The 2008 regular season is nearly over, and one can't help but start thinking about these big awards and who might be winning them. Last year Alex Rodriquez made the voting easy for at least one award, and Magglio Ordonez's career year came at the wrong time. This year the awards are a little more difficult to give out. Following reading this article and my synopsis, I would like to hear your own picks and thoughts. Or even how right/wrong you were in your preseason picks.
We will start with...
Cy Young Award
AL: If ANYONE said last year that Cliff Lee was going to win this award, or even be a contender, I would like to shake your hand... then take you to Vegas. Cliff has been ridiculous. 3 earned runs in 6.1 innings last night raised his era to 2.41, his whip is also microscopic at 1.09. His strike out totals won't hurt him with 162 in 216.1 innings. But what makes this award the easiest pick in 2008 is his win percentage: 22-2, making him 20 games over .500. All this coming from a pitcher who was, at this time last year, in AAA ball. The only thing that will hurt him is his team isn't performing.
Don't forget to tip your cap to Roy Halladay as well. He put together another fine season, as the Ace of baseball's best staff. And Francisco Rodriquez broke some record or something...
NL: Don't deny it now, you picked Santana. I'm a Met fan and I know I did. I had him penciled in 23-6, with a 2.60 era and a career high in strike outs. He'll be lucky to get 15 wins. A fine campaign (25 Quality starts leads the league) but didn't translate into the National phenom many thought. I give this award to Tim Lincecum. Again the record is what sets him apart, this again coming from an even worse team. The kid is 17-3, and the way he's pitching now he could win five more on three days' rest each. Also, he is nicely holding off Sabathia in the strikes outs lead. His whip isn't great, 1.17, but his era is 2.43 at this point.
Sabathia and Webb have cases here. Webb just won his 21st, while Sabathia just lost for the first time as a National Leaguer. If team success and value is a factor, this award goes to Sabathia, he's be deadly as a Brewer. I just can't see how you can ignore Lincecum despite being a Giant.
AL: Carlos Quentin would have been a nice case for this award, as well as Josh Hamilton. Both have excellent stories. But Texas isn't good enough, and Quentin's injury likely ensures him he won't get the stats he needs in a close race. I like Pedroia here. He leads baseball in hits, and the American League in average. His value is obvious as a table setter for the BoSox, yet he hits his best in the clean-up role. Remarkable when you compare him to David Ortiz in stature. Team success is big, and he's the major stand out player on a successful team.
Don't ignore A-Rod again, who has put together another fine campaign. Also Hamilton and Quentin will get their votes for sure as well. Same with Aubrey Huff, my has it been an unpredictable year.
NL: This award is too early to tell for me still. Which team makes the playoffs and who will be the hottest in the remaining games. I see Pujols winning this award over Ryan Howard and Lance Berkman. In limited action, Albert Pujols has made the most of his time. He's topped the 30-100 plateaus yet again, all while hitting .354. A scouts report at the beginning of the year said he and David Ortiz were the most clutch hitters in the game. Pujols will win his second regardless of whether St Louis gets in or not.
Other cases here. I hate Howard being in the race. His swing for the fences mentality is not valuable in my mind, and hurts his team more than helps. He is again poised to break his own strike out record. However I see the Phillies making the playoffs and he has the most obvious stats from that team. Recent history has been kind to players like Howard (Winner in 2006), he'll get a lot of votes.
Berkman is my other pick here. How unfortunate was Hurricane "Ike" to this team. They enter the storm 13 of 14. Due to postponed games, baseball sends them to Milwaukee for a home game, where they get no-hit but Carlos Zambrano. Since then they've slumped. But Berkman has had a great year and deserves recognition.
Last year I would have liked to see Holliday or Han Ram win this award, but this year they're teams are too far out.
One more final note. If the Mets do end up cruising to the playoffs and their offense plays to its potential the rest of the year. Look for whoever is hottest in the final stretch to grab a lot of votes, and look for the Mets putting their obvious four (Jose Reyes, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, and Carlos Delgado) in the top ten vote getters.