Monday, Nov. 7 - AL and NL Rookie of the Year
In the AL, most of the public support is going to Oakland closer Huston Street. The main competition will come from New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder Jonny Gomes, Chicago White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi, and Street's teammate, outfielder Nick Swisher. Expect Felix Hernandez to get some votes and finish in the top six or eight, even though he made just 12 starts.
ITP Prediction: Street, by a bit of landslide.
Tuesday, Nov. 8 - AL Cy Young Award
This is a down year for starting pitchers in the American League, with LA right-hander Bartolo Colon the slight favorite over Twins southpaw Johan Santana and Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Though he will probably win, Colon will be one of the worst statistical Cy Young winners in recent memory, joining Jack McDowell in 1993 and Roger Clemens in 2001.
ITP Prediction: Colon by a slim margin, with Santana and Rivera breathing down his neck, though they are both more deserving.
Wednesday, Nov. 9 - AL and NL Manager of the Year
These should be interesting. Bobby Cox should run away with it in the senior circuit, but with the strong finish by the Astros, Phil Gardner made a late push. In the AL, Ozzie Guillen and Eric Wedge will likely finish 1-2, with Mike Scosia pulling in some votes as well.
ITP Prediction: Cox will walk away with the NL's award, while Guillen edges the Tribe's field general.
Thursday, Nov. 10 - NL Cy Young Award
It's hard to believe that anyone would vote outside the foursome of Roger Clemens, Chris Carpenter, Dontrelle Willis and Roy Oswalt, but stranger things have happened. If the voters had a clue, and we know they really don't, as a whole, only the above four pitchers would receive points for placing as high as fourth.
ITP Prediction: Chris Carpenter. I would vote for Oswalt for the two-year award.
Monday, Nov. 14 - AL Most Valuable Player
Seems to be a two-man race between the clutch bat of David Ortiz and the all-around contributions of Alex Rodriguez. Ask 10 neutral baseball observers and you'll probably get five votes for each guy. And remember, Seattle isn't neutral.
ITP Prediction: A-ROD. I think I'd vote for Ortiz on this one, though Rodriguez was simply studly all season for the Yankees. Ortiz is relied on more in Boston than Alex is in New York, regardless of defensive prowess.
Tuesday, Nov. 15 - NL Most Valuable Player
Andruw Jones or Albert Pujols? How about Derrek Lee?
ITP Prediction: Some would argue that Jones was more valuable to his team's success than Pujols because the Cardinals have more quality worker bees than Atlanta. But without Scott Rolen all year and Reggie Sanders for two months, Pujols kept the Cards rolling offensively. If defense really means that much to ya, go with Jones. But Pujols is the most valuable player. He'll win his first of three in a row right here.
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