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9/27/2007 10:51:00 AM

AL West: End-of-Year Awards

By Gennaro Filice

The Angels reign over the AL West this season has been pretty remarkable. When September comes to a close, Los Angeles will have finished every month atop the division standings. With the regular season coming to a close this week, it's time to hand out AL West awards. Fittingly, the Halos dominate the hardware aspect of the AL West, as well.

AL West Most Valuable Player: Vladimir Guerrero, Angels. I quickly contemplated Ichiro Suzuki and his .350 batting average for this award, but truth be told, Vlad's far more valuable. In fact, it's hard to identify another player in baseball who means more to his team than The Impaler does to the Angels. As the sole big bopper in a small-ball lineup, Big Daddy Vladdy accumulates RBIs in bunches (123) and hits for average (.322). It's hard to imagine where this team would be without its free-swinging right fielder.

AL West Cy Young: John Lackey, Angels. The Angels nailed down the division title on Monday, appropriately with Lackey on the hill. While Kelvim Escobar has enjoyed a breakout season, Lackey has been the Angels' rock since Day 1. The Halos' ace boasts the second-highest ERA in the American League (3.11). J.J. Putz and Dan Haren both merited serious consideration, but Lackey's 18 wins and division title pushed him over the top.

AL West Rookie of the Year: Reggie Willits, Angels. With an extremely limited number of impact rookies in this division, Willits is a runaway winner here. Willits doesn't possess much power -- as evidenced by his zero homers -- but he hits for average (.296) and simply gets on base (.394 OBP). Willits' scrappy style -- he leads the majors with 4.43 pitches per plate appearance -- is a perfect fit for the Angels.

AL West Comeback Player of the Year: Jose Guillen, Mariners. Bill Bavasi took a big gamble in signing Guillen to a one-year, $5.5 million deal. Tommy John surgery effectively ended Guillen's 2006 campaign and left him questionable for spring training in '07. But the Mariners rolled the dice and hit pay dirt. Primarily hitting third and cleanup, Guillen currently has 97 RBIs and a chance to hit the triple digits for the first time since 2004. On top of this offensive upsurge, Guillen -- a notorious hothead -- quickly established himself as one of Seattle's biggest clubhouse leaders.

AL West Manger of the Year: Mike Scioscia, Angels. In his eighth season as the Halos' skipper, Scioscia has established himself as one of the game's master technicians. It's hard not to love his approach to the game, which produces an exciting, active style of play. Scioscia constantly puts his baserunners in motion, applying massive pressure to the defense. Scioscia's squad took sole possession of first place in late April and basically cruised through the next five months.

AL West All-Star Team
C: Kenji Johjima, Mariners
1B: Nick Swisher, A's
2B: Ian Kinsler, Rangers
3B: Chone Figgins, Angels
SS: Orlando Cabrera, Angels
OF: Vladimir Guerrero, Angels
OF: Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
OF: Jose Guillen, Mariners
SP: John Lackey, Angels
RP: J.J. Putz, Mariners

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posted by SI.com | View comments |  

Comments:

Posted: September 27, 2007 2:38 PM   by Anonymous
Guillen over Ibanez????
Posted: September 27, 2007 7:49 PM   by Anonymous
Michael Young: 3rd player SINCE 1940 to have 5 straight 200 hit seasons
Posted: September 28, 2007 11:05 AM   by Anonymous
Ichiro has nothing BUT 200 hit seasons...
Posted: September 28, 2007 5:45 PM   by Anonymous
Figgins over beltre?

Ichiro 7, 200 hit seasons in a row

Guillen way over ibanez
Posted: September 29, 2007 5:20 AM   by Anonymous
Cabrera over Betancourt?
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