By Ryne Sandberg, Yahoo Sports
September 27, 2005
Choosing this year's American League MVP is very difficult. You can make a case for three different guys – David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez. All three are on playoff-caliber teams. All three deserve the award.
There are three prime candidates for the AL Cy Young award, too – Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland and Bartolo Colon. I chose the pitcher who was the most consistent. He was also the leader on the best starting staff in the league.
For every major award, there are three to four solid choices, but I felt one player always stood out. Here are my winners for the 2005 season (statistics through Monday's games):
MVP: David Ortiz
I know I'll take a lot of heat because he's a designated hitter, but his offensive numbers speak for themselves. He leads the AL with 46 home runs and 140 RBIs. He's also in the top three in runs scored (115), total bases (348) and slugging percentage (.606). Those numbers show that he is the most feared hitter in the American League. Along with Ramirez, he has led the Boston Red Sox offense all year long, and he has come through in the clutch.
Cy Young: Mark Buehrle
I went with Buehrle because of his leadership in the Chicago White Sox's rotation, which is the best in the AL. Although, he has just 16 wins, Buehrle leads the league with 231 innings pitched. At one point in the season, he had a nine-game win streak from April 16 through June 28. During that stretch, he went 9-0 with a 2.34 ERA in 14 starts with a pair of complete games. I was very close to giving the award to Colon, but even though he's a 20-game winner, he didn't bring the consistency that Buehrle did.
Manager of the Year: Eric Wedge
Wedge led a group of unknown players on the Cleveland Indians to the top of the AL wild-card race. He has mixed together a group of young talent (Jhonny Peralta, Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner and Coco Crisp) with a few solid veterans (Kevin Millwood and Aaron Boone) to create a great team. Wedge had an 80-82 club last year, and the .500 mark is where most people predicted them to be this season. The Indians are currently 28 games over .500.
Rookie of the Year: Robinson Cano
He has been a staple in the New York Yankees' lineup all year, leading AL rookies in batting average (.293), runs (76), hits (146), total bases (229) and doubles (33). Most first-year players slow down towards the end of the season because they're not used to playing so many games (he's played 126), but Cano has batted .382 in September with 15 extra-base hits and 16 RBIs in 23 games.
Comeback Player: Jason Giambi
After batting .208 in 80 games last year with the Yankees, Giambi has turned his career around. He's hitting .272 with 31 home runs and 83 RBIs. He has put the steroid issue behind him and has asked for forgiveness.
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Updated on Tuesday, Sep 27, 2005 3:31 pm, EDT
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