Starting November 16th, Major League Baseball began naming the winners of the four major awards in MLB: Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young Award, and Most Valuable Player. Aside from the fact I feel baseball waits too long to name winners, over 2 weeks from the last World Series Game, the awards always stir debate year after year. Today, I’m going to rate how the awards were handed out compared to how I thought they should have been handed out!
American League Rookie of the Year (November 16th)
Andrew Bailey RHP, Oakland Athletics
This race, to me, came down to Elvis Andrus SS – TEX, Rick Porcello SP – DET, and Oakland pitchers Brett Anderson and Andrew Bailey. Before the season began many felt Matt Wieters C – BAL was going to have this award claimed easily, but after waiting over a month to join the big league club, and then underperforming he fell out of contention early. Bailey had more K’s than IP, finished in the top 10 in saves, and was the only rookie named to the All Star team. Anderson tossed 145 Ks in 170.1 IP and fanned nearly 3 times more batters than he walked. Porcello led all rookies with 14 wins and emerged as a top starter for the contending Tigers. Still, I feel that the award belonged to Andrus. He’s already regarded as one of the best defensive short stops in the bigs, and also led all AL rookies in hits, triples and stolen bases.
My Predicted Winner: Elvis Andrus
National League Rookie of the Year (Novemer 16th)
Chris Coughlan LF, Florida Marlins
Even with impressive performences by Randy Wells SP – CHI(N) and Andrew McCutchen OF – PIT, this race was based in the NL East. Chris Coghlan OF – FLA, Tommy Hanson SP – ATL, and J.A. Happ P – PHI were the top contenders in my mind. While Coghlan batted an impressive .321 avg (NL rookie lead) and also led NL rookies in OBP, hits, and runs, I felt that he gets shadowed by Hansons hype and Happs impressive performances in Phillies playoff run. Happ was a diamond in the rough early in the year when the Phillies staff was struggling. He also had a sub 3.00 era in a hitters park, combined with 12 wins and 119 K’s. Hanson, who joined the team later in the season, also threw over 115 K’s with 11 wins and a sub 3.00 era. Hanson did so with almost 40 less innings than Happ, and I really thought his preseason hype would win him the award.
My Predicted Winner: Tommy Hanson
AL & NL Manager of the Year (November 18th)
Mike Scioscia, Anaheim Angels
Jim Tracy, Colorado Rockies
This award almost always lands in the hands of a Playoff team, which should almost always be the case. Nonetheless, Texan Rangers manager Ron Washington impressed a lot of people with his club this season. He kept his Rangers in the race until the last week of the year, and greatly improved his teams pitching staff. No doubt though, the AL award belongs to Mike Scioscia, manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels used 14 different starting pitchers throughout the year. In addition to the normal ups and downs of a season , he was able to manage his players through the emotional loss of rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart. For the National League, even thought Charlie Manuel delt well with bullpen problems and Jimmy Rollins early season slup, Jim Tracy moved from bench coach to manager mid-season and got him team to finish 22 games over .500.
My Predicted Winners: AL – Scioscia, NL – Tracy
American League Cy Young (November 17th)
Zack Greinke RHP, Kansas City Royals
CC Sabathia SP – NY(A) finished the season with 19 wins and 197 K’s while leading his team into the post season. Felix Hernandez SP – SEA also finished with 19 wins and 217 strike outs while posting an amazing 2.49 era. Wins aside though, Royals starting pitcher Zack Greinke deserves the AL Cy Young for his impressive start to finish season. An 0.84 ERA in his first 10 starts, and 0.75 ERA in his last 8 outings going into baseballs final week, showed that he threw well from start to finish. Greinke ended the season with a 2.16 ERA along with 16 wins and 242 Ks. The only debate here was being on a losing team, though Clemens 1997 and Webb 2007 showed that it could be done.
My Predicted Winner: Zack Greinke
National League Cy Young ( November 19th)
Tim Lincecum RHP, San Francisco Giants
With a lower ERA and WHIP than his winning season in 2008, and only 4 fewer strikeouts, Tim Lincecum SP – SF did great to defend his title. St. Louis will most likely be home to the winner though, with aces Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. Carpenter had an impressive season after throwing only 21 innings total in 2007 and 2008, and had a 2.24 ERA along with 144 K’s in 192 innings and 17 wins. Wainwright matched Carpenter’s effort with a 2.61 ERA and 212 K’s in 233 innings and 19 wins. Interesting note: Wainwright’s August 30th birthday matches last year’s AL C Young winner Cliff Lee, though the coincidence may not be impressive enough to match Carpenters comeback in the eyes of the voters.
My Predicted Winner: Adam Wainwright
American League Most Valuable Player (November 23rd)
Joe Mauer C, Minnesota Twins
Everyone loves Yankee captain Derek Jeter, and he has all of the intangibles that scream “valuable”. His .334 average with 18 homers and 30 stolen bases are some of the best numbers of his career. Obviously, everyone knows that he’s the heart of the Yankees. Putting my anti-Yankees bias aside, Jeter has surely deserved this award. Except Joe Mauer is also having one of his best seasons ever. The Twins backstop finished with a .365 avg after flirting with .400 most of the season and long out did his 9 homeruns from 2008 by finishing with 28 and almost 100 RBIs. The Yankees would still be a great team without Jeter, but the Twins would be lost without Mauer. The 26 year old Mauer should win more in the future.
My Predicted Winner: Joe Mauer
National League Most Valuable Player (November 24th)
Albert Pujols 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
They might as well just call this the PNAPA, the Players Named Albert Pujols Award. His perennially puts the “P” in MVP, and had Barry Bonds not put up the numbers he did in the beginning of Pujols’ career, Albert would have even more than the 8 he now has. Pujols hit .327 with a career high 47 homeruns and tied a career best with 16 stolen bases. The only question here is whether it will be unanimous. To give other recognition, Hanley Ramirez SS – FLA lead the league in batting average and topped 100 rbs for the first time in his career, and Prince Fielder 1B – MIL ousted Pujols in rbis with 141. Unfortunately, all they really managed to do was keep Albert from the Triple Crown.
My Predicted Winner: Albert Pujols
In general, I agreed with the award recipients this year. Specifically, MLB awarded 5 out of the 8 awards to the players/coaches I thought they should. Since we can’t award 5/8 X‘s on theXsection, I’ll translate that to a 5 X scale.