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More First-Quarter Awards

Noticing a distinct uptick in visitors here recently, drawn by search engine queries like "Dontrelle Willis trade Arizona". [Of course, we're still getting oddball ones too, like today's favourite query, "Power Rangers pictures", which I must confess, I'm somewhat bemused by. I also note "Nick Piecoro" turning up as a search term, and I'd like to thank Mrs. Piecoro for stopping by to check what we said about her son. :-)]. Will keep updating johngordonma's diary as I find any more snippets. While I'm here, thought I might follow up my first-quarter Rookie of the Year analysis, by doing the same for MVP and Cy Young in the NL.

National League Most Valuable Player

  1. Albert Pujols, St Louis
  2. Lance Berkman, Houston
  3. Brad Hawpe, Colorado
  4. Bill Hall, Milwaukee
  5. Carlos Delgago, New York Mets

It isn't even close - I might as well have put "#1: Pujols. #2: Everyone else." Pujols has started the season by swatting homers quicker and faster than anyone else, but with a .315 batting average, isn't just hacking up there. Berkman and Morgan Ensberg have both been red-hot for the Astros, and either deserve a spot; the same goes for Hawpe and Matt Holliday, two big reasons why Colorado are not the cellar-dwellers anticipated. Hall might be a surprise - of the fifteen players with double-digit HRs, he's probably the least well-known, but a .979 OPS is hard to argue with. Delgado has been the best player on a Mets team that has only recently cooled off.

Who's been Arizona's MVP? Going out on a limb here, I'd have to say Eric Byrnes. [If you were to argue for Brandon Webb, I'd listen sympathetically, before saying you can't be "most valuable", when you only play one game in five. Best, yes - just not most valuable] I think it's safe to say Byrnes has surpassed all expectation in CF: while his glove work has been its anticipated mix of brilliance and idiocy, hit hitting has been a tremendous, pleasant surprise, with a .325 batting average. In fact, just one player in the NL West has a higher OPS this season: Barry Bonds, and that's only because of the walks.

National League Cy Young

  1. Brandon Webb, Arizona
  2. Tom Glavine, New York Mets
  3. Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati
  4. Pedro Martinez, New York Mets
  5. Chris Capuano, Milwaukee

Webb's last outing, a complete-game shutout against Atlanta, cemented his position as the best pitcher in the National League. Averaging 7.1 innings per start, with a K:BB ratio of 6:1, he has matured significantly in all areas of his game this season. The only mark against him would be opponents batting .264 off Webb, which is too high a mark to be called truly dominating - it's the highest of the top 15 in ERA. The good news is, his DIPS (Defence-Independent) ERA is still second-best in the league, at 3.22, behind only Capuano's 3.20.

Glavine is the only other seven-game winner in the league, and with Martinez, will pose a formidable 1-2 punch for the playoffs. I'm already anticipating an NLCS between them and the Cardinals. Arroyo's ERA is the best in the league, at 2.29, and Capuano is turning out to be a genuine, unexpected ace for the Brewers [Mutter...Richie Sexson...mumble] And pity Brett Myers and John Thomson: ERA's of 2.75 and 2.76, but just three wins in 17 starts combined.