Hard to believe it, but the MLB’s second regular season is in now in the books.
With the close of the regular season, we all look to the Player Awards and vote for the MVP’s of the two leagues. Out of 800 major league players, a mere 10 are recognized for their notable accomplishments during the course of a season. Winners at times can be difficult to choose and a host of players are overlooked for their individual importance to their franchises.
Here are 32 players who were named the team’s Most Valuable Player and represent the “Face of the Franchise” this past season. The list includes an "Iron Man" and a "Mr. Hyde." A total of 29 players were selected by their owners, while three were selected by me. Thanks to all who helped and my apologies in advance if I missed anyone's TC or WC message.
Anaheim Angels – Robert Rogers – It was Mr. Rogers neighborhood in Anaheim. Despite finishing fourth in the AL in walks with 87 free passes, the first baseman still managed to drive in more than 100 runs and score more than 100 times to carry the Angels offense.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Roosevelt Voyles – Voyles is a cornerstone of the franchise’s future and a bright spot in an otherwise tough season. The young first baseman finished in the top 10 in the NL in Runs, Hits and Home Runs while posting a .300 batting average.
Atlanta Braves – Octavio Benitez – The Braves’ closer finished the season tied for the NL lead in Saves, shutting the door on 45 of their 82 wins. Benitez allowed just 3 home runs in 75 innings of work while striking out 73 batters, making him a strong candidate for Fireman of the Year.
Baltimore Orioles – Edgar Martin – The Orioles’ Ace and the leading AL Cy Young candidate notched an amazing 26 wins in 37 starts to set a new MLB record while finishing first in the AL in WHIP and ERA. His 1.90 ERA was a more than a point lower than the second place finisher.
Boston Red Sox – Matt Texeira – The Fenway faithful were wowed by the production out of sensational rookie Texeira, who finished third in the AL in Batting Average and On-Base Percentage while finishing third in the AL in Hits with 203. (a dwb selection)
Chicago Cubs – David Davis – The Cubs’ second baseman feasted on National League pitching, finishing second in the NL in RBI with 135 and third in the NL in Hits with 207. Of his connections, 44 of them found the bleachers. He earned his second consecutive Silver Slugger.
Chicago White Sox – Jonathan Goodman – Goodman’s 40 doubles and 50 stolen bases both set new franchise records and helped him finish tied for fourth in the AL in Runs, while his 31 homers also helped power Chicago’s offense all season.
Cincinnati Reds – Sawyer Miller – Batting lead-off, Miller set the table for the rest of the Reds offense, posting a .296 average, a .365 OBP and 37 steals on his way to finishing 11th in the NL in Runs. The center fielder earned his first Silver Slugger this season.
Cleveland Indians – Cy Larson – The right fielder followed up his rookie campaign by stroking 42 doubles, good to tie for second in the AL. When he didn’t get there naturally, he managed to steal the extra base 32 times. All of that standing on second helped him cross the plate 106 times for the Tribe.
Colorado Rockies – Danys Romero – The Rockies lead-off man touched home plate 145 times this year, good enough to tie for first in the entire league, while hitting .300 and leading the AL with stolen bases with 108 swipes.
Detroit Tigers – Juan Aguilera – Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Aguilera lead the Tigers in most offensive categories, including runs, triples, home runs, RBI and walks while holding down the corner in right. His 114 RBI were good for ninth in the AL.
Florida Marlins – Hal Nixon – The Marlins ace tied for sixth in the NL in Wins with 16. Along the way he posted a new franchise record for Earned Run Average, with the new low at 3.19. He struck out 143 in 164 innings for the fish.
Houston Astros – Merv Dorsey – The prize acquisition of the offseason, the Astros struggles were in no way due to the lack of output from the corner outfielder, who finished fifth in the NL in Slugging Percentage (.570) and seventh in Batting Average (.314), earning him a Silver Slugger this season.
Kansas City Royals – Eric Dickson – Defense wins games. The Royals turned 476 double-plays this year and made 84 positive plays as a team, good for second in the league in each category. Playing shortstop, Dickson was the centerpiece of the defense, making 22 positive plays without a single negative one, earning him a Gold Glove. (a dwb selection)
Los Angeles Dodgers – Bernie Speier – In a rotation filled with star pitching, Speier is the crown jewel of the Dodgers’ staff. The Cy Young candidate lead the NL in Wins with 24, K’s with 235 and ERA, posting a paltry 2.10.
Milwaukee Brewers – Alex Gomez – This year’s All-Star game MVP does it all with his bat. The catcher finished second in the NL in OBP with a .459 mark and third in Slugging Percentage at .625, netting him his second consecutive Silver Slugger.
Minnesota Twins – Pat Dunston – While holding down the most difficult defensive position, the slugging shortstop brought his bat to the game as well. Dunston finished ninth in the AL in OPS while scoring 115 times and driving in 109 runs.
Montreal Expos – Julio Guillen – How did Guillen qualify for the NL Rookie-of-the-Year? All he managed to do was lead the NL in Runs (144), Hits (210) and Doubles (41), while stealing 55 bags (good for fifth in the NL) and finishing the season with an average of .309 (good for ninth).
New Orleans Jazz – Mark Feng – The Jazz’s big bat at the DH spot finished seventh in Slugging Percentage in the AL with .571 mark, and his 44 homers and 124 RBI were good for seventh and sixth in the AL, respectively.
New York Mets – Rob Woodson – The Mets’ young centerfielder has a bright future. Woodson carried the offensive attack, leading the club in Hits, Homeruns and RBI. The speedy Woodson also scored 97 times.
New York Yankees – Javier Mercado – In his sophomore campaign, Mercado collected 202 hits which was good for fourth in the AL. Of the 202 hits, 76 went for extra bases – including 40 doubles and 30 home runs – all helping him finish with an OPS north of .900.
Oakland Athletics – Nate Cunningham – The former World’s-Strongest-Man competitor turned Major League Baseball player smashed 46 homeruns for the Athletics, good to tie for fourth in the AL, and slugged a mark of.568, good for eighth overall in the AL.
Philadelphia Phillies – Manny Martin – The Phillies centerfielder swatted 44 homeruns, but there was no tradeoff of defense for power with Martin. He made 14 positive plays and no negative ones in 143 starts in center. Honorable mention goes to Edge Gibbons for keeping a pitching staff that suffered debilitating injuries from completely collapsing.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Yovani Fuentes – Major League baseball’s best position player celebrated his 31st birthday by setting new world records for Batting Average (.386), On-Base Percentage (.498), Slugging Percentage (.739) and OPS (1.237).
San Diego Padres – Marquis Kolb – The Padres “Iron Man” out of the bullpen worked more than 140 innings in just 60 appearances on the mound, but he left an impression. His work earned him 13 wins without a loss, the most wins of any non-starter in the league, as well 10 saves and a 2.88 ERA.
San Francisco Giants – Kelvim Thompson – Promoted this spring to the starting rotation from AAA, the rookie southpaw brought the heat. Thompson proceeded to fan 158 batters in 173 innings of work on his way to a winning record in San Francisco. His 8.22 K’s/9 innings were fourth best in the NL and sixth best in the majors and shattered the previous Giants’ franchise record. (a dwb selection)
Seattle Mariners – Nipsey Greer – The Mariners’ got an unexpected boost from roaming right fielder this season. Logging an additional 230 AB, Greer responded to the challenge to finish sixth in the AL in Slugging Percentage and eighth in the AL in Homeruns with 42 all while driving in 110 runs on the season to lead the club.
St. Louis Cardinals – Angel Bonilla – The Red Birds’ shortstop had a Cinderella-like season, setting a new MLB record with 118 steals in 118 attempts while scoring 114 runs and collecting 95 RBI. His unlikely work with the bat earned him his first Silver Slugger.
Tampa Bay Rays – Alex Sinclair – The Rays had five starting pitchers find their way to the disabled list this season. When they did, the club turned to the reliable Sinclair who was ready to carry the load. Standing in the shadow of fellow Fireman of the Year candidate Vic Zorilla, Sinclair worked 114 innings including two spot starts, going 8-3 and posting a WHIP of 1.19.
Texas Rangers – Reed Hoyt – Hoyt is the "Mr. Hyde" to teammate Ringo Johnson’s "Dr. Jeckyll." His impressive resume includes finishing third in the league in Batting Average and On-Base Percentage, second in Slugging Percentage and OPS, tying for first in Runs and RBI and socking 51 homers, good for third in the league.
Toronto Blue Jays – Albert Belliard – Fresh from the Diamondbacks, the Blue Jays’ new designated hitter finished eighth in the AL in On-Base Percentage with a mark of .407 while swatting 27 homeruns and driving in 90 runners.
Washington Nationals – Edgar Castillo – Brought over in a trade with the Phillies, Castillo flourished in a number of roles for the Nationals and lead the club in Homeruns with 42 and drove 109 baserunners while batting .327 (third in the NL), posting an OBP of .427 (fourth in the NL) and slugging .673 (second in the NL).