April generally means very little in the grand scheme of an entire baseball season. But, since the first month of the 2008 baseball season is coming to a close in the next couple of days, I figured I would give my input on the highs and lows of the meaningless month known as April.
Now April Baseball isn't necessarily meaningless per say. I mean every game won in April counts the same as it does in July and September, same with every home run hit, and base stolen. However, the stats accumulated either at ridiculously fast paces or obscenely slow paces do not usually represent the stats a player will have at the end of a season. So, take these rewards with a grain of salt because next month they will likely be completely different, and by the end of the season, likely mean nothing at all.
April American League Awards
- Best Team - Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays
- I could have said The Oakland Athletics because they have the best record, but the Rays are ending the month on a six game winning streak and a sweep of everyone's favorite team, The Boston Red Sawx. This team is young, fast and talented. They have up and coming stars in BJ Upton, Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, and James Shields. They have an experienced and rejuvenated closer in Troy Percival. And, they are in first place without their staff Ace Scott Kazmir, American League strike out champ of last year. Realistically, by the end of May, they will likely be closer to third or 4th in the AL East, but the Rays definetly have potential to compete in the future.
- Runners up: Oakland A's, Baltimore Orioles
- Worst Team - Detroit Tigers
- They started off losing 10 of their first 12 games. They rebounded pretty well from this especially with the return of Curtis Granderson, but I give them the worst team award because everyone picked them to win like 120 games this year, and their pitching as already shown its weaknesses. Tigers will compete for a playoff spot, but they are also very overrated.
- Runner Up: Texas Rangers
- MVP - Manny Ramirez
- He may be playing for a contract, but for now he's playing for the Sox. As much as I hate this guy, he is one of the best right handed hitters of all time. Read this SI article to see why: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/tom_verducci/04/22/manny/index.html. Manny will be in discussion for the year's MVP when its all said and done.
- Runners up: Carl Crawford, Joe Crede
- LVP - Robinson Cano
- Everyone projected big things from the 4th year Yankees 2B who put up career highs in Home Runs and RBIs last year. He still will probably have a very good year, but for now hes just 15/98 batting a sparkling .153 with 1 HR and 5 RBIs. Perhaps his worst number is his .217 on base percentage. The encouraging thing is that he only has 12 strikeouts in 98 at bats which means hes making contact. I expect Cano to break out any time now, but for April, he was the LVP.
- Runners up: Kenji Johjima, Jack Cust
- Cy Young - Cliff Lee
- Sure he went 18-5 in 2005, but no one expected the kind of start Cliff Lee has had. 4-0, 31.2 innings, 11 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 29 strike outs, 0.28 ERA, 0.41 whip. That is the best statistical start to a season since Roger Clemens in 1991. Opponents are hitting .109 off him! Sure, hes faced Oakland twice, but they have the best record in the American League right now. Yes, he faced Kansas City and Minnesota, but he still has only walked TWO guys. Everyone knows Cliff Lee isn't REALLY this good, but he definitely earns the April Cy Young.
- Runners Up: Chien-Ming Wang, Zack Greinke, Felix Hernandez
- Lame Duck - Phil Hughes
- This pains me to write, but Phil Hughes has had an April to forget. He's 0-3, has only 18 innings pitched, 26 hits, 17 runs, 10 walks, 11 Ks, and an ERA of 7.85. He's 21, and you can tell that hes one good start away from turning himself around, but he had to be rewarded the Lame Duck of April. I still think he can win 15 games this year.
- Runners Up: Gil Meche, Nate Robertson
I'll be back tomorrow with the April National League Awards...