For the three awards…
Now, allow me to explain, because I’ve made some interesting choices here.
AL MVP – Alex Rodriguez – A-Rod is baaaaack… after recovering from an injury, answering most criticisms from New York fans with a stellar postseason, winning a World Series and having another 30 home run/100 RBI season in ’09, all signs lead to Alex Rodriguez coming back and hammering the baseball, perhaps not as well as he did in ’07, but certainly quite close.
NL MVP – Albert Pujols – I really don’t need to explain this choice. Last year, I picked David Wright of the Mets to win the NL MVP, and was promptly slapped in the face by Albert Pujols. He’s had back-to-back MVP’s and I don’t think there’s heavy enough competition to stop him from another one. I don’t know why I’d ever doubt the man. He’s from Santo Domingo.
AL Cy Young – Jake Peavy – Now here’s gonna be my bold prediction. Jake Peavy has a much better lineup than he had in San Diego here with the ChiSox, he’s coming back from injuries, and he’s facing a league that pretty much hasn’t seen him very often. There won’t be many things expected of the former NL Cy Young winner, and I’d expect him to be eager to thrust himself back on the scene as an ace pitcher. Peavy is still 28 years old, in the prime of his career, with sharp stuff. And by the way, if you’re doubting Jake Peavy can hurl the ball as well in the American League in a hitter’s park in U.S. Cellular, consider the 3-0 record, 1.35 ERA(344 ERA+) and .850 WHIP that Peavster had towards the end of ’09 in his brief return with the White Sox. Now consider that he’s pitching in the American League Central, facing such devastatingly tough lineups like the Minnesota Twins’ and Kansas City Royals’ and GOLLY GEE WILLIKERS them Indians are tough, huh? No, not really. He’s back, folks.
NL Cy Young – Roy Halladay – Doc, Doc. Easily one of the best pitchers in the game, quite arguably the best due to his consistency, stuff, mentality and command. This guy is a beast, and he’s going to have a beastly year in a league that really hasn’t seen too much of him. This was a very tough decision for me, because Tim Lincecum’s won the past two National League Cy Young awards, but it’s just so hard for me to speak of a threepeat for anyone but Pujols. I think Halladay is going to dominate, rack up 20 wins, and that’ll be just too much for any voter to deny. Maybe Lincecum will be deserving, but I think Halladay comes away with it.
AL Rookie of the Year – Neftali Feliz – Feliz will make the Rangers very, very Feliz.
I’m sorry, I had to.
But honestly, how can you deny a guy like Feliz who came up to Texas and promptly struck out batter after batter with high octane stuff? He’s a rookie this year with some seasoning from last year and is going to give American League batters more fits and nightmares than any Final Destination movie could.
NL Rookie of the Year – Madison Bumgarner – San Fran’s number 5 rotation spot is his to lose, literally, and with stuff, command and poise like his he’ll easily be able to do well against weak NL West lineups. Bumgarner is a solid pitcher, and while he’s not going to instantly make the impact he’s capable of in my opinion, he’ll certainly be sharp in his rookie campaign and come away with the big trophy.
I just can’t wait to be wrong.
Stay positive, Yankee fans.
-EJ the Kid from New York
We’ve played a somewhat significant amount of time already this year. We haven’t seen too many games where we can make a sound and un-risky judgment on how the season will end, but we’ve seen enough games where we can take a look at all the happenings of the season, and say “This has been so thus far, and this has not been so.”
And let’s face it. Us baseball fans love giving people awards, especially giving people who are underrated awards. So let’s do so right now, here are the early season awards for teams and players as of May 16, 2009.
First are the Most Valuable Players.
May 16, 2009 NL MVP
It’s really hard to argue with Hanley Ramirez to win MVP in the National League here so far. A 166 OPS+ at shortstop is extraordinary and quite rare, and of course you can’t doubt the obvious power speed combination that Ramirez has. 6 homers and 6 steals. Han-Ram seems to have flown under the radar thus far in the year, but he has truly produced for the Fish.
Now if only they could win games.
Raul Ibanez, Philadelphia Phillies: The veteran outfielder has consistently crushed balls in for the Phillies this year, as he’s really been a great pickup, with a 173 OPS+.
Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals: Check out how well represented the NL East is! The young third baseman for the struggling Nats notably picked up a 30 game hitting streak this year. Zimmerman not only has produced offensively, with a 159 OPS+ and leading the league with 54 base hits and 21 extra base hits, he also has played stellar defense, as his range is well above league averages.
Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals: Do I really even have to say anything? He’s done really well defensively, with a range factor per 9 innings of 10, but he’s also been Albert Pujols offensively, leading the league in slugging percentage and putting up an OPS+ of 182.
Adam Dunn, Washington Nationals: The slugging outfielder known for his tape-measure big flies has put up a 172 OPS+, is 6th in the league in runs created and, strangely enough, has only whiffed 34 times. Nice job, big guy!
Brad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies: Hawpe’s production has really seemed to fly under the radar out there in Denver, but this guy’s got a 173 OPS+ and his .363 batting average is good for fourth in the National League.
May 16, 2009 AL MVP
I mean, this seems fairly obvious to me, I don’t know if it really was so easy for you, but it was definitely not challenging for me to get this one. Victor Martinez is a catcher– and he’s hitting .400. I mean, think about that for a second. How many people hit .400? How many of them are catchers? Look, he’s probably not going to do it all season, it’s not like I’m saying that, but these are the May 16th awards, not the end of year awards, and when you lead both leagues in hitting, put up an OPS+ of 186, lead both leagues in hits, times on base, runs created, 4th in the league in slugging percentage, 2nd in the league in on base percentage, and you’re a catcher? No, it’s too easy for me.
Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox: Youk’s the only guy who I can accept voting as AL MVP over Martinez. I mean, this guy has been ridiculous even though he’s on the disabled list now. He’s been on base literally over half of the time(leading both leagues in OBP with a .505 clip), he’s leading the majors in slugging and thus, OPS, he’s leading both leagues in OPS with 206. Even though he’s been sub-par defensively at first base this year(check the statistics, Julia, you can not tell me otherwise), he’s also played third base a fair amount, which is ridiculous. How many guys who are hitting like he is will be willing to play third base as often and, as a matter of fact, as well as he does? …although Albert Pujols did play 2nd base once last year…
Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers: 8 steals, 11 homers, a 156 OPS+ and a .318 average to go along with solid defense at a premium position in second base? I’ll take it.
Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays: Aaron Hill has dominated offensively, with a 146 OPS+ and above average defense at second base. He’s also tied with Victor Martinez for the most hits in both leagues and his .347 batting average is good for 7th in the league.
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays: The young third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays has played great defense, and he also kinda sorta has a 175 OPS+.
Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles: This guy has really stood out for me. Power? He’s got a .669 slugging percentage and has hit 8 jimmy jacks this season. Speed? He’s got 3 stolen bases and has 13 extra base hits, which also partially has to do with speed. Average? .370 good enough for ya? Defense? This guy’s range factor is well above league average, and he’s got 3 assists to go with it.
Now for the Cy Youngs. This should be really easy.
May 16th 2009 AL Cy Young
Not even a question at all, really. His ERA+ this year is 773. 773. No, this is way too obvious that it’s almost silly.
Edwin Jackson, Detroit Tigers: Did you know that Edwin Jackson’s ERA this year is 2.42? Did you know that he has a WHIP of 1.038? Neither did I.
Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays: Halladay has been classic Halladay this year, really. He’s got the most innings pitched in the majors with 61, he has a very nice ERA+ of 157, he’s been a workhorse, he’s been efficient, he’s only walked 7 hitters and is leading the majors in most strikeouts per walk with 7, he’s really just doing his thing for those surprising Blue Jays.
Kevin Millwood, Texas Rangers: Milly’s really performed astoundingly, as he’s got an ERA+ of 163 in 58.2 innings, good for 3rd in the league. This is for a Texas Rangers ballclub known for it’s bad pitching, in part due to the park they play in in Arlington which puts Millwood in a large disadvantage because it’s so favored to hitters.
May 16, 2009 NL Cy Young
Again, not really much difficulty making this decision. 11.7 strikeouts per 9 innings, 566 ERA+… this guy’s pitched like the ace that he is for the first place Metsies so far.
Johnny Cueto, Cincinnatti Reds: The Dominican righty with a great heater and a stellar changeup has been living up to his promise, putting up a 241 ERA+ in 46.2 innings.
Wandy Rodriguez, Houston Astros: Wandy has undoubtably gone under the radar, as he’s put up a 231 ERA+, good for 3rd in the NL. In 52 innings, the southpaw hasn’t allowed a homer yet, and he’s put up a great WHIP of 1.000.
Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks: The hard throwing right hander has really dominated the teams that have faced him so far this year in his second season in Arizona, as he’s put up a 227 ERA+, and his 0.857 WHIP is good for tops in the NL.
Jair Jurrjens, Atlanta Braves: Jurrjens has really been surprising, as the young righty from Curacao has racked up a solid 213 ERA+ in 48 innings pitched.
Now for the rookies of the yearrrr!
May 16, 2009 AL Rookie of the Year
This decision was difficult to make, not because there have been so many good rookies in the AL; rather, it’s because they’ve all been sub par. Uehara has been decent this year, as the righty from Osaka Prefecture who pitched in the Nippon Professional League before coming to the MLB this year at 34 years of age has put up a 123 ERA+ and a 1.125 WHIP in 42.2 innings.
Scott Richmond, Toronto Blue Jays: The 29-year old Canadian has a 108 ERA+ in 40 innings.
Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers: The main, big prospect acquired by Texas in the Mark Teixeira trade, Andrus has hit 3 triples, 2 homers, has stolen 6 bases, and he’s provided terrific range at the shortstop position for Texas.
Trevor Cahill, Oakland Athletics: Cahill performed stellarly in the minors last season, well enough to make it to the big leagues this year as a 21-year old. While he’s shown mediocre command to say the least, his 3.69 ERA is still the best for an AL rookie this year, and that’s gotta be something.
May 16, 2009 NL Rookies of the Year
Dexter Fowler has been decent this year, so he shares the ROTY award with Shairon Martis, mainly because he’s stolen 10 bases including I believe 5 in one game, a rookie record. Not only that, he’s also had very good range in center field, and he’s beginning to develop some major league pop in his bat. As for Martis, well, he’s yet to lose a start for the Washington Nationals, and his ERA+ of 110 is pretty decent.
Stay tuned for part two, where I will give the second string of awards; Comeback Players of the Year, Managers of the Year, and my own personal award, Underrated Players of the Year. That is, as of May 17th, when the blog will be out.
Stay positive, Yankee fans! Back to back walkoffs!
-EJ the Kid From New York
I love making predictions, don’t you?
Cy Youngs: Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt
I decided to have a little fun on this one and I picked the two Roys: Halladay and Oswalt. They’re both terrific pitchers, Oswalt being quite underrated. This would be HAlladay’s second Cy, his first one was in 03. He’s easily, in my opinion, the best pitcher in the American League. He’s also probably the second best pitcher in the game to Johan Santana. Roy Oswalt is very underrated. He’s had the most wins(bad stat, I know, but still) since 2001, and will likely reach 200 at the end of his career at the pace he’s going on. This would be the first Cy Young for the 31-year old 3-time All-Star.
Most Valuable Players: Miguel Cabrera, David Wright
The MVPs were some of the easiest picks: How can you go wrong with Miggy Cabrera and Davey Wright? They’re both fantastic young players who have never won an MVP yet are fully capable of doing so. They have great power and average. Cabrera is a decent fielding first baseman, Wright is a decent fielding third baseman who’s defense is quite overrated. I think Cabrera is going to be better than he was in his fantastic 08 campaign, and that Wright will use his full ability and go back to stealing bases like he did in 07, as well as hit for a high average and hit for a ton of power. There’s just so much talent in both of these guys.
Rookies of the Year: Taylor Teagarden/Matt Wieters, Colby Rasmus
The reason I put both Teagarden and Wieters for the ROTY in the AL is that I’m not sure that Teagarden will get enough playing time. If Taylor does get 400-500 at bats, I’m fairly certain that he’ll rake. However, it’s also difficult to argue with Wieters’ talent. He is a better hitter than Teagarden, but I think that it’ll be more difficult for him to play in the MLB in his 2nd professional year, as opposed to the 25 year old Teagarden who got some playing time in 08. I’d be somewhat surprised if Saltalamacchia played over Teagarden. As for Colby Rasmus, well, he’s got a chance to win the starting center field job this year. He has a bunch of talent, offensively and defensively.
Save Champions: Brian Fuentes, Jose Valverde
Not much to say about Valverde, we all know he’s capable of getting the save title in 09. I don’t think K-Rod will win it because the Mets give you less save oppurtunities than the Astros do, as far as I’m concerned. This is the exact reason that Brian Fuentes is my choice for the save champion in the AL: K-Rod got those 62 saves because the Angels often gave him the perfect save oppurtunity, and he got the job done. Fuentes certainly is able to do what K-Rod did last year in my mind.
Batting Champions: Ichiro Suzuki, David Wright
Not much to say here. Ichiro is a fantastic average hitter, a batting title would be nothing new for him. I talked about Wright earlier: it’s surprising that I’d pick him over Pujols, isn’t it? Well I think Wright is just going to have a fantastic year, average wise, power wise, and speed wise.
Home Run Champions: Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Braun
Again, not much to say here. Miguel Cabrera, who I talked about earlier, won it last year and there is little reason to say that he won’t do it again. I picked Ryan Braun over the giant favorite Ryan Howard: I think Braun is going to go psycho with the home runs this year, hitting around 43 or 44, while Ryan Howard will calm down a bit and end up with around 39 or 40. Braun is a guy I considered for the MVP too, but I decided that he’d finish second, and Wright would end up with the award.
Comeback Player of the Year: Travis Hafner, Khalil Greene
Both guys just fell off their horses last year. In fact, not only did they fall of their horses, the horses then proceeded to kick them in the head and excrete waste on their unconscious bodies. While that latter part was quite disturbing, you know it’s true. However, both players also have good talent. Hafner was an MVP contender before his awful 08 year, which included an injury. Khalil Greene was just flat out terrible, as the shortstop who hit over 20 homers the year before was an all-season Mendoza liner.
Steals Champions: Carl Crawford, Jose Reyes
These were two dull, obvious picks. These guys are just INCREDIBLY fast and great base stealers, and they are the frontrunners for the most steals in the two leagues.
World Series: Indians vs Mets, Indians win
I would love to say that the Yankees will win the World Series and be totally right. I would love the Yankees proving me wrong and winning the World Series. However, I think we’ll lose in the ALCS and the Indians will pull off a surprise WS victory, upsetting the favorited Mets. Cleveland has a lot of players who can consistently produce this year, including Grady Sizemore, a 40-40 candidate with a good glove, and Cliff Lee, the Cy Young winner of 08. This gives me reason to believe that they’ll break the curse and win their first World Series since the year 1948.
Well that’s about it. Tune in next time for my rating of the Boston Red Sox infield, as suggested by Bob…
Stay positive, Yankee fans!
-EJ the Kid From New York
Who will be the best hitter/pitcher? Surprise player? Let me give my opinion on it. We’ll start wiiiith…
NYY Surprise Player of 09
My Pick: Brett Gardner
Other Possibilities: Phil Hughes, Humberto Sanchez
Brett Gardner was called up in 08, stunk with the bat, and was sent down. He was called up again, and got redhot at the plate, hitting .343 in his last 35 at bats. He hit .300 in his last 50 at bats. He’s shown the ability to hit, in the majors and the minors. He’s shown patience in his plate appearances, he has shown good defense (Luke Scott anyone?), and he obviously has that fantastic speed, 13 steals in 14 attempts. With this in mind, I think the Yanks should start him in center field. He can be a catalyst for the Yankees, and he can give them a chance to boast their prospects along with their free agent signings.
NYY Best Offensive Player of 09
My Pick: Alex Rodriguez
Other Possibilities: Mark Teixeira, Xavier Nady
Look. You can complain about how clutch he is, you can complain about postseason, you can complain about how he’s only in it for the money, et cetera. In the end, he’s still Alex Freaking Rodriguez, and Alex Freaking Rodriguez is the best player in the American League and the 2nd best player in the game, currently. He can still steal 20 bags and hit 40 home runs, he can hit .310 and have 130 RBI. He’s an all around fantastic offensive player, so I pick him for best offensive player.
NYY Best Defensive Player of 09
My Pick: Mark Teixeira
Other Posibilities: Brett Gardner, Jose Molina, Melky Cabrera
The above picture shows Mark Teixeira swinging a bat, which he is fantastic at. However, let’s not forget that he might be the best defensive first baseman in the game(Douggie Mientkiewicz also comes to mind). There are no better defensive players on the Yanks, so Marky Mark will be their best.
NYY Best Pitcher of 09
My Pick: CC Sabathia
Other Possibilities: AJ Burnett, Mariano Rivera, Chien-Ming Wang
Come on. As fantastic as Mo is, it’s hard to go against CC Sabathia. He’s a lefty with great stuff and he’s put up great numbers. He was the 07 Cy Young winner, and did spectacularly down the stretch for Milwaukee last year. There’s that risk of his arm falling off, of course, but unless that happens, he should be the best pitcher.
NYY Most Valuable Player of 09
My Pick: Mark Teixeira
Other Possibilities: Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Mo Rivera
Along with being the best defensive player of the year, and the second best offensive player in my opinion, Mark Teixeira will rake at the plate and dominate on the field. He’s always had a knack for starting out slow and being fantastic in the second half: well, doesn’t that sound familiar? The Yankees have been that way for the past couple of years: Teixeira will be able to carry us to the postseason.
One last thing: here’s a song I discovered not long ago, it’s called Before I Forget by Slipknot, I really like it. Take a listen if you like hard rock.
Stay positive, Yankees fans!
-EJ the Kid From New York