Baseball’s regular season ended six weeks ago, and yet the ‘regular season’ awards are still slowly being released. We all know it’s just the reason the sport needs to stay in the headlines during the off-season. That being said, let’s do a quick re-cap on who’s won so far, and who has yet to win, because the only people that have been anxiously, patiently awaiting the results more than I are probably the players up for the awards themselves…and that magical gnome living in Brian Wilson’s beard. Let’s begin…
Rookie of the Year
Jeremy Hellickson – Tampa Bay Rays – Starting Pitcher
One of the tougher calls to make, until you see his 2.95 ERA and his .210 average that batters are hitting against him, and you see they got this one right. It’s the lowest ERA by a rookie starter in the league in 20 years.
Players that could have won: Eric Hosmer, Mark Trumbo
Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves – Relief Pitcher
Another guy I questioned at first glance, until I see that he’s thrown 38 consecutive appearances without giving up a single run; that’s never been done by a reliever. Ever. In the history of baseball. He also had 126 K’s, more than eight opening day starters, and had a WHIP of 0.99.
Players that could have won: Freddie Freeman, Vance Worley
Manager of the Year
Joe Maddon – Tampa Bay Rays
It’s impossible to really know who the best managers are. We don’t see what goes on behind the scenes, and you cannot truly measure how much impact a manager has on his players. However, you have to give it to a guy that had his team complete the largest comeback in American League history (initially 9 games out to eventually catch the Red Sox on the last night of the season).
Managers that could have won: No one
Kirk Gibson – Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona finished dead last in the division last year. This year they won 94 games. If that’s not impact, I don’t know what it is.
Managers that could have won: Tony La Russa
Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers – Starting Pitcher
Here’s a fun stat for Justin Verlander… The last player to end more losing streaks for a first place team: Sandy Koufax nearly 50 years ago for the Dodgers. Not only is he the hands-down winner for the CY Young, he could be the first pitcher in the league to win the MVP since Dennis Eckersley in 1992 with Oakland. (The last in the NL was Bob Gibson) And he’s the first pitcher in 40 years with 24 wins and 250 K’s.
Players that could have won (long shot) – Jered Weaver
Clayton Kershaw Dodgers Starting Pitcher
Well, let’s see, not another toughie here. A virtual lock. He won the pitching triple crown and joins an elite club with Roger Clemens, Tom Seaver and Johan Santana to have a second half ERA as low as 1.31 since MLB lowered the mound in 1969.
Players that could have won (long shot) – Roy Halladay
MVP (Announced this upcoming week!)
Who Should Win: Jacoby Ellsbury – Boston Red Sox – Centerfield
It’s very possible that Justin Verlander could become the first pitcher in years to take home the MVP, but in my opinion, not only should the award go to a position player only, Ellsbury truly makes his own case on a historical level. The guy not only won a Gold Glove at the position, but is the first player, yes the first, in MLB history, to hit 30-plus home runs, steal 30-plus bases, bat .322 and whack 211 hits and 46 doubles.
Who Could Win: Justin Verlander, Jose Bautista, Curtis Granderson
Who Should Win: Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers – Centerfield
According to the good ole’ eye test, years worth of previous great play, and much statistical analysis, Ryan Braun is an overall better player and is more consistent. The Brewers also made the playoffs and the Dodgers didn’t. However, I think you have to give it to Kemp regardless of how Los Angeles finished. Kemp nearly won the triple crown and had six more bombs, 15 more RBI, and 7 more stolen bases. He also didn’t have Prince Fielder protecting him in the lineup.
Who Could Win: Ryan Braun
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