While we're waiting for the first playoff round to complete, thought I'd dive into the awards voting. Let's go AL first:
Frequently the MVP question becomes this: "Did the slugger (usually a 1B, DH, RF or LF) slug so much better than the 2B/3B/SS/CF (who also had a great offensive season, but usually a bit below the slugger) that it offsets the 2B/3B/SS/CF's defensive contribution?" If the only "defensive contributor" on that ballot had been perennial MVP candidate Victor Morales, that answer would be "yes". But due to the surprise emergence of Thomas Simpkins, the answer is a resounding "no".
Not only did Simpkins equal (and in most cases, surpass) the offensive contributions of Mesa, Brantley and Booker (2nd to Brantley in rc/27, tops in all Belle in HR's) he won the Gold Glove in CF to boot!
I can't remember a clearer choice for MVP - I'll be surprised if he doesn't approach 25 votes.
The AL Cy Young features 5 starters with fairly similar numbers. All between 17-20 wins... a little more range in the ERA comparisons. I'm one of those, though, that believes wins give almost no indication of who pitched the best, and that ERA's aren't a lot better (for example, a starter leaves in the 8th with 2 outs and the bases loaded, in a game his team is winning 10-0. Simmy brings in the mopup guy, who gives up a slam - 3 runs charged to the starter). Especially in close races like this one, I like to check qualitative stats that give a better idea of how a guy pitched, without the distortions of situations like the one described. HBD doesn't give us the pitching version of rc/27, so the best we can do is OPS against:
Martinez - .718; Torres - .650; Workman - .651; Valdes - .608; Wanatabe - .625
Looks to me like Valdes was the best pitcher in teh AL this season. Somehow I doubt he'll win, but he has my vote.
Rookie of the Year
If Simpkins is a shoe-in for MVP, he's a shoe-in-on-steroids for ROY (which might be the reason some owners DON'T vote for him for MVP, ironically). Simpkins' stunning season overshadowed 4 other nice rookie campaigns. 2 ROY candidates means things are looking up for Columbus.