Seeing as how my playoff predictions are going oh so well, I thought I would ruin the last bit of any credibility I had by announcing my picks for the 2009 MLB awards.
Rookie of the Year
NL- J.A. Happ (P, Phillies)- Happ takes a narrow victory over Tommy Hanson and Andrew McCutcheon. Happ worked his way into the Phillies rotation and responded big. Key numbers: 12-4 record and a 2.93 ERA coupled with two shutouts.
AL- Rick Porcello (P, Tigers)- biased opinion, but Porcello was the second best starter on a team that was in first place for most of the year. Narrow win over Andrew Baily and Elvis Andrus. Key numbers: 14-9, 3.96 ERA and all of 20 years old.
Manager of the Year
NL- Jim Tracy (Rockies)- When he took over for the fired Clint Hurdle, the Rox were 15.5 games back. They played 30 games over .500 the rest of the way and took the Dodgers to the final weekend, making the playoffs as the wild card.
AL- Ron Gardenhire (Twins)- Honestly, I’m not sure how he doesn’t win this award every year. The Twins were expected to compete in the lowly AL Central, but he might have done his best work once sluggers Justin Morneau and Joe Crede were lost for the year. An early playoff exit doesn’t change the fact that his team won 17 of its last 21 games to pass the Tigers for the divisional crown.
Cy Young Award
NL- Chris Carpenter (Cardinals)- This could have gone to his teammate, Adam Wainwright or to the Giants’ Tim Lincecum. Carpenter has been one of the best in all of baseball whenever he can stay healthy. He did miss a chunk of the year, but his dominance lead the Cards to a runaway division title. Key numbers: 17-4, 2.24 ERA, 7 HR allowed in 192.2 innings.
AL- Zack Greinke (Royals)- With the tremendous seasons enjoyed by CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander, and Felix Hernandez, you had better be dominant to win this award, and Greinke was that all year long. Playing on a bad Royals team hurt his win totals, but all the other stats are there. Key Numbers: 16-8, 2.16 ERA, 3 ShO, 242 K, 1.073 WHIP in 229 innings. Also lead the league in HR/9 and ERA+.
Most Valuable Player
NL- Albert Pujols (1B, Cardinals)- Look, Hanley Ramirez had a great year and kept his club in contention for most of the season, but when the best player in baseball has a great year and his team wins the division, it’s a no-brainer. Pujols certainly benefited from having Matt Holliday behind him during the second half, but there was no one there for the first three months and Pujols dominated then, too. Key numbers: League leader in Runs (124), HR (47), Total Bases (374), OBP (.443), Slugging (.658), OPS (1.101), and OPS+ (188). He did all that while hitting .327 and striking out only 64 times.
AL- Joe Mauer (C, Twins)- There is a small case to be made for Miguel Cabrera, Kendry Morales, and Mark Teixeira, but none are catchers and none had the year Mauer did. He played gold glove caliber defense and carried his team when Morneau got hurt. Key numbers: He is a catcher, 28 HR, 96 RBI, lead league in average (.365), OBP (.444), Slugging (.587), OPS (1.037) and OPS+ (177).