We're already a quarter of the way through another baseball season, and Jaime's got some early awards to give away.
I just want to make one thing clear before everyone gets all bent out of shape, firing off emails and tweets about how ridiculous my quarterly selections are: all of these choices have been made and measured under the assumption that the season ends today. For instance, if the season ended today, the Baltimore Orioles would finish with the second best record is baseball which is shocking. Surprise team of the first month and half for sure. So just keep in mind that I’m not calling any shots here. I’m not the Babe Ruth of sports writing. I’m just saying that if the season ended today, these teams and players would be tops:
American League AL MVP: No contest here. Josh Hamilton is by far the best player on the field. If the season ended today, he’d take the junior circuit’s triple crown. That crazy 9 homer, 18 RBI week alone solidifies his domination at the plate. Say what you want about Hamilton, the sky is the limit for his stats this year. He's on pace for a ludicrous 74 home run season, which obviously won't happen (or will it?), he's got a batting average hovering close to the .400 mark and he's almost at 50 RBIs. Just to put this into perspective: Josh Hamilton has more home runs than the whole San Diego Padres team combined. AL Cy Young: I don’t think anyone can argue against Justin Verlander. He’s pitching on another plane right now. He’s got two complete games, one shutout that was two outs away from his third no hitter and is fast approaching Nolan Ryan/Sandy Koufax status. He leads every pitching category in 2012 save wins, where he’s only one shy and it wouldn’t surprise me if he is my choice for Cy Young in the next quarterly report as well. AL Rookie of the Year: This one goes to Yu Darvish. He’s been playing under pressure: new team, new country, huge expectations to go along with a huge paycheck and he’s been great. A 6-1 record with a 2.60 ERA and a .222 BAA? Its hard to complain about that even with a big price tag attached. AL Best Team: The O’s might have the best record in the American League, but Texas is the best team. I know, I know, maybe that’s not fair, give credit where credit is due and all that and I’ll give props to the O’s for doing so well but c’mon. They’ve need magic fairy dust to win half their games in extra innings and if you think they can keep that up in the AL East, you’re crazy. Texas on the other hand is trouble. One through nine, they have the most dangerous lineup in the game and if they get on the board first, you’re done. National League NL MVP: On the senior circuit things are little closer with David Wright hitting an unseemly .412, but I’ve got to go with Mr. Five-Tool, Matt Kemp. He’s currently on the DL so it’s a little trickier to argue him being the most valuable player right now, but even with his bat on the shelf, he’s still ahead of most hitters in the National League. The Dodgers are going to be even better when he gets back. NL Cy Young: Maybe a little bit of a surprise but my choice is Brandon Beachy. Ok maybe it’s not that surprising considering he has a 1.33 ERA and has for the most part been unstoppable. The Braves really need their young pitching to pick up the slack for some aging players and Beachy is clearly up to the task. NL Rookie of the Year: Sometimes baseball is all about opportunities and Lance Lynn has made the most of his. The only reason he made it into the rotation is because Chris Carpenter was injured and now he sports a 6-1 record, a 2.31 ERA, a stunning .198 BAA and he isn’t going anywhere. It’s like Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe. Who knew who Brady was before Bledsoe got injured and now look at him. NL Best Team: A lot of people thought the Dodgers hot start was a fluke, but they’re the best team in baseball as of today. Even with Matt Kemp on the DL, they’ve shown no signs of slowing down. The first month or so it was all Kemp and Ethier, but the pitching staff has picked it up and so has everyone else. They’re 19-4 at home and Magic Johnson and their new owners must be all smiles with the team playing well, some money to spend and a good free agent class around the corner. Good players like playing for good teams.