Monday, November 12, 2007
AL Manager of the Year
Who will win … Terry Francona, Boston Red Sox.
Who should win … Joe Torre, New York Yankees.
Perhaps baseball will give the award to Torre to spit in the eye of George Steinbrenner and the mighty Evil Empite in the Bronx. No, baseball will give the award to Francona because the Red Sox were the strongest team in baseball in 2007, seizing control of the A.L. East and never relinquishing it on their way to their second World Series title in four years. The deserving candidate is Torre, who won it in 1996 and 1998, but who turned in his greatest performance as a manager this season, taking a Yankees team that was 21-29 on May 29th, and then going 73-39 the rest of the way. Torre took a team loaded with egos and no pitching and succeeded in making them into contenders. He was the A.L.’s best manager.
NL Manager of the Year
Who will win … Charlie Manuel, Phillies
Who should win … Manuel
Maybe the Rockies Clint Hurdle stands a chance here, but Manuel took a team that struggled early in the season (remember that 3-10 start?) and had a pitching staff that was eviscerated and created a winner. His calm presence and skilled tactics led the Phillies to victory. Did anyone in baseball, aside from maybe Joe Torre, do a better job? I think not. Manuel should be a lock.
AL Rookie of the Year
Who will win … Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston Red Sox.
Who should win … Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox.
Dice-K was pretty decent in 2007. Pedroia led all rookies in OPS (.823, 108 OPS+) and really came out of nowhere to help power the Red Sox to the World Series. Dice-K got all of the glory and will win the award, but I think teammate Pedroia was the best of an uninspired lot.
NL Rookie of the Year
Who will win … Troy Tulowitski, Colorado Rockies.
Who should win … Tulowitski.
Let’s see … Tulowitski plays shortstop, a demanding defensive position, very well, and he hit 24 Home Runs, 99 RBIs, .838 OPS (110 OPS+). He led all N.L. shortstops in Range Factor (5.39) and in Fielding Win Shares (10.9). Hard to have a better rookie season than that! Tulowitski was clearly the best rookie in the National League.
AL Cy Young
Who will win… Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox.
Who should win… Beckett.
Beckett, the sole 20-game winner in the majors in 2007 (20-7), will win the award, and he clearly deserves it. While the Twins Johan Santana pitched well, he lost a step in 2007/ Beckett’s Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) ERA was 3.22 to Santana’s 3.94. Beckett also had a better K/BB ratio: 4.85 to 4.51, and allowed fewer walks (1.9 BB/9 to 2.3) and fewer Home Runs (0.80 to 1.45 HR/9) than Santana. I actually think the Indians C.C. Sabathia is the runner-up, rather than Santana. Still, this was Beckett’s season. Bottom-line: Beckett was the best pitcher in the AL in 2007.
NL Cy Young
Who will win … Jake Peavy, San Diego Padres.
Who should win … Brandon Webb, Arizona Diamondbacks.
I give the edge to Webb over Peavy because Peavy accumulated his stats playing in the park that favors pitchers above all others in the Major League. Peavy gets more strikeouts (10.4 K/9 to 7.7), gives up roughly the same number of walks (2.9 BB/9), and gives up slightly more home runs (0.56 HR/9 for Peavy to Webb’s 4.8). Peavy’s FIP is 2.80 to Webb’s 3.19, but Peavy plays in a pitchers park with a terrific defense backing him up. Webb plays in a hitters dream with a mediocre team behind him. Much like how Sandy Koufax carried the Dodgers in the 1960’s, Brandon Webb carries the D-Backs. They’d be sunk without him. Maybe this is an argument based on sentiment more than hard stats, but I like Webb for his second consecutive Cy Young award.
Who will win… Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees.
Who should win … A-Rod.
Basically, this is the only award that the Red Sox won’t take. How good was A-Rod? 54 Home Runs, 156 RBI, 160 Runs Created, 31 Doubles, 24 steals in 28 tries … A-Rod was clearly the best player in the American League in 2007. Nobody played better baseball. Had it not been for A-Rod’s torrid April, the Yankees would never have made the playoffs at all. As it stands, he was the best bat in the league and played a tough defensive position well. If the ballot isn’t unanimous for A-Rod, I’d be shocked.
Who will win … Matt Holliday, Rockies.
Who should win … Jimmy Rollins, Phillies.
Hitting 36 Home Runs, 137 RBI, .405 OBP, and 125 Runs Created ought to win you the MVP award. But who was more important to their team than Jimmy Rollins? Holliday was a cog in the Rockies machine, but Rollins was the fire-starter for the Phillies. This was no ordinary season for J.Roll: 38 Doubles, 20 Triples, 30 Home Runs, 94 RBI, 41 stolen bases in 47 attempts, 122 Runs Created. Sure, there are things not to like about Jimmy Rollins. His .345 OBP is too low for a lead-off hitter. And he did lead the N.L. in Outs with 527. But he has a unique blend of speed, power and defense and his terrific play was vital in sparking the Phillies to the NL East crown. He was the best individual player in the league and was the most important to his team. He was the 2007 NL MVP. Give it to him!
Alright, sometime this week look for Part II of my Minor League review, then look for Part I of my Phillies Season in Review: Fielding next Monday.
I like the rest of your picks though.