Postseason Awards Edition

After the miracle of this World Series, the exorcism of the curse of the Bambino, and the most spectacular comeback / collapse in sports history, it's still not over. For those of us who cannot get enough of baseball, these are the days when we huddle together, crunching stats, reminiscing about our favorite moments and making our cases for the best players of the year. Unlike the sportswriters, we've seen fit to add a category, to give recognition to those who deserve it. Brooks, while on the DL with a nasty virus, has nonetheless given his blessings to to picks the Aho and I (Righty) have made. To keep it simple, I'll distinguish myself in italics.

So now, without further ado, here they are, the best of 2004.

AL Cy Young: Johan Santana

I have more or less argued this one to death. I think it is quite telling however, that Curt Schilling has said that Santana was completely deserving of the award. When you get an endorsement from your nearest competition (who was miles back anyway), the race is over.

2. Curt Schilling
3. Rest of league

AL MVP: Vladimir Guerrero

Vlad "The Impaler" Guerrero managed to almost singlehandedly muscled the Angels into the playoffs. In the last nine games of the season Guerrero drove in 11 RBI's, including two in that critical October 2nd game with the A's. He didn't have a bad season aside from that either, hitting .337 with 126 RBI and 36 HR. Sheffield deserves some consideration, but the protection in the Yankee lineup far exceeds anything the Angels can offer. Without Guerrero the Angels aren't even contenders for the AL West.

2. Johan Santana
What more is there to say? Completely dominant. Gaudy numbers, intimidation factor through the roof, and hasn't lost in around twenty five starts. Without him, the Twins are questionable to win the division. With him, they win it in a walk.

A quick note: After the disgrace of the NL Cy Young in 2003 (when Jason Schmidt was robbed), I and many of my fellow baseball fans felt that relievers needed an award of their own, and that the Cy Young should henceforth only be given to starting pitchers. We will hope that the baseball writers of America follow suit.

AL Relief Pitcher of the Year: Joe Nathan

Although he had an excellent bullpen in fromt of him, Nathan's stellar numbers set him apart from his competition. His ERA is a miniscule 1.62, opponents are hitting Nathan at only .187. Nathan also boasts an outstanding K/9 ratio of 11.07. Nathan became the mainstay of a bullpen which was considered to be questionable at the begining of the season and became a dominant force in the ninth for the Twins.

2. Keith Foulke
If the postseason were included, Foulke would likely take over the first spot from Nathan. He was a horse for Francona and silenced every hitter he was asked to.
3. Mariano Rivera
If the postseason were included, he might be bumped off the list completely.

NL MVP: Barry Bonds

There is no argument. There is no debate. Barry bonds is the textbook definition of MVP. The man redefines greatness every season. The only records he has left to break are Ruth's Aaron's and his own. How about a single season OPS of 1.4217 and an OBP of over .600, the highest totals ever(breaking his own records from 2002)? How about 45 homeruns in 373 AB(it took Beltre 598 AB to hit 48)? Words fall short with this man. 232 walks. 120 intentional. Still led the league in AVG and SLG by huge margins. He defines the success of the Giants, who are a .500 team without him.

2. Beltre
3. Rolen, Edmonds, Pujols (Tie)

NL Cy Young: Randy Johnson

He may not win due to his record, but he deserves it. What Santana has done in the American League, Johnson has mirrored in the NL. The two have posted nearly identical ERA's, Johnson, however, was followed in games by an incompetent bullpen. Johnson's opponent batting average: .197. Johnson also boasts similarly dominant numbers in K/9 (10.62), K/BB (6.44) not to mention his 2.60 ERA and leading the lead in strikeouts. If Johnson loses it will solely be on the basis of his poor record, which is a damned shame.

2. Jason Schmidt and Roger Clemens (tie)
Even with the supposed collapse of Schmidt, his numbers kept up as well as or better than Clemens. If Johnson had not pitched so well, it would have been a tough call.

NL Relief Pitcher of the Year: Eric Gange

Even with minor stumbles this year, Gagne was still head and shoulders above the rest of relievers in the NL. True, his saves streak did come to an end, but no one but him will even come close. OBA was sub-Mendoza at .181 and his ERA was 2.19. Add in a K/9 of 12 plus and the greatest intimidation of any closer in baseball, and Gagne is the clear winner.

2. Brandon Lidge, Billy Wagner (tie)
Both had respectable numbers for the year. Had Wagner not been hurt, and had the Phillies played enough meaningful games, he might have pulled ahead. As it is, there's no real reason to make a distinction between the two. They lost.

There they are, your winners for 2004. Hope you all enjoyed the games. Now, as they've gotten used to saying in Boston for the last nine decades, we'll all have to "Wait until next year." Or at least the winter meetings.

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