Ladies and gentlemen, this is the 1st annual Marky Awards for baseball, the most prestigious award of any kind since the Cable Ace. After tabulating all the votes, The Mark Graham Sports Blog has come up with the winners in the following fields:
- AL Pitcher of the Year- Tigers P Justin Verlander
Verlander just dominated this year going 24-5 with a league leading 2.40 ERA. Verlander was a big part of the Tigers success this season ans should be a shoo in for (a less prestigious) Cy Young
Honorable Mention- Yankees P CC Sabathia, Tigers P Jose Valverde
- NL Pitcher of the Year- Diamondbacks P Ian Kennedy
It would be real easy to go with Roy Halladay and one could make a real argument for him, but my vote goes to Kennedy. Kennedy went 21-4 with an ERA of 2.88. Before this season, Kennedy's career high in wins was 9 in 2010. Kennedy seems to be in the prime of his career and only will get better. His pitching helped propel the Diamondbacks to a surprise NL West title and was easily the best player on his team this season.
Honorable Mention- Phillies P Roy Halladay
- AL Most Valuable Player- Tigers P Justin Verlander
Again, Verlander is deserving of this award. Verlander's pitching this season was lights out and was the only starting pitcher on his team with an ERA under 4. With the starting pitchers ERA being so high the Tigers still won the AL Central and defeated the Yankees because of Verlander. Verlander is the MVP, period.
Honorable Mention- Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees CF Curtis Granderson
- NL Most Valuable Player- Brewers LF Ryan Braun
I had three players in mind when thinking about this. Matt Kemp was the best player on his team, but the Dodgers were a non-factor. Prince Fielder had a great year but another player on his own team I thought was more valuable. So Ryan Braun wins the NL MVP. Braun hit .332, 33 HR, 111 RBI and was one half of probably the best 1-2 punch in baseball. I chose Braun over Fielder simply because Braun was an overall better hitter. Fielder may have had a higher on base percentage but Braun had the higher batting average. Although, I would not be surprised if Fielder wins the MLB NL MVP, Braun gets the more prestigious Marky Award.
Honorable Mention- Dodgers CF Matt Kemp, Brewers 1B Prince Fielder
- Brien Taylor Award (Biggest Disappointment)- White Sox DH Adam Dunn
Red Sox fans everywhere would probably say Carl Crawford but Crawford eventually got out of his slump. Dunn however did not. After signing a four year, $56 million deal with the South Siders, Dunn hit .159, 11 HR, 42 RBI, and had a mind boggling 177 strikeouts. Many players would be sent down to the minors, but the White Sox signed Dunn for that much money they just simply couldn't do it. Dunn is now untradeable because of this season and the White Sox are now stuck with him for three more seasons. Good signing, Kenny.
Honorable Mention- Red Sox P John Lackey
- AL Manager of the Year- Rays manager Joe Maddon
Any reason I need to explain? Maddon led the Rays to an epic comeback erasing a Red Sox nine game lead in September. It seems like every button Maddon pushes seems to be the right one. For example, when the Rays were down in the ninth on the final game of the year, he called upon Dan Johnson to pinch hit and he proceeded to hit the game tying home run. Maddon also won with a razor thin payroll and it goes to show you with the right leadership you can win with anything.
Honorable Mention- Rangers manager Ron Washington
- NL Manager of the Year- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson
The Diamondbacks were not supposed to win the NL West, but try telling that to Kirk Gibson. Gibson led the Diamondbacks to a 94-68 record, a 29 win improvement from last season. The Diamondbacks didn't really make any big changes during the offseason, so it was almost the same team as last year. Gibson was a hard nosed player back in the day and expects the same from his team and it payed of this year. With Gibson at the helm, good days are ahead for the D-Backs.
Honorable Mention- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle
- AL Rookie of the Year- Rays P Jeremy Hellickson
Hellickson was a solid starter for the Rays this past season going 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA. He also threw two complete games with one being a shutout. Hellickson was pretty good down the stretch when the Rays needed him. That is a pretty tall order for a rookie.
Honorable Mention- Yankees P Ivan Nova
- NL Rookie of the Year- Braves P Craig Kimbrel
The Braves had a few good rookies this year, but none was better than Kimbrel. Kimbrel led the NL in saves with 46 and he is only a rookie. Kimbrel was as good as they come in terms of relief pitchers (except for the blown save against the Phillies). Kimbrel still has time to grow as a closer and could be one of the greats.
Honorable Mention- Braves 1B Freddie Freeman, Phillies P Vance Worley
That is all for this year's Marky Awards for Baseball Excellence (except for Dunn) don't forget to tip your waitresses and have a good night.