It's the end of the regular season, and while enough axes are flying to chop down a forest, one division's outcome is in doubt.
All the stretch-run races for post-season slots but one are settled on the regular season's final day today, as the Tigers will try to avoid an epic collapse after blowing a three-game lead to the Twins in the last three days to fall into a tie for the American League Central lead. Besides watching the Tigers host the White Sox and the Twins host the Royals in what could be the last game in the Metrodome, the only thing left to ponder is the race for the individual awards:
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Wrapping up the JAWS rankings for this year's Hall of Fame eligibles.
Finally, we come to the pitchers on the BBWAA ballot for the Hall of Fame, a mercifully short list this time around, featuring four holdovers and three newcomers. Among this group, Bert Blyleven is the standout, and while he's certainly no lock to gain election this time around, he jumped to nearly 62 percent in last year's vote, suggesting that the work done by statheads here and elsewhere to boost his candidacy is finally getting through to the voters.
It's time to announce the winners of the 17th annual Internet Baseball Awards. More than 1,400 baseball fans from cyberspace participated in this effort to honor those players and managers whose performance in 2008 were most deserving.
Just like it oughta be—the AL's best go head to head for the pennant.
It had to come to this, the league's two best teams from the league's strongest division, squaring off to see if the American League's going to stomp all over the National League one more time. The Rays as a representation of all that can be right about an organization on the way up, the Red Sox as a representation of all that can be right about an organization that already has it made. To extend the rhetoric to its most overstated, it's something fresh from the land of snowbirds and retirees going up against the newly-established evil empire. Whether as a matter of scouting, utilizing performance analysis, or how effectively they keep their players in action, these are two teams that attack every potential organizational problem with every management tool possible, matching their assemblages of playing talent on the field with exceptional talent off of it, in the dugouts, the executive suites, and the trainer's rooms. Every bit as much as the NLCS, this year's ALCS promises a tight, exciting, and hard-fought matchup.
One member's picks for the various BBWAA awards, friction in San Diego, and long schedules afford extra options in playoff rotations.
It will not be an easy task for the Baseball Writers Association of America, those who have been asked to select the American League's Most Valuable Player. Ballots filled out by the 28 voters (two in each city in the league) must be e-mailed back to the BBWAA headquarters by the time the postseason begins on Wednesday afternoon, and it is easy to picture a many of them mulling over their choices until the very last minute, because there is no easy choice.
As in the AL, the Central division is as tight as can be, while in the East two Mets are predicted to take home some hardware along with their division flag.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the National League, along with the staff picks in some fun miscellaneous categories.
Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.
Before voting in the IBAs, you may want to refer to a few tools from the box to build a better ballot.
I was completely intent on finishing up with our discussion of umpires today-based on the execrable officiating in last night's game, the men in blue deserve every bit of scrutiny we can focus upon them-but then I remembered something that's a bit more urgent. The Internet Baseball Awards seem to sneak up on me every year, and this season was no exception. Voting runs through this Friday, and if you haven't voted yet, you should absolutely take advantage of the opportunity to let your voice be heard in what some regard as the best year-end awards in baseball.
We're deep into the stretch drive, with some races still being run, and some seemingly done. How do we model our in-season prediction of how things will wind up?
September is the month where the great pennant races happen. In the current three divisions plus a Wild Card set-up, baseball's focus gets placed on the playoff games in October, but it's easy to forget that once upon a time, and for a very long time, the year-long drama of the regular season was often more compelling than what happened during a week or two of World Series action.
There's a rising favorite in the AL Central, as our experts weigh in on everything from division winners to Matsuzaka's line.
Our annual predictions arrive this year as our Hope and Faith series comes to an end. While the beauty of spring training is that every team can think it has a chance, somebody has to take the losses. For today, we concentrate on the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American League. Tomorrow we'll conclude with the National League predictions, along with the staff picks for the World Series.
Each author's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division, plus the results of our preseason MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year voting. A slight shift at the bottom of the AL East rankings, a rising favorite in the AL Central, and anarchy in the AL West highlight our staff's guesses.