Wednesday, October 6, 2010

2010 MLB Awards

The playoffs have already started, and Roy Halladay has already thrown only the 2nd no hitter in postseason history. Before anything else historic happens, 8th Inning Weirdness is here to give you their picks for the 2010 regular season awards. In honor of today's extraordinary achievement, we will start in the NL, with the Cy Young award. You'll notice, by the way, how much more interested I am in the Cy Young debates than anything else.

Note: I decided to skip the AL Rookie of the Year award, because I just don't watch the AL enough, and anyway, there weren't a ton of great candidates like there were in the NL. Just give it to a rookie closer. Neftali Feliz? That'll do.

NL Cy Young Winner: Roy Halladay
2nd: Adam Wainwright
3rd: Ubaldo Jimenez
4th: Josh Johnson
5th: Roy Oswalt

If you've done your reading, you know that this future Hall of Famer is pretty much the unanimous choice for what would be his 2nd Cy Young award. And the voters will get it right. Halladay is having the best season of his career. He's striking out more hitters than he ever has, and walking as few as ever. He once again led the league in innings pitched, complete games, and shutouts. Halladay, 33 now, is clearly in the middle of his prime. Right now, there's no better pitcher in baseball. And I would have said that before tonight. Yet the NL Cy Young award decision is not as obvious as it seems. Adam Wainwright looks to be the Juan Marichal of this generation. A fantastic pitcher, but never quite the best in any particular year. Wainwright's 2010 season is great, even better than his Cy Young caliber season last year. But simply not better than Halladay. Ubaldo Jimenez had one of the best 1st halfs ever, but didn't sustain it. And Josh Johnson could have possibly beaten Halladay if he had stayed healthy. I went with Roy Oswalt in the 5th spot. Amazingly, I could have just as easily gone with Tim Lincecum. Don't ask why I chose Oswalt. I just did.

AL Cy Young Winner: Felix Hernandez
2nd: Cliff Lee
3rd: Jered Weaver
4th: Justin Verlander
5th: Jon Lester

It's strange; King Felix is only 24 years old. He's the youngest "great" pitcher in baseball. Yet he already has that Al Pacino feel about him, that he's missed out on too many Cy Young's, and that it's time to give it to him already. Of course, this is just a feeling, because the only season he's ever been a legit contender was 2009. He had a great season last year, but Zack Greinke's was substantially better. Not the case this season. Felix should, and I think will win the award for 2010. His main competitors, CC Sabathia and David Price, are great pitchers, but objectively speaking, they don't even belong in the top 5. The only true competition he has is Cliff Lee, and it is serious competition. Lee had a magnificent season, posting the 2nd highest K/BB ratio EVER. When I made this list, I set out knowing I'd pick Felix, then realized just how great Lee had been, and tried in my mind to find a way to justify Lee not winning it. It all comes down to this: Felix made 6 more starts than Lee; who would you win more games with: Felix in 34 starts, or Lee in 28? I gotta go with King Felix. Jered Weaver comes in 3rd; he just keeps getting better, and I don't think Anaheim Stadium has much to do with it. I was surprised by what a fine season Justin Verlander has had. I haven't thought much at all about him since the 2006 World Series. Someone recently called him the "worst great pitcher in baseball". I finish the list out with Jon Lester. He had a better season than Sabathia and Price, period.

NL MVP Winner: Joey Votto
2nd: Albert Pujols
3rd: Ryan Zimmerman
4th: Troy Tulowitzki
5th: Andres Torres

This is one is close, but pretty easy. Votto was slightly better than Pujols, quite an achievement for any player. Pujols is still the best player in baseball. Ryan Zimmerman is emerging as probably the best 3rd baseman in the majors, Evan Longoria being the only competition. He is a very good hitter, and a flawless fielder. If Tulowitzki keeps up what he has been doing, he could replace Hanley Ramirez as the best shortstop in baseball. And finally, you must notice that name in the 5th spot. Andres Torres. No, this is not a homer pick. Torres' numbers make him a legit name on an MVP ballot. He was more important than anyone this year for the Giants success. We look forward to seeing him and Giants play tomorrow against the Braves.

AL MVP Winner: Josh Hamilton
2nd: Robinson Cano
3rd: Miguel Cabrera
4th: Evan Longoria
5th: Jose Bautista

Hamilton's case for MVP is very similar to Joe Mauer's in 2009. They both missed an entire month of the season, yet still were the most productive players in the league. The other names on the list could have easily won an MVP in other years. While I believe Bautista's season is something of a fluke, there's no denying the actual production. It speaks for itself. Evan Longoria is the Ryan Zimmerman of the AL. Terrific defense at 3rd, very good offense. Miguel Cabrera could be the best hitter of this generation to never quite be the best hitter. You know what I mean? I know what I mean.

NL Rookie of the Year Winner: Buster Posey
2nd: Jason Heyward
3rd: Jaime Garcia
4th: Mike Stanton
5th Gaby Sanchez

Yes. Posey over Heyward. It had to happen. I'm a Giants fan. I can't help but forgive Posey the 2 month difference. Heyward has a full 1 win advantage over Posey in WAR. I don't care. After all, Cliff Lee has a .7 advantage over Hernandez in pitcher WAR, and no one has a problem voting for Hernandez. As Joe Posnanski said recently, WAR is a conversation starter, not closer.

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