Wednesday, 11 October 2006

2006 National League Awards

After unveiling my American League Awards, it's time to look at the NL. Because that's how things usually work.

Lance Berkman was fantastic this year, but it seems that the MVP will either be Albert Pujols or Ryan Howard. Both had outstanding years, and both are very good candidates. I think Howard will get it because all of the homeruns, but as we all know, there are important things in life other than homeruns.

In my mind, Pujols and Howard are pretty much even. Pujols has been a slightly better hitter and a better defender, but Howard has more ABs. If I had a vote, I would go with Albert Pujols... but I can't fault anyone that would take Howard. Both have been unbelievable.

1. Albert Pujols
2. Ryan Howard
3. Lance Berkman
4. Carlos Beltran
5. Miguel Cabrera

Cy Young
Not a great class here... I will say that I find the Trevor Hoffman arguments to be off-base. He's been fantastic, but I don't think he has enough innings or has quite been dominant to be included anywhere near the Cy Young discussions. The best reliever in the NL this year, in my opinion, is... Takashi Saito. He pitched 15 more innings than Hoffman, had a lower ERA, and struck out over twice as many guys as Hoffman. Just because he didn't have the save opportunities that Hoffman has doesn't make him less valuable.

But still, not valuable enough to the Cy Young. There are four guys that should be vying for it... Roy Oswalt, Chris Carpenter, Brandon Webb, and Bronson Arroyo. Oswalt is the frontrunner for me because he was great down the stretch and has a very good K:BB ratio. If playoff contributions counted, Carpenter would get the nod for me, but, they don't.

A guy I do think is being underrated a little bit is Bronson Arroyo. His raw numbers aren't as impressive as the others, but doing what he did in the Great American Ballpark is excellent. 3.29 ERA with a good strikeout and walk rate... very impressive year.

1. Roy Oswalt
2. Bronson Arroyo
3. Chris Carpenter
4. Brandon Webb
5. John Smoltz

Rookie of the Year
Wow. Just like the AL, a great crop of rookies this year. Unlike the AL, a lot of these guys are position players to go along with the great pitchers. I suppose Takashi Saito is a rookie, and should be my pick since I hyped him up so much in the Cy discussions, but he's 36. So that doesn't really count. But as far as rookie pitchers go, Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, and Anibal Sanchez are a great group.

But the NL rookie hitters are even more impressive. In Florida, Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, and Josh Willingham were excellent. Elsewhere, Prince Fielder, Ryan Zimmerman, and Russell Martin can all stake claim to the award. But for me, one guy sticks out: Hanley Ramirez. It's not just the 51 steals while playing SS. He gets on base at a good rate (.353) and slugged almost equally as well as Prince Fielder. Hanley Ramirez finished with a very solid 74 XBH. Right behind him, in my mind, is Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman is already one of the top 3B in the MLB, hitting 20 HR, showing a good eye at the plate, and playing great defense at the hot corner. These two are on top of an unbelievable class.

1. Hanley Ramirez
2. Ryan Zimmerman
3. Prince Fielder
4. Josh Johnson
5. Dan Uggla

Once again, any big errors? Who are your picks?