KC Royals designated hitter Kendrys Morales won the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award on Tuesday, finishing ahead of seven time winner David Ortiz. The award is the second prize that Morales has taken home this winter, after also winning the Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger award for designated hitters.
However, as much as I love what Kendrys Morales did for my Kansas City Royals in 2015, the awards don’t make sense.
Yes, Kendrys Morales had a great season for the KC Royals. But, there’s no way Kendrys Morales should have won either the Silver Slugger or the Outstanding Designated Hitter award. Take a look at the stat lines for Morales’ closest DH competition:
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Even if the voters threw out Edwin Encarnacion because he played 59 games at first base, that leaves both David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez as designated hitters who had more home runs, higher OPS+ values, and higher offensive WAR values than Kendrys Morales.
In an era in which analytics are driving awards more than ever before, the designated hitter award voters went old school on us: they elected Kendrys Morales because his team won the World Series.
It’s really the only reason that makes sense.
I suppose some other rationales could be in play. Kendrys Morales meant more to the Kansas City Royals offense than any of the other candidates meant to their team. Yet, isn’t that what WAR is supposed to measure? Maybe Kendrys Morales won the award because voters were tired of giving it to David Ortiz, who had already taken home the prize seven times. Maybe no one wanted to even THINK about giving admitted cheater Alex Rodriguez any kind of award in his “redemption” season.
Could the whole damn baseball world have been so shocked that the KC Royals actually won the World Series that they couldn’t think straight? Whatever method that ODH and Silver Slugger voters used to honor Kendrys Morales is beyond my ability rationalize.
Maybe the team beat writers, broadcasters, and AL team public relations department members voted with their gut.
I guess I shouldn’t complain. After watching the KC Royals get mostly ignored by the national media over the last 25 years, what Royals fan can truly object to some recognition that maybe Kendrys Morales should not have won? [Note: I won’t say Morales doesn’t deserve it, because he did have a terrific season]
Congratulations, Kendrys Morales. No matter what I think you’ve got some prestigious awards to put on your mantlepiece. I hope you’re even better next season.