This season I am evaluating the five AL MVP’s and Cy Young 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): 114 R (11th), 44 HR (T-9 ), 135 RBI (3rd), .319 AVG (6th), .986 OPS (T-9)I must say this was by far the toughest year to pick AL MVP’s. You could make a case for Purcell, Guerreo, Javier or Cox as the MVP. Their stats across the board are extremely similar. What clinched Javier as the MVP (no it wasn’t that he’s on my team), was the fact he was the only candidate to make the playoffs. With everything else being so equal that worked as a tiebreaker. Additionally, Javier was also only one of two candidates to rank in the top 10 of the 5 major categories (was 11th in the 5th).If Javier were to win this would tie him with Lou Stevenson for the most MVP’s overall (5) and give him the lead for most AL MVP’s, which he currently shares with Stevenson at (4).
2. Ozzie Purcell (Sco): 123 R (2nd), 53 HR (2nd), 113 RBI (14th), .268 AVG (NR), .997 OPS (6th)Purcell had a fantastic year and I’m not going to penalize him for a low average since he did still manage to generate a great OBP. He lead all MVP candidates with 53 HRs which was good enough for him to grab the 2nd spot.
3. Sean Guerreo (Tex): 122 R (T-3), 46 HR (T-6), 118 RBI (T-9), .308 AVG (T-9), .968OPS (11th)Texas just missed the playoffs, had Guerreo powered the Beefeaters into the playoffs he would have valuated to number 2 on this list. He like Javier was top 10 in four categories and was 11th in the 5th.
4. Braden Cox (Pawtucket): 109 R (14th), 46 HR (T-6), 110 RBI (T-16), .303 AVG (16th), .996 OPS (6th)Cox stats were just behind his peers. He did best the top 4 in OPS, however he was 4th in R and RBI’s. He was the only member of the top 4 to finish 4th in two categories.
5. Glenn McCarty (Tex): 113 R (T-12), 19 HR (NR), 79 RBI (NR), .357 AVG (1st), 1.001 OPS (4th)No offense to McCarty but despite the .357 AVG he had no business being in the top 5. As he ranked well outside of the top 25 in both HR and RBI’s. There were several more deserving candidates to take the 5th spot. This nomination once again reflects WIS’ skew towards average over power.
Alridge/Herdnadez (Atl): Both Atlanta players had fantastic years, however they came over from the NL half-way through the season but their totals would have been right among the top AL players. It will be interesting to see how they perform over a full year in the AL. Unlike real ML baseball, the AL is more of a pitchers league especially with respect to parks compared to the NL league which is definitely more hitter friendly.
Jamie Cashman (Tex): 113 R (13th), 62 HR (1st) , 152 RBI (1st), ..276 (NR), .938 OPS (14th)Cashmen fell to WIS’s distain for averages below .300. He would have been a much better candidate than his teammate McCarty especially considering the fact he lead the league in HR and RBI’s. I will admit I am glad he got snubbed because his inclusion would have only further muddied the water of the rankings above.
AL Felipe Bournigal Award:
1. Pete Daly (SF): 257 IP (1st), 17 W (T-5), 244 K (1st) , 3.12 ERA (5th)For the first time since I started doing the award rankings I will cast my Cy Young vote for pitcher not name Bouringal. In the end it came down to Meng and Daly for the top spot. The additional 14 IP (2 starts worth of innings) and 77 K’s outweighed 2 W and .09 ERA. Daly was the more dominant pitcher and gave his team the most innings in the league.
2. Mark Meng (Sco): 243 IP (2nd), 19 W (T-2), 177 K (5th), 3.03 ERA (4th)Meng vs. Bournigal was extremely close as they tied for W and were only 4 K’s apart. However, the extra 49 IP (or seven starts worth of innings) carries more value to myself than the difference in ERA as Meng going deeper and more often would most definitely improve Scottsdales entire team ERA and health.
3. Felipe Bournigal (SF): 194 IP (T-22), 19 W (T-2), 173 K (6th), 2.18 ERA (1st)Every run must come to an end and injuries and loss of stamina have finally caught up to Bournigal. What I mean by that is he’s no longer CLEARLY the best pitcher in the world. He’s simply one of the top 3. Had Bournigal got to 220 IP and keep his ERA sub 2.25, he would have been my choice.
4. Gene Fitzgerald (Lou): 223 IP (6th), 22 W (1st), 157 K (T-16), 3.87 ERA (17th)14 starts into the season when Fitzgerald was 11-1, I had delusions that it might be a Slugger pitcher that would knock off Bournigal. Obviously, that will not be the case. Fitzgerald had a great season but was clearly not in the league of the top 3 although he did manage to lead the AL in win’s.
5. Jose Diaz (Tex): 230 IP (4th), 18 W (4th), 184 K (T-3), 4.08 ERA (18th)Solid across the board (top 5 in three categories), however a 4+ ERA doesn’t scream Cy Young. Diaz is a young pitcher who continues to improve, I would expect him to be a top 5 fixture for years to come.
Elvis Ogea (Wash)/Steve Sheldon (Paw): These pitchers finished 2nd/3rd in ERA, however they were ultimately shut-out from Cy Young contention based upon low IP (sub 200) and low win totals. With that said both had great seasons and while their win totals weren’t huge the did sport fantastic win %’s (.765 Ogea and .714 Sheldon)