I know that it’s taken me about a week to put together my National League Award winners but at least it’s here and ready to go. The National League is a little bit different since there are some really tight races that are still ongoing as we hit the last couple days of the season. With that being said, here are my lock-down selections for N.L. Awards.
N.L. Cy Young: This has been a three-horse race since about a month or so ago…Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Tim Lincecum. As good of a season as Linecum’s had, he’s not going to win back-to-back Cy Young’s…so you can scratch him off the list. If there was ever a time when you could split the award and get virtually no argument, it would be the race between the other two guys. I know, I’m starting to stall…my pick for this year’s Cy Young is Adam Wainwright. I love the fact Carpenter spent time on the DL this year and has come back with a vengeance…you can even go out and say that his return elevated the rest of the rotation. But it still falls short in my estimation but only because of the amount of innings thrown. Wainwright’s a 19-game winner at the time of this post with 221 innings pitched, 204 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.48. His July/August ERA numbers (1.17 & 1.30 respectively) got him back into this race and he’s been solid since. Like I said, you can’t go wrong with either guy, but I really like the fact that Wainwright has flourished behind Carpenter and continues to get better with time.
N.L. MVP: Albert Pujols…let’s move on. Seriously though, it’s been impressive what he’s done year-in and year-out. The scary thing is he’s getting better with age. Some will point to the acquisition of Matt Holliday as the reason for the surge, but Sir Albert was already the best player in the league. But since I brought that up, I thought I’d look at his numbers…in July, Pujols was just putting up ‘OK’ numbers by his standards (.289/4/15/.415 OBP/.485 SLG). But August and September? Ridiculous! In August .317/7/18 and in September, he’s ramped it up to .371/6/22/.458 OBP/.674 SLG. He just continues to solidify his status as the best player in the game today. Could he ever win a Triple Crown? Yes, but he’ll need a Matt Holliday-type player hitting behind him so he could achieve the HR and RBI numbers necessary.
N.L. Rookie of the Year: Man, this is another great race with plenty of guys to choose from. Let’s begin with the candidates: Andrew McCutchen, Chris Coghlan, Garrett Jones, Tommy Hanson, J.A. Happ & Randy Wells. All very strong candidates and all very deserving of the award, but I’m going with Chris Coghlan of the Florida Marlins. All Coghlan has done since getting called up is settle into the leadoff role and put up numbers: .314/9/44/.384 OBP/76 Runs all while learning to play left field in the big leagues (2B/3B in the minors). I truly believe that the insertion of Coghlan into that lineup helped turned that ball club around this year.
N.L. Manager of the Year: About two weeks ago, I would’ve said that it was Jim Tracy’s award to lose. But all of a sudden, the Atlanta Braves decided to get hot and it put Bobby Cox’s name squarely in the mix. You can’t forget the jobs that Tony LaRussa, Fredi Gonzalez and Joe Torre have done as well. With that all in mind, my manager of the year (win or lose) is still Jim Tracy. The Rockies started the season 18-28 and ended up firing Clint Hurdle. Enter Tracy. Every button he’s pushed has worked magnificently and he has the Rockies on the verge of winning the National League Wild Card and the very good prospect of winning 90+ games and finishing respectfully in the West (remember, that was the division that was about the Dodgers and everyone else). Tracy’s steady, calm approach has proven to be the right mix for that team…and he’s one of the best people you’ll ever meet in baseball.
* On Monday, David Ortiz hit a solo HR off Scott Richmond of the Toronto Blue Jays. At the time, it closed the gap to 11-4 Toronto. What bothered me (and the guys at the desk on MLB Tonight) was the fact that it took Big Papi just over :30 seconds to round the bases. :30 seconds! Are you serious? Dude, it was a solo home run and your team is still down by 7 runs…how about showing some class and getting around the bases in the proper amount of time? There’s no need for you to “pimp” every single shot especially when your team is getting smoked. I’m all for guys having fun in this game, but that was a seriously tired act.
* There was a story out on Monday talking about Prince Fielder and whether or not the Brewers should consider trading him this off-season. Last off-season, the Fielder trade rumors were all over the place. Milwaukee ended up signing him to a 2-year deal worth $18 million. But the problem still persists…starting pitching. A starting pitching ERA of 5.24 in the National League is not going to get it done. Aside from Yovani Gallardo, the Brewers have some serious questions in that rotation. And before you go dropping Manny Parra’s name on me, check out his over 6.00 earnie. Fielder would bring you the most in return and his salary bumps to $10.5 next year…I think if there’s a package to be had, then Doug Melvin should go out and get it. Look, it wasn’t easy for the Texas Rangers to part with Mark Teixeira…but they did and all they got in return was Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison and Beau Jones (the first four are in the big leagues and Andrus should win Rookie of the Year). Those types of deals are out there, you just have to be patient and find it.
Just livin’ the dream…