2011 Season Awards

Other Divisions:

Here’s my award balloting for the 2011 season.  There are some chalk picks, but hey, sometimes the chalk wins.  I went three and sometimes four deep to cover a decent swatch of candidates for each.  Limiting to just one is such a crapshoot so I decided to expand it a bit.  Let’s be honest, limiting it to just three or four guys with six months of play where so many different things can happen is also a crapshoot, but it feels less crapshooty when picking a few extras.

American League Awards

MVP:

1stAlex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees

2ndMiguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

3rd Nelson Cruz, OF, Texas Rangers

This isn’t borne out of A-Rod’s hot start.  In the bold predictions, I put him down for 52 home runs, but he doesn’t even need to reach that to take home the hardware here.  It could be the second time that a Detroit Tiger has an excellent season, but just loses out a great A-Rod year (Magglio in ’07).  If Cruz finally stays healthy, he’s an MVP waiting to happen.

CY YOUNG:

1stJon Lester, Boston Red Sox

2ndFelix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners

3rdDan Haren, Los Angeles Angels

I’ll join the rest of the *world* with Lester, but in fairness I did pick him back in mid-February in Starting Pitcher Guide.  I didn’t realize at the time that I was making such an obvious pick, but apparently I was.  But just because it’s a crowded bandwagon doesn’t mean I’m going to hop off.  Hernandez is still the best in the league, but I’m not sure he can win it again with low-to-mid teens wins and I’m not sure Seattle can give him more than that.  I have LA contending all year and it’s due in large part to the fact that they have two aces, one of which is Haren.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

1stLonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Cleveland Indians

2nd Zach Britton, SP, Baltimore Orioles

3rdMichael Pineda, SP, Seattle Mariners

4thJordan Walden, RP, Los Angeles Angels

If Jack Hannahan keeps hitting like a man possessed, I guess Chis won’t get his shot, but I’m quite confident that Hannahan will soon start hitting like Jack Hannahan.  I cheated a bit and picked four because I couldn’t leave one of Britton or Pineda off.  I think Britton is the more polished product right now, but he plays in a hitter’s park in one of the hardest divisions in all of baseball, but Pineda has an incredible park and defense supporting him and could have outstanding strikeout numbers, too.  So I went with both.  Walden could take the job from Fernando Rodney by May 1st and we’ve seen how the electorate reacts to rookie AL West closers.

National League Awards

MVP:

1stAlbert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals

2ndMatt Kemp, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

3rdJay Bruce, OF, Cincinnati Reds

Hey, he’s not the incumbent for once.  I know it’s boring to pick to Pujols, but he is the best player in baseball and if that team contends into the dog days, you’d better believe he will win it.  And I am trying to be right, too, so I can’t just pick outlandish guys for fun.  Kemp and Bruce are two of my improvement picks for ’11 and given their All-Star level now, a step up would make them MVP-caliber.

CY YOUNG:

1stCole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies

2ndClayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

3rdTommy Hanson, Atlanta Braves

Votes don’t seem to like repeat winners whether they deserve it not (which is absolutely ridiculous to me), but I’m preying on that stupidity with three newcomers to voting in lieu of really boring you with Pujols and Halladay picks.  I added a fourth to make sure Halladay gets his due, but I think voters will look for a reason not to give it to him and since I have Hamels exploding this year, a teammate outshining Halladay would be a story the voters would glom onto.  Kershaw can be a runaway winner if he matches his already displayed skill with more seven and eight inning outings.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

1stMike Minor, SP, Atlanta Braves

2ndBrandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants

3rdBrandon Beachy, SP, Atlanta Braves

4thAroldis Chapman, RP, Cincinnati Reds

With just 41 innings last year, I’m almost certain that Minor retains rookie eligibility this year.  I like him a lot this year even though he lost the 5th spot to Beachy initially.  It wasn’t through any lack of performance by him, they were both off the charts great in spring.  They will battle each other for the award all summer in Atlanta.  I’d have Belt as a candidate even if he didn’t make the roster out of spring, but the fact that he has only adds to his candidacy.  Chapman is a darkhorse who will rise up the list if, and only if, he takes the closer’s role in Cincy.  I can’t imagine a middle reliever winning the award with so many other viable candidates in more impactful roles.

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2 Comments to “2011 Season Awards”

  1. 16-team, mixed, H2H-points keeper league (10 hitters/7 pitchers (5SP/2RP) start; 24-man rosters)

    Trade Sean Rodriguez for Mike Minor?

    Either could be kept in 2012 for a 8th round pick. I’ve always been tempted by S-Rod’s upside, but I think only Minor has a chance to be worthy of keeping in the 8th round next year.

    What say you?

    Thanks.

    MJC

    • I like both, but I’d go with the hitter in a league that deep. Even in a 16-tm, there will be pitching that crops up while the hitting wire is probably going to be pretty dry for the bulk of the year.

      Edit to add: I think S-Rod may well achieve keeper status for an 8th rdr this year, too.

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