First off, I just want to say that was a phenomenal post by Johnny. Really made me feel proud to be a part of this blog. Hell of a post.
Now, this is primarily a Jays blog, but I thought with the season coming to an end that I'd do my own set of awards. I don't think we'd be doing our duty as bloggers, or baseball fans, if we didn't at least throw in our 2 cents as to who were the best players in baseball this season. So let's get started!
AL MVP - Joe Mauer.
That's right, I'm not supporting Dustin Pedroia. First off, I can't stand that fuck. Or Youkilis, fucking asshole. But that's for another time....
I don't know where all this MVP bullshit support came from for "Pedroia the Destroya", but there's no way in hell I can support a 123 OPS+ player as MVP. No way. Yeah, he plays a key defensive position, but guess what? So does another guy on a (currently) first place team - Joe Mauer.
First off, Mauer has an identical OPS (330/415/454/869) to Pedroia (326/376/493/869). They went 1-2 in the AL for batting average, which is pretty impressive. That'll be Mauer's second batting award, something unheard of for a catcher. His 135 OPS+ kills Pedroia's 123. Even if you ignore the positional difference (Mauer obviously playing the more valuable one), he still beats Pedroia offensively.
The one problem with Mauer is that he's got about 100 less at bats than Pedroia. But to have a catcher play 145 games, while providing elite defense as a catcher (36.3% CS good enough for third in the AL and fourth overall) and posting a 135 OPS+ on offense, it's just tough not to pick him.
Hell, Morneau is getting more MVP votes than Mauer, and they both have the same OPS+! Mauer hit as well as an above average 1B, while doing a phenomenal job leading/handling a young pitching staff.
It's a shame that Mauer isn't getting any MVP support, because he was the most valuable player in the AL this year.
NL MVP - Albert Pujols. The best player in the game, Pujols posted a pedestrian 190 OPS+ while hitting 357/462/653. There were some pretty good players in the NL this year, but Pujols was the best of them. It's not even a contest here.
AL comeback player of the year - Milton Bradley. Cliff Lee was a good candidate for this, but I think Bradley had to overcome a lot more. He had a significant injury, and a lot of teams couldn't trust that he'd last the season, avoid injuries, or stay out of trouble.
Well, Bradley only played in 126 games, but he made the most out of them. Bradley hit 321/436/563 (163 OPS+) in one of the game's best lineups.
Kudos to Will who I believe suggested Milton Bradley as an option for the Jays. And congrats to Bradley, who had a terrific year and, in my opinion, is the comeback player of the year. He really showed what he's capable of, and he's very dangerous with a bat.
NL Comeback player of the year - Randy Johnson. There may be others who disagree with this pick, but Randy is a superstar who put his injuries behind him. Johnson threw 56 innings last year, but managed to start 30 this year, giving the D-Backs 184 incredible innings. He had a 3.91 ERA, and nearly a strikeout an inning. His return gave the Diamondbacks one of the scariest trios in the game - Brandon Webb, Danny Haren, and Randy Johnson. As much as we like to imagine a Doc/AJ/Marcum rotation in the playoffs, their's might even be better.
Welcome back Randy, and here's to hoping you get your 300th win next year.
AL Cy Young - Cliff Lee. Halladay pitched more innings, and faced tougher competition, but Lee had a hell of a year. 22-3, 2.54 ERA, 175 ERA+....you all know I love the good Doctor, but even he'd have to admit that Lee was the best pitcher in the AL this year.
NL Cy Young - Tim Lincecum. Bet you wish that Rios for Lincecum trade went through now, don't ya? While Rios hit 291/337/461, Lincecum only threw 227 dominant innings while striking out 265! He had a 164+ ERA+, a 1.17 WHIP, and a 2.62 ERA. Oh, and he went 18-5 on a Giants team that was 72-90. So Lincecum accounted for 25% of his teams wins.
Not that wins are important, but still. Lincecum is very deserving of the prized NL Cy Young award.
Rookie of the Year (AL) - Evan Longoria. Longoria was a huge reason why the Rays won this year (other than the pitching, the improved defense, the bullpen, and did I mention better pitching?), and the scary thing is he's only going to get better. Unless he takes advice from a former rookie of the year winner on the Rays, in which case he'll start being booed mercilessly by the Tampa Bay Heckler.
Longoria's a young, pre-shoulder damaged Scott Rolen - and by that I mean a gifted defender and an impact offensive player. Funny enough, Longoria's ZR was .010 behind Rolen, at 797.
Longoria hit 272/343/531, an impressive batting line for a 22 year old. Once he improves his plate discipline, and gains some more experience in the majors, he'll be an MVP candidate. For now, he'll have to settle for being my rookie of the year.
NL Rookie of the year - Geovany Soto - There were several good rookie candidates (Votto, Volquez, Jurrjens), but none as good as Soto. Geovany hit 285/364/504, while providing terrific defense behind the plate. He did a tremendous job with the pitching staff as well, and in my opinion, is one of the top 5 catchers in the game (the others being Mauer, McCann, Martin...and I'm probably forgetting someone).
Executive of the year - Doug Melvin. I know, a lot of people will take the "trendy" pick and go with the Rays, but I think Melvin deserves some praise. Getting CC when he did saved the Brewers season, and he made a lot of small moves that helped them out. He's going to get some good draft picks from CC and Sheets leaving in free agency, and so he gave up a slugging 1B (of which the Brewers have several) for a top tier starting pitcher.
Manager of the year - Ok, NOW I'm going with the "trendy" pick of Joe Maddon. Like the Rays or not, you can't deny he did a tremendous job leading that club. Yes, they had the talent, but Maddon got the most out of that talent.
Quick thoughts on the Jays
I'll expand on this as the off-season gets into full swing, but I'm getting the feeling the Jays are going to be in for a rough 2009. Like Johnny said in his last post, the window has essentially closed. Mortgaging the future, or trying to get a mid level starter is the worst possible move for a franchise that in 2010 could have any of Doc, Marcum, McGowan, Purcey, Litsch, Cecil, Janssen etc in the starting rotation. Most, if not all of whom will be cheaper and better than the replacements in 09 who will want a long term deal.
The Jays need to make the tough decision, bite the bullet, and retool so that they can win in 2010. That means BJ Ryan needs to be traded for prospects. Overbay should be traded as well if Cooper shows that he would be in the running for a spot in 2010 - of course, this hinges on Cooper's development and how well Overbay plays.
I hate to just give up on a season, but the best opportunity for the Jays to win is in 2010 and beyond. As Johnny said - Snider, Lind, Cooper, Cecil, Arencibia are the future, and we're going to need them up here to win. Hopefully JP will realize this, and make the right decisions.
By the way, Shana Tova and a Happy Rosh Hashanah.