Cleveland Guardians News

Did Asdrubal Cabrera Deserve ‘Man of the Year’ Award?

By Editorial Staff

By now, you probably know that Asdrubal Cabrera was this year’s recipient of the Bob Feller Man of the Year award, given annually by the Cleveland chapter of the BBWAA. Droobs has been a big hot button issue on this site recently. Make no mistake, I think everyone here is happy he’s in an Indians uniform. But was he deserving of the award?

A close look at the description will tell you this:

"Members of the Cleveland chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America vote annually for an Indians’ Man of the Year Award receipient. Similar in nature to a Most Valuable Player Award, the Indians’ Man of the Year has been given since 1946 to the Cleveland Indians player or executive who consistently performs at the top of their game — on the field or off the field, but as it relates to the success of the Indians’ franchise — during the season."

Cabrera had the best offensive season for a shortstop since the days of  Lou Boudreau, and did so by apparently heeding to a little advice provided by Orlando Cabrera. But one word in particular stands out here: “consistently.”

Asdrubal started out the year warm, and then had a scorching May. But if you look at his basic statline as the season progressed—average, OBP, SLG, OPS, whatever you prefer to use—you can see that steadily declined as the season wore on. He hit his peak in May, but from then-on he came back down to earth and posted some rather pedestrian numbers in the latter months.

Justin Masterson was the other candidate, and he was more deserving. This award shaping up like an MVP award, and Masterson was snubbed here—just as he was for Indians Player of the Year.

Masterson was a workhorse through 216 innings. His 12-10 record did no justice to the way he pitched this year. He was a victim of sparse offense on more than one occasion. He didn’t record a win from April 26 to July , yet in that span he pitched fewer than six innings only three times and logged seven or more innings five times, posting a 3.34 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 2.2.

Consistency wins out, and over the course of the season Baseball-Reference had Masterson was at 4.1 WAR, compared to Asdrubal’s 3.7. FanGraphs put Masterson ahead, 4.9 to 3.6, while Baseball Prospectus had him up in WARP by a margin of 4.3 wins to 3.1. It’s not much, but that Masterson gets the edge in every category is telling.

Cabrera’s a great player, but once again he isn’t deserving of his hardware. Masterson got snubbed here.

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