Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tony's 2009 Postseason MLB Awards

By Tony Mazur

In years past, the awards handed out at the end of the season were pretty clear-cut. Throughout the 1990s, it was always obvious as to who would win the Cy Young Award or the MVP trophy. In 2009, the choices were not so cut-and-dry, which made the season more interesting. Here are my postseason awards for the 2009 season.

AL Cy Young Award: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

This choice may come as a shock, but check his stats. "King Felix" went 19-5 with a 2.49 ERA for a much improved Mariner team. While Zack Greinke has looked dominant most of the year, Hernandez has made even the best teams look silly. He may be the most underrated pitcher in the game today.

Runner-Up: Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals

NL Cy Young Award: Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals

This will be up for debate for years to come, but Wainwright, in my humble opinion, should win the award. Unlike teammate Chris Carpenter, Wainwright has stayed healthy all year, and has provided the stability the Cardinals needed, especially in the second half, as they trounced the Cubs significantly. Also, a .263 ERA with 19-8 record doesn't look to bad, either.

Runner-Up: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants

AL MVP: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

For the majority of the season, I was pretty sure the award would have gone to the Yankees' Mark Teixeira. But Mauer is indeed the Most Valuable Player. Aside from Johnny Bench, Mike Piazza, and, for one year, Todd Hundley, catchers aren't known for their bat. Mauer has won his third batting title in four years, a feat even Ichiro hasn't accomplished. Mauer also hit 28 home runs, more than doubling his previous record of 13 set in 2006.

Runner-Up: Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees

NL MVP: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals

Is there any doubt? Pujols led the league in home runs with 47, and ranked near the top of every other offensive category. He also covers a lot of ground at first base, similar to former Cardinal first baseman Keith Hernandez. Pujols just might be one of the greatest right-handed hitters to have ever played the game.

Runner-Up: Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers

AL Rookie of the Year: Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox

This was a very tough choice, but I chose Beckham because of his style of play. Beckham was one of the few bright spots to a mediocre White Sox club. One can make a case for Elvis Andrus, Rick Porcello, and Nolan Reimold, which would also be understandable. In my opinion, this one is a toss-up.

Runner-Up: Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers

NL Rookie of the Year: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates

Yes, the Pirates are certainly not a model organization, but I loved the performance from McCutchen. He has the skills to become a five-tool player in the near-future, even if the Bucs trade him for more prospects. What sets him apart from the rest is his speed. McCutchen stole 22 bases in 108 games, and pounded out 9 triples. He reminds me of Marquis Grissom in his Montreal days.

Runner-Up: Chris Coghlin, Florida Marlins

AL Manager of the Year: Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Angels have been a favorite in the baseball circles for a few years, but Scioscia has kept this team together after the tragic death of Nick Adenhart. Also, he has groomed players like Kendry Morales and Maicer Izturis to fill the big shoes of the injured Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero, and they stepped up greatly.

Runner-Up: Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins

NL Manager of the Year: Jim Tracy, Colorado Rockies

After an 18-28 record, the Rockies fired Clint Hurdle and replaced him with Jim Tracy. Since then, the Rockies went 74-42, and won the Wild Card for the second time in three seasons.

Runner-Up: Tony La Russa, St. Louis Cardinals

AL's Most Improved Team: Texas Rangers

Traditionally, the Rangers are stacked with hitters, but are thin in the pitching department. That improved immensely with Scott Feldman and Kevin Millwood, though they still have work to do if they want to give the Angels a run for their money. Still, an 87-75 mark is something nice to build on.

Runner-Up: Seattle Mariners

NL's Most Improved Team: Colorado Rockies

Can you blame me for picking the Rockies to finish in fourth in the NL West? The Rockies used the magic beans from 2007 and implemented them into the current team. Their 92 wins was third in the National League, though "Rocktober" may be short-lived.

Runner-Up: Atlanta Braves

AL's Biggest Disappointment: Cleveland Indians

Personally, I did not pick the Tribe to win anything this year, but many of my colleagues drank the Kool-Aid. When you part ways with all-stars and replace them with unproven prospects, negative results typically ensue. 2010 does not look too promising, either.

Runner-Up: Tampa Bay Rays

NL's Biggest Disappointment: New York Mets

For the fourth year in a row, the Mets let their fans down. This time, however, the Metropolitans finished 22 games under .500, reminiscent of the underachieving teams of the early '90s. The team fell short on everyone's expectations, though key injuries to Carlos Delgado, David Wright, and Jose Reyes did not help matters.

Runner-Up: Milwaukee Brewers

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