Starting today, and for the remainder of the regular season, I will take a weekly look at the competition for baseball's major awards by ranking the top five candidates in each league for Most Valuable Player, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year honors, taking on one award per week on a rotating basis (MVP today, Cy Young next week, Rookie of the Year the week after, repeat). To be sure, it's still early in the season but it's not unusual for candidates to announce themselves by now and in some cases -- like
MVP is by far the most controversial of the awards due to conflicting definitions of the term "valuable." I'm among those who believe that player value is absolute and synonymous with runs created at the plate and prevented in the field (or on the mound), and that a team's failure to convert that value into wins is not the fault of the player in question. However, the majority of the voting pool (of which I'm not yet a part) tends to believe that player's value, as intended by the creators of the award, is reflected in team performance. It is a debate not unlike that concerning the interpretation of the Constitution (or even the Bible), a philosophical chasm few have been able to span.
Though I disagree with the majority of baseball's electorate with regards to the interpretation of "valuable," their beliefs will be reflected in my rankings, as I'm trying to figure out who