MVP - Vlad. The only reason Anaheim is in the playoffs. His bat and his arm have lead the Angels the whole way. He put up MVP numbers in Montreal, only no one knew about it. I think he was out to show everyone what he could do with any kind of support, and he did. Tired of years mired in mediocrity or worse, he stepped it up another notch I didn't think he had and carried the injured Angels to the post-season.
Cy Young - Johan Santana. Please, like I'd pick someone else.
Rookie of the Year - Bobby Crosby. I'm not really a fan of Billy Beane or the A's organization, but Bobby Crosby has been really good this year. He came in replacing the wildly popular Miguel Tejada. He started since Opening Day. He really preformed under the pressure Oakland put on him. He even hit a 9th inning game winner in the closing days of the season to keep the playoff hopes alive, but they ultimately didn't make it (See Vlad).
Manager of the Year - Ron Gardenhire. Gardenhire doesn't get enough credit for the success of the Twins. It might have been a coincidence that they made the playoffs in his first year at the helm, that it was Tom Kelly's team. But for three straight years? Gardy is doing something right. And he does it without $150 Million in superstars. For three years, the Twins have had the lowest or 2nd lowest payroll in the playoffs. That speaks to Gardy's ability to get the most of his players.
MVP - Adrian Beltre. Shut up about Barry already. The worst stat used about Barry is the fact the Giants scored more runs than the Cardinals. This means the rest of the line up was driving Barry in, Barry wasn't doing jack. Beltre carried his team through a total restructuring at the trade deadline and the occasional distraction provided by Milton Bradley. His offensive production and defensive skills were the main reason LA is in the playoffs.
Cy Young - Jason Schmidt. Jason threw two 1-hitters. He didn't get much press because one was on the night Randy Johnson threw a perfect game. He threw the other one they day Ken Griffey hit his 500th home run. Talk about bad timing. His little late season skid shouldn't discredit his credentials.
Rookie of the Year - Khalil Green. Jason Bay has become the anti-Khalil bandwagon bandwagon. I credit Khalil with the baseball revitalization in San Diego. The new ballpark helped, but a kid with that kind of charm is better. His solid defense and humble attitude keep him off the front pages where editors like big sluggers who are hitting the ball 400 feet. He's better than we all think. We haven't really seen anything yet.
Manager of the Year - Jim Tracy. Much for the reason Beltre is MVP. He piloted the good ship Dodger through Hurricane Milton. He had a good system down until GM DePodesta screwed with it, at which time he just refound the good combinations. Such a shake-up trade would be hard for anyone to work through.
Monday, October 04, 2004