The MLB awards are already on their way out and the action is shifting towards the bigger and more prestigious awards for the year. With the Rookie of the Year award, the Most Valuable Player and the Manager of the Year up for grabs, there are a handful of names being thrown into the air for the 2009 season. The Cy Young award, given to the best pitcher in the league, is also up for grabs and some big names have lined up this year as always.
Cy Young Award
Starting with the pitching title, the American League will be looking at Zack Greinke who, pretty much, has hit the heights in his career so far. However, he is hardly the favourite in this 4-horse race as C.C. Sabathia, from the New York Yankees; Justin Verlander, from the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez>, all have put in a sensational year to make themselves top runners in this close battle.
The National League is not far behind with the dynamic duo of the Arizona Cardinals, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, coming good to take the team to the NL Central title. The New York Giants have, again, thrown in Tim Lincecum after an almost exact season to the 2008 Cy Young award winning campaign, except for an even lower ERA. The Atlanta Braves will also be hoping that Javier Vasquez’s fantastic run this year will get him more than just pats on the back.
Rookie of the Year
It all looks good for Elvis Andrus as the Texas Rangers shortstop actually pulled out all stops to push Michael Young to Third Base. The American League, however, has many suitors including an incredible Rick Porcello, of the Detroit Tigers, who helped his team to the playoffs picking up 14 wins as a strong starter. The Oakland Athletics have two in the running with Brett Anderson and Andrew Bailer proving their worth on the mound while Jeff Niemann was equally popular for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays>.
However, everything seems to point at the wonderful all-round performance thrown up by Gordon Beckham of the Chicago White Sox, who seems to be one of the frontrunners, albeit by a small margin.
For the National League, Chris Coghlan seems to be the best bet with an astounding hitting display for the entire season. Tommy Hanson, of the Atlanta Braves, though, might have something to say about that and the much-awaited rookie’s first season at the MLB has been almost everything he had promised as a pitcher. J.A. Happ, of the Philadelphia Phillies is also in the running while Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen will also be putting up a strong case in this year’s award ceremony.
Manager of the Year
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will be leading the way for the American League with Mike Scioscia who is looking good after leading his team to a fifth American League West Division title in 6 years, that too without Vladimir Guerrero for most of the season. While Don Wakamatsu was credited for bringing the Seattle Mariners’ season under control, Ron Washington almost led the Texas Rangers to an unlikely result. However, Joe Girardi’s 103 wins, along with the 2009 American League Championship Series title as well as their 27th World Series title, with the New York Yankees> put him in an extremely strong position for the 2009 Award.
For the National League, World Series runners’ up, Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel will be rated quite highly as will some regulars such as Tony La Russa of the Arizona Cardinals and Joe Torre of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jim Tracy has taken the Colorado Rockies to great heights in his first season with the team while another newcomer, Fredi Gonzalez, of the Florida Marlins, will be taking the credit for his team’s performance again.
Most Valuable Player
The American League seems to have the most-likely-to-win candidate in the New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter. A wonderful year capped off by another ring means that Jeter is definitely one of the frontrunners, possibly by a long way even. However, the Minnesota Twins’ Joe Mauer cannot be completely ruled out while Mark Teixeira, of the Yankees; Miguel Cabrera, of the Detroit Tigers; and Kendry Morales, of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim>, will also be looking for a piece of the pie.
In the National League, the contest seems to be all but over as Albert Pujols seems to be the first man, after Barry Bonds’ 2002 season, to become a unanimous pick for the 2009 MVP title. His 47 home runs was leading the league while his RBIs were third overall. Pujols led the league in on-base and slugging, putting him ahead of Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers and Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies.