Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals
.327 BA 47 HR 135 RBI
No question here. Most people thought that he was going to be the first player to win the Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski back in 1967. He came pretty close, but teams started pitching around him toward the end of the season. It was a special record-breaking year for Pujols, as he helped lead his team to the NLDS. He became the first player in history to hit 30 home runs or more in the first nine seasons of his career. Everyone knows he can hit homers, but this year he was doing it consistently with runners on, particularly with the bases loaded. He had ten multi-homer games and three grandslams, each tying the franchise record. Although he denies it in that ESPN commercial, Pujols is still a machine in my opinion, and he should be a lock for this award.
Prince Fielder – Milwaukee Brewers
.299 BA 46 HR 141 RBI
Ryan Howard – Philadelphia Phillies
.279 BA 45 HR 141 RBI
Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins
.365 BA 28 HR 96 RBI
Mauer gets better every year. He missed the first month of the season, yet he still finished with impressive numbers. Toward the end of the season, he single-handedly led the Twins to the playoffs when Justin Morneau went down with an injury. The 28 home runs came as a surprise to many people, considering his prior career high was 13 back in 2006. The .356 average was also a career high. Everyone knows he can hit for average, but now with some power numbers to add with that, Mauer will probably continue to be the best catcher in the league for many years to come. His teammate Morneau won it in 2006, and now he’ll be the latest Twin to bring home the award.
Derek Jeter – New York Yankees
.334 BA 18 HR 66 RBI
Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees
.292 BA 39 HR 122 RBI
N.L. Cy Young
Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals
19-8 2.63 ERA 212 SO
This was tough. He is ultimatley competing for this with his teammate Chris Carpenter. The Cardinals are in a good position here with two players up for the Cy Young. However, I think Wainwright gets the edge here just because of wins. Wainwright had an NL best 19 wins. He also led the NL in innings pitched with 233, showing that he could go deep into a game with little problems, helping St. Louis rest their relievers. Wainwright was also capable of striking out opponents. His 212 strikeouts ranked fourth best. Wainwright proved to be the most consistent pitcher in the major three statistics that go into determining the winner.
Chris Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
17-4, 2.24 ERA, 144 K
Tim Lincecum – San Francisco Giants
2.48 ERA, 261 K
A.L. Cy Young
Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers
19-9, 3.45 ERA, 269 K
There are four pitchers who could win this. However, Verlander lead the AL in wins AND strikeouts. Leading in two out of the three stats for the Cy Young is very impressive these days in the MLB. After a dismal 2008 season, Verlander posted the best numbers of his career. He accepted the job as the Tigers ace and pitched well for them all season. Zach Greinke was of to a hot start, and his ERA was outstanding, but he could not get the wins in the second half of the season. The Royals are not the team you want to be on if you want wins. CC Sabathia and Felix Hernandez would be the next contenders, and CC may win because his team won the World Series with him pitching on short rest, but the fact that Verlander had such an amazing turn around from last season will most likely put him above these guys.
Zach Greinke – Kansas City Royals
2.16 ERA 242 K
CC Sabathia – New York Yankees
3.37 ERA 197 K
Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
19-5 2.49 ERA 217 SO