2006 Mop up Duty Award Winners
AL MVP : Justin Morneau
While Jeter and Ortiz are the sexier picks, no player meant more to his team than Justin Morneau in 2006. If Jeter is taken out of the Yankees line-up, others would be able to pick up the slack and the offense would still produce an inordinate amount of runs. If Ortiz is removed from the Red Sox lineup, Rameriz will still knock in a number of runs. But if Morneau were removed from the Twins lineup all that would remain would be Mauer (84 RBI) and Cuddyer (who benefited greatly from hitting in front of Morneau). Morneau ended up hitting 34 HR & drove in 130 runs.
AL CY Young: Johan Santana
Simply the best pitcher in all of major league baseball. It’s a shame that Santana plays in such a small market, otherwise his name would be up there with the Pedro’s, Maddux’s and Johnson’s of the 1990’s.
AL ROY: Fransico Liriano
Although an injury shortened his season, Liriano was the most dominant pitcher in baseball in 2006. Yes, even more dominating then his teammate Johan Santana. Questions persist over whether Liriano will be able to remain a starter throughout his career. If not, he has a chance to become an all-star closer.
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Justin Morneau
Many feel that a comeback player should be coming off an injury. We felt that a player rebounding from a poor season is just as important. Morneau certainly suffered a sophomore slump in 2005. A poor second season will usually break a player, but not Morneau. For that he takes the award over other worthy candidates such as Frank Thomas and Jim Thome.
AL Bust: Josh Towers
Coming of a solid second half in 2005, Towers turned in one of the worst performances in history in 2006. His 2006 line included an 2- 10 record, a 8.42 ERA and an insane 1.774 WHIP!
AL Manager of the Year: Jim Leyland
With the results of the Tigers this past season, Jim Leyland has taken a giant step towards becoming a hall of fame manager. He took this mix of youngsters and veterans and turned them into the Marlins of 1997. This is Leyland’s fifth time in the playoffs, in fifteen season of coaching, with three different teams! Leyland got his start as a major league manager when he was hired as an unlikely candidate by the late Syd Thrift, after serving under Tony Larussa as the White Sox’s third base coach.
NL MVP: Albert Pujols
Not much needs to be said about Albert, although Ryan Howard of the Phillies gave him a run for his money. Pujols again posted all world stats, which we all know about. One aspect of his game that gets over looked is his base running ability. Pujols tied for 5th in the NL in Extra Bases taken as a runner, with 32.
NL CY Young: Chris Carpenter
For the second season in a row, Chris Carpenter was the most consistent of all national league starters. Carpenter had the second lowest ERA, at 3.09 and never had a month where his ERA was at 4.00 or above.
NL ROY : Hanely Rameriz
The persistent rumors surrounding the Boston Red Sox trading Rameriz finally became a reality in the 2005 off-season, when Rameriz was traded to the Marlins. Many felt that Rameriz would post average numbers during his first campaign, but he vastly exceeded all expectations. He stole 51 bags and scored 119 runs. But you would have to consider his 74 extra base hits as his most impressive statistic of the year.
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Nomar Garciaparra
After many consecutive injury-plagued seasons, Nomar made a move to first base, which enabled him to play in 122 games, his highest total since 2003. During the season he hit 20 HRs and knocked in 93 runs. He hit .303, bringing his lifetime average to .318.
NL Manager of the Year: Joe Giradi
The Ted Nolan of major league baseball, Giradi has been fired despite being the NL’s top manager in 2006. The result of the Marlins season is nothing short of miraculous. With a team payroll that is less than A-Rods salary, the Marlins fought their way into playoff contention down the stretch in the NL wildcard. It will be interesting to see where Giradi ends up, with strong rumors of Giradi joining the Cubs. With last nights playoff lose, an outside possibility exists of Torre leaving and Giradi taking over.