The Way Too Early MLB Awards

May is upon us!  Let’s hand out the awards if the MLB season was only one month long.  Thankfully, it’s not.  All stats are as of May 2nd.

American League Rookie of the Year

Yu Darvish, Rangers

I strongly dislike the rule that allows Japanese players to be eligible for Rookie of the Year, but I digress.  Darvish has been nothing short of phenomenal after a rough first start against the Mariners.  Darvish completed April 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA.  Darvish also is not doing this against weak competion, three of his five starts have come at Detroit, vs. New York, and at Toronto.  This is his award to lose.  There are other rookies that have had a great start including the Mariners Jesus Montero (.294 BA, 4HR), Athletics Yeonis Cespedes (5HR, 20 RBI, 4SB) and don’t sleep on call-ups A’s Jarrod Parker and Angels Mike Trout to get themselves into the race.

National League Rookie of the Year

Lance Lynn, Cardinals

You’d be shocked if I told you that there was a rookie that had been even more impressive than Yu Darvish.  However, in the National League Cardinals Lance Lynn has been everything and more for St. Louis.  Thrust into the rotation with Chris Carpenter’s injury, Lynn finished April 4-0 with a scant 1.33 ERA.  Lynn also has a solid 24/6 K/BB ratio.  Lynn is 4th in the NL in ERA and 2nd in WHIP.  Those stats are among all players, not just rookies.  Reds Zack Cozart and Diamondbacks Wade Miley are on the radar after good April’s, but the real contender is if Bryce Harper can be impressive enough to wrestle the award away from Lance Lynn.

American League Cy Young

Jake Peavy, White Sox

Idon’t expect Peavy to be the AL Cy Young winner when the season is over, but at this moment he has been the most impressive pitcher in the American League.  Peavy leads the league in ERA (1.67), WHIP (0.69) and complete games (2).  He’s erased the questions marks that came into the season and looks back to his prime days in San Diego where he won the 2007 NL Cy Young.  There is no shortage of contenders for this prize.  Mariners Felix Hernandez (1st in win probabilty added and strikeouts), Angels Jered Weaver (3-0, 2.02 ERA) and defending champion Tigers Justin Verlander (2nd in WHIP, 4th in strikeouts), and the adformentioned Yu Darvish lurking.

National League Cy Young

Stephen Strasburg, Nationals

This was the closest call so far.  Matt Cain has been great for the Giants leading the NL in WHIP (0.68) and has a 2.35 ERA, but the 1-2 record unfortunately is enough of a detractor for me.  Journeymen pitchers DBacks Joe Saunders, Cardinals Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook, and Dodgers Ted Lilly have far exceeded expectations thus far.  However, the award right now would go to Stephen Strasburg.  Strasburg has been the anchor of the best starting rotation in the NL supporting a 1.13 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, while sporting a 9.6 K/9 ratio.  Even more impressive is Strasburg has yet to allow a home run this year.  Strasburg is in no way a sure thing to win this as his innings limit might let others come up to his level, especially Roy Halladay who may end up throwing 70 more quality innings than Strasburg.

American League MVP

Josh Hamilton, Rangers

A tight four-way race right now for the AL MVP between Hamilton, Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, and Paul Konerko.  Hamilton gets the leg up for leading in what I think is one of the most important statistics, OPS at 1.182.  Hamilton also leads the AL in home runs, runs batted in, total bases, while maintaining .395 batting average good for 2nd in the AL.  The question as always with Hamilton is his health, but if he can get in 130+ games like he did in his 2010 MVP season.  Hamilton is well on his way to joining Juan Gonzalez as Texas Rangers with multiple MVP’s.  Don’t let Hamilton’s domination let you sleep on the older guys.  Derek Jeter is still hitting .400 into May and leads the AL in OBP (.440) at 37 years old.  David Ortiz at age 36, is 2nd in the AL in OBP, slugging, hits, while hitting .386.  Paul Konerko, also 36 years old, is the White Sox offense and is just a notch behind the other three in most statistical categories, but is doing it all with a weaker offense around him.  This should be an exciting race all season.

National League MVP

Matt Kemp, Dodgers

I’ll end it with the easiest of the easy calls.  Kemp has been otherworldly thus far for the Dodgers.  Should I start with the .409 batting average or the .864 slugging percentage, or the 1.349 OPS, or the 12 home runs, or possibly the 76 total bases?  Those are all categories that Kemp not just leads in, but is blowing away the rest of the competition.  Kemp has the Dodgers sitting in 1st place as we speak, which might be the most impressive out of everything.  Matt Kemp is on pace for a season for the ages.

Who do you think should be taking home the hardware after April?

-Bryan Mapes

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