2008 MLB Awards and Predictions: Community Leader Edition

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2008 MLB Awards and Predictions: Community Leader Edition

Who do your leaders in the MLB Community here on Bleacher Report think will win it all?

How about who they picked to be the American League MVP or the National League Cy Young?

Well, we can now find out as every Community Leader was asked to participate in Bleacher Report's end of the year MLB Awards and Predictions. They picked award winners, gold glove winners, World Series matchups, and even looked ahead to 2009.

Here are our participants:

JJ Stankevitz, Michael Taylor, Nino Colla, Austin Drake, Andrew Kneeland, Marty Andrade, Isaac Barrow, Jordan Schwartz, Adam Greuel, Matthew Irby, Bob Warja, Adam Lindemer, Ben Weixlmann, Christian Karcole, Patrick Murray, JC Ayvazi, Evan Aczon and Rory Davis.

I'd like to personally thank all who took time to fill out the long and detailed ballot; it was a great turnout. Here are the results.

First, every MLB Community Leader was asked to cast a first- and second-place vote for the following 12 awards in the American and National leagues. First place votes counted for two points, and second place votes counted for just one point. Here are your 2008 MLB Award winners according to the Community Leaders of Bleacher Report.

 

American League MVP: Dustin Pedroia - Boston Red Sox

Pedroia - 19, Morneau - 10, Youkilis - 5, Mauer - 4, Quentin - 4, A. Rodriguez - 2, Dye - 2, F. Rodriguez - 2, Sizemore - 2, M. Cabrera - 1.

 

American League Cy Young: Cliff Lee - Cleveland Indians

Lee - 35, Halladay - 14, Matsuzaka - 4.

 

American League Rookie: Evan Longoria - Tampa Bay Rays

Longoria - 33, A. Ramirez - 8, Aviles - 3, Galarraga - 2, Ellsbury - 2, C. Davis - 1.

 

American League Comeback Player of the Year: Cliff Lee - Cleveland Indians

Lee - 20, Hamilton - 12, Mussina - 5, E. Santana - 4, Quentin - 4, Lester - 2.

 

American League Manager: Joe Maddon - Tampa Bay Rays

Maddon – 36 (Unanimous), Gardenhire - 10, Scioscia - 5, Gaston - 1, Francona - 1.

 

American League Executive: Andrew Freidman, Tampa Bay Rays

Frediman - 20, Epstein - 9, K. Williams - 7, Reagins - 7, B. Smith - 3, McPhail - 2, Dombrowski - 1, Daniels - 1.

 

National League MVP: Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals

Pujols - 30, R. Howard - 11, M. Ramirez - 4, Braun - 3, D. Wright - 2, Sabathia - 1, H. Ramirez - 1.

 

National League Cy Young: Tim Lincecum - San Francisco Giants

Lincecum - 32, Webb - 12, Sabathia - 5, J. Santana - 3, Haren - 1.

 

National League Rookie: Geovany Soto - Chicago Cubs

Soto - 31, Votto - 13, Jurrjens - 4, Kuroda - 2.

 

National League Comeback Player of the Year: Carlos Delgado - New York Mets

Delgado - 6, Dempster - 5, Lidge - 5, Cantu - 5, Ludwick - 4, K. Wood - 4, Kapler - 3, J. Moyer - 3, Guzman - 2, R. Harden - 2, Park - 2, Gerut - 2, Tatis - 2, N. Johnson - 1.

 

National League Manager: Lou Piniella - Chicago Cubs

Piniella - 22, Torre - 9, F. Gonzalez - 9, J. Manuel - 8, La Russa - 2, C. Cooper - 2, C. Manuel - 1.

 

National League Executive: Jim Hendry, Chicago Cubs

Hendry - 17, D. Melvin - 8, Colletti - 8, Gillick - 4, Beinfest - 3, Minaya - 2, E. Wade - 1.

 

Wondering whom the community leaders are taking all the way to the World Series? How about their picks for World Series MVP? Here is how it shakes out. World Series winner is noted with an asterisk.

American League

Boston Red Sox: Weixlmann*, R. Davis, Ayvazi

Tampa Bay Rays: Aczon, Barrow*, Lindemer*, Murray*, Andrade*, Stankevitz*

Chicago White Sox: Colla*

Los Angeles Angels: Karcole, Warja*, Kneeland*, Irby*, Schwartz*, Taylor*, Drake*

 

National League

Philadelphia Phillies: No One

Milwaukee Brewers: Irby

Chicago Cubs: Aczon*, Barrow, R. Davis*, Warja, Kneeland, Schwartz, Drake*, Andrade, Stankevitz

Los Angeles Dodgers: Weixlmann, Lindemer, Karcole, Murray, Ayvazi*, Colla, Taylor

 

World Series MVP Picks

Dustin Pedroia - Weixlmann

Ryan Dempster - Aczon

Carlos Pena - Barrow, Lindemer

Aramis Ramirez - R. Davis

Mark Teixeira - Karcole, Schwartz, Taylor

Scott Kazmir - Murray

Francisco Rodriguez - Warja

Manny Ramirez - Ayvazi

Vladimir Guerrero - Kneeland, Irby

John Danks - Colla

Rich Harden - Drake

Evan Longoria - Andrade

Akinori Iwamura - Stankevitz

John Lackey - Greuel

 

The Community Leaders didn't just pick the simple awards; they picked their Gold Glove winners and a few other miscellaneous recognitions in each individual league. The Community Leaders for A.L. teams picked the American League and the same went for the National League.

Here is what they decided.

 

American League - Gold Gloves

Catcher: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

First Base: Lyle Overbay, Toronto Blue Jays

Second Base: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox and Mark Ellis, Oakland Athletics

Third Base: Adrian Beltre, Seattle Mariners

Shortstop: Michael Young, Texas Rangers

Outfield: Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians

Outfield: Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels

Outfield: Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles

Pitcher: Kenny Rogers, Detroit Tigers

 

American League Silver Slugger - Best Offensive Performance

Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers

 

American League Relief Man of the Year

Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels

 

National League - Gold Gloves

Catcher: Bengie Molina, San Francisco Giants

First Base: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals and Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres

Second Base: Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds

Third Base: Troy Glaus, St. Louis Cardinals

Shortstop: Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros

Outfield: Hunter Pence, Houston Astros

Outfield: Nate McLouth, Pittsburgh Pirates

Outfield: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers and Carlos Beltran, New York Mets

Pitcher: Greg Maddux, Los Angeles Dodgers

 

National League Silver Slugger - Best Offensive Performance

Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies

 

National League Relief Man of the Year

Brad Lidge, Philadelphia Phillies

 

Finally, each Community Leader gives us a little insight into his picks, gives us a few of his favorite moments and defensive plays, and takes a look towards 2009.

 

Isaac Barrow - Baltimore Orioles

A.L. MVP: I choose Dustin Pedroia of Boston. When is the last time you saw a guy that tiny batting cleanup? Pedroia is hitting .323 with 17 home runs and 80 RBI. Oh by the way, he has 19 steals in 20 attempts and is a shoo-in for Gold Glove at second base.

A.L. Cy Young: I choose Cliff Lee of Cleveland. If this one's not easy for you, wow! He has accounted for around 30 percent of his team's wins, with 22. He has two losses on the year and has a 2.41 ERA. He's also an easy pick for A.L. Comeback Player of the Year.

A.L. Rookie of the Year: I choose Evan Longoria of Tampa Bay. It's been a while since not only has a guy played just one full year of the majors before being called up, but also has been given the chance to start, took the league by storm, and made a incredible impact. Oh by the way, GOLD GLOVE is basically written in his future.

A.L. Manager of the Year: I choose Joe Maddon of Tampa Bay. Have you seen the Rays of last year and the Rays of this year? Enough said!

Most Memorable Moment: Last Game at Yankee Stadium.

Defensive Web-Gem: Nate McLouth throwing out Dioner Navarro at home plate in All-Star Game.

ALCS: Rays.

ALCS MVP: James Shields.

A.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Cleveland Indians.

A.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Brandon Morrow.

 

Jordan Schwartz - New York Yankees

A.L. MVP - Kevin Youkilis: Youkilis filled the hole in the Red Sox's lineup for a struggling David Ortiz (early in the season) and a departed Manny Ramirez (late in the season).

A.L. Cy Young - Cliff Lee: Best ERA and most wins. This is a no-brainer.

A.L. Rookie of the Year - Evan Longoria: Led all rookies in home runs and RBI and led the Tampa Bay Rays to an incredible season.

A.L. Manager of the Year - Joe Maddon: Anyone who says you can't win the A.L. East without a nine-figure payroll doesn't have Joe Maddon as their manager.

N.L. MVP - Albert Pujols: When you're the only player among the top 40 RBI leaders in your league that has more walks than strikeouts, you deserve to win the MVP, even if your team doesn't make the playoffs.

Best Offseason Move: Mets Trade for Johan Santana

Most Memorable Moment: Last Game at Yankee Stadium

Defensive Web-Gem: Asdrubal Cabrera's Unassisted Triple Play

ALCS: Angels over Rays

ALCS MVP: Vladimir Guerrero

A.L. Team to Watch in 2009: New York Yankees

A.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Joba Chamberlain

 

Adam Greuel – Toronto Blue Jays

To me, these choices were actually quite easy. Justin Morneau was one game away from once again leading the Twins to the playoffs, hitting for over 30 homers, 100 RBI, and a 300 batting average.

Cliff Lee came back from being demoted the year before to leading the A.L in ERA and managing 22 wins on a bad team. Both Evan Longoria and Joe Maddon led a team many predicted to come last in the A.L. to a division win over the likes of Boston, New York, and Toronto.

Best Offseason Move: Chicago White Sox Trade for Carlos Quentin

Most Memorable Moment: Final Game at Yankee Stadium

Defensive Web-Gem: Any play by John McDonald

ALCS: Angels over Rays

ALCS MVP: Vladimir Guerrero

A.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Toronto Blue Jays

A.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Travis Snider

 

JJ Stankevitz – Chicago White Sox

Best Offseason Move: Chicago White Sox Trade for Carlos Quentin

Most Memorable Moment: Final Out at Yankee Stadium

Defensive Web-Gem: Alexei Ramirez's backhanded glove-flip to first base

ALCS: Rays over Red Sox

ALCS MVP: Rocco Baldelli

A.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Cleveland Indians

A.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Adam Jones

 

Nino Colla - MLB and Cleveland Indians

I gave a second-place vote to Carlos Quentin of the White Sox because I truly believe the team really missed him down the stretch. He was the guy that could come up with that clutch hit.

The rest of the awards were a given to me, but I gave a second-place vote to Kenny Williams for making the acquisition of Quentin and bringing in the likes of Nick Swisher and Orlando Cabrera.

My sentimental vote for Comeback Player of the Year in the National League was for Jody Gerut. I truly believe picking players who've had a certain amount of success, fell off, and returned at an even greater level. Jody Gerut did just that, and as my favorite player, I'm excited for him.

Best Offseason Move: Chicago White Sox Trade for Carlos Quentin

Most Memorable Moment: Rockies-Padres 22-Inning Game

Defensive Web-Gem: Asdrubal Cabrera's Unassisted Triple Play

ALCS: White Sox over Angels

ALCS MVP: Nick Swisher

A.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Cleveland Indians

A.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Shin-Soo Choo

 

Michael Taylor - Cleveland Indians

A.L. MVP- The MVP was looking to be a much easier vote until Carlos Quentin went down. In the end I see Dustin Pedroia winning the award because of his all-around great season at the plate, on the bases, and in the field.

A.L. Cy Young- Is there any real debate here. How could you go against Cliff Lee and his 22 wins, three losses, and league leading 2.54 ERA.

A.L. ROY- Evan Longoria has more power, better on-base skills, and in my opinion a better glove than Ramirez, but it is a tight race.

A.L. Manager- Easiest pick of the lot. Joe Maddon did a tremendous keeping the Rays together and moving forward all season.

A.L. Comeback Player- I have seen some crazy names out there projecting this award, and some of them are not even "comebacks". All because somebody had a breakout season they want to label them as a comeback player of the year.

Well, if we go by the title of the award, Cliff Lee is the best option available here as well. I mean, he was struggling and in AAA last season and came back to post one of the best pitching season in recent memory.

Best Offseason Move: Chicago White Sox Trade for Carlos Quentin

Most Memorable Moment: Josh Hamilton at the Home-Run Derby

Defensive Web-Gem: Asdrubal Cabrera's Unassisted Triple Play

ALCS: Angels over Rays

ALCS MVP: John Lackey

A.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Cleveland Indians

A.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Matt Wieters

 

Austin Drake - Detroit Tigers

Best Offseason Move: Detroit Tigers' acquisition of Miguel Cabrera

Most Memorable Moment: Jon Lester's no-hitter

ALCS: Angels over Rays

ALCS MVP: Mark Teixeira

A.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Texas Rangers

A.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Curtis Granderson

 

Marty Andrade - Minnesota Twins

MVP: Mauer might get overlooked by a lot of people, but this year was a career year for him. The number of games he played (second in innings played among A.L. catchers) combined with his batting crown, and the fact he hit .378 in September during an important playoff run, makes him the best pick for the MVP Award.

Cy Young: Roy Halladay (TOR) edges out Cliff Lee (CLE) thanks primarily to Halladay having a better xFIP and more PRC. Halladay pitched a lot of innings, a lot of games, and completed more games than any other pitcher in baseball. The value he gives his team surpasses that of any other A.L. pitcher.

Rookie: Evan Longoria has played like a veteran throughout the entire year for the Rays, and with their ascension to the playoffs, I don't see how you can't vote for him.

Manager of the year: Joe Maddon has taken a team to the playoffs, a team that had never been to the playoffs before, and he did it with just a couple of veterans.

Gold Glove first base: If Lyle Overbay fails to get the Gold Glove award, it will be an absolute crime. While other gold glove awards were hard to weigh properly, Overbay is the clear pick at first base.

Best Offseason Move: Los Angeles Angels sign Torii Hunter

Most Memorable Moment: Alexei Ramirez's grand slam to force play-in game with Minnesota

Defensive Web-Gem: Carlos Gomez’s catch in final game against Chicago

ALCS: Rays over Angels

ALCS MVP: Evan Longoria

A.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Cleveland Indians

A.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Scott Baker

 

Andrew Kneeland - Minnesota Twins

I feel Justin Morneau deserves the MVP award. The Twins would be nowhere near where they are today without Morneau. I don't see how anyone can choose anybody but Lee for the A.L. Cy Young. Ron Gardenhire has consistently proven himself worthy of Manager of the Year with what he does with little talent.

Even though he finished the season injured, I think Carlos Quentin deserves some recognition for a Gold Glove in the outfield. He is easily the White Sox's MVP and has been one of the biggest hitters in the entire league.

Best Offseason Move: Chicago White Sox Trade for Carlos Quentin

Most Memorable Moment: Manny Ramirez's 500th home run

Defensive Web-Gem: Manny Ramirez high fives a fan mid-play

ALCS: Rays over Angels

ALCS MVP: Evan Longoria

A.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Cleveland Indians

A.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Carlos Gomez

 

Matthew Irby - Texas Rangers

A.L. MVP - Dustin Pedroia: With the Red Sox again making the playoffs and a season without the huge numbers from Manny and Big Papi, Boston needed someone to step up and lead this team.

A.L. CY Young - Cliff Lee: Not a winning team, but what an individual performance from a team that struggled all season. Even after Sabathia's departure, Lee kept it up.

A.L. Rookie of the Year - Evan Longoria: One of the main reasons why the Rays won the A.L. East. Rangers had two strong candidates in David Murphy and Chris Davis. If given a full season, Davis would have won this award.

A.L. Manager of the Year - Joe Madden: He held off the Red Sox and Yankees all season long with a payroll less than the left side of the Yankee infield—just a masterful job.

Most Memorable Moment - Josh Hamilton's Home Run Derby
: This is a moment that very likely will be remembered as long as baseball is played. Not only did he hit so many consecutive home runs, not only did he hit at least five over 500 feet, not only did capture the hearts of hundreds of thousands that night and millions throughout the season, but he did all of this in the last season of Yankee Stadium. For one night, The House that Ruth Built was The House that Hamilton Brought Down.

Best Offseason Move: Texas' Acquisition of Josh Hamilton in exchange for Edinson Volquez

Defensive Web-Gem: Alexei Ramirez's backhanded glove-flip to first base

ALCS: Angels over Rays

ALCS MVP: Mark Teixeira

A.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Texas Rangers

A.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Chris Davis

 

Rory Davis - MLB Community Coordinator

Best Offseason Move: Mets Trade for Johan Santana

Most Memorable Moment: Rays Beat Jonathan Papelbon at Fenway Park

NLCS: Cubs over Phillies

NLCS MVP: Ted Lilly

N.L. Team to Watch in 2009: San Francisco Giants

N.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Matt Cain

 

Christian Karcole - Philadelphia Phillies

Best Offseason Move: Rangers and Reds swapping Edinson Volquez and Josh Hamilton

Most Memorable Moment: Last Game at Yankee Stadium

NLCS: Dodgers over Phillies

NLCS MVP: Manny Ramirez

N.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Florida Marlins

N.L. Breakout Player in 2009: James Loney

 

Patrick Murray - New York Mets

Best Offseason Move: Mets Trade for Johan Santana

Most Memorable Moment: Josh Hamilton at the Home Run Derby

Defensive Web-Gem: Carlos Beltran's home-run robbing catch

NLCS: Dodgers over Brewers

NLCS MVP: Andre Ethier

N.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Cincinnati Reds

N.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Ryan Church

 

Bob Warja - Chicago Cubs

I tend to use different criteria for my votes for MVP and Cy Young than the writers, so I am not predicting who is going to win. I'm just stating who should win, based on OBP, OPS, and defensive ability (not just home runs and RBI), and in the case of pitchers, ERA, WHIP, etc (not just wins).

As for manager of the year, I recognize the Cubs have a lot of talent. Yet, I believe Lou Piniella has helped get the right guys on the field, imploring Hendry to sign Edmonds and Reed Johnson, and Lou was also the one who came up with the idea of moving Dempster to the rotation.

For Gold Gloves, again I use statistics that many of the writers ignore, so some of my selections may not win the award. Many writers look at fielding percentage and number of errors. I look at extended stats such as range factor and other sabermetrics and avoid "popular" choices.

It's easy to commit few errors if you don't try to make challenging plays. I also avoid considering offensive numbers when determining the gold glove at each position, something I'm afraid the writers do not always do.

Best Offseason Move: Phillies acquire Brad Lidge

Most Memorable Moment: Carlos Zambrano's No-Hitter

Defensive Web-Gem: Reed Johnson's sliding catch into the wall at Wrigley Field

NLCS: Cubs over Phillies

NLCS MVP: Aramis Ramirez

N.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Florida Marlins

N.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Matt Kemp

 

Adam Lindemer - Milwaukee Brewers

N.L. MVP - Albert Pujols: The guy simply does it all. Without him, the Cards might never have had a shot. It doesn't matter how the team does; Pujols will always have a great year.
 
N.L. Cy Young - CC Sabathia: Three months in the N.L., but he had an 11-2 record with a sub 2.00 ERA and seven complete games for the Brewers. Whether he stays or not is irrelevant; he has put up eye-boggling numbers and Milwaukee is in the playoffs because of him.
 
N.L. ROY - Geovany Soto: As a Brewer fan, it pains me to do this, but he has put up the best numbers as a rookie this year, and that warrants the vote.
 
N.L. Manager - Cecil Cooper: The Astros, once again, put together an amazing post All-Star run to keep them in the wild-card running until the final week. If they can only play that well the first half, they'd be winning the Central hands down.
 
N.L. Exec - Doug Melvin (MIL): To pull off the biggest trade in Brewers history while giving up your best prospect, plus three, proves that you got guts. Without that trade, the Brewers are not in the playoffs.

Best Offseason Move: Rangers and Reds swapping Edinson Volquez and Josh Hamilton

Most Memorable Moment: Josh Hamilton at the Home Run Derby

NLCS: Dodgers over Brewers

NLCS MVP: Manny Ramirez

N.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Cincinnati Reds

N.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Cameron Maybin

 

Ben Weixlmann - MLB and St. Louis Cardinals

Most Memorable Moment: Yankee Stadium Farewell

Defensive Web-Gem: Rick Ankiel's diving catch

NLCS: Dodgers over Phillies

NLCS MVP: Manny Ramirez

N.L. Team to Watch in 2009: St. Louis Cardinals

N.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Colby Rasmus

 

J.C. Ayvazi - Los Angeles Dodgers

Best Offseason Move: Los Angeles Angels sign Torii Hunter

Most Memorable Moment: Manny Ramirez's first Dodger home run in win over Arizona

Defensive Web-Gem: Chin-lung Hu's diving stop and pick off of Brian Giles at third base

NLCS: Dodgers over Phillies

NLCS MVP: Andre Ethier

N.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Los Angeles Dodgers

N.L. Breakout Player in 2009: James Loney

 

Evan Aczon - San Francisco Giants

Best Offseason Move: Florida Marlins trading Cabrera and Willis

NLCS: Cubs over Mets (Early Entry)

NLCS MVP: Alfonso Soriano

N.L. Team to Watch in 2009: Florida Marlins

N.L. Breakout Player in 2009: Pablo Sandoval

 

There you have it, your 2008 MLB awards and predictions according to the Community Leaders for the MLB section here at Bleacher Report. Once again I'd like to thank all the Community Leaders for their hard work this year, submitting ballots and helping the MLB section grow into what it is today.

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