Thursday, October 4, 2007
MVP, Cy Young Choices
The annual baseball awards won't be for a couple of weeks, but here are Baseball On Deck's choices for the top hitters and pitchers in the majors. The awards are based on players' regular season performances. NL MVP - Matt Holliday - There's little doubt that Colorado's Matt Holliday should be the NL MVP. The Rockies made the playoffs by finishing 13-1 down the stretch and then winning a one-game playoff with San Diego for the wild card spot. Holliday was a major contributor throughout the season and came up big during the late-season run. Over the final 14 games of the season, Holliday batted .456 (21-46) with 5 home runs and 15 RBI. More importantly, for the regular season, Holliday led all National League hitters with a .340 average and 137 RBI. He also was at the top of the list in hits (216) and doubles (50). He also whacked 35 home runs, good for 4th place in the league and scored 120 runs, 3rd best in the league. No other player dominated the stats like the Colorado slugger. Runner-up Ryan Howard also had an excellent season and got his team, the Phillies, into post-season play. Howard was second behind Milwaukee's Prince Fielder in home runs with 47 and lost the RBI title to Holliday by just one. NL Cy Young - Jake Peavy - When a pitcher is so dominant throughout the course of the season that he leads the league in the three most important statistical fields - wins, ERA and strikeouts - he deserves all the awards and accolades. That's what San Diego's Jake Peavy did, leading the National League with 19 wins, a 2.54 ERA and 240 strikeouts. While Peavy's Padres didn't make the playoffs, it was hardly his fault, as San Diego fell in extra innings to the Rockies in that one-game eliminator. AL MVP - Alex Rodriguez - This one was the easiest pick of all. The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez started the season red-hot, setting the AL standard for home runs in April with 14 (which also tied the major league record) and falling one short of the AL record for RBI in April with 34. A-Rod continued his excellence through the regular season, topping the majors in home runs with 54 home runs and setting a career high in RBI with 156. His 143 runs scored easily led the league. The closest to him was the player who batted in front of him for most of the season, Bobby Abreu, who totaled 123. A-Rod also batted a solid .314 for the season and led the Yankees to the wild card. A clear second choice is Detroit's Magglio Ordonez who took the batting title with a .363 average and drove in 139 RBI with 28 home runs and also topped all AL hitters with 54 doubles. AL Cy Young - C.C. Sabathia - This was the closest call of them all, but the Cy Young award should go to Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia as a narrow choice of Botson's Josh Beckett. Sabathia led the American League in innings pitched (241) and finished second in wins (to Beckett's 20), with a 19-7 record. His 3.21 ERA was good for 5th-best in the league as were his 209 strikeouts. Nobody in the American League had a better K-BB ratio (5.65) or walks per 9 innings (1.38), as Sabathia issued only 37 free passes. There's little doubt that the Indians would not have captured the AL Central crown without Sabathia's mastery on the mound.