Saturday, July 2, 2011

First Half Awards: American League

So I just recently discussed who I felt was the best player at each position in each league. I figure I will follow that up by discussing who I feel would win all of the major awards if the season ended today.

American League

Most Valuable Player: Adrian Gonzalez (BOS)
The Numbers: .349/.404/.590, 16 Homers, 73 RBI
Gonzalez is leading the league in Hits, Runs Batted In, Total Bases, and Batting Average. He has been the most consistent hitter on a wildly inconsistent Red Sox team. Gonzalez has also been a force on both sides of the ball, with most defensive metrics showing him to be one of the best defensive First Basemen in the league. On the whole, it is difficult to argue any other player in the league has been better than Gonzalez so far this season.
Honorable Mentions: Jose Bautista (TOR), Curtis Granderson (NYY), Paul Konerko (CWS).

Cy Young Award: Justin Verlander (DET)
The Numbers: 11-3, 135.2 Innings Pitched, 2.32 ERA, .862 WHIP, 130 Strike Outs.
Verlander has had dominant seasons before (see: 2009), but this season surpasses anything he has ever done if he can keep up this pace. Verlander is leading the league in strikeouts, Innings Pitched, and WHIP. There are not even very many relief pitchers who have a WHIP comparable to Verlander's. Some pitchers may have slightly lower ERAs than Verlander's, but WHIP is certainly a better number to look at for a pitcher as it indicates how sustainable a pitcher's numbers are. The fact that Verlander has put up the best WHIP in the most-innings pitched indicates how good he has been this season.
Honorable Mentions: Josh Beckett (BOS), Michael Pineda (SEA), Jered Weaver (LAA), James Shields (TBR).

Rookie of the Year: Michael Pineda (SEA)
The Numbers: 7-5, 2.65 ERA, 1.029 WHIP, 8.7 K/9.
Pineda has come on to the scene in Seattle as a force and is a big part of why Seattle is fairing better this year than they did last year. He is seventh in the league in WHIP, sixth in the league in ERA, and 10th in the league Strike Outs. These numbers make him one of the best pitchers in the league, not just the best rookie. Barring some unforeseen injury or a bout of ineffectiveness it is difficult to see anyone else winning the Rookie of the Year Award.
Honorable Mentions: Mark Trumbo (LAA), Jeremy Hellickson (TBR).

Comeback Player of the Year: Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)
The Numbers: 2010: 18 Games, .192/.241/.485. 2011: 80 Games, .300/.361/.452, 25 SB, 9 Homers, 45 RBI.
While the NL is awash with Comeback Player of the Year Candidates, the American League is a little shorter on candidates. The only other legitimate comeback player candidate in my mind is probably Russel Martin, and Ellsbury is outperforming him in every way. Ellsbury's season last year was cut short due to a rib injury, and when he was playing he was not particularly effective. There was some worry that he would not come back and be a full speed, but he has been impressive. He has on track for his usual 50+ Stolen Bases, but more interestingly he has already tied his career high for Home Runs and is on track to set career highs in RBIs, Doubles, and Hits.
Honorable Mention: Russel Martin

That's all for now. I will tackle the National League in the coming days!

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