The Hardware Race

The calendar has flipped to August and speculation on the end-of-year awards can officially begin. This is especially welcome this year as the Cardinals are brutal on the field, stagnant in the front office, and barren of any exciting talent in the high minors. Yes, yes I love Rick Ankiel and Jarrett Hoff-power as much as the next guy, but here in Arizona they're about to see the big league debut of Justin Upton. Now that's exciting.

The Cy seems to be down to a four man race between Chris Young, Peavy, Zambrano, and Penny. ESPN's Cy Predictor has Izzy 7th, the top rated reliever.

Young and Peavy have a nice combination of lots of strikeouts and a low ERA, which is appealing to voters. Z and Penny have the wins, though Penny strikes out about a third of what the other guys do, and Zambrano has an ERA in the mid-3.00s.

On the injury front, Young is out with an oblique problem, and Peavy is bouncing back from a stretch where he was less sharp than usual. Penny's ERA has climbed .60 in his last five starts. Only Zambrano seems to be getting stronger. Since the Cubs look destined to win the Central, I'll say they finish:

  1. Zambrano
  2. Peavy
  3. Penny
  4. Young
  5. Saito
As for the MVP, a review of the leading candidates reveals... an absence of leading candidates. Amazingly, our man Albert may just win in one of those years where the voters give it to the best player b/c no one else is worthy.

Chase Utley was building a case for frontrunner, but he's basically been eliminated by the broken hand.

Bonds and Cabrera are the best offensive players in the league, but their teams aren't any good. Their defense and their reputations are also liabilities.

Chipper Jones is having another standout season, but he missed 20 games and his counting stats aren't going to be very impressive.

Prince Fielder stalled out in July with just two homeruns, though he still leads the pack in that category.

Ryan Howard is a legitimate candidate and leads in the most important category, RBIs. On the other hand his batting average could be 60 points below Pujols' by the end of the season.

Most importantly, the best teams in the league - the Mets, Dodgers, Cubs, and Padres - have no position players in the running this year.

My current ranking:

  1. Howard
  2. Cabrera/Chipper
  3. Peavy/Zambrano
  4. Pujols
  5. Prince Fielder
Pujols will have to continue with the 1100 OPS months to have any shot. If he does that he'll have the second best numbers after Cabrera, who I just don't see getting a lot of votes. His only competition at that point would be Zambrano who might finish around 21-8 and lead the Cubs to the Central title.
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