I was putting together some stuff for Greg Spira, who is assembling our midseason awards, and I decided to just share my ballots as today's column.
Anyway, on to my ballots. Remember, I have a bias in favor of up-the-middle players, and I don't spend much time worrying about the performance of a player's teammates in someone him on the ballot.
One of these years, Alex Rodriguez is going to win this thing. The fact that he and Mike Piazza have a grand total of zero MVPs in their careers is one of those head-scratchers that our grandchildren are going spend a lot of time trying to solve.
AL Cy Young
Yeah, the Red Sox are in the right order. I bowed a bit to the defense-independent stats here. I don't believe either pitcher is going to win the award, because I don't believe either will get to 200 innings. That means some goofy winner like a 24-5, 4.08 Mike Mussina or whoever gets to 50 saves.
AL Rookie of the Year
Oh, go ahead. Argue the point. The down-ballot voting is a mess, with a bunch of deserving players who are difficult to separate.
NL Cy Young
Do you see an internal consistency problem? Tom Glavine vs. Randy Johnson is more or less the same as Derek Lowe vs. Pedro Martinez. In this case, I went with the guy with better traditional and Support-Neutral numbers, as much because of Glavine's role in the Braves' season as anything else. By the end of the year, I expect this to change.
NL Rookie of the Year
I hate the notion that Japanese players coming over shouldn't be granted rookie status. Look, Clay Davenport has done some good work in this area, but until an actual movement develops to consider the Japanese Leagues "major," or a rule is put in place barring guys like Ishii from being considered, you have to follow the guidelines that are in place. By those, Ishii is the easy choice.
I wanted to provide more commentary, but to be honest, I'm feeling a little flat; the news just broke that Ted Williams has died, and it's hard to get excited about anything at this point. He was a great baseball player, to be sure, but he was also one of this country's greatest soldiers, serving with distinction in two wars. What he lacked in popularity in his younger days he made up for later, culminating in an emotional scene at the 1999 All-Star Game in Boston. On the field at Fenway Park, where Williams had spent his entire career, today's greatest players jockeyed for a moment with the Splendid Splinter while his hometown crowd cheered.
I'm too young to have known Ted Williams the hitter. I'm too far away to know Ted Williams the man. All I know is Ted Williams the legend. I'll miss that Ted Williams. We all will.
I'm off all next week. This space will be filled by people younger, smarter and better-looking than I am. Here's hoping I have a job when I return.