Here are my picks for this year’s awards in the 2008 MLB season. Feel free to argue with me if you disagree:
AL MVP: Vladimir Guerrero
This year’s AL MVP race was one of the closest in recent memory. However, in the end, I believe Guerrero did more for his team than any of the other candidates.
NL MVP: Manny Ramirez
This may be among my most controversial picks on this list, since Manny spent the first half of the year on the Boston Red Sox. However, Manny put together mind boggling numbers with the Dodgers, batting .396 while hitting more home runs than many good players hit in a whole season. In addition, Manny came through in the clutch countless times, and his team certainly would not be the same without him. Furthermore, the next most eligible candidate for the award, Ryan Howard, hit only .251 on the season. To me, Manny Ramirez clearly deserves this award.
AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee
Cliff put together one of the most dominant seasons by a starting pitcher in history, even while playing for a mediocre team. He is the hands down winner of this award.
NL Cy Young: Tim Lincerum
Tim managed to accumulate 18 wins and lead the league in strikeouts on an absolutely horrendous team. On a playoff caliber team, it wouldn’t be unimaginable to say that Tim could’ve accumulated 30 wins.
AL Rookie Of The Year: Evan Longoria
Evan put together an All Star season as a rookie, and may already be the best player on the 1st place Tampa Bay Rays team.
NL Rookie Of The Year: Geovanni Soto
As a rookie, Soto was already arguably the best catcher in baseball. He clearly deserves this award.
AL Reliever Of The Year: Francisco Rodriguez
While Mariano Rivera may have played a little better this season, K-Rod’s shattering of the record of the most saves in a single season can’t be ignored.
NL Reliever Of The Year: Brad Lidge
Simply stated, Brad was absolutely dominating this year, and was hands down the best closer in the National League.
AL Defensive Player Of The Year: Jose Molina
Beginning the season as a backup catcher, Jose stepped up when Posada went down with an injury, and went on to establish himself as one of the best defensive catchers in baseball.
NL Defensive Player Of The Year: Jimmy Rollins
Jimmy Rollins put together an absolutely spectacular defensive season playing shortstop for the Phillies.
AL Comeback Player Of The Year: Cliff Lee
Last year, Cliff Lee was sent down to the minor leagues. This year, the Cy Young award is as good as his. Enough said.
NL Comeback Player Of The Year: Carlos Delgado
Last year, Delgado put together a very mediocre year by his standards, and analysts and fans around baseball alike claimed that he was done. This year, he’s an MVP candidate. Brad Lidge won this award in reality, but I would give it to Delgado.
AL Gold Gloves:
Catcher: Jose Molina
Despite splitting playing time with Jorge Posada early in the season and Ivan Rodriguez later in the season, Jose Molina led the American League with 33 base- runners caught stealing while only allowing 42 stolen bases. In addition, Jose did an incredible job calling games and protecting the plate. Not only was Jose Molina the best defensive catcher in the league this year, but he may have been baseball’s best defensive player.
1stBase: Mark Texeira
Mark is a perennial gold glover, and that certainly shouldn’t change with this year. Kevin Youkilis should be his only serious competition.
2ndBase: Akinori Iwamura
Tampawas won of the best defensive team’s in baseball this year, and Iwamura is a large part of the reason why.
Shortstop: Michael Young
He may not get the attention he deserves, but Young put together another incredible defensive season.
3rd Base: Alex Rodriguez
A-Rod only committed 10 errors this season in 334 total chances. He already has two gold gloves at shortstop, and he clearly deserves one this year at 3rd base.
Outfield: B.J Upton
B.J accumulated 16 outfield assists while playing a very solid center field for the Rays.
Outfield: Grady Sizemore
Grady has the skills to be a perennial gold glove center fielder.
Outfield: Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro has won this award every year since he has come to the Major Leagues, and that shouldn’t change this year.
Pitcher: Mike Mussina
He’s getting up there in age, but he still may be the best defensive pitcher in the Majors.
NL Gold Gloves:
Catcher: Jason Kendall
Kendall played a mind- boggling 149 games behind the plate while throwing out a league leading 41 base runners. His performance this year was simply incredible.
1st Base: Derek Lee
Derek has more range than almost anyone at the position.
2nd Base: Chase Utley
You typically think of Chase more for his bat than his glove, but he led the league in total chances at his position this year and put together a very solid defensive season.
Shortstop: Jimmy Rollins
Rollins made only 7 errors in 593 total chances; a clear gold glove season by anyone’s standards.
3rdBase: Kevin Kouzmanoff
Kevin lead major league 3rd basemen with 416 total chances while committing only 11 errors.
Outfield: Aaron Rowand
There may not be anyone who plays the outfield with as much heart as Aaron.
Outfield: Nate McClouth
A breakout player this year, Nate put together his share of web gems this year while playing for the lowly Pirates.
Outfield: Hunter Pence
Hunter led the National League with 16 outfield assists while displaying an immaculate glove and outstanding range.
Pitcher: Johan Santana
Santana is simply a great defensive player, even as a pitcher.