With the Nationals series opener against the Diamondbacks scheduled to start in less than a half hour, I figured for kicks and giggles that I would take a look back at the April that was in MLB and hand out totally hollow and meaningless awards, all for the entertainment of the masses. I think I will call them the MESPY (Matt’s Excellence in Self-Promotion Yada Yada) Awards.
AL MVP: Josh Hamilton. The only caveat with Hamilton is whether he can hold up for close to 162 games. His current back injury is a small red flag but his April was monster nevertheless. He led the AL in RBIs, home runs, and was second in average and runs scored. No wonder his 1.8 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) according to FanGraphs was second in baseball.
AL CY Young: Jake Peavy. He paces all pitchers with a 1.5 WAR and has posted a quality start in each of his five outings. Oh, and he belongs to the same caveat club as Hamilton. It’s a party inside!!!
AL Rookie of the Year: Yu Darvish. I’m not too keen in handing out a ROY to a player who has already played seven professional seasons, but hey, these awards are fake anyways. After two shaky outings to start his Ranger career, Darvish has been quite filthy.
NL MVP: Matt Kemp. That is all.
NL CY Young: Stephen Strasburg. Oh, that is like Beethoven to the ears. Five quality starts in five appearances, second in the NL in strikeouts, and he leads all NL pitchers with a 1.3 WAR.
NL Rookie of the Year: Kirk Niewenhuis. I don’t know what was more shocking. That it only took me two attempts to spell his name correctly or that Kirk Niewenhuis! is the early leader. He edges out Lance Lynn of the Cardinals but the yada yada in me could see it going either way.
Nationals’ MVP & CY Young: Strasburg. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the best pitcher on a team that has been led to its good start by its pitching should take home both awards. However, Adam LaRoche does deserve a Reserve MESPY for being by far and away the Nationals best positional player.
Nationals’ ROY: Bryce Harper. Lombardozzi has perhaps done a bit more, but I’m hoping Harper hears about his MESPY and in a moment of tearful gratefulness, hires me as his CPA.
And that’s all folks!
I can’t begin to describe to you how badly I wanted Matt Kemp in fantasy baseball last year. Think how much a Spaniard desires a job, alas with the same results. No Kemp and a putrid year from Hanley Ramirez translated to the first season in a long, long time without a championship. Flash forward to last night, bottom of the tenth, and the curse of Kemp struck again, this time in real life, as his walk-off home run downed the Nationals 4-3.
Am I bitter? Well, to put it in perspective, Kemp only ruined a sterling start from Stephen Strasburg (7 innings, 5 hits and 1 ER allowed, with 9 k’s), sabotaged a storybook debut by Bryce Harper (1 for 3 with a RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth that put the Nats in position for the win), and destroyed my glorious dynasty in fantasy baseball. Yeah, I’m a bit bitter.
Of course, there was more to Washington’s loss last night than just Kemp, but I’m inclined to close strong on my anti-Kemp rant. I find it incredible that he has managed to post 11 home runs in the month of April so far, when for a good swath of it, Juan Rivera has been hitting clean-up behind him. Juan Rivera. He was last any good when your house actually had value. Kemp may be the best player in baseball right now, but I have a humble suggestion for all the genius managers in MLB: Pitch-around.
Game ball(s): Kemp. I wish he would start dating Rihanna again.
Goat(s): Henry Rodriguez. Like I alluded to above, the loss was attributable to more than just Kemp. H-Rod was staked to a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, but couldn’t close out the win.
Bryce Harper is here: Still working on a new name for this category, but that’s no excuse for not handing out the award. And it is only fitting that it goes to Harper, who more than held his own in his debut, stroking a double to the center field wall in the top of the seventh and then producing the then tie-breaking sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth.
Current Record: 14-7