AL Regular Season AwardsA-Rod is hands down the league's Most Valuable Player
The MVP has always invoked many arguments, like should the best player in the league win the award or should it be the Most Valuable Player on a postseason or contending team? The Yankees' own Alex Rodriguez won this award for a losing team in 2003 as a member of the Texas Rangers. In 2005, more debate was invoked on whether a DH, who does not play the field every day but is very valuable, should win this award. In that instance, Rodriguez defeated David Ortiz in the final vote.
Here are my picks for each major award in each league. Just as a note, I do not have a vote in who wins any awards in Major League Baseball.
AL Most Valuable Player
Alex Rodriguez 3B New York Yankees
A-Rod certainly has fulfilled a lot of the requirements for winning AL MVP. He has been the best player in the American League all season. Rodriguez's Yankees started 21-29 and he is a major reason why the Yankees will clinch a postseason berth. The numbers really speak for themselves. A-Rod leads the league in home runs (53), RBIs (151), runs scored (139), slugging percentage (.640) and OPS (1.058). He sports a .311 average and his .417 on base percentage is forth in the AL.
Rodriguez is the first player since Sammy Sosa in 2001 to have 50-plus home runs and 150-plus RBIs in a season. Of A-Rod's 151 RBIs, 15 have tied the game for the Yankees and 35 have given them a lead in a game. To calculate, one-third of his RBI total has tied a game or given the Yankees the lead in a game. Of his 53 homers, nine have tied the game and 20 gave the Yankees a lead. Even more impressive are his numbers in the ninth inning this season. He is 19-for-42 (.452) with eight home runs and 21 RBIs.
The other candidates
Even though I really think that it is A-Rod has this award locked up I still believe that Magglio Ordonez Tigers (.359 BA, 28 HR, 52 2B, 136 RBIs), Vladimir Guerrero Angels (.323 BA, 26 HR, 123 RBI), Mike Lowell Red Sox (.324 BA, 20 HR, 111 RBIs), Victor Martinez Indians (.301 BA, 25 HR, 110 RBIs) would have had a really good shot to win the award any other season.
Yankees fans should also not forget the job that Jorge Posada has done this season. His .334 average, with 20 HR and 86 RBIs are certainly MVP worthy. He has also handled the pitching staff wonderfully after having to work with so many new pitchers and a lot of rookies. He would come in third if I had a vote.
AL Cy Young Award
Josh Beckett Boston Red Sox
This may be the unpopular choice among Yankee fans, but Beckett has had a Cy Young Award worthy season. Beckett ranks first in wins with 20, which is at least two ahead of everyone else in the league. His .769 win percentage ranks first in the AL and he only has six losses in 29 starts. Beckett's 3.14 ERA is forth in the American League and he has come up big in many big situations for the Red Sox this season. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is also very impressive. He has struck out 188 batters to only 40 walks this season.
The other candidates
C.C Sabathia Indians (18-7, 3.19 ERA, 205 K, 36 BB), Chien-Ming Wang (18-7, 3.72 ERA, 98 K, 56 BB), John Lackey Angels (18-9, 3.11 ERA, 177 K, 52 BB), Fausto Carmona Indians (18-8, 3.03 ERA Leads AL, 133 K, 61 BB), Justin Verlander Tigers (18-6, 3.68 ERA, 176 K, 65 BB, threw a no-hitter).
AL Rookie of the Year
Delmon Young OF Tampa Bay Devil Rays
The Young-er brother of Dmitri Young has certainly lived up to a lot of the hype surrounding him while he was in the Minor Leagues and even throughout his high school days. Young has had a terrific season on a bad Devil Rays team. However, he is just another very good position player on a team with no pitching. Delmon Young has all the makings of being a big time run producer in the Major Leagues.
Delmon Young has a big arm in the outfield, notching 16 outfield assists. He has played in 157 games, which leads the league. He is hitting .292 with 13 home runs, 183 hits and 93 RBIs. The one knock on Young is that he grounds into a lot of double plays. His 22 GIDP's is the second most in the American League behind Mark Teahen of the Royals.
The other candidate
The only other candidate I would put in this category is Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox. Pedroia is hitting .314 with seven home runs and 49 RBIs and 82 runs scored. In his first 21 games this season he was hitting just .172. Since May 1 he is hitting .333.
AL Manager of the Year
Eric Wedge Cleveland Indians
This really was a tough choice because if there was going to be a season in which Joe Torre was going to win his third Manager of the Year award, and his first since 1998, this would have been the year.
However, Eric Wedge took a team with no expectations, a fourth-place finish last season and in a tough division, and won the AL Central. Last season, Wedge's Indians went 78-84. This season, his 93-63 team has clinched its first division title in Wedge's tenure as manager and the franchise's first since 2001.
His teams took care of last season's AL Central winner, the Twins. In fact, Johan Santana went 0-5 against the Indians this season. They held off last season's AL Champion Detroit Tigers in a back and forth battle in 2007, and finally buried them with a three game sweep September 17-19. Since August 15, the Tribe has played in 37 games and went 28-9 over that span.
The other candidate
Torre, who with his calm demeanor and his positive attitude even when the chips were down, steered the Yankees to their 13th consecutive postseason berth. This may be one of his best managing jobs he has done in his whole career.
A Comeback Mention
Carlos Pena should absolutely win Comeback Player of the Year. Pena has completely turned his career around with the Devil Rays. After hitting only one home run in 2006, he has hit 42 home runs this season with a .277 average and 116 RBIs. Pena is in a contract season and could have a lot of value on the market in the offseason.
Here are my quick picks for the NL awards this season:
Prince Fielder Brewers (.291 average, 50 HR, 119 RBI)
Jimmy Rollins Phillies, Matt Holliday Rockies, David Wright Mets, Ryan Howard Phillies
NL Cy Young
Jake Peavy Padres (18-6, 2.36 ERA, 233 K, 63 BB)
Brandon Webb Arizona, Brad Penny Dodgers
NL Rookie of the Year
Ryan Braun Brewers (.322 BA, 33 HRs, 91 RBI)
Chris Young D-Backs, Troy Tulowitzki Rockies, Hunter Pence Astros
NL Manager of the Year
Clint Hurdle Colorado Rockies
Bob Melvin Arizona Diamondbacks, Manny Acta Nationals, Charlie Manuel Phillies