Monday, July 14, 2008

Tony's Midseason Awards

By Tony Mazur

We are now at the midpoint of the baseball season.

Well, not really. That occurred a week or two ago.

But it is the All-Star Break, and it's time to play the taboo card and dish out some midseason awards.

American League Rookie of the Year: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays

Longoria has shown, so far, that he is the type of third baseman that will make coaches and fans drool. For the better part of a decade, third basemen have been a mere shadow of their former selves. Remember when third basemen hit a ton of home runs and flashed some solid leather at the hot corner? Nowadays, third basemen are just utility infielders with no other place to go (i.e. Chone Figgans, Casey Blake, Melvin Mora). Longoria possesses the tools to become an MVP-caliber player.

Runners Up: Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Gonzalez

National League Rookie of the Year: Geovany Soto, Chicago Cubs

In a time where we have weak-hitting catchers, Soto is a breath of fresh air. A guy who has already become a leader on this heavy-hitting Cubs team, Soto can be the key piece to help lead the Cubbies back to the World Series.

Runners Up: Justin Upton, Cameron Maybin (I will NOT put Fukudome on this list. I don't buy the hype)

American League Cy Young Award: Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians

Lee has been one of the few bright spots to this predictably struggling Cleveland team. Lee's ERA, innings pitched, and strikeouts per nine innings are excellent, especially for the fact that he doesn't throw that entirely hard. But Lee has some stiff competition, so he'll need to keep this up until the end of the year.

Runners Up: Joe Saunders, Justin Duchscherer

National League Cy Young Award: Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati Reds

The surprise phenom in the Josh Hamilton trade, Volquez has been another breath of fresh air to a struggling Central Division Ohio team. The ERA may not stay that low come September, but look for him to receive a nice paycheck from the Reds.

Runners Up: Brandon Webb, Ben Sheets

American League Most Valuable Player: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers

This is another taboo subject brought up on both the three and four-letter network. However, Hamilton has been a surprise to baseball fans everywhere (not me, though, because I knew his potential when he was with the Devil Rays). Here's Hamilton's stats: .310 BA, 21 HR and 95 RBI. I can't think of anyone else in the American League with better numbers than that.

Runners Up: Ian Kinsler, Alex Rodriguez

National League Most Valuable Player: Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins

This may come as a shock to baseball fans everywhere, but I think Ramirez is an MVP-caliber player. As Rick Morris pointed out last year, his overall stats are the best in baseball. And even though his RBI total is low, remember that he is the leadoff hitter. He helps set the table for Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Mike Jacobs, etc.

Runners Up: Chase Utley, Lance Berkman

American League Comeback Player of the Year: Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians

Cliff has had a hell of a season so far, and even if he's unable to keep it up, he should win this prestigious award. If you can recall, Lee was sent back to Triple-A Buffalo last season, and didn't even make the postseason roster. was the one who said that the Indians should designate Cliff for assignment. My crow tastes pretty good right now.

National League Comeback Player of the Year: Fernando Tatis, New York Mets

Who?! Remember the guy who hit two grand slams in the same inning? Yep, that's him. Tatis battled injuries during his stint with the Montreal Expos, and even spent a few years in the minor leagues, desperately trying to make it back to the big show. Well, he's back, and he has made a significant impact on this red-hot New York Mets team since May.

1 comment:

Rick Morris said...

I agree with many of these picks. I also am not buying the hype on Fukodome, as I indicated in my column about the All-Star teams. There's nothing wrong with him, per see, but he's just overhyped. He was thought by many to be a Paul O'Neill type of player coming in and that's about what he has been. In terms of that comparison, you could make the argument that he's more important to that winning Cubs team than his stat line, but you've also got to have the stats to live up to his level of press.