Baseball’s First-Month Awards
The calendar has turned on the first month of the 2006 baseball season. While there is plenty of season left, it’s a good time to evaluate who has the early lead on baseball’s top awards. American League MVP: 1) Jim Thome – While he has slowed somewhat since his sizzling start, Jim Thome has been the best acquisition any American League team has made. Many questioned what he had left, but he put any doubts to rest immediately by homering in his first 2 games and 6 times in his first 10 games. His 10 homeruns and 24 RBIs are tops on the American League’s most talented team. 2) Jason Giambi – His .
542 OBP is fantastic as Giambi continues to expand on last year’s comeback- player-of-the-year performance. While he leads the AL in walks with 27, Giambi is not just being passive, as he also leads the AL in RBIs with 27. Only his statuesque defense and stubbornness about embracing the DH role make him second choice. 3) Vernon Wells – The Blue Jays went on baseball’s biggest shopping spree, this off-season, but one of their incumbent players has turned in his best effort so far. With 9 homers, 25 RBIs and a .
374 batting average, Wells is carrying a heavy load as Toronto tries to prove that they can keep pace with the Red Sox and The Yankees. National League MVP: 1) Albert Pujols – Provided he stays healthy, it appears as though this award will be his to lose for many years to come. His record-breaking 14 homeruns in April and 32 RBIs have led the Cardinals to another great start. 2) Lance Berkman – The reason for the Astros’ slow start, last April, was likely because they missed Berkman’s bat. Berkman has had a fast start, this year (10 homeruns, 31 RBIs and .240 BA), and so have the Astros. 3) Carlos Delgado – The best acquisition any National League team made, this off-season, Delgado has really carried the load (10 homeruns and 21 RBIs) while Beltran was injured and Cliff Floyd slumped. American League Cy Young: 1) Jose Contreras – His 4-0 record and league-leading 1.45 ERA still leads a pitching staff that makes the White Sox the best bet to win the AL Pennant at the sports book. 2) Curt Schilling – Baseball’s biggest loudmouth is once again able to “walk the walk.
” His 4-1 record, 2.88 ERA and durability (40.2 IP) have led the Red Sox to an early tenuous hold on first place in the AL East. 3) Kenny Rogers – The ace on a staff of promising young guns, veteran Rogers has done everything you can ask for the Tigers (4-2, 2.59 ERA and a great 0.98 WHIP). National League Cy Young: 1) Greg Maddux – Talk about giving a club a lift. Once again frustrated by injuries to Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, the cursed Cubbies are thrilled by Maddux’s early renaissance (5-0, 1.35 ERA). 2) Pedro Martinez – The daily updates by a panicked New York press corps on Pedro’s toe during spring training are long forgotten as Pedro has been fantastic (5-0, 0.
89 WHIP). He already has beaten the hated Braves twice. 3) Bronson Arroyo – Wow, after the AL East, this is sure easy. Arroyo (5-0, 2.06 ERA) has led the way for baseball’s biggest early season surprise. Rookies of the Year: American League: Jonathan Papelbon – Thrown into the Boston pressure-cooker, Papelbon leads the AL in saves (10) and has yet to allow a run in over 15 innings. National League: Prince Fielder – Unlike his father, Cecil, Prince didn’t need to serve some time in the Japanese League to find his stroke. Fielder’s .343 average leads all rookies. Bet MLB Baseball @ http://www.
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