Now that the All-Star game has come and gone (AL Domination!), my focus is now on the postseason awards.
MVP: Valerio Guillen of the Boston Red Sox is having an amazing rookie season as he leads the league in homers and RBIs while being among the league leaders in batting average, on base percentage, and slugging. He was also a two-time recipient of player of the week.
Runners-up: Darryl Whitaker of the Anaheim Angels is leading the league in slugging and among the leaders in batting average, home runs, and RBIs.
B.C. Javier of the Charlotte Knights is among the league leaders in home runs, RBIs, batting average, on base percentage, and slugging.
Cy Young: Until the injury bug bit, Jeff Bollea of the Boston Red Sox was running away with this award. With him out of the picture, Patrick Rivera of the Kansas City Royals is currently the front-runner. He leads the league in wins (16) and strikeouts (168) and is among the leaders in ERA (4th, 2.74), WHIP (4th, 1.17), and Innings (T5th, 161).
Runners-up: It appears that run support may be the biggest obstacle this season to Darren Chance of the Chicago White Sox winning the Cy Young award. He is actually slightly better than Rivera in the two major categories: ERA (3rd, 2.68) and WHIP (1st, 1.01). His innings pitched (T5th, 161) are equal and he barely trails in strikeouts (2nd, 163). It's his win-loss record (9-6) that is his downfall, which is actually surprising since he pitches for the team with the best record in the league.
Part time starter, part time reliever Turner Mordecai of the Charlotte Knights has been full-time brilliant this season. Due to the fact that he normally doesn't pitch deep enough when he starts to earn a win, his record will never win the Cy, but his other statistics are very impressive: ERA 1.79 (1st) and WHIP 1.03 (2nd).
Rookie of the Year: MVP frontrunner Valerio Guillen of the Boston Red Sox is running away with this award as no one comes close to his production.
Fireman: With this boring award that is decided by a simple calculation in which we have no input, here are the leaders: Vic Castillo of the Kansas City Royals, Leon Owens of the Anaheim Angels, and Karim Wallace of the Boston Red Sox.
MVP: Superstar shortstop Jake Clapp of the Philadelphia Phillies is having a season for the ages as he currently has a great shot at the triple crown. Winning his second consecutive MVP award would be a big addition to his hall of fame resume.
Runners-up: Rookie first baseman Pedro Garrido also of the Philadelphia Phillies has been close to the statistical equal of Clapp at the plate as he slightly trails him in each category. If not for his recent injury, he might have overtaken Clapp, though Clapp's defensive contributions as a shortstop also add great value to his case.
Since moving to the NL, Hayes Swann of the Florida Marlins has picked up right where he left off on his way to being among the leaders in batting average, on base percentage, and slugging. While he finished a close second in last season's AL MVP race, he looks like a distant third at this point in the NL.
Cy Young: Felipe Tejada of the Arizona Diamondbacks has been nothing short of masterful this season as he leads the league in every meaningful category for starters: wins (17), ERA (2.15), WHIP (1.03), Strikeouts (157), Innings (204.2), Opponents Avg. (.196). To this point, he is looking like a unanimous choice.
Runners-up: Thanks to Tejada, the great season by Ozzie Percival of the Washington Nationals will go mostly overlooked. He is very close, but slightly trails Tejada in all major categories: wins (T2nd, 15), ERA (2nd, 2.45), WHIP (T3rd, 1.09), Strikeouts (T8th, 119), Innings (2nd, 179.2), Opponents Avg (4th, .218).
In a distant third is Paul Hujimoto of the San Francisco Giants. His biggest edge that puts him in this slot is his gaudy 15-3 record to go along with some excellent stats: ERA 2.73 (T5th), WHIP 1.19 (13th), Strikeouts 111 (13th), Innings 161.2 (7th), Opponents Avg. .243 (18th)
Rookie of the Year: Like Guillen in the AL, Pedro Garrido of the Philadelphia Phillies is destoying the field for the NL award and looks to be a unanimous pick.
Fireman: Frontrunners for the boring award include Daniel Kennedy of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cliff Kaline of the Cincinnati Reds, and Ryan Hamelin of the San Francisco Giants.