We had some very interesting awards races this year, including the closest MVP vote in memory. The recap:
AL MVP: Carlos Escuela breaks through to win with a .280/48/142 campaign. I voted for him, although I have to add that I think he benefited greatly from the lack of monster seasons from anyone else in the AL (especially perennial MVP contenders Morales and Brantley of D.C.). I thought Pascual Pena of Columbus had a better overall offensive season, but I don't vote for DH's unless their numbers are vastly superior to everyone else's.
NL MVP: This was a doozy, with the Privateers' CF Sid Selby winning with a mere 9 votes (Necromancers' Roenicke got 8 and Selby's teammate Scheffer polled 7, with Oakland's Feliz and Helena's Cooke with 4 apiece). Selby shows up on the ballot every year, probably because he's a pretty solid CF who steals bases and puts up decent hitting stats. His career year at the plate - .333/24/84, with a career-best 45 steals and league-leading 51 doubles - put him over the top. Roenicke had a strong case (.400 OBP with 52 homers and 126 RBI) - you have to think New York's failure to make the playoffs (they weren't really expected to...they had a nice improvement to 82 wins) cost him a vote or 2. Scheffer enjoyed the move to New Orleans' Zephyr Field with his best power season (51/150), but I get the sense voters viewed that RBI total as result of Selby being in scoring position so often. Cooke's and Feliz's seasons were only slighty less impressive versions of Roenicke's and Selby's. I voted for Selby.
AL Cy Young: Qualitatives vs. wins, and 3 Katanna SP's on the ballot. Qualitatives win this year - Lorenzo Rodriguez (16-6, 2.63 ERA) beats out 4 SP's with higher ERA's and win totals. I voted for Rodriguez.
NL Cy Young: Let's put Rex Gragg's season in perspective: if he had gotten 10 more IP's, he would've set new single-season records for ERA and slugging % allowed (the fact that the same could be said for several of Johnny Collier's sub-162 IP seasons does not lessen the accomplishment). Do Rueben James (222 IP) and Jorge DeJesus (225 IP) have valid arguments? You bet, but voters seemed to be in a "quality over quantity" mood this year. I voted for Gragg.
AL ROY: The versatile Bonk Liniak wins in what was a definite down year for AL rookies. Liniak is Exhibit # 479 as to the worthlessness of the contact rating.
NL ROY: The NL definitely cornered the rookie performances this season. and Gragg'sRoenicke's seasons were dominant; had Parra, Mitchell or Delgado been in the AL they probably would have won. I voted for Roenicke, but can't deny that Gragg's season was worthy.