2008 MLB "Are You Kidding Me?" Awards

Matt EurichAnalyst ISeptember 19, 2008

At the end of each year, baseball fans look back at what a player has done that year and think to themselves, "Are you kidding me?"  You never would have thought they could of done that or he could have pitched that well, but here are this years list of MLB "Are You Kidding Me?" Awards.


The "Are you kidding me - I thought he sucked" Award

Cliff Lee - Cleveland Indians

2007 stats - (5-8)       6.29 ERA
2008 stats - (22-2)     2.41 ERA

Cliff Lee spent most of the 2007 season jumping back and forth from triple-A Buffalo and the Majors.  After posting a 5-8 record in 2007, Lee had to show his worth to his ball club.  After trading away their ace, C.C. Sabathia the Indians leaned heavily on their new found ace and Lee is almost a virtual lock to win the 2008 AL Cy Young award.


The "Are You Kidding Me - He was good last year" Award

Aaron Harang - Cincinnati Reds

2007 stats - (16-6)       3.73 ERA
2008 stats - (5-16)       4.70 ERA

After finishing fourth in the 2007 NL Cy Young Award voting and notching 16 wins, Aaron Harang fell off the baseball map in 2008.  Although his ERA remained low, it did jump more up by more than a run in 08.  Not all the blame can be placed on Harang though, his teammates have only given him 2.98 runs per game.    


The "Are You Kidding Me - I thought he was a fluke" Award

Josh Hamilton - Texas Rangers

2007 stats - .292 BA/19 HR
2008 stats - .303 BA/31 HR

We all know the story, number one overall pick, ruins life with drugs, finds God, home run derby god.  Sure his numbers weren't spectacular by baseball means in 2007, but given the circumstances, Hamilton showed a glimpse of what made him the number one overall pick.  Fast forward to 2008, and Hamilton is pulling off great numbers and cementing his place atop the MVP voting for years to come.


The "Are You Kidding Me - I knew he'd be good eventually, but now?"  Award

Evan Longoria - Tampa Bay Rays

2007 stats - .299 BA/26 HR (minors)
2008 stats - .277 BA/22 HR

While we all knew that Evan Longoria could be good, no one would of thought he'd be this good this fast and the same can go for the Tampa Bay Rays.  While this year for the Rays has become something magical, a lot can be derived from the play of its young third baseman. 

After winning the fan vote for the last spot on the AL All-Star team, Longoria came through with a game tying double which eventually led the AL to a 4-3 victory.  Longoria has helped pave the way for a Rays team that will continue to be successful in the AL East.


The "Are You Kidding Me - With all that talent you can't even compete in the AL Central" Award

Detroit Tigers

2007 stats -  (88-74) 2nd Place AL Central
2008 stats -  (71-80) 4th Place AL Central

While 2007 wasn't exactly the greatest year for the Tigers, 2008 held hope of promise.  After trading top prospects Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller along with four others to the Florida Marlins for Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera the Tigers were pegged as the team to beat in the AL. 

The Tigers started the season 0-7 and struggled through the whole season, while teams like the White Sox and Twins, who were expected to be the on the bottom rung of the AL Central are now duking it out for the division title.


The "Are You Kidding Me - the Devil Rays, er, I mean the RAYS?!?!!"

Tampa Bay Rays

2007 stats -  (66-96) Last place AL EAST
2008 stats -  (90-61) First place AL EAST

One of the most improbable turn arounds in Major League history.  The Tampa Bay Rays who dropped "Devil" from their names before the season have also dropped the stigma of losing that came with it.  With a fountain of youth from its young players and the addition of veterans like Cliff Floyd and Troy Percival, the Rays have been able to keep the mighty Boston Red Sox at bay for much of the year and continue to progress towards the playoffs