ESPN is currently "debating the awards." They touch on the MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards for both leagues. The two main candidates (by their "judgment") in addition to a third party or fringe candidate are listed along with an argument for why they should win the award. We'll take a look at each of the races they describe, but we'll ignore their arguments because (why does this need explaining? Hell, it doesn't.)...
I don't care about the order we do this in, so we'll follow ESPN's lead in that department. They began with AL MVP and so shall we.
This race is actually mildly interesting. All three players are on teams that maintain a shot at making the playoffs. Also, all three players are deserving of consideration. That sounds like a given, but it certainly isn't if you think ESPN represents any possible voters. The part I am bothered by is that although Alex Rodriguez definitely has done the most (he leads in NRAA/GP), Hafner despite trailing Ortiz in the counting stat damn near blows him away in the rate stats. It's a shame Hafner missed time this season or there might actually be a "race" to watch for.
The NL MVP:
Derrek Lee is the fringe candidate for the NL MVP. Andruw Jones is the leading candidate for the NL MVP. Take a look at the table again and try to let that sink in. Did I miss a meeting? Derrek Lee has been the most productive player in the Majors this year. That's not arguable. It's not "if you look at it a certain way." It's painfully obvious. Andruw Jones is not. He's closer to tenth in the NL than first. If he wins the award (that's not too much of an if...), it'll be a travesty (as much as MVP awards allow for that sort of thing anyway).
We now turn to the AL Cy Young Award:
Batting stats have been excluded because this is an award for pitching. Fielding stats were included because fielding and pitching are rather linked. I'm still not 100% sure it should be included, but it neither makes much of a difference nor really seems to cross any line. I'm not terribly sure why Bartolo Colon is in this debate (I know, I know... the "Win.") as he doesn't belong. Mariano Rivera is a fairly clear winner if your focus is purely on the counting stats. Johan Santana, though, has much better per game numbers and it's hard to fault a starter for only starting 32 games. Santana is clearly the best starter, but it's difficult to say who the best pitcher is. As long as Colon doesn't win the award, it'll be hard to argue with the decision.
Moving on the NL Cy Young Award:
Carpenter rather obviously doesn't belong in the discussion. It's quite the toss-up between Willis and Clemens. Willis edges Clemens in the counting stats having pitched two more games than the Rocket, but Roger 's rate stats are superior. Much like in the AL, as long as the leader in this race doesn't win, it'll be hard to disagree with.
Update [2005-9-30 13:18:26 by Marc Normandin]: NRAA does say he is out of it, but VORP (68.7 for Carp; 67.0 for Willis) still gives Carpenter the advantage. His peripherals are also superior in some instances:
It seems that PRAA has foiled this due to Willis' CG's and decisions. Interesting though. [END UPDATE]
We're nearing the end with the AL Rookie of the Year:
Thankfully, the lowly Iguchi only referred to as a third party candidate. Did we really need a third possibility if Iguchi is it? This one definitely goes to the closer, Street, but Gomes made it a race and that's pretty impressive given his partial season. ESPN made an argument in favor of Iguchi to win this award. That's really something...
Finally, the NL Rookie of the Year Award:
Apparently, there's quite a bit of debate with regard to the NL ROY. I'm not seeing it. In 17 fewer games, Francoeur has out produced Ryan Howard by nearly four runs above average and in 80 fewer games out produced Taveras by nearly 13 runs above average. Atlanta's Jeff Francoeur leads in the rate and counting stats despite playing in fewer games. What am I missing? I'm curious to find out. Somehow, ESPN was able to provide an argument in favor of the other two. Perhaps I really did miss a meeting...