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