This season I am evaluating the five AL MVP’s and Bournigal award candidates and placing them in the order I’d put them on my ballot. I am also going to name two honourable mentions, the best two players that were not on the final candidates list. Please note this write-up was completed after 161 games.
1. Magglio Javier (Louisville): 120 R (T-2), 52 HR (2nd ), 142 RBI (1st), .315 AVG (8th), 1.015 OPS (T-2)
The 3-time and 2-time defending MVP put together another fantastic season. The only candidate to finish in the top 10 in R, HR, RBI, AVG and OPS, while finishing in the top 2 for R, HR, RBI and OPS. Add those stats to the fact Magglio Javier powered the Sluggers to the 2nd best AL record and I think he can add a 3rd MVP to his mantle. I’m sure some people will think I’m biased to my own player but the numbers bear his ranking out.
2. Braden Cox (Pawtucket): 120 R (T-2), 49 HR (3rd), 120 RBI (5th), .302 AVG (21st), 1.015 OPS (T-2)
Last year’s runner up looks to be a bride’s maid again. Cox might have dethroned Javier has he avoided the 2 trips to the DL this season with that said in the end Cox only played 6 games fewer. In the 5 major cats the best Cox could do is two ties. The record of 0-3-2 vs Magglio speaks for itself. The future looks bright for Cox as Magglio’s power numbers are slowly beginning to erode. This former MVP will likely take the mantle as the AL’s best hitter very shortly.
3. Ozzie Purcell (Sco): 122 R (1st), 40 HR (T-10), 109 RBI (13th), .289 AVG (NR), .968 OPS (6th)
The top 3 slot into their spots quite easily. Purcell’s power numbers put him squarely infront of McCarty and Zorilla. While his average and HR total place him behind Cox and Javier. It does deserve to be noted that Purcell lead the AL in runs (2 better than Javier/Cox) and finished in the top 10 of three major categories.
4. Juan Zorrilla (SF): 85 R (NR), 26 HR (NR), 109 RBI (14th), .332 AVG (3rd), .948 OPS (9th)
This is the part of the list where WIS places too heavy a focus on average. I actually think McCarty had a slightly better year but, this is MVP voting and Zorrilla gets credit for playing on the better team. I won’t say he’s SF best player as that mantle goes to Bournigal. Normally I am against SP as the MVP however, had he made the list of final candidates I would have had a really tough time picking between him and Javier.
5. Glenn McCarty (Tex): 103 R (12th), 26 HR (NR), 94 RBI (NR), .329 AVG (4th), 1.001 OPS (4th)
Texas’ 2nd best hitter made the list while their best hitter (Kaufman) got snubbed. I’d like to take this spot to congratulate Texas on their first playoff appearance. Wolfhound has been in Hunter since season 1, so it was very nice to see his persistence payoff. I fully expect the Beefeaters to push the Sluggers hard next season in the AL South
Desi Nixon (Har): 114 R (2nd), 41 HR (9th), 135 RBI (2nd), .302 AVG (T-20) , 1.024 OPS (1st)
Nixon should check to see if he’s missing his wallet because he was robbed not to make the finalists. Had he made the list I would have ranked him 3rd just in front of Purcell. Nixon was the only player other than Javier to finish in the top 20 in all five categories. He should have received the recognition of making the finalists.
Bruce Kaufman (Tex): 90 R (NR), 43 HR (7th) , 105 RBI (T-16), .302 AVG (T-20), .990 OPS (5th)
SF deserves to have a player on the MVP finalist list. So I would swap Kaufman in for his teammate McCarty. The only thing holding Kaufman back is his lack of durability, which keeps him out of 35 games or so a season.
AL Felipe Bournigal Award
1. Felipe Bournigal (SF): 229 IP (T-5), 21 W (T-1), 214 K (2nd), 1.65 ERA (1st)
The award’s namesake put together he’s best season to date. An argument for another candidate can’t even be made. The race for 2nd is extremely interesting as all four pitchers can make a valid claim that they are the best “human” pitcher. As it’s been revealed that Bournigal is from another planet.
2. Pete Daly (SF): 229 IP (T-6), 20 W (T-3), 221 K (1st) , 2.87 ERA (3rd)
When it comes to the Bourngial Award, I put a lot of focus on IP and K’s. Therefore Daly last year’s runner-up deserves 2nd spot again. Led the league in K’s, was top 10 in IP. He’s sub-3 ERA clinched the 2nd spot on the list.
3. Bob Creek (Lou): 242 IP (1st), 21 W (T-1), 206 K (3rd), 3.71 ERA (12th)
This was an extremely hard spot to pick however, based on my value of K’s and IP, Creek edges out Meng for the 3rd spot. Creek bested Meng in IP (14), W (3) and K’s (39) which was just enough to justify the .88 difference in ERA.
4. Mark Meng (Sco): 228 IP (8th), 18 W (T-6), 167 K (10th), 2.83 ERA (2nd)
Meng came to Scottdale in the year of the FA pitcher (when WIS closed the loop-hole of extending your own player by one year). Meng’s contract was the largest contract ever given to a starting pitcher and thus far he has earned every dollar of it. Meng lead Scottsdale to a WS last year and has them back in the playoffs for a chance to defend the title.
5. Giovanni Dale (NB): 230 IP (T-4), 20 W (T-3), 156 K (13th), 3.21 ERA (6th)
Dale another member of the bumper FA pitcher crop of Season 8 has also earned every dollar of his contract. It was a coin flip between Dale and Meng but the .4 difference in ERA and 11 extra K’s was enough to overcome 2 W and 2 IP.
Mark Cheng (Paw) & Phillip Daniels (Bur): The top 5 were clearly the class of the AL this season. I wouldn’t bump any of them out for Cheng or Daniels but both do deserve a mention for almost identical great seasons.