As of May 13th, here are my American League frontrunners for the major MLB awards:
With no offensive players standing out in the American League, I must choose, with apprehension, a pitcher. Cliff Lee showed promise earlier in his career and after being sent back down to the minors for his struggles last season, this stardom may be for real (remind anyone of Roy Halladay's story?). Youkilis is a guy that you can be sure will get on base and this season he has added some more power. Whether or not the power remains will determine if he can stay in the MVP discussion. Josh Hamilton continues his amazing comeback story and stud talent. Kinsler started hot last year so it remains to be seen if he can continue this play for a full season. Manny is just being Manny, which equals one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game.
Not even close, Cliff Lee is the clear frontrunner for the Cy Young. It's nice to see former sure-thing superstar Zack Greinke back on track. Hopefully his early season performance is for real. Marcum has good skills, but his perfrmance thus far is probably most likely explained by a "lucky" .172 Batting Average on Balls In Play. Expect that number to rise along with Marcum's ERA. Saunders' performance probably won't last much longer since he lacks the ability to strike anyone out. I don't think anyone is surprised to see Dice-K in the Cy Young discussion this year.
Rookie of the Year
Smith has solid strikeout numbers and a 3.00 ERA in his first 7 starts. Carlson has been lights-out, blowing people away in the Twins bullpen. Jacoby Ellsbury has not shown much power, but his OBP and defense place him at the top of the Rookie class for AL hitters. Johnson has been nearly unhittable for Baltimore, but his low strikeout numbers are reason for concern (and for why he is not my #1 pick). Joey Devine has been similar to Carlson, a filthy strikeout guy in the pen.
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