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September 4, 2008 Post-Season Awards
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September Post-Season Awards
by Asher B. Chancey, BaseballEvolution.com
September 4, 2008

Last season, I wrote an article on September 26 in which I assailed the notion that Jimmy Rollins could possibly be considered the NL MVP, and laughed at Phillies fans for chanting "M-V-P" when Rollins came up to bat. But by the time the World Series was grinding to a close, I supported the idea of Jimmy Rollins as the Most Valuable Player. 

Why? At the start of the day on September 26, 2007, with five games to play, the Phillies were two games behind the Mets and the season appeared to be over. The Phillies actually wound up winning the division, which was truly shocking, and Jimmy Rollins was the hero of the team. It is amazing how much can change in just five games.

With this in mind, along with other great September performances which have catapulted players into position to win awards (Vlad Guerrero's enormous September in 2004, when the Angels won the AL West by one game, comes to mind), I have decided to try a little experiment let's take a look at the players we expect to win each league's major awards with just under a month to play, and then see how things ultimately turn out.

National League

Most Valuable Player Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals: It is hard to imagine any other players topping Pujols as this point. Ryan Howard leads the league in homeruns and RBI, but has not been very good overall. Interesting thing to watch, though if C.C. Sabathia stays unhittable in September and the Milwaukee Brewers make the playoffs, his performance since joining the Brewers could get him the MVP even if he doesn't end up with the Cy Young.

Cy Young Award Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants: A close call with Brandon Webb, who plays for a division leader and leads the league in wins. Lincecum plays for a bad team, otherwise he'd be there with Webb in wins, and he leads the league in ERA and strikeouts (the second of which he leads the league in distantly). Sabathia's name is starting to crop up in the Cy Young talk (think Sutcliffe, 1984), and Ryan Dempster could have an outside shot at the thing if he can rack up some wins in September.

Rookie of the Year Geovanny Soto, Chicago Cubs: No one else in the National League really comes close to what Soto has accomplished with the Cubs. Too bad Edinson Volquez isn't eligible.

American League

Most Valuable Player Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox: Quentin is practically the reason for this exercise. Josh Hamilton was the early favorite for the award, and while he certainly deserves credit for what he has done, his numbers are not as great as some would have us believe and the Rangers have been eliminated from playoff contention for months. Quentin, on the other hand, is having a huge season (both at home and on the road) for a team that was hugely disappointing in 2007 but find themselves in the playoff hunt this season. Quentin is having a better season for a better team, and deserves the award hands down. Alex Rodriguez could make a case for his second consecutive award, but will probably not get it because the New York sportswriters won't vote for him.

Cy Young Award Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians: Due respect to Roy Halladay, who is having a great season and has been one of the most durable pitchers in recent memory, Cliff Lee is having an amazing year. He currently leads the league in wins, won-loss percentage, ERA, relative ERA, shutouts (tied), strikeout-to-walk ratio, and walks-per-inning. He is also second to Halladay in complete games and innings. It is a two man race, and as between those two players, there is really no comparison. Some might argue that Francisco Rodriguez deserves a look, and the answer to that proposition is this: K-Rod is not one of the three best relievers in the American League.

Rookie of the Year Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays: I have lots of problems with the New York Yankees, but Joba Chamberlain is not one of them. This guy appears to be legit. Nevertheless, the notion that he should be rookie of the year is overblown a bit just based on the short season he's had. That could all change, however, if Longoria can't get back into the lineup in September and finishes the year with only 104 games played.

Alright, there you have it. My September 4, 2008 Post-Season Awards selections. Let's see how we feel in a month.




Questions? Concerns? Comments? Asher lives in Philadelphia, PA, and can be reached at asher@baseballevolution.com.

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