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June 10, 1998
BP Polling: Steven Rubio's BallotTop Ten Teams
1. Yankees: First in majors in runs per game, first in AL in fewest runs allowed.
2. Braves: I still don't believe in Galarraga, though.
3. Astros: Moises Alou?
4. Rangers: Proof that pitching isn't 75% of the game.
5. Indians: Don't blame them for the crappiness of the rest of the division.
6. Giants: Not only better than last year, they are better than this year's Padres.
7. Mets: But Nomo won't help.
8. Padres: No team has played more one-run games in 1998 than these guys. That's a bad sign, not a good one.
9. Cubs: Until they fade, and they will.
10. Red Sox: Duquette is doing fine.
1. Expos: Their low-budget ways were fine with me until they dumped Pedro.
2. Royals: Almost too easy to pick.
3. Orioles: "I've got an idea! Let's sign a bunch of fading veterans so we can lead the league in clubhouse influence!"
1. Ivan Rodriguez: Will fade, won't be my choice at year's end. 26 years old.
2. Alex Rodriguez: Better on the road than Junior. 22 years old.
3. Jim Thome: Why doesn't he get included on lists like this more often? 27 years old.
4. Bernie Williams: Continues to improve on offense. 29 years old.
5. Matt Stairs: Must have one eccentric pick. 30 years old.
The ages of the players are included as a consumer guide to the Baltimore Orioles, who don't seem to understand the concept of age and peak seasons.
1. Mark McGwire: Duh, and yes, I know he's older than 30.
2. Moises Alou: No, I don't believe it either, which is why I don't like these early-June polls. But so far, he belongs here.
3. Sammy Sosa: See Moises Alou. Hitting .364 away from Wrigley.
4. Barry Bonds: Fourth means he's having an off-year. It's all his fault the Giants are only in second place.
5. Chipper Jones: OK, I'm not paying much attention to defense.
Cy Young Award
1. Greg Maddux: Sorry for the dull choice.
2. Kevin Brown: See Maddux, G.
3. Andy Ashby: Picks 2 & 3 have a lot to do with the Padres being in first place.
1. Chuck Finley: Will fade.
2. Pedro Martinez: Won't fade, will be my choice at year's end.
3. Brad Radke: No one ever picks Twins for this stuff anymore. I'm never quite sure what "underrated" means, but Radke fits the description, whatever it is.
Rookies of the Year
I want to cop out here, too, since it's entirely possible the best rookie in the league hasn't been called up yet. So I'm cheating and just listing just my #1 picks, but no more:
AL: Ben Grieve
NL: Kerry Wood
Managers of the Year
Impossible to say. I think there's an essay here on statheads and managers, but rating the best in early June? Impossible.