MLB Week in Review
by Jordan Adams - 08/28/2006
September is nearly upon us and the final five weeks of the 2006 MLB season will go a long way in deciding the teams that will be playing in October while the rest are left to stir in defeat. With all the close divisional and wildcard races currently going on in baseball, so much attention has been focused on the specific teams, while individual performances and accolades have been widely ignored.
Sure the AL and NL wildcard races have been exceptional all year, but several of its key players have been lost in translation and their offensive outputs are simply being ignored. This week's MLB Week in Review details the frontrunners for the main individual awards and focuses on the seasons these stars are putting together statistically.
NL Most Valuable Player:
Ryan Howard | 1B
This young first baseman has taken the majors by storm in just his first full season. Coming into Sunday, Howard leads all of baseball in home runs with 46 and RBI with 121. As well, the Phils' big dog is top five in the NL in slugging percentage and OPS.
Carlos Beltran | CF
Mr. Clutch for the Mets this year has come consistently in the form of its center fielder. Carlos Beltran has rebounded nicely from 2005's off year and put up strong numbers to consider for MVP. Thus far Beltran has hit for a .286 clip while clubbing 38 long balls and driving in 108. He also sits third in the NL in runs with 103 and 2nd in slugging at .633 and OPS at 1.022.
Albert Pujols | 1B
Earlier this season Pujols appeared to be a lock for this award. However, since then, he, like his Cardinals, have slowly headed downhill. While Big Al is hitting .322 with 38 homer runs and 107 RBI, if St. Louis misses out on the playoffs, his chances are as good as gone. One can only wonder what his numbers would be had he not missed several weeks in the first half of the year.
David Ortiz | DH
With no playoff team having a true offensive lock for MVP, Big Papi is the obvious choice regardless of his team's record. David Ortiz could be regarded as the most clutch hitter over the past 25 years and his numbers again show that. In 2006 Ortiz has accumulated 46 home runs and 120 RBI, while becoming an even bigger threat in the batter's box than his feared teammate Manny Ramirez.
Jermaine Dye | RF
In his best year as a pro, Dye has been terrific for the defending champion White Sox. The right fielder has hit a career high 38 home runs while batting .326 and knocking in 102. He also ranks first in the AL in slugging at .651 and top ten in on base percentage and OPS.
Justin Morneau | 1B
Who could guess the Twins knew what they were doing when they let David Ortiz go before he joined Boston. It surely didn't look good until now. However slowly but surely, Minnesota's next first baseman has come along and is doing quite well. This year Morneau has exploded onto the scene and produced big time numbers for the AL wild card leading Twins. Thus far he has hit 32 homers and driven in 110, while batting .317. On a team where pitching has excelled, its first baseman has been the rock in the lineup to lead them offensively.
NL CY Young:
Carlos Zambrano | SP
The one bright spot for the Cubbies this year, Z has been wonderful while playing for a team out of contention since June. Zambrano leads the league in wins with 14 while holding a 3.31 ERA. He is also first in the NL in strikeouts with 180.
Brandon Webb | SP
The league leader in ERA for most of the year, Arizona's Brandon Webb currently holds 13 wins with an ERA just under three. It would serve him better for the award if his Diamondbacks made the playoffs.
Josh Johnson | SP
In his first year, this rookie hurler has been a wonder in the Marlins' starting rotation. The 22-year-old has won 11 this year and he is the NL leader in ERA at 2.90. He, like half a dozen of his teammates, is a serious ROY candidate.
AL CY Young:
Johan Santana | SP
Every year this Minnesota ace seems to find himself amongst the top pitchers in the AL. This year is no exception as Santana has kept in the race all year. With 15 wins and the league lead with a 3.01 ERA, he has to be the top choice with his Twins heading for a possible playoff run.
Roy Halladay | SP
Helping his Toronto club improve drastically from one year ago, Halladay sits atop the AL in wins with 16 and is second with a 3.12 ERA. He gets better like a fine wine and this ace could possibly be toasting to this award come season's end.
Justin Verlander | SP
Another rookie with a superb year in the works, Detroit's Justin Verlander has been exceptional as the dominant force on the best rotation in baseball. With 15 wins and an ERA at 3.42, Verlander has made a strong point with his team holding the best record in baseball.