It's MLB Awards season, and the Rookie vote is in: Hanley Ramirez over Ryan Zimmerman, Dan Uggla and Josh Johnson in the NL, and Justin Verlander over Jon Papelbon and Francisco Liriano in the AL.
In the NL, I suppose that Hanley is as good of a choice as any, though I had him 4th, behind Uggla, Johnson and Zimmerman, in that order. As long as the Marlins' many stellar rookies were represented by the winner and the final order, I'm satisfied. Someone will surely know: Has any team ever had such domination in a single season's Rookie of the Year balloting?
As for the AL, I'm all for Verlander; he was the only one of the Big Three to survive the season. But you gotta be smoking some serious New England hype crack to vote Papelbon over Liriano. If you factor out time lost to injuries, Liriano was the best pitcher in the AL. (And, seeing how he's out for '07 and who knows how much longer, the least they could do is give him the freaking runner-up spot.) Papelbon? Yeah, we'll see how he measures up when he converts to a starter next season; I'll bet his Red Sox Nation slurpers that his stats next season -- full or injury-shortened -- don't come close to Liriano's.
Coming tomorrow: NL Cy, which is by far the most wide-open of the awards to be given out. So I put it to you in the Comments section: Who gets your vote for NL Cy? (And what did you think of the Rookie voting?)
P.S.: The Mets and Cards will meet in the '07 season opener. What a perfect way for Cards fans to re-live their 2006 playoffs glory -- and for the Mets to be reminded of what they left on the table when Carlos Beltran struck out looking with the bases loaded to end the series.