Dan: Magglio Ordonez (.367/.446/.604/1.050) — Ordonez is having a career year in 2007, leading the AL in OBP as well as being third in SLG. Add in that he’s playing for the Tigers, who trail the Angels by 1 game for the best record in baseball and lead the league in Runs and you have the American League MVP.
Steve: Alex Rodriguez Voters like to give the MVP to a player on a playoff team, but occasionally someone has such a dominant year that he’ll get it no matter what (Ryan Howard). The Yankees should end up with a winning record, and A-Rod is so far ahead of everyone right now that he’ll get it.
Dan: Prince Fielder (.284/.376/.620/.996) — The Crew trails the Dodgers by 1/2 game for the best record in the NL, and Fielder is a huge reason for that. He is leading the NL in HR (29) and is third in OPS. And though it’s an overrated stat, he trails only Carlos Lee with 70 RBI.
Steve: Prince Fielder He’s the first-half MVP. If he hits 50 homers and the Brewers make the playoffs he’ll get it. I expect both of those things to happen, so I guess I’m giving it to Prince.
AL Cy Young
Dan: Erik Bedard (7-4, 3.40 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) — Even though he will never win, playing for the 38-49 Orioles, Bedard has been unbelievable this year. In 121.2 innings, he has 149 strikeouts! That’s good for the highest K/9 rate in baseball (11.02) and his 4.14 K/BB ratio ranks him 9th in baseball.
Steve: Johan Santana, in a shocker. He already has a 2.75 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and 125 strikeouts in 121 innings, which is impressive enough. You could make an argument for a handful of guys at this point, but I’ll give Johan the nod because I think he’ll end up winning it. Consider his second-half ERAs for each of the last four seasons. 2.54 in 2006, 1.59 in 2005, 1.21(!!!) in 2004. He’s lights-out after the All-Star Break, and as always, the reason the Twins can’t be counted out.
NL Cy Young
Dan: Jake Peavy (9-3, 2.19 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) — This one is a no-brainer, in my opinion. Peavy leads the NL with 125 K in 119 innings, which is good for a K/9 of 9.45 (1st in the NL). He also has a K/BB ratio of 3.68 (3rd in NL).
Steve: Jake Peavy He’s the best right-hander in the game, and that will finally come to fruition this season. He’s been carving up hitters to the tune of a 2.19 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP, with 125 strikeouts in 119 innings.
AL Rookie of the Year
Dan: Daisuke Matsuzaka (10-6, 3.84 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) — He’s been as good as advertised for the best team in baseball. His 9.25 K/9 is 4th in the AL.
Steve: Jeremy Guthrie A surprise over massively-hyped Dice-K. Guthrie currently sports a 2.74 ERA and a stingy 0.91 WHIP. I’m opting for Guthrie over Matsuzaka because of Dice-K’s tendency to surrender walks in bunches; I think that will keep him from reaching elite status.
NL Rookie of the Year
Dan: Ryan Braun (.350/.391/.663/1.054) — Among NL Rookies with 100 PA, Braun leads in OPS, is 4th in HR (the 3 guys ahead of him have 45, 112, and 125 more AB’s), and 3rd in OBP.
Steve: Ryan Braun Yeah, it’s the homer in me… But I don’t think it’s a big reach other. Dan pointed out his freakishly high BABIP, but his main competition is Hunter Pence who also has been “lucky.” Braun seems to have more power, and he’ll have better opportunities with better hitters around him than Pence.