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Award Time
Posted by Dalton at 10/4/2006 1:54:00 AM
View more posts by this author


NL MVP: 1. Albert Pujols 2. Ryan Howard 3. Lance Berkman

Ryan Howard is very deserving and obviously had one hell of a year, but donít overrate home runs here. Pujols beats him in average, OBP and slugging percentage, while striking out 131 fewer times. He plays a far superior defense, is more of an asset on the basepaths, hit in the weaker lineup and led MLB in game-winning RBIs by a sizeable margin. With RISP, Pujols has a 1.337 to .942 OPS advantage. Howard is the man, but Pujols is baseballís best hitter.

AL MVP: 1. Johan Santana 2. Derek Jeter 3. Justin Morneau

This is where I expect to get the most flak, and I understand itís unorthodox, especially considering Santana will win the Cy Young, and an offensive player of the year award doesnít exist. Still, Iím sticking to it, mainly because I am so underwhelmed with all other options. Derek Jeter had a fine year and all, but he was one out away from finishing with an OPS in the 800s. Joe Mauer deserves serious consideration as well, but losing at-bats because of catching certainly hurts his chances. David Ortiz is another tough pick, considering heís a DH on a non-playoff team. Same goes for the ALís best hitter this year, Travis Hafner. If you want to get all ďmost valuable to their teamĒ on me, look no further than Frank Thomas, who absolutely carried an inept Oakland offense on a very affordable contract. Morneau helped lead a weak lineup into the playoffs with 130 RBI, but his OPS doesnít even crack the ALís top-5. Ask yourself this, would the Aís rather play the Twins without Morneau (or Jeter, hypothetically speaking) or without Santana in their series? Of course itís Johan.

NL Cy Young: 1. Chris Carpenter 2. Brandon Webb 3. Roy Oswalt

I would have no problem if this list was flipped, as it really is that close. Webb deserves credit for his extra 15 innings and calling Chase Field home, but he also pitches in the NL West and has the weakest K/BB ratio. Oswalt paces them all in ERA and flashes a brilliant 166/38 K/BB ratio, but batters hit nearly 30 points higher against him than the other candidates, resulting in a higher WHIP. Which brings us to Carpenter, who limited hitters to a .235 BAA, posted a 3.09 ERA and 1.07 WHIP to go along with a nifty 184/43 K/BB ratio. But really, all three are deserving.

AL Cy Young: 1. Johan Santana

This one is the easiest pick of all and is pretty much undebatable.

NL Rookie of the Year: 1. Takashi Saito 2. Hanley Ramirez 3. Ryan Zimmerman

Another extremely tough call, as the National League had a huge year for rookies. Dan Uggla, Prince Fielder, Josh Willingham, Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen and Matt Cain all deserve attention as well. Whether or not a 36-year-old from Japan should be truly considered a rookie is up for debate, but his performance during his first year in the majors certainly is not. While there are rumblings that Trevor Hoffman should receive some Cy Young votes, Saito quietly put together an even more impressive campaign. While his 24 saves wonít jump off the page, his 107 strikeouts in just 78 1/3 innings do. A 2.07 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and .177 BAA reveal the most dominating season by a first year player in the National League.

AL Rookie of the Year: 1. Francisco Liriano 2. Jonathan Papelbon 3. Justin Verlander

A lot can be said for simply staying healthy, which makes this another tightly contested battle. I tend to completely ignore the wins category, but in this case, it was Verlanderís extra innings that allowed him to accrue them. Still, he might as well have been hurt when the other two were, as he sported a 5.87 ERA once July ended. His 124/60 K/BB ratio also looks downright embarrassing compared to Lirianoís 144/32 and Papelbonís 75/13. Since he tossed 50 more innings than Papelbon and was basically baseballís most dominant hurler when on the hill, Liriano gets the nod.


I think your closing Santana argument is flawed. Just because Santana may be the most valuable Twin in a short playoff series does not mean he's the most valuable Twin over the course of the six-month, 162-game season. Apples and oranges. (I'm not a Yankee fan at all, but I think Jeter should win and will win. When things were most tenuous in New York this year, he was unaffected, posting one of his best seasons. One final: Bobby Abreu can't really get any support for a short time in NY, but I think his contribution to the Yankees has gone unappreciated in some circles. The lineup seemed to go off when he entered the mix, the perfect ingredient added.)
Posted by spianow at 10/4/2006 7:16:00 AM
But can't you make the exact same "tenuous" argument about Mauer or Morneau? For all of the Yanks injuries Jeter still had Damon, a red-hot Giambi, Posada, and ARod during this "tenuous" time in NYC. It wasn't as though he was facing extra pressure that everyone else in the lineup wasn't shouldering. Morneau carried Minny during May-August when it made that incredible surge. F Thomas did the same from July-Sept. I guess my point is that I don't think you can use that as the deciding factor in an mvp race because you could say that every candidate had fantastic numbers during a very critical time in his team's season. I think Jeter is probably most deserving, but not because he had a great season amidst greater adversity to shoulder than his star teammates (or other mvp candidates) did.

I agree that Abreu was a fantastic ingredient added to the mix. Would that more than 3 teams could afford a $13.6 million patient hitter whose declining defensive skills are directly correlated to how much of his feet he can still see.
Posted by lkkwak at 10/4/2006 10:33:00 AM
I hear you Pianow, and I agree it's flawed, but the Yankees still make the playoffs without Jeter, and the Twins don't even come close without Santana. --Dalton
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 10/4/2006 11:06:00 AM
I don't care how "dominating" he was, a guy like Saito who pitched well under 100 innings has no business being in the NL RoY discussion. If it were a weak year for rookies I could see it, but there are probably half a dozen first-year players in the NL, if not more, who made bigger contributions.
Posted by ESiegrist at 10/4/2006 1:01:00 PM
Here's my ballot:


1. Jeter 2. Thomas 3. Mauer

Jeter should win this hands down for his everyday contributions at a premium position. Thomas is a worthy candidate for his second half finish in particular, and Mauer is simply a great hitter at an ultra-premium position.

AL Cy Young

1. Santana 2. Wang 3. Verlander

This shouldbe unanimous unless some drunk New York writer checks the Wang box.


1. Verlander 2. Papelbon 3. Liriano

A healthy Liriano would have received the nod, but Verlander's innings and numbers make him an easy choice for me.


1. Pujols 2. Howard 3. Soriano

Pujols is an easier choice for me than some, as he is easily the game's best all-around hitter and is underrated defensively.

NL Cy Young

1. Oswalt 2. Carpenter 3. Webb

Webb could have received the nod if not for an awful final start and a mediocre K rate. Carpenter was also awful in his final couple starts, costing him the award. Oswalt wins this one almost by default.


1. Uggla 2. Zimmerman 3. Cain 4. H. Ramirez

No race is more wide open than the NL ROY. I could live with any of these four choices (no, I don't consider Saito a rookie). Still, hard to argue against Uggla, who batted .282/27/90 and bested Joe Gordon's rookie HR record for second basemen.
Posted by vtadave at 10/4/2006 3:17:00 PM
Admitted Yank Hater says:
Jeter hit really well this year, no doubt, but power numbers were his worst in at least 3 years. everyone mentions 'intangibles,' which is a ridiculous way of saying "because he's jeter." "he's a team leader" -- great, i'm sure that had a lot to do w/ a team winning that has a payroll higher than the GDP of ***a href=""***15 different countries***/a***. (if html didn't work, that was 15 freaking countries).

but i guess he gets the nod over players who had better years b/c of his contributions in the field, like the fact that he was tied for 5th most errors among AL shortstops (for a guy with limited range, that's bad - they don't give you errors for balls that you couldn't reach that other guys would've).

i know jeter's all class, and he's a super-respectable player and worthy of a back-pat for an awesome year. But was he the best in the AL? Not by a long shot in my book. But then, i do hate the yanks.
Posted by stuccosalt at 10/4/2006 6:59:00 PM
The award isn't for the best power hitter or even the best hitter. It's for the "MVP".
Posted by vtadave at 10/4/2006 9:42:00 PM
Jeter is and always has been overrated.

Santana is AL MVP becuase of what SE7EN3D posted above is true.

Saito is a considered a rookie unless they change the rules, so was Ichiro.
Posted by iknowbo34 at 10/6/2006 10:36:00 AM
i cannot believe that you could not figure out a way to nominate twins for the national league awards.....
Posted by xman887 at 10/6/2006 10:46:00 AM
Touche' xman...Surprisingly, however, I am not a Twins fan. --Dalton
Posted by Dalton Del Don at 10/6/2006 1:42:00 PM
To me Saito's rookie status is irrelevent; there has to be a *HUGE* performance gap between a reliever and an everyday player or rotation regular for me to consider the reliever for an award.
Posted by ESiegrist at 10/7/2006 12:25:00 PM

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