I haven't posted for about a week now, but I should finish my votes for the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards for the first half of the MLB season. I already gave my opinions for the MVP race, so here's the rest... (statistics as of 7/3/07)
- Jake Peavy, SP, Padres -- 9 W, 119 Ks, 2.09 ERA. Peavy's been outstanding this year, and he was rewarded for his strong performance by starting the All-Star Game for the NL. He's showing no signs of slowing down, and he should continue to dominate during the second half.
- Brad Penny, SP, Dodgers -- 10 W, 77 Ks, 2.00 ERA. Penny remains the biggest competition for Peavy in the Cy Young race this year. He doesn't have nearly as many strikeouts as Peavy, but his ERA is slightly better. He's been just as effective if not slightly more so, and as long as Penny avoids injury, he should be right next to Peavy in the running for the Cy Young this year.
- Chris Young, SP, Padres -- 8 W, 99 Ks, 2.00 ERA. I fully believe that the Cy Young race will primarily only be a two-horse race between Peavy and Penny, but I figured throwing in Young's name makes sense for two reasons. First, he's really been coming on lately and has great numbers for the first half this year. And second, it was a great moment this year when he and Derrek Lee exchanged (missing) punches earlier this year. I'm glad to see he wasn't about to throw a girly punch like Armando Benitez did after he threw at Tino Martinez in 1998. Still, I doubt he'll win the award this year over Peavy or Penny. Anything's possible, though.
My early prediction: Peavy
- Dan Haren, SP, Athletics -- 9 W, 98 Ks, 2.20 ERA. Simply put, Haren has pitched out of his mind for the first half of the season. Until one sub par start against the Yankees about a week and a half ago, Haren's ERA was under 2 runs. He's one of the main reasons that the A's are still in the running to have a shot at the playoffs this year.
- C.C. Sabathia, SP, Indians -- 12 W, 116 Ks, 3.20 ERA. For some reason, even though Sabathia is one of the larger, if not the largest, pitcher in the majors, he usually seems to fly under the radar when solid starting pitchers are mentioned. He's tremendously effective, and he's racked up plenty of wins over the years. The Indians offense definitely helps when it comes to compiling plenty of wins, but Sabathia has pitched very well and remains the ace of a team that is very much in control of their hopeful playoff future (at least at the moment).
- Josh Beckett, SP, Red Sox -- 12 W, 83 Ks, 3.38 ERA. Beckett has finally pitched up to many Red Sox fans' hopes this year after the team gave up Hanley Ramirez for him a couple years back. As long as he stays healthy, he'll keep racking up wins and lead Boston to the AL East pennant.
- Johan Santana, SP, Twins -- 9 W, 120 Ks, 2.76 ERA. Santana may not have been the best pitcher in the AL the first half of this season, but no one should count him out of the Cy Young race -- ever. Santana has been one of the best second half pitchers throughout his career, and there is no reason to believe he wouldn't perform just as well again down the final stretch this year. He's arguably the best pitcher in the entire league, and Santana will be right there at the end of the season.
- J.J. Putz, RP, Mariners -- 23 Saves, 0.92 ERA, 0.59 WHIP. Normally I don't put a lot of stock in WHIP as an important statistic, but in this case, Putz has been absolutely phenomenal. He's nailed down the ninth inning for a surprising Mariners team this year, and he has yet to blow a save. Putz probably won't be in the running for the award, but he's been one of the best pitchers in the AL this year, hands down.
My early prediction: Haren vs Santana -- too close to call...
Rookie of the Year
This race primarily comes down to two players in the NL: Hunter Pence and Ryan Braun. Pence is an OF for the Astros, and Braun is the 3b for the Brewers. Either one of these two guys are going to win the award, and the second half will determine the winner. Right now, they're both neck and neck.
My early prediction: Braun
The AL R.O.Y race consists of many more names than the NL. The AL has Jeremy Guthrie, Delmon Young, Dustin Pedroia, Dice-K, Hideki Okajima, and Reggie Willits. The main race should be between Dice-K, Pedroia, and Guthrie, with Guthrie having the slight edge right now. But if Okajima continues to dominate out of his set-up man role, it's possible that he'll get a ton of consideration for this award.
My early prediction: I think Guthrie has the lead right now, but Dice-K will probably win.
If you disagree then that's OK. The second half of the season just started today. It's always hard to predict who will win any award in the MLB with so many strange voters and weird considerations going around. Some of the races this year should be fun to watch, along with the races for playoff spots in both the AL and NL.
A few quick points about the Orioles game today:
-- Guthrie pitched very poorly today, and there's no other way to put it. He had a bad game, and he didn't really have his best stuff at any point during the game.
-- Jay Gibbons is a horrible outfielder, and I'm getting tired of seeing him in the lineup. I don't know what happened, but he's turning into one of my least favorite players on the team. And I used to think he'd be a good player. He made one error in LF while charging a ball and having it roll under his glove, and he let a slicing pop-up drop in along the line that 80% of major league left fielders could have reached. He has very little range at all; I hope he didn't break a nail out there today.
-- In the bottom of the ninth, the Orioles were down 9-2. They didn't give up, and they scored five runs to make the score 9-7. After Aubrey Huff singled to right field with two outs, the White Sox brought in Bobby Jenks to close out the game. Pinch-hitting for Brandon Fahey, Jay Payton swung at a first pitch slider and grounded out weakly to the shortstop who flipped to second for the easy out. At first I admired Payton as a player because he plays hard and seems to give everything he's got. But he routinely swings at first pitches for no reason, and he doesn't the same talent as Vladimir Guerrero to just swing like that and not try to work the count. If he wants to keep grounding out to shortstop with the game on the line, I hope he finds his way to another team.
It seems that my first impressions on players for the Orioles are routinely wrong. I wonder why...