AL and NL MVP

Just to finish off the awards, here are the AL and NL MVPs. I’ll have my playoff and World Series picks tomorrow (if all the series are decided by then!)

American League Most Valuable Player

Contenders (in alphabetical order; RC = runs created)

  • Josh Hamilton – OF/TEX – 122.8 RC, 32 HR, 130 RBI, 9 SB, 98 R, .371 OBP in 624 AB – A great story on a lousy team. You could tell he wore down at the end of the season, but should be a force in 2009.
  • Joe Mauer – C/MIN – 99.9 RC, 9 HR, 85 RBI, 1 SB, 98 R, .415 OBP in 533 AB – As much as I love the idea of Mauer as MVP, his stats are nice, but not eye-popping. OK, yes, he is a catcher, so that helps a lot.
  • Justin Morneau – 1B/MIN – 112.8 RC, 23 HR, 129 RBI, 0 SB, 97 R, .375 OBP  in 620 AB – Another solid year from Morneau. 
  • Dustin Pedroia – 2B/BOS – 120.2 RC, 17 HR, 83 RBI, 20 SB, 118 R, .376 OBP in 653 AB – Alright, so the same argument can be made for Pedroia as Mauer, albeit for a different position, but Pedroia was eyepopping (and I’m biased, sorry).
  • Carlos Quentin – OF/CHW – 103.5 RC, 36 HR, 100 RBI, 7 SB, 96 R, .394 OBP in 480 AB – The award was his until he broke his hand and the White Sox began to spiral downwards.
  • Grady Sizemore – OF/CLE – 128 RC, 38 HR, 90 RBI, 38 SB, 101 R, .374 OBP in 634 AB – Again, great season, lousy team (and lousy September). However, he did lead the AL in runs created.
  • Kevin Youkilis – 1B-3B/BOS – 114.2 RC, 29 HR, 115 RBI, 3 SB, 91 R, .390 OBP in 538 AB – Overshadowed by the outgoing Pedroia, Youkilis has outperformed the expectations laid for him in Moneyball.
How I’d vote:
  1. Pedroia
  2. Morneau
  3. Quentin
National League Most Valuable Player
Contenders (in alphabetical order)
  • Lance Berkman – 1B/HOU – 130.3 RC, 29 HR, 106 RBI, 18 SB, 114 R, .410 OBP in 554 AB – Started out fast but fell off his monster pace. And who knew that Berkman could steal bags?
  • Ryan Braun – OF/MIL – 109.7 RC, 37 HR, 106 RBI, 14 SB, 92 R, .335 OBP in 611 AB – Poor 3/4 of September hurts him, but he saved the Brewers (well, other than C.C.) in the last week of the season.
  • Ryan Howard – 1B/PHI – 111 RC, 48 HR, 146 RBI, 1 SB, 105 R, .339 OBP in 610 AB – Howard’s batting average hurts him a lot, but when he was needed in September, Howard carried the Phils to the top.
  • Albert Pujols – 1B/STL – 147 RC, 37 HR, 116 RBI, 7 SB, 100 R, .462 OBP in 524 AB – It is hard to argue against Albert Pujols for this, even if the Cardinals didn’t make the playoffs. His RC and OBP were nuts.
  • Hanley Ramirez – SS/FLA – 129.9 RC, 33 HR, 67 RBI, 35 SB, 125 R, .400 in 589 AB – He will be a perennial candidate, even with his so-so defense.
  • Chase Utley – 2B/PHI – 125.3 RC, 33 HR, 104 RBI, 14 SB, 113 R, .380 OBP in 607 AB – Solid year from Utley, but overshadowed by Pujols and Howard.
  • Dave Wright – 3B/NYM – 129.5 RC, 33 HR, 124 RBI, 15 SB, 115 R, .390 OBP in 626 AB – Wright is getting the reputation of a wilter after two seasons of September Mets collapses.
How I’d vote:
  1. Pujols
  2. Howard
  3. Braun
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World Champions!

I can’t have a parade, but I can have a virtual one here!

Congratulations to my 2008 Magma League championship team, The Oncoming Storm!

My batting MVPs were Josh Hamilton and Nick Markakis, my starting pitching MVP was James Shields and relief pitching MVP was Joakim Soria.

But this championship goes out to all the fans who have stuck with the team through the years. This is for you!

AL and NL Cy Young Awards

To continue my look at the 2008 MLB season, here are my picks for the AL and NL Cy Young Awards.

American League Cy Young

Contenders (in alphabetical order)

  • Roy Halladay – SP/TOR – 20-11, 2.78 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 206 K in 246 IP – What can you say about Halladay that hasn’t been said? He might be one of the most underappreciated pitchers of our time, toiling away in Canada. His 2008 is his second-best campaign since his last Cy Young season.
  • Cliff Lee – SP/CLE – 22-3, 2.54 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 170 K in 223.1 IP – Last year Cliff Lee couldn’t even stay in the majors. This year, he had one of the most dominant AL seasons for a lefty this side of Johan Santana in his peak. 
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka – SP/BOS – 18-2, 2.80 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 149 K in 163.2 IP – Daisuke might have had one of the oddest seasons in MLB history. He walked a lot of batters (with a 1.62 K/BB), but he was ridiculously good at not giving up hits (.209 BAA). He didn’t pitch enough – both due to injury and pitch inefficiency – to really be a serious candidate, but he did take a step forward from his 2007.
  • Mike Mussina – SP/NYY – 19-9, 3.47 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 147 K in 194.2 IP – The Moose’s last gasp (most likely) was solid, but not enough to get his first Cy Young.
  • Francisco Rodriguez – RP/LAA – 2-3, 2.27 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 76 K, 62 SV in 67.1 IP – His place on the list was secured by his record 62 saves, but the rest of his season was by no means even in the top 10 of closers in history.
How I’d vote:
  1. Lee
  2. Halladay
  3. Matsuzaka
National League Cy Young
Contenders (in alphabetical order)
  • Ryan Dempster – SP/CHC – 17-6, 2.96 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 187 K in 206.2 IP – Dempster had the best year for a converted closer since Derek Lowe won 20 in his first season starter after being Boston’s closer.
  • Brad Lidge – RP/PHI – 2-0, 1.84 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 91 K, 40 SV in 68.1 IP – A token closer, but the most dominant one in the NL, possibly in all of MLB, this season.
  • Tim Lincecum – SP/SFG – 17-5, 2.66 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 252 K in 220.0 IP – An amazing season for the sophomore player, especially considering the ineptitude of the Giants. Hopefully this is not his career high point.
  • Johan Santana – SP/NYM – 15-7, 2.64 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 197 K in 225.1 IP – Johan has a great second half – something he seems to do often – and put himself back in the Cy Young race, but is hurt by his lower win total.
  • Brandon Webb – SP/ARI – 22-7, 3.24 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 176 K in 219.2 IP – The NL leader in wins, but not the same level of dominance as Lincecum or Santana.
How I’d vote:
  1. Lincecum
  2. Santana
  3. Webb

AL and NL Rookie of the Year

I’m going to post my picks for various MLB awards during this, the closing weekend of the season. I’ll start with the AL and NL Rookies of the Year.

American League Rookie of the Year

Contenders (in alphabetical order)

 

  • Jose Arredondo – RP/LAA –  10-2, 1.65 ERA, 1.05 WHIP in 60.0 IP – A pleasant surprise for the Angels bullpen, allowing Scoscia to not lean on Scot Shields in every tight situation.
  • Chris Davis – 1B-DH/TEX – 16 HR, 53 RBI, .321 OBP in 284 AB – He really didn’t play enough to be a serious contender, but expand his stats to the same number as Evan Longoria (below), and you get 25 HR, 82 RBI. Not too shabby.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury – OF/BOS – 8 HR, 45 RBI, .332 OBP, 96 R, 49 SB – Ellsbury came in with a world of expectations, and to an extent, he met them. However, he did struggle in the middle of the season, swinging at almost every fastball within a mile of the strike zone. He is hitting >.300 again in September.
  • Armando Galarraga – SP/DET – 13-6, 3.68 ERA, 1.19 WHIP in 178.2 – In a dismal season for Detroit, Galarraga was a very pleasant surprise, pretty much becoming the most stable piece of a rickety rotation.
  • Evan Longoria – 3B/TAM – 27 HR, 85 RBI, .346 OBP in 437 AB – He missed some time to injury, but beyond that he has lived up to the lofty expectations of him, even in the middle of a pennant race.
  • David Murphy – OF/TEX – 15 HR, 74 RBI, .346 OBP in 437 AB – His season ended early due to injury, but he looks a lot like Rusty Greer 2.0.
  • Alexei Ramirez – 2B-OF/CHW – 20 HR, 73 RBI, .318 OBP in 464 AB – Another surprise, the Cuban defector put up solid offensive numbers, albeit tempered by his lack of plate discipline.
  • Brad Zeigler – RP/OAK – 3-0/0.92 ERA/1.13 WHIP/11 Sv on 58.2 – Billy Beane really pulled a rabbit out of a hat with Zeigler, who ended up supplanting Huston Street as the A’s closer by the end of the season.
How I’d vote:
  1. Longoria
  2. Ramirez
  3. Galarraga
National League Rookie of the Year
Contenders (in alphabetical order)
  • Jay Bruce – OF/CIN – 21 HR, 52 RBI, .320 OBP in 402 AB – Bruce came out gangbusters, cooled off and then found middle ground, producing well for mediocre Reds.
  • Jair Jurrjens – SP/ATL – 13-10, 3.68 ERA, 1.37 WHIP in 188.1 IP – Jurrjens was part of the Renteria-to-Detroit deal and he paid off nicely for the Braves. Solid middle-of-the-rotation starter.
  • Geovany Soto – C/CHC – 23 HR, 86 RBI, .364 OBP in 493 AB – Rookie catchers tend to have a rough go of it, but Soto bucked that trend – and in the middle of a pennant race in front of baseball-crazed fans in Chicago.
  • Joey Votto – 1B/CIN – 22 HR, 79 RBI, .363 OBP in 516 AB – Another solid Reds rookie.
  • Cory Wade – RP/LAD – 2-1, 2.19, 0.90 in 70 IP – It never hurts to have a solid, young reliever.
How I’d vote:
  1. Soto
  2. Votto
  3. Jurrjens

Retiring number 6

The Red Sox will retire Johnny Pesky’s #6 this weekend during the last series of the season (versus the Yankees). Johnny Pesky (now 89, but that doesn’t stop him from having a myspace profile) has been associated with the Red Sox since the 1940s (albeit with a few years where WWII and getting traded got in the way), but he, if anyone, symbolized the long-lived anguish that the Red Sox lived under until 2004/2007. He deserves his day in the sun at Fenway. Congratulation Johnny!

I’m through with the election

 

I hereby withdraw from thinking about the 2008 presidential election. If the American people are so naive as to get duped into thinking Sarah Palin is more than a sorority girl who got lucky in politics, then they get what they deserve. I’ve listened to the interviews with Palin, and I am just struck by the seeming lack of comprehension of pretty much everything by the Alaska governor. Now that McCain’s campaign is busy running Alaska and scrubbing her offices, it is clear that Palin was nominated because she’s an empty suit and pretty face for the far right to latch onto to save McCain. 

You can tell this election has decided that issues don’t matter because all there seems to be now is both sides getting offended by inconsequential nonsense. Issues are too difficult to turn into a soundbite, to make into a talk radio talking point, so why even bother? I can’t take the sort of rhetoric, hatefulness and garbage that is being thrown around on both sides, so I am going to stay out of it from here on in.

That being said, I’m endorsing Obama-Biden for the Presidential ticket in 2008. This country needs a reboot from the divisive politics that Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich have used to bring the GOP power since the mid ’90s. McCain-Palin offers nothing more than the same. Barack Obama can bring us that breath of fresh air that this country needs to break from the quagmire we find ourselves in – politically, internationally and financially. We’ve lost our foundation thanks to the neo-conservative ideologues who think every situation has to be boiled down to “us vs. them”. It is time to bring the country back together again, to rejoin the world and to start new and Barack Obama is the man for that job.