Here are the NL end of the year awards with my take on each. Numbers in parentheses are the votes.
1. Oswaldo Johnson , Arizona (12)
2. Calvin Chang, San Juan (10)
3. Lyle Barber, New Orleans (5)
4. Leo Miller, Houston (3)
5. Lynn Abernathy, LA (2)
Skinny: I thought Johnson or Chang would have been solid choices- although I think success of a team should play a role in a player's MVP chances, I'm not a subscriber to the theory of that a player's team has to make the playoffs to win. Johnson wins based largely on his power numbers- he hit 59 homers and drove in 152 runs. He also stole 36 bases to show he's an all-around player. Chang made a good bid as well, hitting .319-49-148. Barber hit well for the Voodoo (.326-45-140). Abernathy had a fine year, but I'm not sure he belonged in the top 5, although two voters clearly disagree with me.
1. David Dunwoody, Salem (12)
1. Dwight Salmon (12)
3. Bert Price, Fargo (5)
4. Jerome Oliver, Houston (2)
5. Harry Lee, Montreal (1)
Skinny: The voters just couldn't decide, so both win! Dunwoody tied for the league lead with wins with 20 and was second in ERA with a 2.61. He led the league with an impressive 5 shutouts and 257 strikeouts. In fact, the only reason he didn't win the pitching Triple Crown was his teammate. Salmon started the year in AAA and was lights out after coming up, posting an unbelievable 14-1 record with a 2.04 ERA to take the ERA title. He had a WHIP of 0.95 (2nd in NL)and an OBP of .199 (T-1 in NL). Price, with his 13 wins and 31 saves and Oliver, at 17-9 with a 3.38 ERA, had great years but were still far behind in numbers as well as votes. By the way, I voted for Salmon.
Rookie of the Year
1. Justin Beverlin, Trenton (14)
2. Lynn Abernathy, LA (7)
2. Justin Gordon, Norfolk (7)
4. Melvin Nakano, Norfolk (3)
5. Rod Walters, Norfolk (1)
Skinny: First of all, let me state that if Salmon had been an option I don't know if anyone else would have received any votes. That being said, this wasn't as close as it probably should have been. Beverlin had a great season, saving 43 games and spearheading a bullpen that was a big reason why Trenton won their division. His numbers spiked just a little toward the end of the season. But Abernathy also had a great year, hitting .288-32-109 for an awful team. He could cut down on his strikeouts (116) and is hit-or-miss in the outfield (25 + plays, 16 errors). Gordon hit 46 HRs and drove in 118 for a somewhat disappointing Norfolk team, but with a 22-year-old Gordon and Nakano and Walters in the fold, they should be back in contention very soon. I thought Beverlin, Abernathy, and Gordon were all pretty close, with Beverlin being a deserving winner.
Fireman of the Year : Justin Beverlin, Trenton
Skinny: Don't get me wrong: I'm quite proud of Beverlin. I wasn't sure how he'd fare as a closer and he turned out to have a wonderful year. However, I think you have to put Beverlin second behind Memphis's Dude Huskey purely on the numbers.
Saves: 44 43
Blown Saves: 7 6
ERA: 3.40 3.49
OBA: .218 .259
WHIP: 0.92 1.29
Beverlin was quite good, but I thought Huskey was just a little better.