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Top Ten Teams:

1. Yanquis. I thought they’d be good. They’ve been significantly
better than I expected.

2. Braves. Always a great team, they’re getting good seasons from
their Colorado imports. Whowouldathunk?

3. Padres. Everything’s coming together for this team. Except
Joey Hamilton.

4. Astros. Again very solid, and getting some unexpected pitching
help.

5. Red Sox. The outfield has been a surprise. Tom Gordon
destroying batters from the pen hasn’t.

6. Giants. And for the life of me I don’t understand why.

7. Indians. Some shaky pitching, but Thome, Justice, Giles,
Ramirez, and Lofton are a nice antidote for that.

8. Rangers. Of course, what team batting Tom Goodwin and Mark
McLemore 1-2 wouldn’t be on this list?

9. Cubs. Wood has been the focus of this team’s good start, but
it won’t last.

10. Mets. The excellent Piazza trade puts this team in contention.

Turkeys

1. Orioles. Uh, yeah. Like we said, they aren’t very good, no
matter how much money Angelos throws around.

2. Mariners. Very disappointing early on. What’s up with that
bullpen?

3. Dodgers. A perennial disappointment for their fans. Despite
talent, they’ll again be scrambling for the postseason.

MVP

National League

1. Mark McGwire. Only his health will keep him from a serious run
at Maris.

2. Chipper Jones. His hot start helps here.

3. Barry Bonds. Shrugged off a slow start to resume his normal
place as NL’s most productive OF.

4. Greg Maddux. Like Bonds, he’s again the NL’s best.

5. Jason Kendall. Best hitting catcher in the league, with a
nod to Piazza and Lopez.

American League

1. Ivan Rodriguez. Awesome. More average, less power, but
similar to Piazza’s 1997.

2. Damion Easley. Whatever this guy is sprinkling on his cereal,
I need some.

3. Ken Griffey Jr. Unlike Frank Thomas, the 1998 edition of
Junior is as good as ever.

4. Bernie Williams. The best offensive player on a great Yankee
team.

5. Alex Rodriguez. I wish he’d take more passes, but you can’t
argue with his awesome power.

Cy Young Award

National League

1. Greg Maddux. He’s so good, he’s boring.

2. Andy Ashby. A nice comeback; he, not Kevin Brown, has been the
Padre ace so far.

3. Tom Glavine. See Maddux.

American League

1. Chuck Finley. Every year I think he’s through, and every year
he proves me wrong.

2. Baby Huey Irabu. Wow. Maybe he *is* as good as he thinks he
is.

3. Pedro Martinez. A mostly successful move to the AL for baseball’s
richest man.

Rookie of the Year

National League

1. Kerry Wood. Breathtaking talent. 20 K was no fluke.

2. Matsao Yoshii. A big part of New York having the NL’s best
rotation.

3. Derek Lee. Started out strong, but Florida is playing games
with his playing time.

American League

1. Rolando Arrojo. The lone bright spot in Tampa Bay’s dismal
maiden season.

2. Ben Grieve. Already he’s Oakland’s offensive mainstay.

3. Dave Ortiz. A shame he got hurt; he was having an excellent
season.