Sunday, 30 September 2007

My MLB Awards - National League

Time to unveil my awards for the 2007 MLB season, starting with the National League. If you disagree, please voice your opinions in the comments, because a lot of these could get some good discussion (especially concerning the MVP, which is a wide open race). Anyway, my picks for Cy Young, ROY, and MVP.

Cy Young: Jake Peavy (San Diego)
Simply been the best in the NL. The ERA and wins are there (which is what the voters look for), but the secondary numbers are great as well. He's got about a 4:1 K:BB ratio, and leads the NL in Strikeouts and WHIP. This is a really easy choice.

2. Brandon Webb (Arizona)
I think Webb is the best of the rest, though there are a lot of guys close together. Webb struck out a solid 194 batters, but the fact that he pitched a League-high 236 innings gives him the edge at #2 in my proverbial book.
3. John Smoltz (Atlanta)
Smoltz just quietly goes out and delivered another outstanding season. Seriously, people don't talk about this guy enough. All he did was have a 4:1 K:BB ratio while pitching over 200 innings. Still one of the best pitchers in the game.
4. Roy Oswalt (Houston)
Mr. Consistency. You know what you're getting with Oswalt. His BB totals were a little higher than you might like, but he still had over 200 productive innings.
5. Brad Penny (Los Angeles)
Penny was excellent, though I think the 16-4 record is a little gaudy. His K:BB rate was less than 2:1, though he did a great job of keeping the ball in the ballpark.

Rookie of the Year: Ryan Braun (Milwaukee)
This seemed like such an obvious choice a month or two ago, but not so much anymore. At this point, Troy Tulowitzki is not really a bad choice. That said, I'm sticking with Braun, who was just a bit too good at the plate.

2. Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado)
Tulowitzki shoots up because he has over 600 ABs (most among these rookies), and has hit solidly while playing SS. A solid 24 HR.
3. Hunter Pence (Houston)
If he hadn't gotten hurt, he would definitely be challenging for the Rookie of the Year crown. As it is, he has to settle for 3rd in my book. Even without really taking a lot of walks, he was still really productive at the plate. He has a solid 56 XBH.
4. Tim Lincecum (San Francisco)
Lincecum had a 4.00 ERA, which was made more impressive by some nice splits. He had a great K rate. He was about equal with Gallardo, but he had about 25 more IP than him, which puts Lincecum at 4th and Gallardo at 6th.
5. James Loney (Los Angeles)
Loney was really good. He got on base at a .384 clip, and slugged nearly .550. In a hitter's ballpark. If he had more than about 370 PAs he would be higher on this list.
Also Considered: Yovani Gallardo (Milwaukee), Peter Moylan (Atlanta)

MVP: Hanley Ramirez (Florida)
I suspect this is a choice a lot of people might disagree with. First let me say that this was a wide open race in the NL (more than I can ever really remember one being), and I think you could definitely make arguments for 5 or 6 different guys. But I am a big Hanley Ramirez guy. A few notes:
A) I place absolutely no significance in how good a player's team or teammates are. This is an individual award. I don't punish Hanley Ramirez (or any other player on a poor team) simply because the owners want a $20 million payroll.
B) A lot of Ramirez's value is derived from the fact that he is playing SS.
C) He's in the top 10 in OPS, leads the NL in VORP, gets on base, hits for power, and steals bases at a productive rate. And he plays SS. This is why he is my MVP.

2. David Wright (New York)
OK, his team choked down the stretch. But Wright had a great year. He was 4th in the NL in OBP, hit for power, and plays a decent 3B. Like Hanley, he gets a bump because of the position that he plays.
3. Albert Pujols (St. Louis)
He was not as good as he has been, and his team was not good, but he was still extremely productive. He had a poor April, but rebounded to finish in the top 2 in the NL in OBP, and slug over .570. The man OPS'ed 1.101 after the AS Break.
4. Prince Fielder (Milwaukee)
He was extremely productive, but he's just a step below these top 3 in my book. He plays QB which drops him a little lower than guys like Hanley and David Wright, and he doesn't get on base as much as Pujols. The counting stats are nice, but I think the other guys were a little more valuable.
5. Chase Utley (Philadelphia)
If he had played all season, he might very well be my MVP. He was really, really good. OBP of over .410, and he slugged over .560. All as a 2nd basemen.
6. Matt Holliday (Colorado)
I have a hard time ranking him. Someone whose baseball opinion I respect (you know who you are) said he was his NL MVP, but I have him 6th. That speaks to the wildness of this MVP race. For me, I just have a hard time getting over those home/road splits. But Holliday was quite good this year.
7. Jimmy Rollins (Philadelphia)
Jimmy Rollins is a 30 HR hitter! Seriously. He doesn't get on base at the rate that a lot of the other guys do, but he hit for good power this year (87 XBH), played solid D at SS, and stole bases at a great rate.
8. Miguel Cabrera (Florida)
I've kinda always had it in my mind that Cabrera was the best 3B in the NL but was unjustly overshadowed by David Wright, but I do think Wright was a little better this year. Still, at only age 24, Cabrera should be in quite a few more MVP races in his career.
9. Chipper Jones (Atlanta)
Chipper was actually pretty awesome this year, he just couldn't stay on the field enough, amassing only about 590 PAs. But he actually led the NL in OPS. Bet you didn't know that if you hadn't already looked it up. Just a fine, fine hitter.
10. Jake Peavy (San Diego)
I'm not necessarily opposed to giving a pitcher an MVP award... but it would have to be a really extreme example. This doesn't qualify.

What are your thoughts? Who are your award winners?

Also, by popular demand, look for a Thursday Debate on the NL MVP race later in the week.