Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Meaningless April Baseball Awards Part 2...

I'm back for the National League version of the Meaningless April Baseball Awards. Not meaningless in that the stats and performances don't count, just meaningless in that the players/teams in this list will most likely change next month, and every month thereafter as the season progresses. With that being said, the meaningless National League awards were a bit harder to decide, mainly because there were a lot more standout good (and bad) performances in the month of April. But, because these awards are in fact, meaningless, I guess it doesn't really matter who I pick anyway. So, without further ado...

  • Best Team - Arizona Diamondbacks
    • I don't think their 19-8 record is an April fluke. The Diamondbacks are for real. They have fantastic pitching with two bona fide aces in Brandon Webb and Danny Haren, a possible breakout in Micah Owings, a lefty legend in Randy Johnson (if he can stay healthy), and some prospect named Max that may or may not be the second coming of Jesus himself. If you look at their offensive lineup, its littered with very good young stars in Justin Upton, Conor Jackson, Mark Reynolds, Chris Young, and Stephen Drew. Their only potential problem was the back end of their bullpen, but they have been pretty steady thus far. We'll see what happens, but I do believe they are the best team in baseball, not just the National League
      • Runners Up: Chicago Cubs, Florida Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals
  • Worst Team - Washington Nationals
    • They spent millions of dollars on a brand new ball park, but I guess they forgot that if you don't have a good team to sell, it doesn't matter how nice the stadium is. The Nationals started off great with a walk off home run by Ryan Zimmerman, but ended up only winning nine more games after that. Truth is, outside of Zimmerman and maybe Nick Johnson (who I bet will break his leg or something sooner or later) I really don't see any legit talent on this team. They have a couple of decent young pitchers, but nothing that is even going to come close to competing in the already crowded NL East. 100 losses is likely for the lowly Nationals.
      • Runners Up: Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres
  • MVP - Hanley Ramirez
    • There are a few well deserving candidates for this one, but I decided to give it to this 24 year old stud because of what team he's on. While the other candidates are all on good teams with other good hitters, Hanley is on the Marlins, who have far exceeded anyone's expectations in the early season. With 8 homers, 18 RBIs, 9 steals, and a .336 batting average, Ramirez seems right on track to set career numbers in every stat. The fact that hes putting up these types of numbers without Miguel Cabrera as protection, makes it even more impressive.
      • Runners Up: Chase Utley, Derrek Lee, Chipper Jones
  • LVP - Ryan Howard
    • What do you get what you have a .177 batting average, 5 home runs, and only 12 RBIs? You get a typical Ryan Howard April. He's a career .237 hitter in the first month of the season. With his ridiculously long, uppercut swing, it just takes this slugger a little while to get going. Still, his 38 strikeouts in 96 at bats means hes whiffing in more than 1/3 of his at bats so far, and he's even admitted that he's not "seeing the ball right." Either way, unless he's hurt, if you don't think that Ryan Howard will have 40-50 homers and around 130 RBIs this year, you simply don't know baseball.
      • Runners Up: Andruw Jones, Carlos Delgado, Kahlil Greene
  • Cy Young - Brandon Webb
    • The Cy Young winner of 2006 is back with a vengeance right now. 6-0, 1.98 ERA, 1.05 Whip! Webb is pitching out of his mind right now. He also out dueled the Cy Young winner of last year, Jake Peavy. Considering how good the Diamondbacks are, I wouldn't be surprised to see Webb's first 20 win season. His 34/14 K to walk ratio in 41 innings isn't half bad either.
      • Runners Up: Jake Peavy, Edinson Volquez, Carlos Zambrano
  • Lame Duck - Barry Zito
    • When the Giants signed him to the absurd contract of $126 Million for 7 years, I'm pretty sure they were looking for a little better than 0-6, a 7.53 ERA, 15 Ks, and 11 walks with a whip of almost 2! Barry's awful month was capped off wih a one way ticket to middle relief. What happened to this pitcher that went 23-5 in 2002? Is he self conscious about the contract, injured, a former steroid user? I guess we'll never truly know.
      • Runners Up? Ublado Jimenez, Tom Gorzelanny, Aaron Heilman

See ya in a month for The Only Slightly Less Meaningless May Baseball Awards...

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