Monday, May 26, 2008

AL & NL Awards Preview (MVP & Cy Young)

This year I am reviewing the five finalists for the big awards and recommending a winner. I will also name the two to three biggest snubs for each award (deserving players who were not finalists)

AL MVP Finalist (League Rank in brackets if within top 25):

1: Magglio Javier (Lou): 143 GP, 122 R (T-1), 48 HR (5th), 137RBI (1st), .340 AVG (4th), 1.063 OPS (1st)

My man-love for Magglio is well documented but once again is well founded. M. Javier is the only player in the league within the top 5 in the five major hitting categories. Additionally, Magglio bests the other four finalists in R, HR, RBI, SLG%, OPS.

2: Braden Cox (Min): 135GP, 118 R (5th), 43 HR (6th), 113 RBI (10th), .300AVG (19th), 1.000 OPS (2nd)

Cox’s MVP candidacy was hurt by a trip to the DL. Mind you despite the DL stint he only played in 8 less game than Magglio. Cox had solid numbers across the board plus 40+ SB. Making him the AL’s only 40-40. He would have received strong consideration for the MVP if Magglio didn’t better him in EVERY other hitting category (R, HR, RBI, AVG, OPS, SLG%, OPS)

3. Bruce Grey (Lou): 131 GP, 122 R (T-1), 26 HR (N/A), 87 RBI (N/A), .344 AVG, (3rd) .952 OPS (7th)

I don’t really think that Grey deserves to be a MVP finalist but WIS’s obsession with batting average over power ranks him in the top 5. Things working against Grey, low power numbers (HR, RBI) and the fact he wasn’t the most valuable player on his team. Things working for Grey only middle infielder on the list and did finish in the top 10 for R, AVG and OPS.

4. J. Zorilla 117 GP, 80 R (N/A), 18 HR (N/A), 89 RBI (N/A), .350 AVG, (1st) .952 OPS (4th)

Zorilla is an interesting candidate who had he played 130-140 games might have been battling Cox for number 2 on the list. Things working against Zorilla: low totals (R, HR, RBI) and low games played. Things working for Zorilla: Best hitter on AL’s best team and good percentages (AVG, OB%, OPS) plus a really cool last name. While Zorilla will miss out on the MVP he will most likely take home the ROY

5. Jerome Skrmetta (Chi): 162 GP, 96 R (19th), 25 HR (N/A), 109 RBI (12th), .345AVG (2nd ), .946 OPS (8th)

J. Skrmetta falls one spot behind Zorilla based on their teams’ respective places in the standings. Had Chicago’s and SF records been closer Skrmetta would have moved up 1-2 spots on the list. Skrmetta just missed out on making the top 25 in all five categories by 3 HR. A special note Skrmetta was the only candidate to play in every one of his teams’s games which is quite a feat.

Snubs: Julian Pisciotta (Ari): A victim of WIS’s love for batting average. His 54 HR and 129 RBI’s weren’t enough to overcome his .275 average (really not bad) to make the candidate list. Had he been a finalist I would have ranked him 3rd behind Cox and Javier.

D. Nelson (Tol) Just missed the cut due to his low batting average (.268). Would have been a solid 4th or 5th candidate for the award especially since Toledo hung around the playoff picture right till the end.

Nick Perkins (Van): Once again was a causality of the power vs. average divide that WIS and myself do not agree on. Based upon 49HR 127 RBI, Perkins would have been a solid finalist.

AL Cy Young.

1.Pete Daly (SF): 247 IP, 22W-1L, 222 K’s, 2.37 ERA

A early Bournigal injury opened the door for Daly and despite Feliepe’s best efforts I’d have to give the edge to Daly for his ridiculous W-L record and his league leading 11 CG. Mind you a 2.37 ERA and 222K’s don’t hurt.

2. Felipe Bournigal (SF): 225 IP, 21W-6L, 223 K’s 1.88 ERA

Once Bournigal retires Hunter’s Cy Young could be renamed the Felipe Bourigal but this season his teammate Daly edges him out……. barely. With that said Felipe does lead his teammate and the AL in both ERA and K’s. The additional 22 IP gives Daly the slight edge

3. Elvis Ogea (Wash): 255 IP, 21W-9L, 180 K’s, 2.82 ERA

Ogea rounds out the Big Three in the AL. Ogea along with Daly and Bournigal have been the class of the AL for many years. If Daly and Bournigal were to disappear Elvis would probably have 5 Cy Youngs on his mantle. Unfortunately, for Ogea they do exist and despite his fantastic numbers he will probably finish 3rd this season. Kudos to Ogea for leading the AL in IP.

4.Derek O’Keefe (Ari) 196 IP, 17W-5L, 178 K’s 2.77 ERA

O’Keefe was a big FA signing for the Arizona franchise and he has lived up to his contract during his first season in the AL. O’Keefe put together a great season but is bested by the 3 men in front of him.

5. Aaron Estes (Lou): 209 IP, 18W-4L, 143 K’s 3.27 ERA

Estes and O’Keefe will be tied together over the length of their contracts. A Ari-Lou trade prior to FA sent Estes to Louisville and opened up enough cap room to allow Arizona to sign O’Keefe. One of those rare deals where both teams love the outcome. Estes’ low K rate and slightly worse ERA keeps him from leapfrogging O’Keefe

Honourable Mention:

Mike Eckstein (Paw): Eckstein is 3rd in the AL in ERA but due to reduced stamina this veteran has only pitched 161 innings this season. Which is what keeps him out of the top 5. However, Eck is also tied to Estes and O’Keefe. Louisville allowed Eck to leave as a FA after trading for Estes to fill his rotation spot. Which makes that trade a win-win-win.

A. Feliz (Tol): Put together a good season overall but numbers fell slightly below all the players listed in the top 5.

NL MVP (League Rank in Brackets if top 25):

1. : Garret Biggio (San Jaun) 154GP, 153 R (2nd), 42 HR (13th), 165 RBI (1st), .325 AVG (9th), 1.002 OPS (9st)

Of the finalists two teammates are vying for the top spot. Based on my preference of power to average Biggio edges out his teammate Bolivar for the top spot but only by the slightest of margins. Biggio lead the NL in RBI’s and finished in the top 15 for all five categories. While Biggio is the best of the finalist he would have been pushed by the biggest snub of the year (will comment on more later).

2. A. Bolivar (San Jaun): 157 GP: 160 R (1st), 20 HR (N/A), 92 RBI (N/A), .387 AVG (1st), 1.019 (4th)

The reigning MVP had a better season total’s wise but was just nipped by his teammate. Last year Boliver batting .400 which caught the voters’ attention this season I think his teammates power numbers overcome Bolivar’s world leading average. With that said Bolivar’s numbers do carry some extra weight as they were generated from the SS position.

3. E. Molina (Aug): 162 GP: 141 R (3rd), 29 HR (N/A), 113 RBI (23rd), .301 AVG (24th), 0.906 (22nd)

Molina’s numbers are very similar to Bolivar with Molina’s power numbers fairing out slightly better while losing average by a large margin to Bolivar. The reason why Molina grabs the 3rd spot is on top of finishing in the top 25 in 4/5 categories he also added 92 SB to the cause. Making him the most well rounded MVP candidate.

4. N. Aldrige (SLC): 162 GP: 113 R (17th), 37 HR (23rd), 120 RBI (15th), .305 AVG (T-20), 1.008 (5th)

Alrdige’s first season in SLC was a definite success. Alridge gave steady production across all 5 categories. However, unlike the candidates ahead of him Ned lacks the a “trademark” stat.

5. J. P. Mercedes (AUG): 162 GP: 109R (T-20), 30 HR (N/A), 126 RBI (12th), .320 (11th), .911 OPS (11th)

Much like Alridge, Mercedes put up solid numbers across the board. He just missed going 5 for 5 in the major categories. For this reason Alridge nips him for the 4th spot.

Frank Zhang (Col): The snub or all snubs. Zhang wasn’t a borderline finalist. He was a bonefide MVP contender had he made the top 5 list he would have had a strong chance of walking away with the trophy. His limited GP (123) seem to be the only fault on this stat line. However with a line of 130 R 65 HR 131 RBI .345 AVG the low number of games shouldn’t have mattered.

Singling out a 2nd snub in the NL is extremely difficult given the NL’s offensive tendencies. However the following players swatted 50 HR while batting .300 which would have made them all good candidates: Jason Hutton (Col), E. Johnson (Col), T. McRae (SFE)

NL Cy Young

1. K. Coleman (TUC) 217 IP, 16W-7L, 182 K’s, 3.09 ERA

The team changed but the fantastic numbers didn’t. Coleman was the only finalist to finish in the top 10 for ERA, K’s and W’s. Which is enough to get this owner’s vote. In addition his 217 IP were also the most for any pitcher on this list.

2. J. Urbina (Col) 207 IP, 18W-5L, 145 K, 3.91 ERA

Urbina like Coleman was a finalist last season. Urbina trials Coleman in ERA, K’s and IP, while Urbina did generate a great ERA for Coors it should be pointed out that Coleman’s homepark is almost as hitter friendly as Coors.

3. M. Daniels (SJ) 152 IP, 23W-4L, 117 K, 4.2 ERA

Daniels put together an absurd record for a reliever however his higher ERA and 25% less innings have him fall behind Coleman and Urbina. However, as the NL’s only 20 game winner he is definitely a worthy finalist.

4. M. Bennet (Cha) 73 IP, 3W-8L, 54 SVs, 56 K’s, 3.54 ERA

Bennet is going to win the fireman of the year award and is a deserving winner. However, despite his 54 SV’s I am biased against relievers in the Cy Young race. I am consistant though. I ranked my own D. Cota last out of the finalists last season when he made the AL Cy Young list.

5. V. Davidson (Col) 129 IP, 11W-9L, 26 SV, 122K’s, 4.72 ERA

It seems as though WIS tried to make up for snubbing the Col hitters by adding Davidson to the finalist list. While Davidson had a good year none of his numbers scream CY Young. There were several more deserving starters. In the end Colorado suffered the biggest award snub and most generous nomination. However, I’m guessing Leppy would gladly trade Davidson’s finalist status to get Zhang on the MVP list.

Honorabe Mention:

V. Guardado (Cha): Guardado lead the NL in ERA and finished in the top 10 for IP, W and K’s. Yet somehow could not make the list. After Zhang’s omission this is the most curious one. Had he made the finalist he would have edged Urbina for the 2nd spot while pushing Coleman for the award.

P. Ontiveros (Aug): Finished 2nd in NL ERA and like Guarado put up strong cross category stats. Would have pushed Bennett and Daniels for the 3rd or 4th spot.

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