Awards pitch - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Awards pitch

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Posted: Tuesday, September 5, 2006 12:09 am | Updated: 2:20 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

As the major league baseball season winds down, the Tribune takes a look at the leading candidates for major postseason awards in both leagues

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Cy Young

Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins — The AL's most consistent pitcher all season has been rock on staff racked with injuries. Twins 24-5 in his starts.

Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers — Flamethrower is best of staff that has dominated the AL all year.

Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays — 16 wins, four complete games and a 3.28 ERA entering Tuesday's start — on an underachieving team.

Chien-Ming Wang, N.Y. Yankees — Yanks' most consistent pitcher all year has turned it on since All-Star break with 7-1 record and 3.11 ERA.

Rookie of the year

Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers — If he doesn't win Cy Young, look for Verlander to claim this prize in a category dominated by pitchers.

Jonathan Papelbon, Boston Red Sox — Closer was unhittable and automatic in first half, but reality and injuries have brought him back to earth.

Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins — Was giving Verlander a run for this award before arm and shoulder injuries felled him. Will he return?

Jered Weaver, L.A. Angels — 10-2 record, 2.16 ERA may be enough to outweigh his short season.

Manager of the year

Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers — Tigers lost 91 games last season. Best record in AL this season. Nuff said.

Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins -Twins were left for dead after 25-33 start. Despite pitching injuries, young team is 54-24 since.

Joe Torre, N.Y. Yankees — Speaking of injuries, how did Torre get it done without Matsui, Pavano and Sheffield? Will anyone notice and finally give him credit?

Ken Macha, Oakland A's — Young team should have been devastated by breakup of once feared staff. Instead, A's are running away with West.

Most Valuable Player

Jermaine Dye, White Sox — Vaunted pitching staff underachieved, Jim Thome got hurt, but modest Dye (in AL's top five in HRs, RBIs and BA) kept Sox in playoff hunt.

Derek Jeter, N.Y. Yankees — Numbers aren't gaudy but leadership helped team run away with East despite injuries to Gary Sheffield, Carl Pavano and Hideki Matsui.

David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox — The early favorite still leads AL in HRs and RBIs. But late-season injury could doom his and Red Sox's hopes.

Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins — Teammate Justin Morneau has better numbers, but Mauer's leadership and handling of pitching staff give him nod.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Cy Young

Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks — Mr. groundball double play has overcome injury to lead the league in innings pitched (198) and reestablish himself with 3.14 ERA this season.

Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs — MLB best 14-2 in starts after team has just lost. Could shut it down with back problems.

Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals — Horse on staff of inconsistent pitchers, 2005 Cy Young winner has a 2.87 ERA while opponents are batting .223 vs. him.

Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins - 2.99 ERA and 12-6 record make him more suited to Rookie of Year.

Rookie of the Year

Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins — See above.

Dan Uggla, Florida Marlins — Remember this Diamondbacks castoff? He's hitting .291 with 22 HRs and 81 RBIs.

Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals — 18 HRs, 93 RBIs on a terrible ballclub. This from a rookie?

Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers — Cecil's son has dad's knack for long ball with 24. Now if he can just stop striking out (106 Ks).

Manager of the Year

Joe Girardi, Florida Marlins — Leading candidate could get fired by owner Jeffrey Loria despite putting a sure 100-loss team into playoff contention.

Grady Little, L.A. Dodgers — Little gets the nod thanks to a lousy division. If another team had stepped up, he might be feeling heat instead.

Willie Randolph, N.Y. Mets, Hard to ignore the manager of the team with best record in the NL.

Jerry Narron, Cincinnati Reds — OK, they're below .500, but did anyone expect the Reds to contend in the Central? No, you didn't.

MVP

Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies — 2005 Rookie of Year is on a breathtaking run and may challenge for 60 homers.

Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals — Despite missing month with injury, still has 43 HRs and 115 RBIs. Was leading candidate before Howard went on tear.

Alfonso Soriano, Washington Nationals — 40 homers and 40 steals would put him in rare class of athlete.

Carlos Beltran, N.Y. Mets — Finally looking like the menacing lineup presence Mets signed two years ago.

— Stats through Monday’s games

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