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Awards - AL Cy Young
AL Cy Young

This should be the shortest installment of the awards, right? We should skip the nonsense and give his award to the most deserving and feel-good story of the year, Cliff Lee, right? Wrong.

Not to say he doesn’t deserve it, but instead of listing eight or so candidates who just don't stack up. Let’s have a head-to-head battle between Lee and his only real competition, Toronto’s Roy Halladay.

We will start with the hard stats that many view as the basis for winning the award:

Wins = Lee 22 – Halladay 20

1-0 Lee

ERA = Lee 2.54 – Halladay 2.78

2-0 Lee

Strikeouts = Halladay 206 – Lee 170

2-1 Lee

WHIP = Halladay 1.05 – Lee 1.11

2-2 Tie

Opp. BA = Halladay .237 – Lee .253

3-2 Halladay

OK. That’s that. Take it for what you will. Halladay wins in three categories to two. However, Lee wins the two most important categories with wins and ERA. But wait, there are a couple more categories that favors Halladay, including complete games (9, 1st in AL), innings pitched (246, 1st in AL), K/BB ratio (5.28, 1st in AL), hits/9 (8.05, 5th in AL). Both pitchers had two shutouts and each had 23 quality starts this season.

Lee backers could make the argument that he led the AL in BB/9 (1.37) showing his impeccable control this season AND the fact that he not only won 22 games, but lost only three, for an unheard of .880 winning percentage.

To me, a stat that comes into play here is run support. How else could Cliff Lee manage a 22-3 record with an opponents batting average that ranked 17th in the league? Lee received 6.13 runs per start (9th in the AL) and Halladay was able to win 20 with 4.72 runs (39th in the AL).

It isn’t easy to vote against Cliff Lee, but after examining this thing up and down, I have to give the nod to “Doc”. That said, I think the writers give it to Lee.

My Ballot:

1. Roy Halladay
2. Cliff Lee
3. Daisuke Matsuzaka
4. Mike Mussina
5. Jon Lester
6. Joe Saunders
7. A.J. Burnett
8. Ervin Santana
9. James Shields
10. Mariano Rivera

2008 MLB Awards

NL MVP – Albert Pujols, 1B, STL
AL MVP – Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS
NL Cy Young – Tim Lincecum, SP, SF
AL Cy Young – Roy Halladay, SP, TOR

NL ROY – Tomorrow
AL ROY – Sunday


Posted by Stanley Gibson at 10/3/2008 1:43:00 PM
Comments (5)

Message To Cubs Fans
A Message To Cubs Fans

Hey, Cubs fans, I have an idea that will ease the pain of another early exit in the playoffs despite having the best all-around team in the National League. It is simple.

Don’t act like you won the World Series after a strikeout to end the top of the first inning of Game 2 in a series you’re losing 1-0.

That’s it. It is exhausting for all parties. You are killing yourselves and draining your team. I can’t imagine what you would do if you actually won the real thing. Chicago would have to summon the services of every major city’s police department to help control Wrigleyville and keep you all from burning the entire city to the ground.

Whether you know it or want to admit it, your craziness only leads to more pressure for the squad. Then, after things go wrong, the boo’s reign in like air-raid sirens. I still haven’t figured out if the fans in Wrigley were actually sustaining a non-stop, low-pitched constant boo throughout the entire game or if TBS just doesn’t know how to handle the sound. Imagine what your players think. They know you all want nothing more than a World Series. They know you are behind them, but when they go from getting a resounding round of applause for accomplishing essentially nothing in the top of the first inning, to getting ripped a new one for grounding out weakly, where is their heads? This is a complete 180 for a player like Jim Edmonds, who goes from a positive and therefore winning atmosphere in St. Louis – to this. I will admit, they deserved to hear it after four uncharacteristic and unacceptable errors.

That said, the best thing that could happen to this reeling bunch of loveable losers is to get out of Chicago and down to LA. Game three on Saturday at Chavez Ravine will feel more like a home game for the Cubs. They go from the favorites (which they clearly can’t handle) to underdogs (where they will feel more comfortable). They have the talent and the manager to rally for two wins in Los Angeles, only to come back to the Chicago where it just might feel like they are on the road again.

I have all the respect in the world for the tortured fans on the North side of Chicago. You all have been through a lot. Don’t make it any harder on yourselves than it already is.



Posted by Stanley Gibson at 10/3/2008 7:41:00 AM
Comments (8)

The Softest Team Money Can Buy
For much of my short life, I have been a die-hard Mets fan. I remember wearing a Howard Johnson pin on my Mets jacket in the second grade. I remember screaming out loud whenever HOJO would hit a homerun. I’m not sure why I was such a big Howard Johnson fan. It was probably because of his nickname and because he looked like he always meant business.

I remember going to Mets camp when I was 12; somewhere in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania. Our 6 days were spent playing baseball, watching video of key moments in Mets’ history (mostly the 86’ season) and meeting up and coming Mets’ prospects (Bobby Jones, Brook Fordyce). Playing baseball and meeting “real” players was understandably thrilling for a camp full of 12 year old Met fans. The less understandable part was just how mesmerized every kid was with the 1986 team. I think that even as 12 year olds, we understood that the 1986 roster was unusually loaded with talent, toughness, leadership and personality. The images of players like Strawberry, Gooden, Backman, Dykstra, Mitchell, Hernandez and Carter, drove that understanding home.

I remember the day the Mets traded for Mike Piazza. I remember a high school classmate of mine screaming with excitement that we got Piazza and that “he was gonna hit bombs”. We had a baseball game that day. The bus ride to the game was full of the buzz generated by the Piazza signing. Piazza was a gamer and he was clutch. And now he was our catcher.

I remember the 2000 Subway Series and being glued to the seat for game 1 against the Yankees. The Mets weren’t as talented as the Yankees but they were a gritty bunch of overachievers. All I could think of was how happy I would be if one of my teams finally won it all and if they beat the hated Yankees in the process.

I remember the day that David Wright got called up from the minors. I was in Maine on vacation. I was substantially affected by too much wine but I remember making a point of putting on Sportscenter at 2:30 in the morning. I didn’t know all that much about David Wright, but for some reason I knew he was going to be the face of the franchise for a long time. He was going to be the first major homegrown talent that the team had developed since Strawberry or Gooden. He was going to be our DiMaggio or Mantle.

I have pointed out these select memories for a couple reasons. First is to demonstrate just how big of a Mets fan I used to be. And second, is to point out the types of teams and players that I want to root for. Howard Johnson was the consummate professional. The 1986 Mets were about intangibles like: toughness; the team concept; leadership; personality; bravado (just to name a few). Mike Piazza was a gamer. The 2000 Mets will always be remembered as a professional group of overachievers. David Wright is a simple kid who loves baseball.

Since the arrival of Omar Minaya, my Met fandom has been put to sleep. There have been no teams that I have enjoyed rooting for. There have been no managers that I have had any faith in. There have been few players that Minaya has brought in that I want to root for.

Minaya’s teams from each of the past 3 seasons have arguably been more talented than any other team in the National League; during that span. They have also had the highest payroll in the National League for each of the past 3 seasons. This is no coincidence. During this 3 season span (2006-2008), the National League has been weaker than it has arguably ever been during a 3 year period. It would stand to reason that the Mets, being the most talented team during this period, would have capitalized on the weakened state of the National League and reached the World Series at least once. However, this has not been the case. The reason is quite simple. While Omar Minaya has succeeded each off-season in assembling a talented roster, he has failed on a grand scale in addressing intangibles like: toughness; personality; accountability; bravado; professionalism; etc.

The 2006 Mets were universally considered the most talented team in the National League. They lost to an inferior 83 win Cardinal team. The reasons- lack of intangibles such as: toughness; leadership; accountability; professionalism; hustle; energy; bravado; etc. You can also count the ordinary to bad coaching ability of Willie Randolph as another major contributing factor.

In 2007, the Mets squandered a 7 game division lead with 17 games to go. They squandered that division lead and missed the playoffs as a result of the most epic collapse in baseball history. The reasons- same as above. They lacked intangibles and the team was coached by the nauseatingly mediocre Willie Randolph.

This season, the Mets collapsed down the stretch in less historic but more painful fashion than 2007. Reasons- Intangibles and an ordinary manager in Jerry Manuel who bases every decision he makes on matchups and numbers.

As a disenchanted Mets fan for several years, part of me was almost happy that they choked this season. I thought clueless Fred Wilpon would wake up and realize that Omar is not the man for the job. That he would hire someone sharp who has a real vision and that this person would drastically shake things up and put a product on the field that I would be happy to support.

This is obviously not the case. Amazingly, Wilpon has already signed Omar to a 4 year contract with an option for 2 more years. And reports indicate that Wilpon and Manuel are close to finalizing a 3 year contract. So what we basically have on the horizon is 4-6 more years with Minaya and another 3 more years with a robot in Manuel.

I want to believe that Omar Minaya will wake up tomorrow morning and realize that what’s been missing the past 3 seasons has been intangibles. I want to believe that he will wake up and realize that instead of hiring mediocre managers, he needs to hire excellent ones. I want to believe that he will wake up and understand that a major shakeup of the roster is needed to give the 2009 team any chance of achieving real success.

I want to believe all of these things because the alternative is thinking that the next 4-6 years is going to resemble the last 3.

Posted by David Martorano at 10/2/2008 8:24:00 PM
Comments (9)

Awards - NL Cy Young
NL Cy Young

The MVP awards have been handed out and we are moving on to a hot topic of all the awards in the National Cy Young Award, which went undisputedly to Jake Peavy, who won the pitchers Triple Crown last year with 19 wins, a 2.54 ERA and 240 strikeouts. This year, we have a few candidates that should steal votes from each other. Let’s see who comes out on top.

Tim Lincecum. “The Freak” as he is so appropriately dubbed, had an amazing season, accumulating eye popping numbers including a league-leading 265 strikeouts. He kept his ERA at 2.62, ranked 2nd in the league and his opponent’s batting average (.221) was best in the NL and second only to Dice-K in the entire MLB. Also, he didn’t win the 22 that Brandon Webb did, but he managed 18 wins on a pathetic Giants team that saw the second most wins at 10. Need more? He also led the league in win-loss percentage (.773) and home runs allowed per/9 (0.45) and was second in quality starts with 25. He did have some control issues for a stretch there, but never let it get too bad. His WHIP was a little high at 1.17 (12th) but again, he found a way to strand those runners and put up the best set of numbers in the league.

Ryan Dempster. The best pitcher on the Cubs this year was Ryan Dempster. He dominated at home and sneaks into the Cy Young race a little under the radar. However, look at his numbers and ranks and the consistency across the board in the top-5 makes him worthy of discussion: Wins (17, t-3rd), opponent’s batting average (.227, 3rd), 2.96 ERA (4th), Winning percentage (.739, 4th). In 13 starts after the All-Star break (which he spent striking out the side in the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium), he went 7-2 with a 2.52 ERA. He put up solid numbers but not leading any one of them does hurt his chances. I’ll save the suspense, he won’t win, but should get some top-five votes.

Brandon Webb. Luckily for the defending Cy Young winner, wins is the biggest stat the writers focus on when voting and he led the league with 22 of them. That should get him into the top three, but it should end there. Look at the rest of his ranks in key statistical categories: ERA (3.30, 10th), strikeouts (183, 11th), opp. BA (.242, 13th) and WHIP (1.20, 19th). Those numbers just aren’t good enough to keep him up there with Lincecum. He should hang around the number two spot because he did win at a .759 clip and had 24 quality starts (3rd) but he really shouldn’t get his second award in as many years. That doesn’t mean he won’t.

Johan Santana. Coming over to the National League should be a little easier and he won two of these bad boys over in the AL. His dominating finish on short rest should linger in the minds of voters and he could be considered a front-runner. His numbers don’t quite stack up to Lincecum’s and the fact that he lost at least four or five wins from that faltering bullpen hurts. The key here is that he does lead in a top category (ERA, 2.53) and another important category, innings pitched (234.1). He single-handedly kept the Mets in the race until the very end when the offense couldn’t answer the bell and they missed the playoffs on the last day of the season for the second straight year. Fact remains, 16 wins doesn’t look good on the resume. He did have 206 strikeouts, which was tied for second with Dan Haren, but even that was 59 behind Lincecum. The argument is strong in his favor.

Dan Haren. Haren might actually be a more deserving candidate than his teammate Webb. Again, 16 wins doesn’t immediately strike interest, especially with eight losses attached. A 3.33 ERA is a little lofty for this award as well and a .247 opponent’s batting average shows he might have had a little luck on his side. That’s where the negatives end. He is tied for second in strikeouts (206), 3rd in WHIP (1.13) and 1st in K/BB ratio (5.15). That’s not enough to convince writers to vote for him, but a great season nonetheless. Quick question: how bad could an offense be when two starting pitchers are in the running for Cy Young from the same roster? The D-Backs should be playing in October and could’ve made a run.

Brad Lidge. Here is our annual closer candidate and while I would like to make a case for Lidge, I simply can’t justify it. Being a starting pitcher, the grind, the bullpens, the wear and tear throughout the season, it’s simply a much tougher job than coming out of the pen, sometimes with a three-run lead and giving max effort to get three outs. Don’t get me wrong, Lidge did a fantastic job this year and he is the best at what he does in the National League, but he should be happy with the “Comeback” player award because that is all he should take home this year.

Cole Hamels. Hamels had just 14 wins this year, which wasn’t even the most on his team (16, Moyer), but he did put up a solid year and he does deserve at least a whisper for the award. He led the league in WHIP at an impressive 1.08. Opponents batting average was tied with Dempster for 2nd at .227. His 3.09 ERA was ranked 5th. His 196 strikeouts was 6th. And his K/BB ratio was 4th (3.70). Again, a very solid season and worth the whisper, but if he could’ve managed a couple more wins he would be taken a little more seriously.

Ricky Nolasco. Like Hamels, Nolasco isn’t a real candidate to win this thing, but deserves some credit for a very solid season. He only has 15 wins and his ERA was ranked 12th at 3.52. His 186 strikeouts isn’t overly impressive. But a 1.10 WHIP (2nd behind only Hamels) and a 4.43 BB/K ratio (2nd behind only Haren) are very impressive. Again, worth a mention and a vote in the top 10, but not a threat to the top contenders.

Edinson Volquez. Volquez is a nice story, coming over from the Rangers for Josh Hamilton, he really put together a nice season. Granted, it’s not a Cy Young season, but there is only one of those to go around. His 17 wins on a weaker Reds team is impressive. His 3.21 ERA is also impressive but his 9.46 K’s/9 is the most impressive.

C.C. Sabathia. First of all, I don’t believe that a player can come over in a trade after the All-Star break and win an award of this caliber. It’s not possible. I must admit though, if anybody is capable it is Sabathia and if he went 13-0, he would deserve it. I won’t go into all of his numbers, just flip on the Brewers-Phillies game and you can see for yourself. The guy is just plain dirty. He is probably more worthy of a mention for MVP over Cy Young because of what he meant to the Brewers down the stretch and the fact that he is never hurt.

My Ballot:

1. Tim Lincecum
2. Johan Santana
3. Cole Hamels
4. Dan Haren
5. Ryan Dempster
6. C.C. Sabathia
7. Brandon Webb
8. Edinson Volquez
9. Ricky Nolasco
10. Brad Lidge

Honorable Mention (and could replace Lidge): Chad Billingsley.


Gibson Awards 2008

NL MVP – Albert Pujols, 1B, STL
AL MVP – Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS
NL Cy Young – Tim Lincecum, SP, SF



Posted by Stanley Gibson at 10/2/2008 1:40:00 PM
Comments (2)

Awards - AL MVP
AL Most Valuable Player

With Albert Pujols taking home the Stanley Gibson NL MVP Award, it’s time to check out who could and who should take home the American League version. Unlike last year, when Alex Rodriguez was the clear choice, we have many candidates to choose from.

Alex Rodriguez. We’ll start with the defending champ and while his numbers are good enough to warrant consideration, the Yankees missing the playoffs softens talk of him winning his fourth MVP award. He hit .302 with 35 homers and 103 RBI which is way down from the .314-54-156 line that won him the award last year. He was just two off the lead in homers and ranked 5th in on-base percentage (.392) and 1st in slugging (.573), good enough for 3rd in OPS. Again, the numbers are there in his stat line, but there weren’t enough W’s in that all-important column for the Yanks.

Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis is a quiet contender for the award but after looking at the numbers, he should be considered a favorite especially considering he carried this Red Sox offense down the stretch. He finished with 29 and take a gander at some other key numbers and ranks: .312 average (6th), .569 slugging (3rd), 76 extra-base hits (4th), 115 RBI (4th), .390 on-base percentage (6th) and 43 doubles (t-7th). He hit .327 (99-for-303) in his final 83 contests and drove in 76 runs during that stretch in September. During one span from July to September he reached base in 44 straight games. The kicker is his defense. He proved so valuable to the team by playing first base in 110 games and third base 31 times (19 games he played both). His error on June 7th was his first at first base since July 4, 2006 which was a span 238 games and 2,002 chances. He fielded at a .996 clip at first base and overall between first and third made just 5 errors in 1,107 chances.

Milton Bradley. Where did he come from? After playing in just 42 games last year with the Padres and just 19 the year before in Oakland, Bradley ended up leading the AL in OPS (.999) and hit 22 homers with 77 RBI in just 414 at-bats. He led the AL with a .436 on-base percentage, 3rd in the AL with a .321 batting average and 4th in slugging (.563). Quick trivia question: Can you name the last player to win the triple crown of percentages (average, on-base and slugging)? Answer at the end. If he gets 600 at-bats, he is on pace for 32 jacks and 112 RBI. His MVP chances are slim-to-none with the Rangers falling out and staying out early, but his individual performances this season warrant a mention.

Dustin Pedroia. Can the reigning AL Rookie of the Year take home the highest honors in his sophomore season, a year in which he is supposed to slump? Well, he lead the entire MLB in doubles with 54 and tied Ichiro for the most hits with 213. He finished first in the AL in runs (118) and multi-hit games (61). He also stole 20 bases and only was caught once, a 95.2% success rate. Still not impressed? How about the fact that he is only the fourth American Leaguer to with 200 hits, 50 doubles and 20 steals in a season, joining Alfonso Soriano in 2002 and greats Tris Speaker in 1912 and Nap Lajoie in 1910.

He made just six miscues at second base this season in 727 chances, a .992 fielding percentage, ranked 2nd in the A.L. The knock on him is the power numbers which writers fall in love with, just 17 homers and an OPS that ranked 17th in the American League. However, think of what this guy did for his team all season long.

Carlos Quentin. It’s a shame this guy got hurt because he would’ve been a front-runner as well. His numbers were still impressive, hitting .288 with 36 homers and 100 RBI. He was injured on 9/1. That is a whole month left. He was on pace for 43 homers and the White Sox likely don’t relinquish their lead to the Twins if he is around during the stretch run. Again, his name is worth mentioning, but the injury will likely keep him out of the running.

Justin Morneau. Did you know this guy hit clean-up in every game this season for the Twins and helped carry them to a tie for the AL Central crown? He hit .300 (16th) with 23 HR (t-18th), 129 RBI (2nd), .374 on-base % (t-15th), .499 slugging % (15th). Those ranks just don’t jump off the page at anybody. He is a consistent performer on a good team, but he isn’t even the best candidate on his own team.

Joe Mauer. Segway to the best player on the Twins. Mauer won the batting title with a .328 mark. He also finished 2nd in on-base (.413) and he plays what many view as the most important position on the field, the captain behind the plate. The fact remains, you don’t win an MVP with single-digit homers (9) and less-than 100 RBI (85).

Grady Sizemore. You can’t blame the Tribe’s disappointing season on Sizemore. 33 homers and 90 RBI to go along with 38 stolen bases are impressive numbers. The reason he isn’t considered: lack of team wins and an unimpressive .268 batting average.

Josh Hamilton. Another great season spoiled by zero team success. 32 homers and an AL leading 130 RBI to go with a .304 batting average and that amazing performance in the Home Run Derby (just kidding, that doesn’t factor in).


My ballot:

1. Dustin Pedroia
2. Kevin Youkilis
3. Carlos Quentin
4. Alex Rodriguez
5. Joe Mauer
6. Justin Morneau
7. Miguel Cabrera
8. Grady Sizemore
9. Josh Hamilton
10. Milton Bradley

Trivia question answer: George Brett in 1980.

Posted by Stanley Gibson at 10/1/2008 2:11:00 PM
Comments (5)

Awards - NL MVP
MLB Award Voting Rationale

Predicting the outcome of the major MLB season awards including Cy Young, Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year has proven an inexact science over the years. Rarely is there an indisputable winner on more than one instance in a season. We did see and exception last year with Jake Peavy garnering all 32 first-place votes for NL Cy Young and Alex Rodriguez received 26 for AL MVP. The fact that after the statistics are set in stone and we still can’t predict who will actually come away with the hardware is somewhat hard to swallow. Then again, would it be much fun referring to a mathematical equation to determine the winner? No. The fact is that there are different mind-sets for those who ultimately make the decision on the winners of these prestigious awards that are often times brought up in Hall-of-Fame discussions in the future.

I wanted to go through each of the three major awards in both leagues and make cases for each possible candidate. Following that, I will pick the winner of each award and stand by it through mid-November when they are actually released. Since each writer is asked to give a list 1-10, I’ll do just that. There will be six installments. Here is a tentative schedule:

Today – NL MVP
Tomorrow – AL MVP
10/2 – NL Cy Young
10/3 – AL Cy Young
10/4 – NL Rookie of the Year
10/5 – AL Rookie of the Year

The first thing that must be understood is that two of the awards are tied to team success (MVP more so than ROY) but the pitcher’s version of the award for one reason or another doesn’t carry the “team must make the post-season” rationale. It is simply the best pitcher in the league. Also, keep in mind that it usually takes record-breaking performances and no 20-win seasons for a closer to be considered for the Cy.

Away we go.

National League MVP

Why not start with the one garnering a lot of the attention going into the awards season? Here are the candidates and the cases for each.

Albert Pujols. It would only be right to give the award to the guy snubbed in 2006 for Ryan Howard whose Phillies didn’t make the post-season. If the award really goes to the most valuable player to his team, Albert is that guy. His numbers and ranks speak for themselves: .364 average (2nd), 37 HR (t-4th), 116 RBI (4th), .462 On-base % (2nd), .653 Slugging % (1st).

What about the guys hitting around him? Ryan Ludwick ended up with a great season statistically, but it didn’t stop teams from intentionally passing Pujols an MLB-high 34 times (next closest was Delgado at 19). The Cardinals overachieved in 2008, but without No. 5 they would’ve checked out in late May. His value to the team can’t be measured with a playoff appearance, just gaudy numbers with no protection. Let me finish by asking a question: If you were the GM of the Cardinals, would you trade Albert Pujols for any one player? If you answered “nope”, he is the most valuable. If you answered “yes”, you need your head examined.

Ryan Howard. The Phillies are looking for their third MVP award in as many years and Howard eyes his second in that span. Question: Does carrying a team the final month of the season into the playoffs by hitting .352 with 11 homers and 32 RBI and finishing the season leading MLB in homers (by eight) and RBI (by 16) outweigh a sub-par .251 batting average and a league-leading strikeout total? The answer is an emphatic YES. At the end of the day, a strikeout is the same as a weak ground out to the pitcher.

Chase Utley. Maybe he shouldn’t of uttered “F U” to the fans during the Home Run Derby introductions as New York fans booed him. Karma. His second half doesn’t compare to the first. But that first half was incredible and staked the Phillies out to a lead that they eventually relinquished and ultimately won in the NL East. Many would make the argument that the Phillies went as Chase Utley went. His numbers aren’t eye-popping but solid across the board; .292 batting average, 33 homers, 104 RBI, .380 on-base percentage. Solid numbers plus playoffs equals MVP candidate.

David Wright. The Mets must have a candidate to speak of. They were in it all year and choked again. The collapse had more to do with the Mets pitching, and specifically bullpen woes than Wright. He finished with a .302 batting average, 33 homers, 125 RBI and 15 stolen bases. He hit .340 down the stretch in the final month and drove in 21 runs. What more could you ask for? Delgado surged down the stretch but could only drag his average up to .271 and didn’t match Wright’s RBI total. Jose Reyes did the exact opposite of Wright and choked in September, hitting .241 with just 15 runs scored. Beltran was good this year but ended up trailing Wright in every major statistical category other than stolen bases. Wright was the man on the Mets this year and shouldn’t be blamed for them missing the playoffs, rather carrying them to a chance to play in October.

Aramis Ramirez. The League’s best team has to have a candidate. Ramirez was inconsistent this season, but the numbers were there at the end and when he caught fire, the Cubs soared. His final numbers pale in comparison to say Pujols, Wright and even Utley, but again, he was the MAN on the best team in the NL all season long. .289-27-111 doesn’t jump off the page, but the Cubs 97 wins sure should.

Ryan Braun. Braun’s pure numbers probably rank third of all those on here, but one of the players with better numbers isn’t playing anymore (Pujols) and the other hit 31 points lower than the Brew Crew’s best hitter. He was also clutch, hitting some key late-September homers to launch Milwaukee into the playoffs for the first time since 1982. 37 homers and 106 RBI is a nice total in each key category. I hate to go off the style here, but I must mention that Braun hit a miserable .208 in September and his homers declined all the way to just three in the final month. He might have been their best hitter over the whole season, and the big homers could give the impression he was a hero in the clutch, but don’t buy that. I will now go back to the theme of supporting each player for the award. So, vote Braun for NL MVP in ’08. cough

Lance Berkman. Berkman was downright scary good for stretches in 2008 and the Astros ended up in the race until close to the very end. His first half numbers were something to behold: .347 average, 22 homers, 73 RBI, .443 On-base and even 15 stolen bases. He got injured and was slowed in the second half. I have to do it again. Even if the Astros snuck into the playoffs, it wouldn’t have been because of Berkman. We can’t discredit what he did in the first half, but the second half really shows he wasn’t the best player all season long.

Here is how I would vote if I were lucky enough to carry that BBWAA membership card:

1. Albert Pujols
2. Ryan Howard
3. David Wright
4. Chase Utley
5. Aramis Ramirez
6. Ryan Braun
7. Lance Berkman
8. Carlos Delgado
9. Carlos Beltran
10. Matt Holliday

AL MVP is coming tomorrow.



Posted by Stanley Gibson at 9/30/2008 2:50:00 PM
Comments (5)

MLB Awards
NL MVP – Albert Pujols: A no-brainer. Of the four main awards given out, this one is the clearest call. His BA (.357) and OBP (.462) trailed only Chipper Jones, but Pujols had nearly 100 more at-bats and his .653 slugging percentage led the league by a wide margin. He also led the NL in adjusted OPS+, runs created and sported a ridiculous 54:104 K:BB ratio. He’s also the game’s best fielding first baseman and major league baseball’s best base runner. Ryan Howard’s 48 homers and 146 RBI can’t be completely ignored; his .320/.439/.589 line with RISP may have been somewhat of a fluke and unsustainable, but it also means he was more valuable this year than his .881 OPS indicates. Still, even Lance Berkman was a better hitter in 2008, so he’s my choice for runner-up. Pujols clearly deserves the hardware.

AL MVP – Kevin Youkilis: Carlos Quentin or Milton Bradley would have taken this award, but both simply missed too many games this season. Like in 2006, there really isn’t anyone who jumps out here. Dustin Pedroia has been a nice player and all, but the guy’s OPS ranks 22nd just in the AL, and that number drops to .827 when he doesn’t have Fenway park helping him out. If you want to rate defensive importance highly, then Joe Mauer is the better pick. Or even Grady Sizemore.

NL Cy Young – Tim Lincecum: Johan Santana, Dan Haren and Cole Hamels are all excellent candidates, but the nod goes to The Freak. Lincecum walked the seventh most batters in the NL this season while also throwing the most wild pitches, but that’s far less hurtful when he combats it with an MLB-leading 265 strikeouts. In fact, his 10.51 K/9 IP mark was a full one punchout better than the second best mark. He also did an excellent job of limiting home runs, and although AT&T Park worked in his favor, he was pitching in front of a terrible defensive team. His FIP is 2.67; no other starter in the NL has one lower than 3.00. CC Sabathia has been the better pitcher since joining the NL, but this is a league given award, so there’s no way he was as valuable while throwing 100 fewer innings. As for Brandon Webb, it would be an absolute joke if he won, as he wasn’t even the best pitcher on his own team. In fact, Ricky Nolasco was a superior pitcher this year.

AL Cy Young – Roy Halladay: Narrowly, and I mean narrowly edging out Cliff Lee, who had a fantastic season as well. Halladay’s 1.053 WHIP and 5.28:1 K:BB ratio led all of baseball in 2008, and although Lee had a slightly better ERA (2.54 to 2.78), Halladay pitched 22.2 more innings, which is fairly substantial. Halladay did have the benefit of a good defense behind him, but pitching in the AL East is a much tougher task than the AL Central. In fact, he faced the Red Sox, the Yankees and the Rays a combined 16 times. Lee faced the Giants and Padres (once each) as often as he did the Yankees and Red Sox this season. As for Francisco Rodriguez, all hope for the future of society is lost if he finishes in the top-10.

NL ROY – Geovany Soto: Jair Jurrjens and Hiroki Kuroda had solid seasons on the mound, but this one came down to Soto and Joey Votto. In the end, Soto gets the nod because he put up similar numbers while playing catcher.

AL ROY – Evan Longoria: Alexei Ramirez was a worthy candidate, but Longoria takes home the trophy thanks to 60 extra-base hits in 448 at-bats. Honorable mention goes to Joey Devine, whose 0.59 ERA is the lowest in the history of major league baseball (minimum 40 innings). Good thing the Braves got three months of Mark Kotsay for him.

Posted by Dalton Del Don at 9/29/2008 2:58:00 PM
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