AL MVP – Joe Mauer (C – MIN)
Joe Mauer didn’t play in 24 games (almost a month worth), and still did this:
- led the majors in batting average (.365)
- led the majors in on-base percentage (.444)
- led the AL in slugging (.587)
- finished second in the majors in OPS (1.031), behind Albert Pujols
- hit 28 homers, drove in 96 runs, and had 191 hits
- pieced together a pitching staff decimated by injuries and inconsistency
- helped lead his team to a division title
No way Minnesota gets where they did without him.
AL Cy Young – Zack Greinke (SP – KC)
Yes, he pitched for a bad team. But the award isn’t given to the best pitcher on a good team.
- led the majors in ERA (2.16)
- led the AL in WHIP (1.07)
- second in the AL in strikeouts (242)
- Tied for third in the AL in wins (16)
- second in the AL in complete games (6) and shutouts (3)
- has 26 quality starts (out of 33)
- could have had more wins potentially – in his 8 losses he got 15 runs of support, including being on the losing end of a 1-0 and a 2-0 loss.
A truly dominant pitcher throughout the year, in spite of his team’s struggles.
AL Rookie of the Year – Andrew Bailey (RP – OAK)
Andrew was an afterthought in the A’s bullpen at the start of this year, and came out with some very dominant numbers. He took over the closer role early on in the season, and never gave it up.
- 1.84 ERA
- 26 saves
- 91 strikeouts in 83 innings
Yes, I’m biased towards the A’s. But I don’t think that Gordon Beckham coming up until June gives him a better shot at this award.
NL MVP – Albert Pujols (1B – STL)
Do I need to even explain this one?
- 1st in NL in OBP (.443)
- 1st in Majors in Slugging Percentage (.658)
- 1st in Majors in OPS (1.101)
- 1st in Majors in Runs (124)
- 1st in Majors in Total Bases (374)
- 1st in Majors in Homers (47)
- 2nd in Majors in RBI (135)
And he led his team to the playoffs. Without any particular backing in the lineup until the arrival of Matt Holliday. We’re all going to look back in 20 years and marvel at how much better Albert Pujols was than every other player in this generation.
NL Cy Young – Tim Lincecum (SP – SF)
I actually saw Lincecum pitch against Philadelphia on August 1st. He was dominant that night, striking out 8 and scattering 7 hits in a 2-0 win.
- Led the majors in strikeouts (261)
- 3rd in the majors in ERA (2.48)
- 4th in the majors in WHIP (1.05)
- 1st in NL in Complete Games (4) and Shutouts (2)
- 23 quality starts (out of 32)
- Got a no-decision or a loss in 10 of those quality starts
He appears to me that in spite of his team, he pitched ridiculously well.
NL Rookie of the Year – Andrew McCutchen (OF – PIT)
When I first started writing this, I had Chris Coghlan down as my rookie of the year. But after looking at McCutchen’s stats, I was surprised at how much better they appeared than Coghlan’s.
- 12 homers (Coghlan 9)
- 22 steals (Coghlan 8)
- 54 rbi (Coghlan 47)
And those are with a month less. (Coghlan was called up early in May, McCutchen in June). Coghlan definitely outhit McCutchen overall (Coghlan – .321, McCutchen – .286). It’s very close, and I think that McCutchen had a slightly better rookie season. But honestly, either choice would be a good one.