The best thing about awards in baseball and for any other professional sport for that matter, is that there will always be a debate on a predicted winner. The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) votes annually on the winners of these season awards.
The following was what I posted yesterday about my predictions for the AL Regular Season Awards along with my explanations for why they should win:
Curtis Granderson’s stats should speck for themselves, he batted .262, hit 41 home runs, drove in 119 RBIs, and scored 136 Runs. He was 1st in runs and RBIs, 2nd in the league in home runs, 3rd in triples and 5th in slugging percentage. Granderson, who hit 2nd in a potent New York Yankees lineup, helped make up for the lack of production from the like of Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher. The only down side for Granderson is that Robinson Cano also put up great numbers for the season and may take away some the BBWAA votes that he would have gotten.
Jose Bautista led the AL in home runs and walks, and became the fifth player in Major League history to record at least 40 homers, 130 walks and nine stolen bases in a season. Not many people can hit for power, run with speed and have a good eye for the strike zone. The only thing that hurts him is that he played for a team that didn’t make the playoffs.
Verlander had an amazing season. He led the league in wins, era and strikeouts, also known as the pitchers Triple Crown, but also pitched his second career no-hitter and had the AL’s first 24-win season since 1990. But the downfall for him in this award category is that the last time a pitcher won an MVP was in 1992 when Dennis Eckersley won it.
AL Cy Young:
Winner–> Justin Verlander, DET (24-5, 2.40 ERA, and 250 Strikeouts Baseball’s Pitchers Triple Crown)
This may be the one award that the runner-up really has no chance of winning. I think that Verlander will be a unanimous decision for this award. When you have five more wins than the next pitcher and are the league leader in wins, ERA and strikeouts, you will most likely will win the award. He also throw his second no-hitter and won the pitchers version of the Triple Crown (1st in wins, ERA and strikeouts).
Runner-Up–> CC Sabathia, NYY (19-8, 3.0 ERA, and 230 Strikeouts)
CC Sabathia was the Yankees ace who was dependable all season, he finished 2nd in the AL in strikeouts and wins. He was especially tough during June and July, going 9-2 with a 2.06 ERA. But during the month of September and August he struggled, going 4-3 with a 4.09 ERA. He won’t win this award but put up solid numbers to be considered for the award.
Winner–> Ivan Nova, NYY (16-4, 3.70 ERA, and 98 Strikeouts in 165.1 Innings Pitched)
Ivan Nova bounced between the Yankees rotation and Scranton for the beginning part of the year. But once he had a solid position in the rotation he didn’t lose a game after June 3. He helped out a team who had struggled all year with finding the right pitchers for their rotation.
Mark Trumbo was crucial to the Halos offense, stepping in for the injured Kendrys Morales and becoming the first Angels rookie to lead the club in home runs and RBIs. He may have a hard time winning this award because of teammate Jordan Walden‘s performance as the Angels closer.
AL Manager of the Year:
Joe Maddon lead the Rays to history by overcoming a nine-game deficit from Sept. 4 on to win the AL Wild Card and earn their third postseason berth in the past four seasons. He helped clinch a Wild Card berth for a team that was thought of as done in late August and made the playoffs buying sweeping the Yankees to end the season.
Runner-Up–> Joe Girardi, NYY (97-65 2011, 95-67 2010)
Joe Girardi had to deal with a rotation filled with uncertainty and injuries to key players, leading the Yankees to the best record in the AL and their 16th postseason berth in the past 17 seasons. He managed a team that saw some highs: a 3000 hits plateau reached (Derek Jeter), the all times saves mark broken (Mariano Rivera) and two MVP caliber seasons (Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson); as well as the lows: spotty pitching rotation (AJ Burnett), player injuries (Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano) and lack of production (Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez).
Time will only tell if my predictions will come true. I can only say that the 2011 baseball season was quite a roller-coaster ride and can’t wait to ride it again next season.