I’m trying out a new feature here. For the month of April, I’m going to track the MVP frontrunners as of each day. These choices mean next to nothing, of course, but wouldn’t it be fun to look back in September, when Ramon Hernandez is hitting .230/.290/.330 and remember that he was the best player in the National League on opening day? I’ll throw in Cy Young frontrunners as well to highlight great pitching performances. For hitters, I’ll give traditional slash lines (batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage), and for pitchers, I’ll show ERA, strikeouts, and walks.
Ramon Hernandez, Reds (.800/.800/1.400)
Hernandez went 4-for-5 on opening day against Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers, his fourth hit a walkoff home run. Not a bad way to start the season. Apologies to Joey Votto, Ryan Braun, and Matt Holiday.
Jeff Mathis, Angels (.500/.500/1.500)
Mathis went 2-for-4 with a double and a homer in the Angels’ opening day win over Kansas City. Mark Teixeira supporters might point out that the Royals’ opening day starter was Luke Hochevar, but I’ll base my meaningless award on positional scarcity, along with Mathis’s .167 slugging percentage advantage. Apologies to Teixeira, Torii Hunter, and Melky Cabrera.
NY Cy Young
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (0.00/9 K/1 BB)
This one goes to a guy who might actually contend for the award. Kershaw kicked off a promising season with seven innings of four-hit ball, striking out a league-high nine and walking one in a win against the defending champs. Apologies to Derek Lowe and Tim Lincecum.
AL Cy Young
Jered Weaver, Angels (0.00/6 K/2 BB)
A three-game series with the Royals might give six of these awards to the Angels. Weaver, who led the AL in strikeouts last season, shut down the Royals (whose offense is bad, but not quite as bad as their rotation) for 6 2/3 innings, allowing just two hits and two walks and striking out six. Apologies to CC Sabathia.