2011 MLB Season Conclusion Awards Picks
What determines a MVP differs to pretty much everybody, I prefer to go with the best player period and if you took him off his respective team the team would be nowhere. My second choice would be Ryan Braun, who has had a tremendous year leading the Brew Crew to their best year in 30 years and if he won I would have no qualms. But why did I pick Kemp? Well Kemp has better numbers (not in average but he is a legitimate Triple Crown contender), his team would be in utter disarray without him with the ownership fiasco, he has no protection in the lineup (Andre Ethier's power outage hurt), plays a more demanding position than Braun and plays it better plus he is a strong threat on the basepaths.
Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Can you imagine a team that barely was above .500 that has both the MVP and the Cy Young? That's what a predicting for 2011. Roy Halladay has had another tremendous year that has become the norm in his tremendous career. But Kershaw is going to win the pitching Triple Crown (wins, ERA, strikeouts) and all eleven prior pitching Triple Crown winners have won the Cy Young. Plus let's also factor in that Kershaw has a worse offense supporting him than Halladay does.
Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel, RP, Atlanta Braves
I know the Braves have been mired in an utter collapse of historic proportions in the NL Wild Card race and Kimbrel has not been any help with a pair of blown saves this month. But one cannot deny how dominant Kimbrel has been all year as the stopper in Atlanta, developing into one of the elite closers in baseball in just his first year. That's impressive regardless.
Manager of the Year: Kirk Gibson, Arizona Diamondbacks
I'm still scratching my head on how Gibson, after an unimpressive close to 2010, not only reached the playoffs with a club that many, myself included, considered to be a doormat in the West, but he outlasted the defending world champion San Francisco Giants to do it. Nobody is expecting anything out of them once the playoffs begins but his season has been incredible in the desert.
I know I was in the Jose Bautista boat just a month ago but Verlander's season has just been too good for the voters to ignore, even with the crowded field. I mean 24 wins? While leading the Tigers, who have surged over the summer to run away with the Central, not to mention winning the pitching triple crown? Where would Detroit be without him?
Cy Young Award: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
I really wanted to give my hypothetical award to Ivan Nova, I really did. And he makes a heck of a deserving candidate. But with the exception of wins, Hellickson's numbers are all better than Nova's (talking about ERA, WHIP, K/P, K/BB) and you do have to factor in the fact that Nova got the most run support of any pitcher in baseball while Hellickson's offense hasn't been very good all year.
Manager of the Year: Joe Girardi, New York Yankees
Call me a homer all you want and Joe Maddon makes a great case down in Tampa. But Girardi has put together a team with the second best record in Major League Baseball with only one consistent starter all year long and that's CC Sabathia while the others have had their ups and downs. It's never easy to win in a pressure cooker environment like New York but he has done a tremendous job this year in the Bronx.
Team logos courtesy Chris Creamer's SportsLogos.net