The most anticipated... this year's regular season awards
Hosts: MD, SK
MD - This argument begins and ends with Lotte Giants star corner infielder Lee Dae-ho. Lee won his second career triple crown by leading the league in batting average(.364), homers(44) and RBIs(133). Few players mean more to their team's lineup than Lee does. Lee is the clear choice this year.
SK - I'll go with Dae-ho as well. But I disagree that his performance made that much of a difference in this year's Lotte team. Take his 44 home runs off Lotte's totals and Lotte will still be second in the league in team home runs. Lotte came in fourth just like last year through hard hitting. Lee just kind of symbolized Lotte's offence and that's what makes him the MVP. But they'd still would have ended the same way if Dae-ho hit half of what he hit. But there's no single player in the playoff teams this year that did any more.
2010 Sun Dong-yeol Award (Pitcher of the Year)
MD - There really isn't a whole lot of debate here either. Hanhwa ace Ryu Hyeon-jin was the best pitcher in the KBO this year and second place isn't close. Ryu racked up a 16-4 record. It's not terrible impressive, until you realize that Hanhwa only won 49 games this year. He was responsible for almost 1/3 of his teams' victories. Ryu also posted a 1.82 ERA and 1.01 WHIP while striking out 187 in 192 2/3 innings.
SK - I go with Ryu as well. This is the situation every year with Ryu and the Eagles. Interesting note about Ryu: this was his highest win total since 2006 and 2007, when Hanhwa made the playoffs. He's actually peaking, his 1.82 ERA is his best total. And who carries a 1.82 ERA pitching a whole season (192 innings). Ryu had this unbelievable year and he will win this award every year he pitches in the KBO until his decline.
2010 Rookie of the Year
MD - The KBO never has very many rookies break out. This year was no exception, but Doosan catcher Yang Eui-ji put up solid numbers in his first KBO season. The 23-year old catcher put up a .267/.48/.471 slash line with 20 homers and 68 driven in. I can't really see this going any other way.
SK - Definitely slim pickings. I will go with Yang as well just because none other stick out. KBO is definitely a league where stuff is developed. Yang's not even that young either at 23.
MD - This one goes to Hanhwa infielder Oh Sun-jin. Oh managed to find his way into 108 games and 240 plate appearances, but posted a slash line of .199/.247/.222 with 0 homers and two steals. I really wanted to give this award to KIA third baseman/2009 MVP Kim Sang-hyeon, but he had an excuse. He went from playing hurt to out to kind of okay by the end of the season. Oh was just awful.
SK - I'll have to go with Eagles pitcher Yoo Won-sang, the biggest loser in the loserest team (Eagles). His 5-14 record looks almost the opposite of Ryu Hyun-jin's 16-4 and his 5.43 ERA doesn't seem too bad next to some other powerful ERA's of the team (Huh Yoo-gang, 7.58), (Choi Yong-pil, 7.45), (Yang Seung-jin, 8.93), etc. etc, but it's still bad. Actually this team's whole pitching staff can be given this award, but Yoo symbolizes it with his lovely loss count.
2010 Cy Yuck (Worst Pitcher of the Year aka "The Ahn Yeong-myeong Award")
MD - Ahn Yeong-myeong. Last year, Ahn was awful last year for a bad Hanhwa Eagles team in 2009. If it weren't for a truly horrific pitching staff, Hanhwa might have been able to keep Lee Beom-ho and Kim Tae-gyun. Ahn found himself on the 2009 KBO champions pitching staff and did his best to turn the team from first to worst. Ahn posted a 6.77 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP in 47 appearances. Ahn managed to give up 15 homers in only 69 1/3 innings of work. He somehow recorded a 6-8 record with 3 saves and 3 holds.
SK - Ahn's teammate A. Lopez reversed his 14-5 win-loss in 2010 to 4-10 and went from being one of the reasons why Kia went from worst to first to first to non-playoff. His fall was worse than Ahn Yeong-myeong and I believe symbolized Kia's fall more with his more clearly embarrassing win-loss reversal. There was a lot of bad pitching this year, but Lopez sticks out to me as the worst due to his team's fall and his win-loss record staring right at you when you check Kia's pitching stats. Good good luck in the DR next year bro.
2010 Worst Non-Korean Dude (aka The Rick Bauer Award)
MD - So many cruddy pitchers to choose from. Do I go with LG's Edgar Gonzalez or Phil Dumatrait? Do I go with TSOKB favorite CJ Nitkowski? What about the KIA Tigers pitcher that was released before the season started? One man, out-stunk them all. The Hanhwa Eagles Jose Capellan was one of the all-time foreign dude disasters. Jose went 0-11 before earning his plane ticket of shame. Capellan posted a 9.15 ERA with a 2.17 WHIP over 59 innings. He allowed nine homers, 87 hits and 46 walks. I've never seen a guy get lit up as often as Capellan. I'd like to say that his numbers will never be approached again, but I get the feeling that they might.
SK - Capellan as well. The fact that Hanhwa kept him around before he hit 0-11 had me hoping they'd keep him to see how much worse it could get. But him being let go was for the best. To be fair, Hanhwa was very bad and their defense was of no help (763 errors, by far the most in the league). I remember seeing him pitch perfectly well until Hanhwa's defense started to do their thing and help him win this award. He was not an extremely bad pitcher, his combined minor league record in 2004 was 14-5, 2.80. He was a victim of an offense first KBO league and a very bad defense backing him up.
2010 Manager of the Year
MD - I really wanted to go with Jerry Royster, but I've been really impressed by the job Samsung's Sun Dong-yeol has done this year. He's had to find a way to bridge the gap between Samsung's aging core and their younger players and he did a magnificent job. He also had to hold a shaky starting staff's hand while getting the most out of a talented bullpen. Sun is the anti-Kim Seong-geun. The crotchety SK manager that would just as soon spit in a player's eye as give him praise. Sun's teams have an air of fun about them. These guys like playing together and I think that starts with their manager.
SK - I think Sun's the clear winner. Any time a team is brought from non-playoff to 2nd place, the manager has to be recognized. Royster just took what he was given and did what was expected. Samsung finished second with good performances from a lot of starters and played baseball the way it's supposed to be played. There were no huge acquisitions in the off-season and no wild language about how he's going to do this and that. He just managed and the Lions won. And it seems Sun worked well without using any notable imports. Foreign player quality besides a few were very poor, and I think other teams will follow next season and not use as much. Either way, other teams will look into how the Lions manager is doing things and learn.