick Buss, .203 BA, Todd Cunningham, .148 BA, Shane Robinson, .175 BA,) players woefully out of position, (Jefry Marte, -7 Defensive Runs Saved,) or a combination of both, (Ji-Man Choi, (.165 BA, -0.2 dWar,) this position was once again a black hole. Loser – Nava, Gentry, Buss, Robinson, Choi, Rafael Ortega… You get the picture.

Cy Young – This is a very depressing award, indeed. The Angels’ pitching situation has basically been a dumpster fire of ineffectiveness and injury all year long. Taking into account how horrible the pitching has been makes Matt Shoemaker’s performance all the more important.

After starting off the season about as bad as you possibly could and getting demoted, Shoemaker was called back up due to injury and pitched very well the rest of the year, lowering his ERA from above nine to a respectable 3.88.

The fact that the runner-ups in this category are a noodle-armed starting pitcher that can barely crack 84 and hasn’t been all that effective all year and a relief pitcher that didn’t even pitch the full season shows how much in shambles the pitching staff has become. Winner – Shoemaker. Runner Ups – Jered Weaver, Cam Bedrosian.

Least Valuable Pitcher – Contrarily, this is a category ripe with contenders. The majority of the Angels’ starters succumbed to injury, and while pitchers like Jhoulys Chacin and Brett Oberholtzer are certainly not valuable, they also weren’t expected to add very much in the first place.

Established closer Huston Street, however, was not only counted upon to bring his usual stability to the back end of the bullpen, he was to be a valuable trade piece in the case the team was unable to compete. Instead, Street mixed ineffectiveness and injury to help sink the Angels’ hopes early and kill any trade value he might have had.

Giving up thirty-one hits and five home runs in only twenty-two innings pitched and walking twelve to only fourteen strikeouts, Street put together his worst season at the worst possible time for the Angels. Joe Smith, to a lesser extent, also mixed ineffectiveness and injury to hurt his trade value, but the Angels were at least able to extract some value for him in a trade.

The Angels took a low-risk flyer on Tim Lincecum, and he ‘rewarded’ them with thirty-nine runs in thirty-eight innings before eventually being sent down without being called up again, even when rosters expanded. His career as a starter is likely over. Loser – Street. Runner Ups – Lincecum, Smith.

Rookie of the Year – Another sad category, the lack of contenders here illustrates the real issues the Angels have in their pipeline; there are just no young impact players to be found here.

Catcher Jett Bandy stepped up in the midst of Carlos Perez’s downward spiral and Geovany Soto’s constant state of injury to post decent offensive numbers, and Deolis Guerra has been the most consistent pitcher out of the bullpen for the Angels this season if nothing else. That’s pretty much the extent of positive impact they’ve received from rookies this season. It’s a sad state of affairs in regards to the Halos’ prospects. Winner – Bandy. Runner Up – Guerra.

Most Improved Player – Most of the Angels’ players have taken a step backward, been injured, or both. Hey, when you have the type of season the Angels have had, it’s hard to find the positives. However, we’ll end here on a bit of a positive note.

First baseman C.J. Cron has shown serious improvement in some key areas this season to raise some high hopes for him going forward. While he did miss significant time with an injury, Cron was still able to slash a respectable .280/.329/.472, all significantly better than 2015. Cron also cut his strikeouts, raised his walks, and got on base more often.

If Cron is able to hold this level of improvement, he has shown he can be a legitimate contributor in the middle of a good lineup. Bedrosian also made huge strides towards becoming the closer of the future many touted him to be as a prospect. Showing huge improvements in his secondary offerings, Bedrosian dropped his ERA over four full runs from 5.40 to 1.12, quintupled his ERA plus from 71 to 359, cut his home runs, walks, and hits allowed, and did this all in eleven more games and seven more innings, even earning his first save.

There was a lot of ineffectiveness, injury, bad luck, mistakes, and just plain bad baseball this season for our Halos, along with a true lack of young players to contribute now and for the future. The development of the few young players we do have such as Cron and Bedrosian gives us some hope for the future, at least. Winner – Cron. Runner Up – Bedrosian.

The Bottom Line – All in all, there’s not a lot to pick from when handing out awards during a season this bad (except when you’re talking about who’s least valuable.) It has not been an easy season to watch. The negatives will always outweigh the positives in a season like this. However, young players like Cron, Bandy, Bedrosian, and Tyler Skaggs developing and growing to take a place along with stars like Trout, Pujols, and Calhoun gives the team something to build around, which is better than nothing. With a little bit of good luck and a lot less injury, the Angels may be closer to competing than it seems.

 

 

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