With tonight’s thrilling regular season finale, baseball will move into the postseason. That means that I have all the information to hand out some awards. I’m only going to do the MVP Awards, Cy Youngs, and Rookies of the Year. They’ve already handed out Comeback Players of the Year (Aaron Hill in the AL and Chris Carpenter in the NL) and I don’t feel like running through the Silver Slugger or Gold Glove Awards. You can do that on your own. Let’s get started.
NL MVP – Albert Pujols – 1B – St. Louis Cardinals
This is the easiest one of all of them. Pujols should sweep the vote to take home his third MVP Award. Pujols’ .327 average, 47 homers, and 135 RBIs placed him third, first and third in those categories, respectively. Pujols was on track to hit 50 homers for the first time in his career, but he cooled a bit down the stretch and hasn’t left the yard since September 9th. Even with that stretch, Pujols was still the top player in either league.
Others considered: Albert Pujols.
AL MVP – Joe Mauer – C – Minnesota Twins
This decision was almost as easy as Pujols for the National League. Mauer finally tapped into the power potential that we kept hearing about by blasting a career-high 28 homers in only 137 games. In the five previous seasons he had only reached double digits once before when he hit 13 long balls in 2005. To go along with his newly acquired power numbers, Mauer also led the AL in batting average for the second straight year. Mauer posted another career high in this category by hitting at a .364 clip. Without Mauer, it’s probable that the Twins don’t make it to tonight’s one game playoff against the Tigers. He gets the nod.
Others considered: Miguel Cabrera, Derek Jeter, Ichiro.
NL Cy Young – Tim Lincecum – San Francisco Giants
To me, this is the most hotly contested of the major awards. Any one of the trio of Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, or Tim Lincecum could easily win the award. I knocked out Carpenter even though his sparkling 17-4 records suggests that I shouldn’t have. He pitched the fewest innings and struck out only 144 batters. By comparison, Lincecum K’d 261 and Wainwright 212. Lincecum posted a 15-7 record with a 2.48 ERA, struck out the previously mentioned 261 hitters in 225.1 innings. Wainwright had a 19-8 record with a 2.68 ERA while striking out 212 in 233 innings. Other than wins and a slight edge in innings pitched, Lincecum has much better stats. 261 strikeouts is phenomenal and the 2.48 ERA is just a tick better. Lincecum takes home the Cy Young for the second year in a row.
Others considered: Carpenter, Wainwright, Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens.
AL Cy Young – Zack Greinke – Kansas City Royals
Zack Greinke gets the nod over Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, but barely. After Greinke’s much publicized start to the season, he cooled off toward the middle before picking it up down the stretch. Greinke’s final numbers rate as one of the best seasons in history. He had a 16-8 record with a 2.16 ERA and 242 Ks. All this while playing for a terrible Royals team. Hernandez put up an equally impressive line with a 19-5 record, 2.49 ERA and 217 punch outs. That’s quite the stat line, but just barely not good enough to take over Greinke. In my vote, Justin Verlander of the Tigers finishes third, while CC Sabathia is out of the running.
Others considered: Hernandez, Verlander.
NL Rookie of the Year – Chris Coghlan – OF – Florida Marlins
Coghlan came on strong during the second half of last year and finished with a final line of .327/9/47. It came down to Coghlan, Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson and Phillies starter JA Happ. If Hanson had a full season under his belt, I think this award would have been his easily, but he only made 21 starts. Happ started strong and tailed off toward the middle of the year. Coghlan on the other hand became an important cog in the Marlin lineup that finished second in the NL East. He had over 100 hits after the All-Star Break, which led all of baseball.
Others considered: Hanson, Happ.
AL Rookie of the Year – Andrew Bailey – RP – Oakland A’s
No rookie really distinguished himself as a star in the AL. If Coghlan, Hanson, or Happ were in this league, it would not be close. Instead, the award goes to the A’s rookie closer who posted a 1.84 ERA and saved 26 of the 30 games he was given. Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus also got a look; his stats are similar to Coghlan’s, except Andrus hit a mere .267 and I can’t justify that over Bailey.
Others considered: Andrus
So there you have the awards for the Major League Baseball season. Feel free to weigh in with a comment.
Filed under: MLB Tagged: | Adam Wainwright, Albert Pujols, Andrew Bailey, Baseball, Chris Carpenter, Chris Coghlan, Cy Young, Elvis Andrus, Felix Hernandez, JA Happ, Joe Mauer, MLB, MVP, Rookie of the Year, Tim Lincecum, Tommy Hanson, Zack Greinke