With the regular season in the books and just four teams remaining in the postseason, the announcements of the 2010 MLB yearly awards winners are just around the corner. Obviously, the players on the Phillies, Giants, Yankees, and Rangers are far more concerned with winning a World Series title than any individual award. However, for those who have had their Championship aspirations crushed the end of the year awards present one final chance to make this past season a memorable one. This year, the races for Cy Young, MVP, and Rookie of the Year seem to be as close as they’ve been in quite some time. What makes this year’s races especially interesting is the fact that many of the leading candidates have led their respective teams all the way to the N.L. and A.L. Championship series’.
2010 has often been called the year of the pitcher, featuring four no-hitters and two perfect games. While the pitching has been incredibly dominant, the offense has been great in its own right, sparking legitimate Triple Crown conversation for the first time in awhile. As the anticipation builds, here’s a look at who I think will be walking away with the three major awards, which are distributed in November after the conclusion of the World Series.
N.L. Cy Young
Ubaldo Jimenez emerged as the frontrunner for the Cy Young early in the year, but after losing six out of nine games in August and September, he quickly dropped a step below Adam Wainwright and Roy Halladay. These three pitchers were separated by a total of two wins and six strikeouts. No matter how you look at it, you can’t go wrong with any one of these guys on the mound.
My Prediction: With a perfect game and a no hitter to his name this year, 21 game winner Roy Halladay wins his second career Cy Young and Adam Wainwright comes up just short for the second consecutive season.
A.L. Cy Young
C.C. Sabathia and Felix Hernandez are in the Cy Young conversation as usual, but they are joined by two young stars in Jon Lester and David Price. Sabathia is a 20 game winner for the first time in his career and has single-handedly help together the Yankee’s pitching staff, while Lester and Price have won 19 games each (A career high for both). Hernandez has a record of just 13-12, but the Mariners scored just 3.75 runs per game for him, some of the worst run support in all of the majors.
My Prediction: Even though Sabathia will most likely win the award, Felix Hernandez deserves it without a doubt. King Felix led the American League in strikeouts with 232, ERA with 2.27, and innings pitched with 249.2. It’s really a shame that he doesn’t get better run support, because if he did, he would easily be a 20 game winner.
Joey Votto and Albert Pujols battled back and forth all year long in an exciting Triple Crown race, and Carlos Gonzalez finally got the recognition he deserves by leading the league with a .336 batting average. All three of these guys were consistent all year long and put their teams in a position to succeed.
My Prediction: Albert Pujols wins his fourth career MVP award, proving once again that he is the best hitter in the game. Leading the league with 42 homers and 118 RBIs, I don’t see how you can vote against the machine.
While Robinson Cano, Adrian Beltre, and Miguel Cabrera put together outstanding seasons, this race is really between Josh Hamilton and Jose Bautista. Bautista’s 54 homers were 12 more than anyone else in the majors and Josh Hamilton’s ridiculous .359 batting average was 23 points higher than everyone else’s.
My Prediction: As hard as it is to go against a player who hits .359, that’s exactly what I’m doing. Jose Bautista will win his first MVP for hitting 54 big flies and driving in 124 runs during the year of the pitcher. Without Bautista, the Blue Jays would probably not have an above .500 record.
N.L. Rookie of the Year
This is another race with a number of names being thrown into the mix. Jamie Garcia, Gabby Sanchez, Starlin Castro, and Ike Davis have all had major impacts in their first full year in the majors, but this race comes down to Jason Heyward and Buster Posey. Posey and Heyward have opened many eyes and helped lead their teams to the playoffs.
My Prediction: Buster Posey has been way too impressive all year long to not win the Rookie of the Year honors. With 18 home runs, 67 RBIs, and a batting average of .305, Posey has all the potential in the world and will be rewarded for it. Heyward posted 18 homers, 72 RBIs, and a .277 average himself, and he took the Braves to the next level.
A.L. Rookie of the Year
This race may not be as deep as the others, but it features two remarkable players in Rangers closer Neftali Feliz and Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson. Feliz, who had 40 saves in 43 opportunities and a .176 batting average against, has been one of the keys to the Rangers surprising success this season. Jackson, on the other hand, hit .293 with 41 RBIs and 27 stolen bases. His speed in centerfield has been a true asset to the Tiger’s defense.
My Prediction: The 22 year old Feliz takes home the hardware. The Rangers are a much better team with him at the back end of the bullpen and they have proved that by earning a spot in the ALCS. Now Neftali will get the chance to see one of the best closers of all time in Mariano Rivera as the Yanks look to end Texas’ improbable run.
Tags: Adam Wainwright Adrian Beltre Albert Pujols Austin Jackson Buster Posey Carlos Gonzalez CC Sabathia Cy Young David Price Felix Hernandez Ike Davis Jamie Garcia Jason Heyward Joey Votto Jon Lester Jose Bautista Josh Hamilton MVP Neftali Feliz Robinson Cano Rookie Of The Year Roy Halladay Starlin Castro Ubaldo Jimenez World Series