As a general rule, big league teams that lose 106 games, like the KC Royals did in equaling their franchise record for single-season defeats this year, aren't loaded with individual award winners. If they were, those losses wouldn't have piled up in such embarrassing numbers.
Now and again, though, even the worst clubs boast players worthy of capturing major awards. Those players simply post glittery numbers too fine and impossible to ignore.
Such is the case in 2023 with Kansas City shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. who, among other laudable things in only his second season in the majors, became the first in franchise history to join the elite 30-30 club, fell one steal short of 50, and firmly established himself as the future of the KC organization.
Yet other than the club Les Milgram Player of the Year award Kansas City's chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America bestowed upon him, no big honors have come Witt's way.
Consider him snubbed, because that's the unfortunate truth of the situation.
And it happened again Saturday night. Witt, deservedly nominated in November for the 2023 All-MLB team, found himself on the outside looking in when he didn't even make the second team.
Another rejection strikes KC Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.
Saturday's spurning of Witt in voting split equally between fans and a "panel of experts," follows his inexplicable rejection for a Gold Glove — despite leading American League shortstops in DRP and OAA, he wasn't even named a finalist for what could, and probably should, have been his first major award.
And getting the cold shoulder Saturday only compounds the disappointment.
Not that Witt should have beaten out Texas' Corey Seager for a spot on the All-MLB first team, mind you. The first team is where Seager ought to and deserves to be — the eventual World Series Most Valuable Player slashed a superb .327/.390/.623, hammered 33 home runs, and drove in 96 runs during the regular season.
But Francisco Lindor grabbing the second team shortstop slot ignores the arguably better season Witt had. While Lindor .hit .254 for the Mets, Witt hit .276 for the Royals. Witt led the majors in triples with 11; Lindor tripled only twice. Lindor hit only one homer more than Witt's 30. The two shortstops were neck-and-neck in RBI: Lindor had 98, Witt 96. Witt's SLG (.495) exceeded Lindor's by 25 points, and he swiped 18 more bases than his New York counterpart. Both players had the same 120 OPS+.
And Witt's +14 OAA and +11 DRP were certainly better than Lindor's 6 and 4.
Nevertheless, the voters chose Lindor, not Witt, for second team. Whether Witt deserved the honor more is in the eyes of the beholder, but his missing out on yet another award doesn't feel right here and probably won't sit well with Royals fans.