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Thursday, July 12, 2012

The American League MVP Award Race

This season there are many American League players who are having a great season.  All of these players in my top five were selected to the All-Star Game, and they have a good chance of receiving many MVP Award votes.  This race will come down to the last game of the season, and this is how I feel the race is shaping out through the first half of the season:

1st - Mike Trout - Los Angeles Angels:  Mike Trout has definitely been the first half MVP.  He is hitting .341 with 12 homeruns, 40 RBI's, and a .397 on-base percentage.  He ranks first in batting average and stolen bases (26), and he ranks in the top six in runs (57), slugging percentage (.562), and OPS (.959).  Mike Trout has been a huge difference in the Angels lineup.  Since being called up, the Angeles are 40-24, which is a huge improvement; because before he was called up they had a record of 8-14.  Mike Trout has really energized the Angels, and he can best be compared to Ichiro when he was a rookie with the Mariners in 2001.  He won the Rookie of the Year Award and MVP Award that season, and I expect Trout to do the same.  Right now there is no question he has been the MVP in the first half of the season, and it will be his award to lose.

2nd- Josh Hamilton - Texas Rangers:  Josh Hamilton is having another productive season.  He is an All-Star again this year, and he is having a MVP caliber season.  Hamilton is hitting .308 with 27 homeruns, 75 RBI's, and an on-base percentage of .380.  At the All-Star break he ranks first in homeruns, RBI's, slugging percentage (.635), and OPS (1.016).  Josh Hamilton got off to a very hot start this season, but in the last month he has cooled off a lot.  Even though he has been inconsistent throughout the first half of the season, he is still putting up MVP numbers.  If he wants to win the A.L. MVP Award, he has to be more consistent throughout the rest of the season.

3rd - Robinson Cano - New York Yankees:  Robinson Cano continues to show why he is one of the best players in the MLB today.  He is having another great season, and has been the best offensive player on the Yankees this season.  Cano is hitting .313 with 20 homeruns, 51 RBI's, and a .374 on-base percentage.  He is ranked in the top ten in the American League, in average, homeruns, runs (57), slugging percentage (.578), and OPS (.953).  Robinson Cano is a huge reason why the Yankees are having a good season this year.  He will continue to make a strong case to be the American League MVP Award winner if he and the Yankees continue to play well in the second half of the season. 

4th - Adam Jones - Baltimore Orioles:  Adam Jones is one of the only few reasons why the Orioles have been so good this season.  If it wasn't for Adam Jones, the Orioles would not have a record anywhere near to what they currently have through the first half of the season.  Adam Jones is having a breakout season, and he is hitting .289 with 20 homeruns, 44 RBI's, and an on-base percentage of .330.  He currently ranks in the top ten in homeruns and runs scored (54) in the American League.  His stats might not be as good as some of the other MVP Award candidates, but because of the way he has carried the Orioles this season, it will definitely put him in the MVP Award picture. 

5th - David Ortiz - Boston Red Sox:  David Ortiz has been the only player on the Boston Red Sox who has had a great first half.  At age 36, Ortiz is having another great offensive year.  Ortiz is hitting .312 with 22 homeruns, 57 RBI's, and a .406 on-base percentage.  He currently ranks in the top ten in batting average, homeruns and RBI's, and he ranks in the top five in runs (62), walks (51), slugging percentage (.607) and OPS (1.013).  The Red Sox have struggled in the first half of the season, but they managed to end it with a .500 record at 43-43.  If it wasn't for David Ortiz, who knows how bad the Red Sox would have been. 

Players who are still in the MVP Award Race: Jose Bautista, Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera, and Mark Trumbo.

The American League has many players who are deserving of winning the MVP Award.  I think there also will be some players who I didn't even list, that will make a strong case to be in the MVP Award conversation by the end of the season.  Mike Trout is leading the race so far to be named the best player in the American League, and it should be interesting to see if he can win the MVP Award as a rookie.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ray Allen is Taking His Talents to South Beach

The NBA's all-time leading three point shooter, Ray Allen, has agreed to sign with the Miami Heat, instead of the Boston Celtics.  This ends the era of the "Big Three" in Boston with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, where the three of them won a NBA Championship.  Ray Allen has decided to take less money to go to a team that is rivals with the Celtics, to have a better chance at winning a NBA Championship.  This was a great move by Ray Allen to go to the Heat because now they will be heavily favored to win the NBA Championship next year.  If Ray Allen would have gone back to the Celtics he would have had to watch Avery Bradley start in his spot, and he would have had to share minutes off the bench with Jason Terry.  It didn't seem like the Celtics even wanted him back since, they were willing to trade him last year at the deadline, and since they already agreed to a deal with Jason Terry.  The Heat wanted him and knew if they were lucky enough to get him that he would be a huge addition to their team.  Ray Allen made the best decision by signing with the Heat because he will now be on a team that gives him the best chances at winning another NBA Championship. 

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The National League MVP Award Race

The National League has multiple players who are in consideration for the MVP Award this season, that have been strong candidates in years past.  There is also some players you never thought would be in the MVP race.  The race should be interesting to see how it shapes up to be the rest of the season, but this is how I feel the race looks as of today:

1st - Joey Votto - Cincinnati Reds:  Joey Votto is having the best first half of any player in the National League, and he is in the conversation for the MVP Award again this year.  He is batting .345 with 14 homeruns, 47 RBI's, and an on-base percentage of .464.  Joey Votto ranks first in walks with 60, first in slugging percentage (.619), first in OPS (1.082), and fifth in batting average.  He has proved that he is one of the best first basemen in all of baseball, and that he is a legitimate MVP candidate.  As long as the Reds continue to stay in the playoff race and Joey Votto continues to be on fire, he will be leading the N.L. MVP race.

2nd - David Wright - New York Mets:  David Wright finally looks like he is back to being one of the best third basemen in the league after last season when he was injured and missed 60 games.  He and R.A. Dickey are the two reasons why the Mets are above .500 and competitive this season.  Through 80 games this season, Wright is batting .350 with 11 homeruns, 59 RBI's, and an on-base percentage of .439.  David Wright currently ranks fourth in batting average, third in RBI's, fifth in runs (55), fourth in walks (48), and fourth in OPS (1.014).  As long as the Mets remain in the playoff race, David Wright should remain above other players in the MVP race who are on team that are struggling this season.  If David Wright can remain healthy, he will be a serious MVP candidate. 

3rd - Ryan Braun - Milwaukee Brewers:  Ryan Braun could easily be ranked higher because he is on pace to have an even better season then he did last year, when he won the MVP Award.  If it wasn't for all of the offseason drama and being falsely accused for using a banned substance, he would be a top the MVP list.  Braun is batting .304, with 24 homeruns, 60 RBI's, and an on-base percentage of .386.  He is ranked first in homeruns, second in RBI's, ninth in runs (53), third in slugging percentage (.602), and sixth in OPS (.988).  Braun will continue to produce no matter how bad the Brewers are, but if he wants to repeat as N.L. MVP he has to hope that the voters don't vote based on everything that happened this past offseason.  The voters need to vote based on his stats and the facts because Braun has been a stong MVP candidate in the first half of the season.

4th - Andrew McCutchen - Pittsburgh Pirates:  Andrew McCutchen is having a breakout season.  He is a huge reason why the Pirates are in first place in the N.L. Central.  He is batting .360 with 16 homeruns, 56 RBI's, and an on-base percentage of .413.  He ranks in first in batting average, second in OPS (1.023), and he ranks in the top ten in homeruns, RBI's, and runs (54).  Andrew McCutchen has been the only real offense for the Pirates and he will be in the conversation for the MVP Award throughout the rest of the season.

5th - Carlos Beltran - St. Louis Cardinals:  The aging veteran in Carlos Beltran has been a nice surprise this season for the Cardinals.  Many people thought he could be a good player for the Cardinals but no one thought he would be in the MVP Award race.  Beltran has a .306 batting average with 20 homeruns, 65 RBI's, and a on-base percentage of .392.  He ranks second in homeruns, first in RBI's, and he is ranked in the top ten in batting average, walks (41), and OPS (.951) in the National League.  Carlos Beltran has been a good player in the fist half of the season, but I don't think he will be a real contender for the MVP Award by the end of the season.

Players who are still in the MVP Award Race:  Carlos Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera, Carlos Ruiz, and R.A. Dickey.

This season there are multiple players who have a great chance to win the MVP Award this year in the National League.  It will be very interesting to see if voters will vote for Ryan Braun, and if Carlos Ruiz, who has had a great season so far, will get any MVP consideration.  Any of my nine players listed have a chance to win the award, but some of these players won't get as much attention because of there team's lack of success this season.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bryce Harper is Not Selected to the All-Star Game

Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper will not be participating in the All-Star Game this year.  He had the opportunity to be voted in by the fans for the final roster spot, but the fans voted in David Freese instead.  It is a good thing that Bryce Harper wasn't voted onto the All-Star team because he didn't deserve to be considered an All-Star.  Bryce Harper is a good young player who will be a star in the MLB someday, but this season he is only putting up average stats.  

Through 60 games this season, Harper has an average of .283 with eight home runs, 25 RBI's, and an on-base percentage of .355.  Matt Holliday, who is having a great, All-Star caliber season, didn't even make the team, and he is batting .318 with 14 home runs, 56 RBI's, and an on-base percentage of .397.  Michael Bourn also didn't make the team and he is also having a great season.  He is batting .307 with 7 home runs, 32 RBI's, an on-base percentage of .360, and he has 23 stolen bases, which is second best in the National League.  Even though Holliday and Bourn have played in around 20 more games than Harper they still have had better and more productive seasons.  Both these players are huge reasons for their teams success, and if they didn't make the N.L. All-Star roster, Bryce Harper definitely didn't deserve to make the team.  It would have been very fun and exciting to see Harper in the All-Star Game, but there were other veteran players who deserved to be on the N.L. All-Star team before him.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The American League Cy Young Race

The American League Cy Young Award race has not been a huge surprise to most people so far this year.  Almost all of the pitchers in consideration this year for the Cy Young Award have been Cy Young Award contenders in previous years.  The race to be named the best pitcher in the A.L. will come down to the end, and this is how I feel the race looks right now:

1st - Chris Sale - Chicago White Sox:  It is a surprise that Chris Sale is having a Cy Young caliber season, not because he isn't capable of being a great pitcher, but because it is his first season being a starting pitcher in the MLB.  He has been one of the most dominating pitchers in the A.L. so far this season with a record of 10-2 with a 2.19 ERA and a .95 WHIP.  He ranks third in wins, eighth in strike outs with 98, and second in ERA and WHIP.  The one problem I have with Chris Sale is that he has already pitched a career high 102.2 innings.  We will have to see how he is able to hold up throughout the rest of  the season, but if the season ended today he would be the Cy Young Award winner.

2nd - Jered Weaver - Los Angeles Angels:  Jered Weaver has been very good to start the season and he is in the Cy Young Award talk again this year.  If it wasn't for him going on the DL, he would have been ranked first in my Cy Young Award race.  In 14 starts this year Jered Weaver is 9-1 with a 2.13 ERA and a .94 WHIP.  He currently ranks fifth in wins, first in ERA and WHIP, and fourth in the A.L. with two complete games.  Jered Weaver has been dominate on a good Angels team this year, and if he is able to hold up in the final months of the season, he should make a strong case to be the Cy Young Award winner.

3rd - Justin Verlander - Detroit Tigers:   Many people think Jusin Verlander is having a down year, but actually he has pitched very well on a struggling Tigers team.  His numbers aren't as good as last year when he won both the MVP and Cy Young Award, but they are still good enough to make him a Cy Young Award contender again this year.  He is 8-5 with a 2.69 ERA and a .98 WHIP in 17 starts this season.  Justin Verlander ranks first in the A.L. in innings pitched (123.2), first in complete games (4), second in strike outs (121), third in WHIP, and fourth in ERA.  If he can continue to pitch well and dominate opposing batters he should be in the Cy Young Award conversation at the end of the season.

4th - Jake Peavy - Chicago White Sox:  Jake Peavy is finally back after years of injuries and inconsistency.  He has been pitching very well of late but the White Sox have had trouble scoring runs when he pitches.  In his last four starts, a total of 30 innings, he has an ERA of 2.70, allowing a total of nine runs, four walks and 27 hits.  Yet he has lost all four starts because the White Sox have scored a grand total of two runs.  As a result of him losing four straight starts his record is 6-5, but besides his record his other stats are close to the top in the American League.  He currently ranks sixth in ERA (2.96) and fourth in WHIP (.99).  He also has pitched the most complete games with four, and he has struck out 101 batters four seventh best in the league.  Jake Peavy needs to be able to stay healthy for a whole season, and he can't wear down in the last few months of the season if he wants to be a serious Cy Young Award contender.

5th - David Price - Tampa Bay Rays:  David Price continues to develop into one of the best young pitchers in the game.  He almost won the Cy Young Award two years ago when he had 19 wins, but end up losing to King Felix.  This year Price is making another strong case to be in the Cy Young conversation.  David Price is currently 11-4 with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.  He leads the A.L. in wins and is fifth in ERA in 16 starts this year.  He also is in the top ten in strike outs and innings pitched.  David Price needs to continue to pitch well and hope that some of the pitchers above hm start to struggle if he wants to have a chance at being named the American League's best pitcher.

Pitchers who are still in the race:  Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, CC Sabathia, C.J. Wilson, and Felix Hernandez.

The Cy Young Award race isn't over, and any of the pitchers who I don't have in my top five could easily make a push in the second have of the season to take home the award.  It should be interesting to see if Chris Sale can hold up through the rest of the season, and if some of these pitchers can remain healthy enough to try to win the Cy Young Award in the American League.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The National League Cy Young Award Race

This year in the National League there has been many surprising pitchers.  Roy Halladay, one of the best pitchers in the game, has been hurt for most of the season, and Tim Lincecum hasn't look anything like his Cy Young Award winning years.  This year there is many pitchers, anywhere from 10 or more, who can win the Cy Young Award, and so far the leading candidate is a 37 year old knuckleball pitcher, R.A. Dickey.  Here is how I feel the race is shaping out:

1st - R.A. Dickey - New York Mets:  R.A. Dickey has been a huge surprise so far this season.  No one ever thought he would ever be this good, and anything close to a Cy Young Award contender.  He has been the most dominating pitcher this year going 12-1 with a 2.15 ERA.  R.A. Dickey leads the league with a .88 WHIP and three complete games.  He is second in the National League in strikeouts with 116, and he has shown great control with his knuckleball.  We have never seen a pitcher like R.A. Dickey before who throws mid 80's knuckleball and is so dominate.  He is the leading Cy Young Award candidate and if he continues to pitch like this the rest of the season there will be no question that he should win the award.

2nd - Matt Cain - San Fransisco Giants:  Matt Cain, who has so far lived up to his huge contract he received this off season, has been a very dominate pitcher this year.  He is finally getting some respect he has deserved, since in years past he has been one of the most underrated pitchers in the game.  Matt Cain has been very good this year, and he has pitched the best game this year so far, a perfect game, where he struck out 14 batters.  Through 16 games this season, Cain is 9-3 with a 2.53 ERA and a .95 WHIP.  He is close to the top in strike outs with 114 and innings pitched with 113.2.  Matt Cain has become the ace of the Giants staff and has shown why he is one of the best young pitchers in the game today.  He should continue stay in the Cy Young race and will challenge R.A. Dickey for the award if he continues to pitch this way. 

3rd - A.J. Burnett - Pittsburgh Pirates:  A.J. Burnett might be a surprise here at third but if you look at his numbers he has pitched very well.  He has been very hot in his last 10 starts going 8-0 with a 2.29 ERA.  The ace of the Pirates staff has had only one bad start this season, where he allowed 12 earned runs against the Cardinals on May 2nd.  If it wasn't for the one bad start he would of had a 2.05 ERA, which would currently be second best in the league.  A.J. Burnett is currently 9-2 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP, in 13 starts.  He could have a good chance at a 20 win season, and if he continues to pitch this well and stay healthy he will be a dark horse in the Cy Young race. 

4th - Stephen Strasburg - Washington Nationals:  Stephen Strasburg has pitched very well so far, but if he is shut down at his 160 innings limit, which I expect to happen, he will not win the Cy Young Award.  As of today, Strasburg is still well in the conversation of being the Cy Young winner, but because of his inning limit, that is why I have him ranked fourth in my Cy Young Award race standings.  The young power pitcher through 16 games is 9-3 with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP.  He is also leading the N.L. with 122 strike outs in 93 innings.  He is one of the most over powering pitchers in the game, and he will be able to have a chance at the Cy Young Award.  But you can't be the best pitcher when you don't pitch in September.

5th - James McDonald - Pittsburgh Pirates:  James McDonald has been a surprise this season.  He has finally showed that he can be a top of the rotation pitcher.  He has pitched well this season and has a record of 8-3 with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.  His could have even more wins but the Pirates have struggled to score runs, and have been shut out all three times he has lost.  If he and the Pirates continue to play well, he will have a slight advantage over guys like Wade Miley, Zack Greinke, and Cole Hamels for the fifth spot.

Pitchers who are still in the race:  Zack Greinke, Wade Miley, Cole Hamels, Gio Gonzalez, Lance Lynn, Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto, and Chris Capuano.

The Cy Young Award race is still not over and many of these great pitchers who are not in my top five could easily make a push for the top spot.  The Cy Young Award race should come down to the wire and it should be fun to see if some of these pitchers can make a strong push to become the best pitcher in the National League.

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