This is just a short conversation starter about the awards that have been announced so far.
Cliff Lee was kind of a no-brainer for AL Cy Young, but it's worth noting that his Indians were out of the race by the All-Star Break so Lee won the award pitching most of the season for a team that spent the Summer climbing back from nowhere to respectability.
Meanwhile, the NL award went (deservingly, in my opinion) to Tim Lincecum. This was significant because not only were the Giants a losing team but Lincecum fell four wins shy of Brandon Webb's total of 22. So a pitcher who came up two short of 20 wins beat out a pitcher who exceeded 20 wins by a couple. Score one for the voters, who actually looked beyond wins and losses in evaluating the Cy Young Award.
Today Albert Pujols was named NL MVP for the third-place Cardinals, beating out the league's HR and RBI leader, Ryan Howard, who played for the first place (and eventual World Champion) Phillies. The AL MVP will likely go to a playoff participant - perhaps Dustin Pedroia of the Wild Card Red Sox, perhaps Carlos Peña of the AL champion Rays - but it's possible Josh Hamilton will get some serious consideration, which could keep the trend going.
So far it really looks like the awards have emphasized individual credentials and not team performance or superficial statistics. Except for the Gold Glove - that one still needs a whole lotta work.
(UPDATE BY BASEBALLGIRL - 6:44PM)
I was going to post this in the morning, but thought I might as well chime in on this thread, since everyone is talking about it; I have some thoughts on the Award Show too.
Lest we at AN be charged with not caring about the latest baseball news, I thought I'd do a quick run-down on the MLB awards this year. I understand that it is barely relevent to the A's this year, but I'm sure an A's player had a vote somewhere, right?
Dustin Pedroia - In what turned out to be a runaway victory, Pedroia was named the 2008 AL MVP in a neat follow-up to his 2007 AL Rookie of the Year award. Only Cal Ripken Jr. and Ryan Howard can boast that feat, and Pedroia's field position is also rare; the last second baseman to win the AL MVP was in 1959. Pedroia hit .326 with 17 homeruns and 20 stolen bases this year, and added a Gold Glove. (I refuse to call it "gritty Gold Glove defense"; tm MLB.com.) Pedroia received 16 first place votes, 6 second place votes, and 4 third place votes. Justin Morneau took second place with 7 first place votes, 7 second place votes, and 6 third, and Kevin Youkilis (Pedroia's teammate) secured third, with 2 first place votes, 4 second, and 4 third. Mauer, Quentin, K-rod, Hamilton, A-rod, Pena, and Sizemore rounded out the top ten.
Albert Pujols - It's no surprise that Pujols found himself winning the NL MVP award for the second time in his career; he has finished in the top 10 in votes every season he's played. Pujols somewhat quietly put together an amazing season in 2008; hitting .357 with a .462 OBP, a 1.115 OPS, with 37 homeruns. His walk to strikeout ratio was 104/54, and he drove in 116 runs at the plate. Pujols garnered 18 first place votes, 10 second, and 2 third; he beat out Ryan Howard for the award. Howard finished with 12 first place votes, 8 second, and 6 third. Lidge (who finished 7th in voting) took two first place votes. Rounding out the top ten; Pujols, Howard, Braun, Ramirez, Berkman, Sabathia, Wright, Lidge, Delgado, and Aramis Ramirez.
AL Cy Young
Cliff Lee - Leading the AL in wins (and no one despises this stat more than baseballgirl) with 22, and ERA with 2.54, Lee put together an amazing season, and easily took the award, with 24 first place votes. Roy Halladay was his closest competition and only earned 4 first place votes. K-rod, Matsuzaka, and Rivera round out the top five.
NL Cy Young
Tim Lincecum - In what give me hope for those with baseball award voting power, Lincecum ran away with this award, despite not reaching the "magic" number of 20 wins, even though his main competitor did, in fact, have more than 20 wins, and four more than Lincecum himself. Lincecum struck out an amazing 265 batters over his dream season, and turned in stellar game after stellar game. Lincecum, with his 23 first place votes, beat out Brandon Webb, Johan Santana, Brad Lidge, and CC Sabathia; putting him in truly elite company; the best of the best in the NL this year.
AL Rookie of the Year
Evan Longoria - It wasn't even close, as Longoria won all 28 first place votes on his way to the first ROY in Tampa Bay history; a much deserved honor for one of the players responsible for the Rays' first World Series appearance. Despite missing thirty games with a wrist injury, Longoria still played enough great baseball to run away with the award, hitting .272 with 27 homeruns and 85 RBIs to beat out Alexei Ramirez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Aviles, and Armando Galarraga. If you are looking for A's coverage in this award wrap-up, here it is: Joey Devine received 1 second place vote, and our Brad Ziegler received 1third place vote. Congrats to both of them on their great seasons; bright spots in a 2008 sea of darkness.
NL Rookie of the Year
Geovany Soto - Another runaway award here; as Soto received 31 of 32 first place votes, leaving just one for second place Joey Votto. Soto hit .285 with 23 HR's and 86 RBI's in 2008 and is the first catcher since Mike Piazza to win the award. Jair Jurrjens, Jay Bruce, and Kosuke Fukudome rounded out the top five. (Edinson Volquez received 3 second place votes, but was ineligible as a rookie.)
AL Manager of the Year
Joe Maddon (Tampa Bay Rays) - I don't think there was another choice for this award. Taking a losing team in the same division as the Red Sox and Yankees, with the second-lowest payroll in the Major Leagues, to the post-season should be enough for Maddon to have guarenteed himself the award. Maddon simply needed one vote to be baseball's first unanimous Manager of the Year, but the elusive vote went to Ron Gardenhire instead. Mike Scioscia (pause for hairball cough) took third.
NL Manager of the Year
Lou Piniella (Chicago Cubs) - Sweet Lou Piniella took the Cubs to the post-season this year, and proved himself a good citizen of Chicago with the proceeds of this award. Per his contract, $100,000 will be donated to McCormick Foundation's Cubs Care because of his win. This is Piniella's third Manager of the Year award; he joins La Russa, Cox, Baker, and Leyland as the only managers to ever win three or more. Piniella beat out Charlie Manuel, Fredi Gonzalez, Joe Torre, and Tony La Russa.
Gold Gloves (AL)
C - Joe Mauer
1B - Carlos Pena
2B - Dustin Pedroia
3B - Adrian Beltre
SS - Michael Young
OF - Torri Hunter, Grady Sizemore, Ichiro Suzuki
P - Mike Mussina
Gold Gloves (NL)
C - Yadier Molina
1B - Adrian Gonzalez
2B - Brandon Phillips
3B - David Wright
SS - Jimmy Rollins
OF - Nate McLouth, Carlos Beltran, Shane Victorino
P - Greg Maddux
There we have it. Did they get it right? Who was omitted? What would you chage? Discuss.