Posted tagged ‘Justin Verlander’

The MVP Races

08/19/2011

First, please stop by Seattle Sports Central to check out my new post on the future of the Mariners.

Now, let’s turn to the MVP race, following the same format as the last time, by looking at the race today, the race at season’s end, and my picks.

AL MVP

Today:
1. Curtis Granderson
2. Jacoby Ellsbury
3. Jose Bautista

Season’s End:
1. Dustin Pedroia
2. Curtis Granderson
3. Justin Verlander

My Picks:
1. Jose Bautista
2. Justin Verlander
3. Dustin Pedroia

Thoughts: I think that Granderson’s Yankee success would put him ahead at the moment, giving they lead the AL East, and he is the team’s only candidate. I think the Sox will win the division by season’s end, so that will drop him to number two. Pedroia strikes me as the Sox best pick, and he has put a number of key late-game hits that are important in creating an award-winning narrative. I think Verlander will carry the Tigers to the playoffs, and I was very tempted to make him my overall pick. Unfortunately, Bautista is again being forgotten, and he is the best hitter in baseball this year.

NL MVP:

Today:
1. Justin Upton
2. Prince Fielder
3. Ryan Braun

Season’s End:
1. Justin Upton
2. Prince Fielder
3. Roy Halladay

My Picks:
1. Justin Upton
2. Ryan Braun
3. Matt Kemp

Thoughts: Justin Upton is having a great year on a surprising division leader. He cruises to the MVP if the Diamondbacks hold on, and giving the Giants’ bats, I think they will. Next come a pair of Brewers. Fielder has more home runs and RBI’s, and he could easily win the award. I think Braun is the better overall player. Kemp has had a fantastic year on an obscene team. I think he deserves an extra vote or two just for playing well on a team “owned” by Frank McCourt.

There are the MVP races. I am much more confident about the NL than the AL. The AL is especially fluid this year, and it could go a thousand different directions. Next up, a review of the book Strike Five.

The Awards Races, Part 1

08/11/2011

This years is shaping up for a number of excellent awards races. I don’t think that any are firmly decided, unlike the various pennant races. I’ll start by putting up a top 3 in each category as I think they would finish if the vote was held today, a guess as to season-ending votes, and then my personal preferences. We’ll start with the Cy Young races today.

AL Cy Young –

Today:
1. Jered Weaver
2. Justin Verlander
3. C.C. Sabathia

Season’s End:
1. Justin Verlander
2. C.C. Sabathia
3. Jered Weaver

My picks:
1. Justin Verlander
2. C.C. Sabathia
3. Jered Weaver

Thoughts: I think that Weaver’s sub-2.00 ERA would win him the Cy Young if the vote was held today. I also think it will tick up above 2.00, and his case is substantially weaker without it. I expect Verlander and Sabathia to hold up better, as I don’t think either is really pitching over his head. For Sabathia to pull it out, I think he needs to beat the Red Sox at least once. That has become a storyline, and it hurts him. My pick: No one has dominated in the way Verlander has.

NL Cy Young:

Today:
1. Roy Halladay
2. Cole Hamels
3. Craig Kimbrel

Season’s End:
1. Cole Hamels
2. Roy Halladay
3. Clayton Kershaw

My Picks:
1. Roy Halladay
2. Cliff Lee
3. Cole Hamels

Thoughts: At the moment, Halladay leads the league in wins and is second in ERA by .03. That should secure the award for him. I think Kimbrel, with his league-leading saves total as a rookie would do surprisingly well. If anyone passes him, his support collapses. I think that Hamels will sneak ahead by season’s end because of the general share-the-wealth principal. Halladay hasn’t been much better, and he won last year. For me, I love all of Lee’s shutouts, and he was pulled an inning short of sixth last night, but they still don’t quite match up to Halladay’s consistency overall. And, wow, the Phillies can pitch.

AL Cy Young Wrap-Up

09/25/2009

The Cy Young ballot is unusual among baseball awards.  You only get to vote for three players.  The MVP ballot and the Hall of Fame ballot both run 10 players deep, but for some reason the Cy Young is limited to three.  I think five pitchers have a legitimate shot to be part of that 3 on the AL side:  Zack Greinke, CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, and Mariano Rivera.  Scott Feldman had a chance, but his last start killed his ERA and allowed Hernandez to pass him for the league-lead in winning percentage and tie for second in the league in wins.  He should no longer get a vote.

Sabathia leads the league in wins, but I think he is the weakest candidate of the five.  That does not mean that he won’t win the award in November, but he should not.  Sabathia’s ERA is slightly lower than Verlander’s, who has the highest of the five candidates listed above, however he has done it with 70 less strikeouts for a notably superior team.  Verlander leads the league K/9 and is second in FIP, the stat introduced yesterday.  He is hurt by playing in front of a poor fielding team in Detroit.  Greinke leads the league in FIP, ERA, fewest hits, complete games, HR/9, etc. He is having the most dominant season in the majors. His only problem is a lack of wins. He has won 15 to Sabathia’s 18, and Verlander and Hernandez’s 17. That is what pitching for Kansas City will do to you.

That leaves Rivera. I have already argued that Rivera might win the Cy Young. It is difficult to predict when a reliever will pick up a Cy Young, but they do it with regularity. Rivera is the best closer in the American League this year. If relievers are added in, Rivera suddenly leads the league in ERA and pulls ahead of Greinke in K/9, BB/9, and K/BB. However, he has only pitched 62 innings, fewer than any reliever to have won a Cy Young. I don’t think he will or should win, but it would not be a travesty if he nudges past Greinke for the award.

My ballot:
1. Zack Greinke
2. Mariano Rivera
3. Justin Verlander