Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

My Award Winners

What a great day of baseball! I love the baseball playoffs -- the NBA and NHL can have their ridiculous, two-month long festivals of mediocrity. Give me eight teams and three rounds any day. Congratulations to the Rockies, by the way, who are my team for the sake of this post-season. I'm still working on the big "What I'd Do" post (which is shaping up to be a bit of a monster) so in its place I'm offering you my 2007 AL award winners (NL winners to come tomorrow). Here, for better or worse, are my picks:

American League

Most Valuable Player

He hit .314, knocked 54 balls out of the yard, drove in 156 runs and scored 143 more. His team made the playoffs. Yes, folks, I'm picking Alex Rodriguez for AL MVP. Other players had spectacular seasons -- Magglio Ordonez hit .363 with 28 homers and 139 RBI's for the Tigers; David Ortiz hit .332 with 35 homers and 117 RBI's for the Red Sox; Vladimir Guerrero was hugely important to his team and hit .324 with 27 homers and 125 RBI's -- but in the end, I can't ignore how much better A-Rod was than pretty much everyone else on the planet this year in the run production categories. Honestly, I came thisclose to giving the award to Vlad, because I don't think there's any question that without him, the Angels would not have made the playoffs. If A-Rod was a little closer to the field in run production, that would probably be enough for me. However, the MVP long ago ceased being about just how valuable a player is to his team, and now clearly includes a "best player" component as well. I think those two roles are balanced in the award, and this year, the balance comes down in favor of the best all around numbers. A-Rod deserves the award -- but it will be interesting to see how he performs come playoff time.

Cy Young

At the All-Star Break, I said that Johan Santana would win this year's Cy Young award. Unfortunately, neither he nor the Twins had the kind of second half that would make that likely -- Johan finished with a 3.33 ERA and a 15-13 record, and even his 235 K's didn't lead the league this year (Scott Kazmir of the Rays beat him by 4). Instead, I find myself debating between guys like the Angel's John Lackey (3.01/19-9/179 K's/1.21 WHIP) or Fausto Carmona (3.06/19-8/137 K's/1.21 WHIP) or Josh Beckett (3.27/20-7/194 K's/1.14 WHIP). In the end, though, I didn't go with any of those guys -- instead, I think the pitcher with the best overall package is C.C. Sabathia of the Indians, who put up a 3.21 ERA, 19-7 record, 209 K's, and a 1.14 WHIP. All of these guys deserve some love for pitching great, but C.C.'s my pick.

Rookie of the Year

I'm going to have to go with Daisuke . . . ha! I can't even finish typing that ridiculous statement. Daisuke didn't have that bad of a season -- 4.40 ERA, 201 K's (very nice), 15-12 record, high-ish 1.32 WHIP. But, seriously, do you remember how people were talking about him last January and February? How much ridiculous hype was there for this guy? Turns out, he's just another pitcher -- and despite all of the posturing from Red Sox nation, he certainly isn't deserving of the Rookie of the Year award. A far more logical candidate would be Red Sox teammate Dustin Pedroia, who hit .317 with 8 homers and 50 RBI's while scoring 86 runs -- and in fact, that's my pick. I have to admit that is was close, though -- Tampa's Delmon Young hit .288 with 13 homers and 93 RBI's and looked awfully tempting. In the end, though, it was Pedroia's .823 OPS (compared to Young's .723 figure) that convinced me to give him the nod. Honorable mention goes to Jeremy Guthrie, by the way, who pitched very well for the Orioles in the first half (he was my prediction at the All-Star Break), but who had a horrible August and took himself out of the running.

Manager of the Year

No fancy stats to bandy about here -- just wins, losses, and general impressions. Usually, the MOY comes from one of the playoff teams, so lets go through them one-by-one. Joe Torre (Yankees) -- umm, yeah, we're talking about the Yankees, and they only picked up the Wild Card. With the money spent on this team, the only way for Torre to win MOY would be to put up about 115 wins and be dominant. And really, let's be honest -- Torre was criticized regularly this season for how he was using his bullpen, and it was deserved. He's out. How about Terry Francona? Here again, this team was designed to win, and they weren't all that great. They nearly fell apart at the end. They may have ended up with the best record in baseball, but they didn't get any style points for doing it. No to Francona. That leaves Cleveland's Eric Wedge and Anaheim's Mike Scioscia. I have to go with Scioscia, but it's a close call. I think both of these teams did a lot with teams that were OK but not great. In the end, I think that Scioscia's task was harder than Wedge's was (although this really is close to a toss-up for me), so he gets the nod.



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