By Bryan Jeon
On Tuesday, Philadelphia’s Jimmy Rollins edges Colorado’s Matt Holliday for the NL MVP, becoming the second Phillie in a row to win the award, joining Ryan Howard from last year.
My NL MVP: Matt Holliday, .340 with 120 R, 36 HR, 137 RBI, 11 SB
MLB – Jimmy Rollins, .296 with 139 R, 30 HR, 94 RBI, 41 SB
Analysis: Rollins became the first player ever to have 30 homers, 30 doubles, 30 steals and 20 triples in one season and the first NL shortstop in 34 years to play in every game. His fielding was also phenominal, committing just 11 errors and owning a .985 fielding percentage, resulting in a Gold Glove to go with his Silver Slugger award. Rollins and Holliday were both a part of their team’s exciting come-from-behind division win, but the year goes to Holliday in a close one over Rollins. The NLCS MVP won the batting title, led the NL in RBI and wasn’t much of a liability in left field himself, committing just three errors en route to a .990 fielding percentage. And he capped off the magical season fittingly with a head-first slide for the winning run in extra innings in the wild-card tiebreaker against San Diego.
On Monday, New York’s Alex Rodriguez won his third MVP and first since 2005, missing a unanimous selection, as two of the 28 votes went to Detroit’s Magglio Ordonez. A-Rod was just the fifth player in the last 75 seasons to lead the majors in runs, home runs and RBI, the last being Roger Maris in 1961.
My AL MVP – Alex Rodriguez, .314 with 143 R, 54 HR, 156 RBI, 24 SB
MLB – Alex Rodriguez
Analysis: As with Peavy, this selection was a given, as A-Rod led all of baseball in three of the major categories. He earned a $1.5 million bonus with the win and has a new 10-year contract to reach Barry Bonds‘ record seven MVPs.
On Thursday, San Diego’s Jake Peavy became the 12th-ever unanimous NL Cy Young after leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts, with Arizona’s Brandon Webb the near-unanimous runner-up.
My NL Cy Young – Jake Peavy, 19-6, 240 K in 223.1 IP, 2.54 ERA
MLB – Jake Peavy
Analysis: The easiest pick thus far, Peavy became the just fourth pitcher in the last 40 years to lead the NL in wins, ERA and strikeouts in the same year, joining Randy Johnson (2002), Dwight Gooden (1985) and Steve Carlton (1972). He was the only pitcher in all of the majors to have a sub-3.00 ERA and also owned the lowest WHIP (1.06).
On Tuesday, Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia comfortably beat out Boston’s Josh Beckett for the AL Cy Young Award.
My AL Cy Young – C.C. Sabathia, 19-7, 209 K in 241 IP, 3.21 ERA
MLB – C.C. Sabathia
Analysis: I thought John Lackey could have made a stronger case against Josh Beckett, but to compare with Beckett with Sabathia, the Indians ace had 40.1 more innings pitched while sustaining a better ERA. Beckett being the only 20-game winner in baseball doesn’t mean anything when five other pitchers won 19 games, including Lackey, who had a league-best 3.01 ERA.
On Monday, the Rookies of the Year were announced. In the American League, Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia won in a landslide over Tampa Bay right fielder Delmon Young. In the National League, Milwaukee third baseman Ryan Braun edged out Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
My AL Rookie of the Year – Delmon Young, 65 R, 13 HR, 93 RBI, 10 SB, .288 AVG
MLB – Dustin Pedroia, 86 R, 8 HR, 50 RBI, 7 SB, .317 AVG
Analysis: Pedroia finished 10th in the AL in batting average, but Young commanded a respectable .288 average. His 93 RBI are something I can’t look past, and he should not be penalized for having 125 more at-bats than Pedroia. MLB should have had a much closer race than this one-sided display, as I feel Young was left out even more so because his Devil Rays were the worst team in baseball. Last time I checked, being a fan favorite, having a solid October and doing that with a broken hand all didn’t add points to a regular season award.
My NL Rookie of the Year – Troy Tulowitzki, 104 R, 24 HR, 99 RBI, 7 SB, .291 AVG
MLB – Ryan Braun, 91 R, 34 HR, 97 RBI, 15 SB, .324 AVG
Analysis: Close race statistically and if the award was all on offensive categories, I’d nudge Braun over Tulowitzki as well, having a much higher batting average. However, Braun committed 26 errors at the hot corner to Tulo’s 11 while manning shortstop. In a close one, I’d have another reversal of finishes, with Tulo being the year’s best NL Rookie.