The MLB awards discussion always pops up this time of year, and I like to make my picks before the playoffs are done. So, not because anyone’s actually paying attention but because I just like doing it, here are my picks for the awards in the NL and AL this year.
MVP: Joey Votto
Did Carlos Gonzalez have a tremendous year? Of course. So did Albert Pujols. But both of those guys missed the playoffs, and each had a teammate with an OPS over .900. Jayson Werth made the playoffs with the Phillies, but Votto out-produced him across the board. Gonzlez had a terrific year, but Votto’s all-around performance as a first baseman gets the nod for me.
Cy Young: Roy Halladay
No disrespect to Adam Wainwright or Ubaldo Jimenez, who were both electric. Tim Lincecum again led the league in strikeouts, although he was more hittable. But Halladay posted nine complete games, four shutouts, and whiffed 219 batters to just 30 walks. It was a sensational season, and the best full-season effort of his career. Here’s Cy #2 for Doc, and another fine line on what should be a Hall of Fame career.
Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward
Buster Posey is about as good as a rookie catcher (or any position player) can be. He posted an OPS of .862 while hitting 18 homers in 406 AB, and batted .305 to lead the way for a playoff-worthy Giants team. But Jason Heyward put up similar numbers, with an outstanding (for any player) .393 OPS, and did it in his age-20 season. These players are both special, and will be for a long time. But Heyward may be coming in just in time to succeed Chipper Jones as a Braves superstar.
MVP: Josh Hamilton
Evan Longoria may be the better defender, but Hamilton’s overwhelming offensive output trumps Longo’s work this season.
Categories Hamilton led:
- Batting average
- Slugging percentage
- Runs Created
- Offensive Win %
- Offensive WAR
That’s your MVP, folks.
Cy Young Award: Felix Hernandez
I don’t want to hear any of my Yankee fan friends saying that C.C. Sabathia deserves the award. Hernandez led the league in ERA, and finished just a hair away from Cliff Lee in WHIP, especially impressive considering Lee’s insane K/BB ratio. Hernandez earned 13 wins on a team that won 61 total games. In games where he didn’t receive a decision, he had a 1.92 ERA and 1.036 WHIP. What did he have to do to win? In his 13 wins, he had a staggering 0.84 ERA, and a 0.778 WHIP. Let’s crown King Felix, and move on.
Rookie of the Year: Neftali Feliz
Austin Jackson was terrific, no question, batting .293 with double-digit steals, and doing it all from day one. But Feliz was arguably the best closer in the AL, saving 40 games with 71 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings and a dynamite 0.88 WHIP. And he’s just 22. If the Rangers never shift him to the rotation, he might be the next great closer in baseball.
Props? Arguments? Put ’em in the comments!