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MacDougal Named Royals' Pitcher of the Year

Curious news today from the Royals PR machine involving the Rice Award, given to the team's best pitcher. In a mild upset (I guess) Mike MacDougal has won the award. As the press release on kcroyals.com states:

MacDougal, a hard-throwing right-hander, had 21 saves in 25 opportunities and his 84 percent success ratio was the club's best since Jeff Montgomery's 87.8 percent (36 of 41) in 1998.

MacDougal began the season in a setup role, but regained the closer's role shortly after Jeremy Affeldt went on the disabled list in mid-April. There's little doubt about what MacDougal feels was his biggest asset.

"Probably the slider, just being able to throw it behind in the count. That was pretty big for me this year," he said.

"I was able to throw it quite a bit on 3-2 counts, and throwing that slider behind on counts changed my whole approach to hitters and gave me a pitch to fall back on if I got into a little trouble."

MacDougal had a 5-6 record, a 3.33 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings. Hurt in previous years by control problems, he issued just 24 walks.

I guess since the team's best starters aren't name guys -- Mike Wood and D.J. Carrasco -- and MacDougal is the nominal closer, it makes some sense that he'd be selected. I think its debatable if he was even one of the top 5 most valuable/useful Royals in '05, although being "best" is I guess another matter. Nothing like having a "closer" to nail down that once every ten days close Royal lead late.

Really.

I genuinely like these cheesy team honors though, and I have nothing against MacDougal... this just seems a bit off to me nonetheless. Of course, Lord knows what the selection process was.