Dugout Central’s April round-up
One month is in the books, let’s look at what’s gone down:
If the playoffs started tomorrow (The May Classic?), your AL division winners would be New York, Cleveland, and Texas, with Tampa and LA playing a one-game playoff for the wildcard. Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Colorado would be division winners with Florida getting the wildcard. Cincinatti would get the second wildcard if this were 2012.
Your AL MVP would have to be Jose Bautista, who currently leads the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, total bases, walks, homeruns and runs scored. Miguel Cabrera, who finished second last year, would be my pick for another runner-up.
NL MVP? I’d love to give it to Ryan Braun and his Major League leading 10 homeruns, but you’ve got to go with the guy in St. Louis. He’s been tearing up NL Central for a decade now and he’s off to a hot start. That’s right. Lance Berkman is your NL MVP. Honorable mentions go out to reigning MVP Joey Votto (.504 OBP) and Matt Kemp (1.059 OPS from CF).
The AL Cy Young award is an easy pick, with Jered Weaver currently 6-0, with an ERA of 0.99. He will put that perfect record on the line today against the Tampa Bay Rays. Teammate Dan Haren currently leads the American League in WHIP and is an easy choice for second with Indians starter Justin Masterson and his 5-0 record coming in at third.
The NL Cy Young award would go to Josh Johnson and his 0.88 ERA. That’s right, in his 41 innings of work so far this year, he’s give up exactly four runs. He also leads the league in WHIP at 0.707. JJ’s challenger is Roy Halladay who already has two complete games and has averaged about an extra inning per start on the Marlin righty.
I think the defensive play (or, I should say, plays) of the year was from Brent Lillibridge of the Chicago White Sox. Against the Yankees earlier this week, he came in as a pinch-runner for the lead-gloved Carlos Quentin and replaced him in the field as the rightfielder. With two on and 1 out and the White Sox up by 1 run, he made an absolutely spectacular runner grab on the warning track to rob A-Rod of a probable game-winning hit. One play later, he made a tremendous diving catch off Robinson Cano on what might otherwise have been a game-ending hit. If there’s a defensive equivalent to a game-winning homerun, that’s it.
Biggest surprise team? Easily the Cleveland Indians. They have the best record in the American League and that’s without big-time performances from Shin-Soo Choo, Fausto Carmona, or Carlos Santana. Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner are playing like it’s 2006 and they haven’t had 27 surgeries in between the two of them. At some point, Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin (combined 9-0 with a WHIP just over 1 and a 2.32 ERA) have to come back down to Earth. The question is – when do we start taking this team seriously?