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Tampa Bay Award Voting: James Shields Claims Team MVP

The local Tampa Bay chapter of the BBWAA just released their results for the three team awards given out each season: the MVP, Most Outstanding Rookie, and Paul C. Smith Champion Award ("spirit of professionalism").

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Marc Topkin from the St. Petersburg Times has the full breakdown of the results:

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Paul C. Smith Champion Award
Johnny Damon 41
James Shields 27
Ben Zobrist 9

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Outstanding Rookie
Jeremy Hellickson 50 (unanimous)
Desmond Jennings 30
Alex Cobb 7

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Most Valuable Player
James Shields 48 (9-first place votes)
Evan Longoria 26 (1-first place vote)
Jeremy Hellickson 7

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There have been some kerfuffles in the past over this awards voting, as the writers have sometimes chosen some...uh, interesting players for team MVP. (Jason Bartlett, anyone?)

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But it's very hard to argue with any of this year's results. Hellickson and Jennings have both been amazing, and I think you can make the case for either of them to win the Outstanding Rookie award, and James Shields has been the best pitcher on the Rays' staff and is having a career year. He's posted a 2.82 ERA in 250 innings, while throwing 11 complete games to boot. I'm normally loathe to give the MVP to a pitcher, but as there's no local Cy Young award, I like the decision.

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And Johnny Damon wins the award for professionalism? Never saw that one coming.

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My one minor wish is that Ben Zobrist had gotten more consideration for team MVP (or in other words, any consideration). While he's slumped of late, you can make the argument that he's produced just as much as Longoria over the season and carried the team at times when the rest of the offense had disappeared. Just compare Zobrist's and Longoria's batting lines; they're nearly identical, yet only one of them gets any love.

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But as far as complaints go, that's a relatively minor detail. Kudos to Shields, Hellickson, and Damon -- you guys all definitely deserve the recognition. 

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.