There’s less than 2% of the 2007 MLB season remaining which means it’s the appropriate time to start predicting awards. For the most part the frontrunners are pretty straightforward. With one huge exception—NL MVP. Before I open that can of worms (has anyone actually ever SEEN a can of worms?) I’ll run down the other major awards.
Manager of the Year—
AL: Eric Wedge
Why? His team is going to win arguably the hardest division in the majors by 7 games. His two best hitters (Hafner and Sizemore) endured sub par years. His closer sports a 5+ ERA. Additionally, he has his team hitting on all cylinders at the right time
Runner-Up: Post All-Star Joe Torre. Getting the shaky staring pitching and bullpen to come around is the main key for the turnaround of the team.
NL: Bob Melvin.
Why? Melvin took the youngest team, with question marks all over the field and still was able to field a playoff team (despite the strangest run differential I’ve ever seen in a playoff team. It sits at -9 right now).
Runner-Up: Ned Yost. He’ll take a lot of heat but no one expected them to contend like this. Consider that their Ace spent most of the year on the shelf (comma) and their former innings eater led them to a 0-21 record in his last 21 appearances.
Rookie of the Year—
AL: Brian Bannister
Why? Unlike Manager of the Year and MVP, the rookie of the year should simply be the best rookie performance over the entire season. Bannister was a huge life preserver for the Royals. At 12-8 with a 3.46 ERA, he was the best rookie pitcher and could have won 17-20 games on a decent offensive club. Plus, the Royals need some love, right?
Runner Up: Anyone but Dice-K. I refuse to give my (imaginary) vote to someone from the Japanese League).
NL: Ryan Braun.
Why? Pence and Tulowitzki are good players, but Braun is having a ridiculous rookie year. His numbers over a full season project to .330 57HR 150RBI. Enough said.
Runner Up: Tulowitzki because he’s on a contender and plays stellar defense.
AL: CC Sabathia
Why? He dominated the best pitcher in the league (Johan) 4 times in one season (Johan Santana) and is top 5 in wins, K’s WHIP, complete games, ERA, and IP AND his team made the playoffs.
NL: Jake Peavy
Why? He’s the best pitcher in his league and no one really debates that. Every night out this season was a chance at history. He stuck out 10 batters 9 times this year. Oh, and he’s first in W, K, WHIP, and ERA.
AL: Alex Rodriguez
Why? Seriously? I have to answer that. There’s no debate.
Runner Up: Magglio Ordonez is having an MVP caliber year, if that year were any number other than 2007.
NL: Matt Holliday
Why? I don’t care what his home/road splits are. Most players hit better at home vs. on the road. That’s why it’s called “home-field advantage.” Besides, he plays his games as they are scheduled against the same major leaguers other teams face. His statistics are measured the same way as others, his production and impact should be valued similarly. He’s top 5 in BA HR, RBI, R, OPS, and Slugging. He’s carried his team down the stretch (September .356 12HR 27 RBI 27R) and through their current 11 game winning streak.
Runner Up: Jimmy Rollins. All due respect to Utley, Reyes, Fielder, Chipper (and no respect to David Wright—that dude can eat me) but Rollins has been the catalyst for the Phillies all season while Utley was hurt and Howard was swinging at everything in sight.
Polish Your Resume Award (worst manager of the year)
AL: Ozzie Guillen
Why? This team was incredibly talented and just 2 years shy of the World Series. Ozzie managed to run his pitchers into the ground and cause his entire lineup to slump with his endless prodding.
NL: Willie Randolph
Why? Because it’s funny to watch a team fall apart—unless you’re the manager. Randolph’s team should have put the finishing touches on the division a month ago but his inability to get his offense rolling and his bullpen together is going to cost them the division. And it’s been great!
He gets paid WHAT? (worst player of the year)
AL: J.D. Drew
Why? Can’t we just use “because he is J.D. Drew?” No? I won’t rehash his numbers but lets say they teach you how to count to his HR and RBI total in Kindergarten (despite the obvious advantages of hitting a) in Fenway and b) in the Red Sox lineup. If he’s found dead after watching strike three for the fourth time in game 6 of the playoffs, put out an APB for Bill Simmons
NL: Mike Hampton.
Why? He’s now qualified to write a book entitled “How to make $30 million in two years without doing a goddamn thing.”
I’m not bitter at all.