I was looking through the Bus Leagues archives (because there’s no better way to spend a Saturday morning) and saw that last year around this time, Eric directed us to the online voting for USA Today’s Minor League Player of the Year award (Tampa Bay’s David Price eventually won).
The newspaper has already named its finalists for the 2009 season and the polls are open.
Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Jose Giants/Connecticut Defenders – 12-2, 1.81 ERA, 23 G/22 GS, 91 SO, 123.1 IP, .214 BAA
Brian Matusz, LHP, Frederick Keys/Bowie Baysox – 11-2, 1.91 ERA, 19 GS, 121 SO, 113 IP, .211 BAA
Jason Heyward, OF, Myrtle Beach Pelicans/Mississippi Braves – .314 BA, 17 HR, 58 RBI, 47 BB, 47 SO, .399/.557/.956
Buster Posey, C, San Jose Giants/Fresno Grizzlies – .318 BA, 18 HR, 77 RBI, 62 BB, 66 SO, .413/.529/.942
Carlos Santana, C, Akron Aeros – .285 BA, 21 HR, 89 RBI, 84 BB, 78 SO, .410/.523/.933
Not sure how much I agree with these selections. If I have the time, maybe I’ll do my own ballot. For position players, they seem to put a premium on guys who produce in Class AA and AAA while keeping their strikeout totals down (Heyward and Posey both did time in Class A Advanced this season but have also accumulated significant playing time in AA and AAA, respectively). That might explain why Chris Carter gets no love despite hitting .333 with 24 homeruns and 105 RBI in Double- and Triple-A.
Bumgarner and Matusz have the numbers to be on the list. I’m just put off by the fact that Matusz made it despite not having pitched in the minor leagues since August 1. Bumgarner wasn’t great when I saw him in Manchester, but he has put up exceptional numbers for two straight seasons (27-5, 1.63 ERA, 255 SO, 54 BB, 265 IP) at three different levels. His strikeouts are way down this year and his walks are up, but it’s not like San Francisco needs him to be The Man; if he can produce enough to be the number three starter behind Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, that’s a win in my book.
For the record, Bumgarner got my vote among the players listed and currently leads 38%-27% over Heyward after about 3600 votes.