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Rodriguez, Jones for MLB MVPs

By Yong-yi Zhu
ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR

Now that the baseball season is over, we can start handing out the hardware for awards garnered during the regular season. This year, we saw many players look great midway through the season only to tail off significantly by the end. Following are the players I believe to be worthy candidates for the MVPs and Cy Youngs of each league.

American League MVP

The two most deserving players are David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez. Ortiz has great power hitting numbers — he helped the Red Sox get out to a lead in the AL East, and with Manny alongside, once again proved crucial to the Sox’s playoff run.

But A-Rod tops him not only with high home run and runs batted in totals, but also by having a good batting average. On top of that, he brought the Yankees back from the edge of losing the AL East — he was the one who went four for five in the game the Yankees needed to win to clinch the East once again. A-Rod has the whole package, and unlike his previous MVP, which he only won with his numbers, this year he truly is a valuable player.

National League MVP

At mid-season, we all felt that Derek Lee would run away with this baby. A Triple Crown contender like him would be valuable to any team, even the Chicago Cubs. But slowly and surely, the 162-game schedule wore him down, and he has dropped back in the home run and RBI columns.

With Lee stumbling, there was a chance that it was Albert Pujols’ year to finally win an MVP, especially without Barry Bonds. He has an awesome slugging percentage, on base percentage, home run total, and just about anything else you can record as a stat.

However, the man that topped them all by not only having an NL Double Crown, but also by leading his team to the playoffs, is Andruw Jones. In the past, Jones was regularly a strikeout victim. But this year, when Chipper Jones went down with an injury early in the season, Andruw stepped it up and led all the rookies on the Atlanta team to victory after victory. Without him, one could wonder whether the Braves would have made the playoffs this year.

American League Cy Young

Perhaps the fuzziest award. The two good candidates for this award are pitchers Bartolo Colon and Johan Santana. Johan Santana has awesome strikeout totals and a terrific ERA. But he lost a few decisions and the Minnesota Twins suffered a fate out of the playoffs.

The Angels’ Bartolo Colon, on the other hand, is a workhorse. He pitches a lot of innings and becomes tougher to hit as the game progresses. He has won the most games of any AL pitcher this season. He even helped the Angels reach the postseason over a surging crowd of Billy-Beaners — why he is my pick for the Cy Young for the American League.

National League Cy Young

Some may say Dontrelle Willis deserves the award for all his victories. Others say Chris Carpenter deserves it for his overall stats. But the clear winner for the award, in my eyes, is Roger Clemens.

He has helped pitch his Astros from a winless road record back into the postseason. Did I mention he is 43 years old and has an ERA of 1.89? It not only proves that he is one of the greatest of all time, but that he was the best pitcher this year.