Who Actually Had the Biggest Comeback in 2009?

It's award season, and the NL and AL Comeback Awards winners were announced earlier today.  Congrats to Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals and  Aaron Hill of the Blue Jays for winning the award.   It is supposed to go to the players that "re-emerged on the baseball field during a given season." 

I decided to take the balloting results and compare the player's WAR from this year, a recent low year and a recent high.  Then. I took the total swing in WAR from the high to the low to this season's WAR value .  For example Aaron Hill had 3.5 WAR in 2007, 0.5 in 2008 and then 4.2 this year for a total swing of 6.7 WAR ((3.5 WAR -0.5WAR)+(4.2 WAR - 0.5 WAR). 

 

NL Comeback Award Comparison

Here is a comparison of the vote getters in the NL:

Voting Rank Name and Team High Year Previous High (WAR) Low Year Lowest Between High and 2009 (WAR) 2009 WAR Total Swing in WAR
1 Chris Carpenter, STL 2006 5.2 2007 0.2 5.6 10.4
2 Yovani Gallardo, MIL 2007 2.6 2008 0.4 2.8 4.6
3 Josh Johnson, FLA 2006 2.5 2007 0.2 5.3 7.4
4 Todd Helton, COL 2007 4.9 2008 1.5 3.5 5.4
5 Aaron Boone, HOU 2007 0.3 2008 -0.2 -0.3 0.4
6 Pedro Martinez, PHI 2007 1.2 2008 0.1 0.6 1.6
7 Luis Castillo, NYM 2007 2.4 2008 0.6 1.4 2.6
8 Jeff Weaver, LAD 2007 0.9 2008 0 0.6 1.5
9 Jonny Gomes, CIN 2007 0 2008 -1.2 0.8 3.2
10 Peter Moylan, ATL 2007 0.6 2008 0 1.5 2.1
11 Mike MacDougal, WSH 2007 0.2 2008 0.1 -0.2 -0.2

 

NL Observations and the AL Comparisons after the jump

NL observations:
  • The voters got the winner correct.
  • The voters also got the next four correct with the exception of Gallardo being a little high
  • The wasn't a whole lot to choose from after the first 4.
  • In two cases the players WAR value did not increase in 2009 from the previous years.  In one case, Aaron Boone had open heart surgery this off season and even getting on the field should warrant some votes.  I have no clue how Mike MacDougal end up with votes. 


AL Comeback Award Comparison

Now here is a comparison of the vote getters in the AL:

Voting Rank Name and Team High Year Previous High (WAR) Low Year Lowest Between High and 2009 (WAR) 2009 WAR Total Swing in WAR
1 Aaron Hill, TOR 2007 3.5 2008 0.5 4.2 6.7
2 Victor Martinez, BOS 2007 5.1 2008 0.9 4.8 8.1
3 Michael Cuddyer, MIN 2007 2.1 2008 -0.2 2.1 4.6
4 Jorge Posada, NYY 2007 7.1 2008 0.8 4 9.5
5 Russell Branyan, SEA 2006 1.1 2007 0.5 2.8 2.9
6 Scott Podsednik, CWS 2005 1.4 2006 -0.5 1.5 3.9
7 Juan Rivera, LAA 2006 2.7 2008 -0.7 3.5 7.6
8 Rajai Davis, OAK 2007 1 2008 0.6 3.5 3.3
9 Andruw Jones, TEX 2007 3.6 2008 -0.9 0.7 6.1
10 Travis Hafner, CLE 2007 2.2 2008 -0.8 1.1 4.9
11 Fernando Rodney, DET 2007 0.7 2008 0.4 0.3 0.2

 

Observations on the voting for the AL Comeback Award:
  • The winner here did not have the largest swing in WAR,  Hill was actually 4 in total swing behind Posada, Martinez, and Rivera.
  • The swing values in the AL were much more than in the NL on average.  There was only one swing value of less than 2.9 in the AL, but 6 in the NL.
  • I need to look back over 5 years to see the comeback of Scott Podsednik.  He has the following WAR values from 2005 to 2009: 1.4, -0.5,-0.1, -0.4, 1.5
  • Fernando Rodney, like Aaron Boone and Mike MacDougal got votes for actually being worse this year than last year.
  • There seems to be a lot of love for Russell Branyan despite being having the 9th highest swing in WAR.
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