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Bball's MLB Recap: April Edition

Projected Awards

It may be early to do a list like this, but, in my mind, it is never too early to start talking about the MLB awards. After a month of action, most of the best players have made their way to the top. There are still plenty of surprises here, some who could last the 162-game marathon (Matt Cain) and others who are less likely to be here for May's recap (Ramon Ortiz). On to the awards...

NL

MVP

  1. Jose Reyes
  2. Barry Bonds
  3. Aaron Rowand
  4. Jimmy Rollins
  5. Kelly Johnson

Bonds has been the best hitter in the league so far, but Reyes, the more complete player, has been the most valuable. Rollins has seemingly stolen Ryan Howard's power. Johnson has made the transition to 2B with ease for Atlanta.

Cy Young

  1. Tim Hudson
  2. Matt Cain
  3. Ian Snell
  4. Jake Peavy
  5. Braden Looper

Hudson has been the best pitcher in either league. Cain and Snell are impressive young players making their marks on the league for two losing ballclubs. Peavy seems fully recovered from last season's injury problems and ineffectiveness. Looper has been tremendous moving out of the bullpen to the starting rotation.

Rookie of the Year

  1. Josh Hamilton
  2. Manuel Corpas
  3. Kevin Cameron
  4. Shawn Hill
  5. Renyel Pinto

Hamilton has made his comeback to become one of the best hitters in the league, rookie or otherwise. The rest of the rookie class is rounded out by young pitchers.


AL

MVP

  1. Alex Rodriguez
  2. Joe Mauer
  3. Vladimir Guerrero
  4. Ian Kinsler
  5. B.J. Upton

This is the most lopslided of the awards. Rodriguez has hit as if he sold his soul to the devil. Mauer almost made it through the entire month without a home run, but his average and OBP are right up in elite territory. Vlad is a mainstay on the MVP lists. Kinsler and Upton are talented middle infielders off to hot starts.

Cy Young

  1. Roy Halladay
  2. Ramon Ortiz
  3. Nate Robertson
  4. Josh Beckett
  5. Dan Haren

Halladay has grown accustomed to being at the top of Cy Young lists, but generally behind Johan Santana. Beckett, Robertson, and Haren have the talent to stay here all year, but Ortiz? I think not.

Rookie of the Year

  1. Dustin Moseley
  2. Akinori Iwamura
  3. Hideki Okajima
  4. Daisuke Matsuzaka
  5. Sean Henn

Much like the NL rookies, this is a pitching-heavy list. Iwamura was recently sidelined with an oblique injury or he would be #1. Okajima and Matsuzaka have come from overseas to bolster the Red Sox pitching staff. Henn has been a rare bright spot on the Yankees pitching staff.

Preseason Projected Awards

American League

Cy Young

Johan Santana:

MVP

Joe Mauer:

Rookie of the Year

Alex Gordon:

National League

Cy Young

Jake Peavy:

MVP

Albert Pujols:

Rookie of the Year

Chris Young:


As challenged by DNL, I searched through the last 25 years of Pirates history, 1982–2006, and assembled a squad. Despite the Pirates sketchy recent past of success on the field, there was enough quality to put together a rather competitive team.

All the stats have been normalized to a 750 runs/team (4.63 rpg) environment.

Starting Lineup (with Neutralized Stats)

Order	Pos	Player		Year	Ag	G	AB	Avg	OBP	SLG	OPS 
1	CF	Barry	Bonds	1992	27	140	493	0.339	0.488	0.684	205
2	LF	Brian	Giles	2002	31	154	498	0.295	0.447	0.618	173
3	C	Jason	Kendall	2000	26	152	572	0.311	0.402	0.456	125
4	RF	Jason	Bay	2005	26	162	602	0.309	0.406	0.568	148
5	1B	Gary	Redus	1989	32	97	286	0.308	0.4	0.507	141
6	3B	Bobby	Bonilla	1988	25	161	611	0.298	0.394	0.516	142
7	2B	Johnny	Ray	1984	27	155	569	0.329	0.372	0.453	121
8	Pitcher										
9	SS	Jay	Bell	1993	27	154	607	0.313	0.396	0.442	123 

According to the BaseballMusings Lineup Analysis, this lineup would score 6.843 runs per game. None of the players have an OPS below 121 and the outfield has OPS of 205, 173, and 148. Bobby Bonilla and Gary Redus have 142 and 141, respectively. Interesting note: Four of the players' last names start with "B" and four of the players' first names start with "J".

Bench

Role	Player		Year	Ag	G	AB	Avg	OBP	SLG	OPS 
bOF	Turner	Ward	1997	32	71	166	0.349	0.417	0.584	159
bIF	John	Wehner	1991	24	37	108	0.352	0.391	0.417	124
PH	Matt	Stairs	2003	35	121	305	0.292	0.389	0.561	146
bC	Craig	Wilson	2000	24	88	157	0.306	0.387	0.586	149
dRp	Jose	Lind	1987	23	35	143	0.322	0.358	0.434	108

The bench had some good bats on it as well. Turner Ward had a tremendous 71 games in 1997. John Wehner and Jose Lind provide strong gloves with capable bats. Craig Wilson, originally a catcher, backs up Kendall and helps Ward and Matt Stairs provide some pop off the bench.

Starting Rotation

Role	Pos	Pitcher		Year	Ag	W	L	W%	IP	ERA	WHIP	ERA 
1	SP	Rick Reuschel	1985	36	15	6	0.714	190.7	2.64	1.154	158
2	SP	Denny	Neagle	1996	27	15	9	0.625	223.7	3.26	1.194	144
3	SP	Oliver	Perez	2004	22	13	8	0.619	195.7	3.13	1.186	139
4	SP	Zane	Smith	1994	33	16	9	0.64	225	3.16	1.213	133
5	SP	F. Cordova	1998	26	15	9	0.625	219.7	3.28	1.225	131

While there isn't a Pedro on this team, there are some very nice seasons. All of the pitchers are situated between 131 and 158 ERA . Current Met, Oliver Perez was, once upon a time, quite the promising young pitcher.

Bullpen

Pos	Pitcher		Year	Ag	W	L	W%	IP	ERA	WHIP	ERA 
CL	Mike Gonzalez	2006	28	4	1	0.8	53.3	2.19	1.406	207
RP	Scott Sauerbeck	1999	27	6	1	0.857	69.3	3.39	1.363	229
RP	Kent	Tekulve	1983	36	8	2	0.8	96.7	1.86	1.252	227
RP	Rod	Scurry	1982	26	9	2	0.818	101.3	1.95	1.48	214
RP	Bill	Landrum	1990	32	5	2	0.714	69	2.61	1.42	169
RP	Pat Clements	1986	24	4	2	0.667	59.3	3.19	1.517	137
RP	Dan	Plesac	1995	33	4	3	0.571	68.3	3.42	1.302	122

What the starting rotation lacked in dominance, the bullpen makes up for. Mike Gonzalez was a shutdown closer in 2006, until an injury shut him down that is. Scott Sauerbeck and Kent Tekulve represent stellar seasons from the pen. Rod Scurry would be a capable long reliever.

This is a team us Pirates fans would love to see on the field in '07.


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