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Rosenthal's Post Season Awards

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  • Rosenthal's Post Season Awards

    And the awards go to ...
    Ken Rosenthal /
    Posted: 9 hours ago

    The awards races, like the pennant races, are going down to the final weekend. In this craziest of seasons, last-minute adjustments might be necessary. But here you go . . .

    AL MVP: 1. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees. 2. David Ortiz, Red Sox. 3. Travis Hafner, Indians

    I'd be willing to reconsider if Ortiz or Hafner did something dramatic to lift his team into the postseason. Otherwise, I couldn't go with a designated hitter over Rodriguez, an above-average third baseman who leads the AL not just in home runs, but also in a more telling statistic — on-base/slugging percentage. He's accomplishing all this playing his home games in Yankee Stadium, a difficult park for right-handed hitters. And while Ortiz and Hafner are superior in the clutch, Rodriguez isn't exactly a dog — witness his .292 batting average with runners in scoring position.

    NL MVP: 1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals. 2. Andruw Jones, Braves. 3. Morgan Ensberg, Astros.

    Derrek Lee is the player of the year, but I prefer my MVPs to contribute to a postseason qualifier. Jones' 51 homers are difficult to overlook, as is his Gold Glove defense in centerfield. His .264 batting average, however, would be the lowest ever by an MVP hitter. Pujols' .427 on-base percentage is 80 points higher than Jones', and his .602 slugging percentage is 23 points higher. As important as Jones' production was to the youthful Braves, Pujols' performance was just as meaningful for the injury-depleted Cardinals.

    AL Cy Young: 1. Mariano Rivera, Yankees. 2. Johan Santana, Twins. Bartolo Colon, Angels.

    A starting pitcher obviously contributes more innings than a reliever, but Rivera's 1.41 ERA and .464 opponents' OPS represent career bests, and neither of the top starting candidates is a knockout choice. Colon's 3.48 ERA would be the third highest by a Cy Young winner. Santana's ERA is more than a half-run per game lower. He's more difficult to hit and strikes out batters at a higher rate. But he has only 15 wins to Colon's 20. While a pitcher's win-loss record is influenced by run support and bullpen performance, I don't think we're quite ready for a 15-game winner as Cy Young.

    NL Cy Young: 1. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals. 2. Dontrelle Willis, Marlins. 3. Roger Clemens, Astros.

    I liked this choice a lot better on Sept. 8, when Carpenter's ERA was 2.21. Four straight rocky starts by Carpenter have given Willis a slight edge in wins (22-21) and ERA (2.59-2.83). I can't make much of a case against Willis; the stats are that close. I just think Carpenter's streak of 18 consecutive quality starts without a loss from June 3 to Sept. 8 makes him more worthy of the award. Clemens' paltry run support and mediocre September conspired against him.

    AL Rookie: 1. Huston Street, A's. 2. Jonny Gomes, Devil Rays. 3. Scott Kazmir, Devil Rays.

    I'm excluding three strong candidates — White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and Blue Jays left-hander Gustavo Chacin. Street's numbers, though, are nearly as good as Rivera's. Gomes leads all AL rookies with 21 homers, a .380 on-base percentage and .547 slugging percentage. Kazmir leads the league in strikeouts since the All-Star break, and his rate of 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings is among the all-time best by an AL. rookie.

    NL Rookie: 1. Ryan Howard, Phillies. 2. Jeff Francoeur, Braves. 3. Willy Taveras, Astros.

    Very tough call. Francoeur's .908 OPS is slightly higher than Howard's, and he has produced 13 assists in only 65 games in right field. Howard is far less of a factor at first base, but I'm going with him largely because he had a monster September while Francoeur tailed off. Taveras, the best full-season candidate, gets points for playing center field, but he has the fifth-lowest OPS among NL hitters who qualify for the batting title.

    AL Manager: 1. Ozzie Guillen, White Sox. 2. Eric Wedge, Indians. 3. Ken Macha, A's.

    I've got to give it to Guillen; his volatility will get him fired before he gets another chance! Seriously, Guillen deserves the honor because he not only managed the White Sox to the best record in the AL, but he also contributed to the vision that transformed them from an all-or-nothing offensive team into a pitching-and-defense dynamo. Wedge and Macha did terrific jobs with young clubs, but they didn't shape their teams the way Guillen did.

    NL Manager: 1. Bobby Cox, Braves. 2. Phil Garner, Astros. 3. Tony La Russa, Cardinals.

    Garner rallied his team from 15 games under .500 to a likely postseason berth, but Cox is the master. Easiest choice of them all.

    Ken Rosenthal is the new senior baseball writer for
    June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.