The following are my picks for each league’s MVP and Cy Young award winner if the season ended today.
Joey Votto, Reds (.455/.548/.727)
This pick is based primarily on volume. Miguel Montero’s rate stats still make him the best player in the NL so far, but Votto has played in every Reds game, and in doing so has reached base 23 times, more than anyone in either league. He’s also scored a league-leading 12 runs, to Montero’s five. Apologies to Montero, Nick Hundley, and Ryan Braun.
Howie Kendrick, Angels (.389/.488/.806)
Another guy relying on volume to build his case, as Yunel Escobar has been better on a rate basis. Kendrick has 14 hits, including four homers and a triple, and six walks. Apologies to Escobar, Billy Butler, and Miguel Cabrera.
NL Cy Young
Jaime Garcia, Cardinals (0.60/18 K/3 BB)
Garcia pitches third in the Cardinals’ rotation, so if he keeps pitching as brilliantly as he has in his first two starts, this award should be his for a couple days a week, until some team’s ace strikes out 12 and takes over the lead in some counting stats. Perhaps that’s not fair to Garcia, but these awards are not about fairness, but rather about having a little fun with numbers and maybe pointing out the absurdity of relying on small sample sizes to make statements about a player’s ability. Apologies to Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, and Chris Narveson.
AL Cy Young
Jered Weaver, Angels (0.87/27 K/9 BB)
Weaver and teammate Dan Haren keep passing this one back and forth. After Haren added a scoreless relief inning and a strikeout on Saturday, Weaver struck out 15 in 7 2/3 innings Sunday, dipping his ERA below 1 and taking a league strikeout lead he may not relinquish all season.
One interesting note about Weaver’s season: he’s given up the same number of hits as he’s issued walks in each of his first three starts (2 H, 2 BB on 3/31, 3 of each on 4/5, and 4 of each on 4/10). He’s trending in the wrong direction, but when he finally throws that no-hitter, expect it to be a perfect game. Apologies to Haren, Matt Harrison, and Jeremy Guthrie, who was strong in finally making his second start of the season Sunday against Texas.