2011 Major League Baseball Award Winners (Predictions – American League)


2011 Major League Baseball Award Winners (Predictions – American League)

M.D. Wright

8.25.2011

 

It’s about that time! It’s the most… wonderful… TIME OF THE YEAR — the confluence of the beginning of the National Football League season, College Football’s season, National Basketball Association teams heading to camp, along with National Hockey League teams as well.

 

But for now, the key focus is on Major League Baseball’s home stretch. When we enter September, we see call-ups from the minor leagues, expanded rosters and pitching staffs, and…

 

TIME TO TALK ABOUT POTENTIAL AWARD WINNERS.

 

With that, let the serious speculation begin.

 

* – All listed stats are current as of press time: 10:30 PM EDT, August 25, 2011.

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Cy Young

JUSTIN VERLANDER, Detroit Tigers.

It’s his, in a landslide. After Los Angeles Angels’ ace Jered Weaver had a mental breakdown and began screaming at and beaning hitters vs. Detroit a few weeks ago, along with his subsequent suspension and getting shelled by the Blue Jays immediately following his one missed start (where he intentionally appealed in order to duck the Yankees) following almost certainly handed it to Verlander — who had a sterling August.

 

Most Valuable Player

CURTIS GRANDERSON, New York Yankees.

You’ll hear all kinds of sabermetric statistics and that’s fine, but the MVP is a strictly visual award at the end of the day (Boston, New York and Philadelphia bias aside — which never happens, BTW). Granderson has literally carried a team that has spent half of the season in first place, leading the entire Major Leagues in Runs Scored, Runs Batted In, amongst the league leaders in stolen bases, leading the AL in triples, 2nd in the Majors in Slugging Percentage and a host of amazing plays in Center Field. This cannot be quantified solely in statistics. The guy is a winner and a class act.

 

Rookie of the Year

THIS IS A TOUGH CALL.

I’m going to go with a split here, because there are two deserving candidates. I may revisit this at the end of the regular season.

 

MARK TRUMBO, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

IVAN NOVA, New York Yankees.

To be fair, Nova pitched quite a bit down the stretch in 2010, so by virtue of that fact, while technically a rookie according to the MLB rules, Trumbo has had a killer season. The edge goes to Trumbo.

 

FOR NOW.

 Nova does lead all rookie pitchers in wins (regardless of run support, his moxie is that of a veteran) and has had a two-month stretch where he didn’t lose a game. 

 

Manager of the Year

ANOTHER TOUGH ONE, I’LL EXPLAIN WHY.

MANNY ACTA, Cleveland Indians.

 

A Yankee manager cannot win the award unless the team wins more than 110 games in the regular season. Boston is virtually the same. Texas’ Ron Washington hasn’t really improved upon last year’s team, and LAA’s Mike Scioscia has had an average season by his own 12-year standards. Jim Leyland in Detroit has had his Tigers in first place most of the year, but no one expected anything from the Indians in 2011. Although they are currently falling behind in the standings rapidly, the Indians overachieved probably more than any other team in the American League not named the Royals.

 

Therefore…

 

Hank Aaron Award

JOSE BAUTISTA, Toronto Blue Jays.

Unreal numbers (OPS well over 1.100) and on pace to virtually match his HR/RBI stats from 2010, when he also won the award.

 

Relief Man Award

DAVID ROBERTSON, New York Yankees.

Robertson leads the league in holds, has an otherworldly K/9 IP ratio and has more K’s than a few starting pitchers do in 1/4 of the innings pitched. Landslide best non-closer in baseball.

 

Gold Glove Recipients

First Base

MARK TEIXEIRA, New York Yankees.

Tex picks it unlike anyone in baseball. Only Adrian Gonzalez is close.

 

Second Base

ROBINSON CANO, New York Yankees.

Cano makes the game look so easy that it appears that he is nonchalanting every play in the field. He’s a slick fielder and has a 3B/RF arm. He turns the double play swifter than anyone has this side of Bill Maseroski.

 

That’s 50 years, folks.

 

Shortstop

JHONNY PERALTA, Detroit Tigers.

Peralta is hitting very well on top of his slick fielding, which is atop the AL (actually .001% behind JJ Hardy, while Peralta has many more chances and putouts).

 

Third Base

JACK HANNAHAN, Cleveland Indians.

Although Kevin Youkilis of Boston may sneak up in the end, Hannahan has been surer at the corner.

 

Left Field

ALEX GORDON, Kansas City Royals.

Brett Gardner saves more runs than anyone, but Gordon has three times the outfield assists that Gardner has — and Gardner is the only threat to Gordon at this point. 

 

Center Field

JACOBY ELLSBURY, Boston Red Sox.

Curtis Granderson and Austin Jackson make more highlight reel plays and are better overall CFs, but Ellsbury has committed NONE errors in 2011 in 1,000 innings and over 300 total chances. That’s unreal for a CF.

 

Right Field

NICK SWISHER, New York Yankees.

People overlook Swisher’s defense because of his gregarious nature and his bat (whether he’s up or down at the plate). But he plays a flawless right field and is almost never out of position. He’s also not committed any errors — that’s misplaying a ball off a wall, losing it in the lights or airmailing a throw.

 

Pitcher

DAN HAREN, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Haren doesn’t commit errors and while pitchers typically aren’t going to get charged with any, he’s been among the league leaders in chances, which obviously plays a role.

 

Catcher

ALEX AVILA, Detroit Tigers.

Avila, in his 2nd year, is having a fantastic season at the plate. However, he shines behind the plate as well. Only four errors and leads the league in total chances and putouts — justifying his All-Star selection in 2011.

 

Silver Slugger Award

First Base

MIGUEL CABRERA, Detroit Tigers.

His to lose every year for the rest of his career in the AL.

 

Second Base

ROBINSON CANO, New York Yankees.

SAME.

 

Shortstop

JHONNY PERALTA, Detroit Tigers.

Although Derek Jeter’s record-breaking year in 2011 and his second half surge will make this close, despite Peralta’s power numbers being much better.

 

Third Base

EVAN LONGORIA, Tampa Bay Rays.

Longoria has had an explosive second half and he doesn’t strike out in otherworldly fashion, like Mark Reynolds, who does have a few more home runs.

 

Left Field

JOSH WILLINGHAM, Oakland Athletics.

With pressure from Alex Gordon and Josh Hamilton, Willingham has more power in a lineup that features no protection for him in the batting order. However, Gordon may indeed win it.

 

Center Field

CURTIS GRANDERSON, New York Yankees.

Granderson’s numbers not only overshadow every CF in the AL by a mile, he’s among the league leaders overall, including the entire MLB.

 

Right Field

JOSE BAUTISTA, Toronto Blue Jays.

Not even close.

 

Designated Hitter

DAVID ORTIZ, Boston Red Sox.

Same.

 

THOUGHTS? NATIONAL LEAGUE COMING SHORTLY.

 

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