My final ballots for major awards
Pujols, Mauer and Greinke were shoo-ins for their respective awards
Rookies Porcello and Happ had superb years while pitching in pennant races
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Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer and Zack Greinke should be shoo-ins for the NL MVP, AL MVP and AL Cy Young awards, respectively. Chris Carpenter gets the call here in a tight race for NL Cy Young, as he led that league in both winning percentage and ERA. Adam Wainwright and Tim Lincecum aren't terrible choices, either, but the goals, after all, are to win the greatest percentage of games and allow the fewest runs. That's Carpenter.
Miguel Cabrera is omitted from my AL MVP ballot entirely because it's obvious he didn't care enough to give full effort. There is no excuse for a 6 a.m. bender when the pennant's on the line, never mind all the other shenanigans that went along with it.
Milwaukee's Prince Fielder had a terrific statistical season (.299, 46 homers and 141 RBIs) and will likely make a vast majority of NL MVP ballots, but the "most valuable'' part of the equation is weighed heavily here, as I don't believe players on also-ran teams should win the award.
For Rookie of the Year honors, Rick Porcello and J.A. Happ had superb years while pitching under the duress of a pennant race. The two ROY races seem to be wide open, but those two had the greatest impact. Happ tied Felix Hernandez for the lowest road ERA in baseball at 1.99 and managed a stellar 2.93 ERA overall pitching half his games in the bandbox Citizens Bank Ballpark.
Below are all my ballots -- a couple that count and others that don't (I voted in two categories this year). I've also included my picks for the top managers and executives, plus picks for the worst in all the categories except for the rookie category, where leniency is shown to newcomers. And remember, the postseason doesn't count.
1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals: Near-Triple Crown winner had it locked up by June.
2. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: Spectacular talent could have won Comeback Player. Playoff failures don't count.
3. Ryan Howard, Phillies: May actually be underrated.
4. Andre Ethier, Dodgers: Six walk-off hits led league.
5. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins: Big-time talent earned wrath of teammate Dan Uggla for not playing through pain.
6. Matt Kemp, Dodgers: Starting to become the superstar that folks predicted he'd be.
7. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals: Nearly untouchable when healthy.
8. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals: League's leading winner starting to get appreciation he deserves.
9. Chase Utley, Phillies: Perfect 23 for 23 in steals to go with everything else. Teammate Jayson Werth also a consideration.
10. Matt Holliday, Cardinals: As soon as he got to St. Louis, the Cards took off.
NL LVP (Least Valuable Player)
1. Joe Mauer, Twins: Led league in slugging percentage, on-base percentage and batting average as catcher. Runaway winner with Twins a playoff team.
2. Mark Teixeira, Yankees: Monster first year in New York, leading the league in home runs (tied with Carlos Pena) and RBIs while manning first base like a Gold Glover.
3. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox: Feisty, versatile player personifies team.
4. Kendry Morales, Angels: Blunted disappointment of losing Teixeira.
5. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: Yanks came together when he joined them after hip surgery.
6. Derek Jeter, Yankees: Improved in every way at 35. Just remarkable.
7. Bobby Abreu, Angels: Mike Scioscia called him their MVP. (Though if Torii Hunter played a full year, Scioscia noted it might have been him.)
8. Victor Martinez, Red Sox: Versatile hitter was Boston's best player down the stretch. Jason Bay also worthy.
9. CC Sabathia, Yankees: Bascally untouchable in second half for baseball's best team.
10. Justin Verlander, Tigers: He's in here for teammate Miguel Cabrera, who would have been third if not for his costly weekend bender, which showed he didn't care.
AL LVP (Least Valuable Player)
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