FanPost

BYB Players of the Year 2012: the readers' choice

Well, the end of the regular season is finally upon us, which leaves baseball fans with two last items to obsess over before packing it in for the winter: the playoffs and awards. Regarding the latter, we have MVPs ̶ an especially hot topic among fans and writers alike this season ̶ along with Cy Youngs, Manager of the Years, and a myriad of other miscellaneous trophies that get handed out to those responsible for keeping us entertained during the dog days of summer. These awards are selected by sports writers, the players, coaches and/or front office staff. This year, we have some awards to hand out voted by the Bless You Boys readers and commenters that takes a little different twist on selection. Using results from the Player of the Game polls posted by our loyal and trustworthy editors after each game, your humble author has devised a method of determining who the combined BYB consciousness believes are the best players on our beloved Detroit Tigers.

Methods

The method of gathering the data for this "study" was rather simple, yet hardly scientific. Most of the readers here know how the polls work: the game ends, a BYB editor posts the poll in the game recap, votes are cast, and a winner is declared in the following game recap. However, over the laborious course of 162 games, it gets kind of dull just grabbing the results after each game, on top of the fact that the idea to conduct this "study" didn't occur to me until more than a third of the way through the season. Basically, I created a spreadsheet and went to each and every game recap to record the results from the polls. I noted who (or in some cases, what) was on each ballot, how many votes they received, and ordered them by total numbers of votes. I collected these data in clusters four times throughout the summer, and for the last two games, waited until the Friday after the last game to enter those results. I then tabulated a series of different data combinations, of which the most prominent will be presented below. Note that when ranking players, if the number of appearances on the ballot were the same, I used the total number of votes as a tie-breaker (this will be more apparent in The Results section).

Caveats

As mentioned earlier, these results are anything but rigorous in the scientific sense. However, it does provide a longitudinal look at the fans' reactions here at BYB, despite the rollercoaster of emotions the fans experienced this season. Additionally, I feel compelled to point out some biases that affect the outcomes of these polls, including issues such as the game result (e.g., whether the Tigers won or lost), the person who posted the poll, or even the time and date the game was played. For instance, of the 162 games that were played, six of the games had no poll ̶ one of which was due to BigAl's equipment failure (FAIR HAL BEANTOWN?) ̶ and seven more were either entirely of or featured selections that were not in a Tigers uniform. Also, there is no uniform number of entries for each poll, and a few where either there was only one player to vote for or the editor summarily declared a winner, which could potentially skew some of the data. Furthermore, some of the numbers were collected a while after the poll was posted, which could lead to differences in total numbers of votes (though the significance of this variance should be mostly inconsequential); polls posted after the SBNation reboot also only received meager numbers in contrast to before the switch, which put more weight on results from earlier in the season. Despite these issues and other minor nuances, the results presented here have been collected and sorted as accurately as possible to satiate the desires of you, the BYB reading audience. So, without further adieu, I present to you...

The Results

Drumroll, please! Here's the moment you have all been waiting for. I have reduced all of the names and numbers into lists of top ten.

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

1

Miguel Cabrera

23

5,743

2

Justin Verlander

18

6,705

3

Max Scherzer

14

5,323

4

Doug Fister

11

3,473

5

Austin Jackson

10

2,516

6

Prince Fielder

9

2,487

7

Drew Smyly

7

2,684

8

Quintin Berry

6

1,863

9

Brennan Boesch

6

1,435

10

Anibal Sanchez

5

1,373

1

Miguel Cabrera

29

2,144

2

Austin Jackson

13

1,323

3

Andy Dirks

9

405

4

Prince Fielder

7

785

5

Jhonny Peralta

7

520

6

Alex Avila

7

489

7

Gerald Laird

6

525

8

Delmon Young

6

397

9

Quintin Berry

5

886

10

Duane Below

5

415

1

Delmon Young

21

606

2

Prince Fielder

15

354

3

Austin Jackson

14

589

4

Miguel Cabrera

12

286

5

Brennan Boesch

8

258

6

Andy Dirks

6

287

7

Jhonny Peralta

6

126

8

Duane Below

5

237

9

Rick Porcello

4

131

10

Joaquin Benoit

4

96

Total Polls

Total Votes

Vote Summary

1

Miguel Cabrera

65

2

Austin Jackson

39

3

Prince Fielder

36

4

Delmon Young

33

5

Justin Verlander

23

6

Andy Dirks

21

7

Max Scherzer

18

8

Brennan Boesch

18

9

Jhonny Peralta

18

10

Alex Avila

17

1

Miguel Cabrera

8,178

2

Justin Verlander

7,466

3

Max Scherzer

5,704

4

Austin Jackson

4,446

5

Doug Fister

3,985

6

Prince Fielder

3,700

7

Rick Porcello

3,684

8

Drew Smyly

2,997

9

Quintin Berry

2,849

10

Brennan Boesch

2,043

1st Place

44,314

2nd Place

13,161

3rd Place

4,357

4th Place

285

5th Place

48

Total

62,165

There you have it, the numbers in the raw. For the top three tables, the first column from the left denotes the rank, the first column on the right of the name indicates how many times that player won that vote, and the furthest right displays how many total votes that player received for that rank (n.b.4th and 5th place results have been omitted for the sake of brevity). Ranking applies the same for the second row of tables, with the right-hand number column for Total Polls representing the total number of polls that player appeared in, and total number of votes for the second two tables.

Winners

BYB Hank Greenberg Award: Miguel Cabrera

There is little doubt that Miguel is the MVP for the Tigers' season this year, and the BYB community appears to have recognized that on a consistent basis. The Tiger third baseman led all players in total votes, polls, and first and second place finishes; he did so in 161 games played. He collected more than 18% of the total votes, and his ballot appearances were evenly spread throughout the season. What makes Miggy's results even more impressive is that in a voting regime where pitching is given priority over fielding and offense (when the pitching was above par, at least), Miguel managed to still lead in the above-mentioned categories. The only place where he fell short of pitching was in total first place votes, which was taken by...

BYB Hal Newhouser Award: Justin Verlander

We Tiger fans have become accustomed to Verlander's domination from the mound over the last few years. The results from the vote reflects that without a shadow of a doubt. Justin led all players in total first place votes, led all pitchers in first place finishes, total polls and total votes, and managed to collect just under 17% of all votes submitted, 2nd among all players. He managed to do this in 33 starts, 23 of which he was featured on the ballot. So when the Tiger ace was on the mound, not only was he must-watch JV, but he was also must-vote JV as well. Honestly, what we see here should come as a surprise to no one, being the reigning AL MVP and CY Young winner. But everyone knows that none of these accolades are possible without a supporting cast. Among those are...

Honorable Mentions:

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Runner Up ̶ Position player: Austin Jackson. AJax had a rebound year, and the fans certainly recognized it. While most of his poll success came earlier in the year, he was an important player both in the batter's box and in center field throughout the season. There is little doubt that Jackson is appreciated by the BYB community.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Runner Up ̶ Pitcher: Max Scherzer. Mad Max put up some stunning numbers in the second half, and while I was tabulating his results, I found myself very impressed by what I saw. Featured on the ballot 18 of his 32 starts, placing first in 14 of those, Scherzer gave JV a run for his money. His other four ballots were split between 2nd and 3rd place finishes, and he finished 3rd in total votes.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->3rd Place King: Delmon Young. Despite how fans felt about him in the comments section, despite having letters dropped from his name to reflect his perceived play, despite his off-the-field issues, Delmon made an impression on BYB readers this year. Gaining the most 3rd place ballots, and appearing in 4th place for total ballots, Delmon managed to earn the 3rd place crown. Not too shabby for a guy incites so much vitriol.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Surprise Player(s): Tie - Drew Smyly/Quintin Berry. Both of these players were guys nobody saw playing the part they did coming out of Spring Training. Smyly was the scaffolding that held the rotation together from the fifth spot, gathering a majority of his votes in the first few months. Berry was a guy that came out of the minor leagues and clapped his way in the BYB fans' hearts. Both were instrumental in the overall success of the Tigers this year.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Love-to-Hate: Brennan Boesch. With possibly the exception of Ryan Raburn and Delmon Young, Boesch was the primary whipping boy for BYB commenters this year. And rightfully so ̶ he put up awful numbers over the long haul and seemed lost most of the season. But when he came through, he came through, and BYB voters recognized that. He finished in the top 10 of first and third place finishes, total polls and total votes. For this, he gets the Love-to-Hate award.

Other Notables

There were a few other players who managed to get in on all the voting fun this year. I'll briefly summarized them here.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Players who won first place once: Ryan Raburn, Jeff baker, Don Kelly, Avasail Garcia, Gerald Laird, Brayan Villarreal, Luke Putkonen, Octavio Dotel, and Duane Below.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Late-comers: Anibal Sanchez managed to win 1st place five times and 2nd place once in a total of twelve starts. Omar Infante had four 2nd, three 3rd, one 4th and one 5th place finishes in 64 games.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Prince Fielder: Fielder quietly put up great numbers for the Tigers this year, and also received some quiet recognition from BYB voters as well. He managed to finish in the top 10 of all five compiled categories.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Starting Pitchers: Although starting pitchers typically have the fewest appearances among regular roster players, they made a big splash in the vote this year. Four of the top 10 1st place winners were starting pitchers, and five out of the top 10 for total votes were also starters. My explanation? Well, as commonly mentioned in the comments section, when a starter does well, it's hard not to vote for them, and with one of the best rotations in the league, these results should not come as a surprise. When they win, they win big.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Baked Potato: After last year's awe-inspiring performance (albeit, with a side of heartburn), Valverde fell back to Earth this year, and the votes reflect it. In 71 appearances, the Big Spud only had three 3rd place wins and a total of 78 votes. No love for the Dancing Tater Tot.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Not Worth-less: Danny Worth managed to finally get on the ballot in Game 161... and finished 3rd with 8% of the vote. Better late than never!

Miscellaneous Debris

I noted earlier that there are several idiosyncrasies in the way the polling was conducted, the most prominent of which is the addition of non-Tigers ̶ even intangibles ̶ on the ballots for voting. Let us take a moment to look at a few of the more interesting instances.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Brandon Inge: Brandon Inge appeared twice on the ballot ̶ once as a Tiger (Game 10) and once as a member of the A's (Game 32). As a Tiger, Inge placed 2nd in the vote with 23%; as an Athletic, Inge came in 1st, with 69% of the vote. Bonus: A's OF Josh Reddick also got in on the fun that game, placing 3rd with 10% of the vote. I guess Tiger fans are endeared to former players laying a spanking against their team.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Magglio Ordonez: While we're on the topic of former Tigers, good ol' Maggs managed to come in 1st place with 66% of the vote in Game 54 without even putting on his uniform. Even the Hot Dog Guy got some props, collecting 20% of the vote, good enough for 2nd place. Loyal fans, we Tigers are.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Game 80: Nearly half-way through the season, the clouds of DOOM had already started hover over the BYB community. Nothing could further evidence this than the vote for this game, with "Team Fails" receiving 52% of the vote for 1st place, "Line-Up Fails" next with 15%, "Pitching Fails" with 12%, "Baseball Gods Are Evil" with 11%, and lastly "Fielding Fails" with a paltry 7%. Clearly, BYB readers believe in divine intervention if they think that deities are a bigger concern than our putrid fielding .

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Rod Allen: Our favorite Rod Allen, with 40% of the vote, beat out Mario Impemba (33%) and John Keating (26%) for the top spot in Game 138 in the Battle of the Announcers.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Fair vs. Foul: Remember the game where Delmon Young had phantom game-winning home run against the KC Royals in Game 138? Well, two-thirds of BYB voters (66%) felt that the ball sailed past the fair side of the pole, while the other third (33%) felt it was foul.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Kurt Menshing: Even the head editor got into the action this year! Our fearless leader managed to collect a whopping 6% of the vote ̶ good enough for a 4th place finish (out of four) ̶ in Game 149, getting beat out Al Alburquerque (38%), "No PotG" (36%) and "Fans Who Watched" (18%) for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Better luck next time, Kurt!

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Mythological Creatures: On more than one occasion, the vote featured multiple players for the same vote, like something out of Greek mythology. One of such creatures was Cablander (Cabrera and Verlander, obviously), who received 49% of the vote for 1st place in Game 82, who bears a striking similarity to Amphisbaena, the two-headed snake. Then there was Ceberus ̶ the three-headed hound of Hell ̶ comprised of Dotel, Benoit and Valverde who made two appearances in the polls, once for Game 105 receiving 31% of the vote and 2nd place, and the second time for Game 131, grabbing 3rd place with 9% of the vote. Finally we have the Chimera ̶ Dotel, Coke, Villarreal and Benoit, who achieved 1st place status with 62% of the vote in Game 69.

Extra Innings

There you have it folks! I hope everyone enjoyed this brief history of the BYB 2012 Player of the Game vote. This is the part where I look off into the horizon and speculate on what could be done to make this an even more successful project in the future. While the editors do a fantastic job putting together the recaps and polls, it would be easier to conduct a more "scientific" study if those polls were given a more uniform format; this would take some of the fun out of it, though. If I do decide to embark on this endeavor again next year, I plan on collecting the data in a more regular manner, and perhaps provide updates on a regular basis leading up to the final tally. Finally, every scientist is open to peer-review criticism, and I'm no exception. So if you have any suggestions, comments or requests for more specific information, please feel free to post them in the comments section and I'll be happy to take a beating or oblige you, whichever is applicable. Thanks for reading and GO TIGERS!

All images by A.M. Dubbin.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the <em>Bless You Boys</em> writing staff.

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