It’s time for the twenty-first century on MLB Monday, and we are here to kick it off on the right foot, with no PED users winning awards in our corner of the Internet: no way, no day. This era of professional baseball in America is a minefield to navigate under these circumstances, obviously, as has been shown hitherto and will be shown again and again henceforth.
Let’s get to it!
2000 AL MVP: Jason Giambi (original); Nomar Garciaparra (revised)
Two of the top 6 position players in the junior circuit are confirmed PED users, including AL MVP vote winner, Oakland Athletics first baseman Jason Giambi (7.8 WAR). Therefore, he and Seattle Mariners shortstop Álex Rodríguez (10.4) are out of the running here.
The four remaining guys are Anaheim Angels teammates OF Darin Erstad (8.3) and 3B Troy Glaus (7.8), Boston Red Sox SS Nomar Garciaparra (7.4), and Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Carlos Delgado (7.3). The two Angels are out, because of our rule, and the Red Sox and the Blue Jays both missed the postseason, although they were over-.500 clubs in the AL East Division.
In fact, Boston finished 2 games ahead of Toronto, while Anaheim came in one game behind the Blue Jays in the wild-card chase. So we have an easy decision here: Garciaparra wins his third straight AL MVP Award from us, thanks to 1.6 dWAR and this batting line: a league-best .372 average, 51 doubles, 21 HRs, 96 RBI, a 1.033 OPS, and an AL-high 20 intentional walks. Yeah, he was very underrated.
2000 NL MVP: Jeff Kent (original); Andruw Jones (revised)
The four top guys in the senior circuit were Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton (8.9 WAR), Atlanta Braves center fielder Andruw Jones (8.2), San Francisco Giants PED user Barry Bonds (7.7), and Giants second baseman Jeff Kent (7.2). Normally, the teammates would cancel each other out, but Bonds’ cheating removes him from the equation—to keep Kent, the actual vote winner at the time, in.
But the Giants won the NL West by 11 games, so Kent wasn’t as valuable as Jones on a Braves team that won the NL East by 1 game (the Rockies won 82 games but missed the postseason). So this nod is going to Jones for his all-around game: 2.7 dWAR, 36 HRs, 104 RBI, 21 SBs, .303 average, and a .907 OPS. Atlanta might have missed the postseason altogether without Jones.
Side note: It must have infuriated Bonds even more to see a teammate of his win an MVP Award, when he was the superior player in stats and value—ignoring the PED abuse for a moment. This all just meant more juice for Bonds in 2001, of course. It’s so easy to track the man’s psychological issues.
2000 AL Cy Young: Pedro Martínez (original, confirmed)
This award is easy to confirm for Red Sox ace Pedro Martínez even though Boston missed the postseason, as Pedro posted 11.7 WAR, which was 5.5 wins better than the next-best pitcher in the American League. That’s incredible, on several levels, and it is also a historic season, period.
The numbers behind that stunning WAR mark: 18-6, 1.74 ERA, 4 SOs, 217 IP, 284 Ks, and a 0.737 WHIP. Martínez topped the league in ERA, SOs, Ks, WHIP, fewest hits allowed (5.3 per 9 IP), fewest HRs allowed (0.7 per 9 IP), and most Ks (11.8 per 9 IP). He walked only 32 batters all season. Let that sink in.
2000 NL Cy Young: Randy Johnson (original); Greg Maddux (revised)
The top trio on National League mounds were Arizona Diamondbacks star Randy Johnson (8.1), Los Angeles Dodgers ace Kevin Brown (7.0), and Atlanta Braves legend Greg Maddux (6.5). That’s an impressive bunch, with a collective 9 Cy Young awards won here in this space over the last few months. Johnson won the vote, despite the Diamondbacks finished 12 games out of a playoff spot.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers also missed the postseason, trailing the Giants by 11 games in that NL West with Arizona, too. We know Atlanta won the NL East by a single game, and while the value for Maddux isn’t overwhelming, it’s more than it is for Brown or the Big Unit. So Maddux wins his fifth NL Cy Young from us for the following numbers: 19-9, 3.00 ERA, 3 SOs, 249 1/3 IP, 190 Ks, and a 1.071 WHIP.
Like Pedro, the control element here was impressive: Maddux also led the NL in fewest walks per 9 IP (1.5), as he put just 42 guys on base via the strike zone. At age 34, he was on the downside of his amazing career, so this may have been his last hurrah.
2000 AL ROTY: Kazuhiro Sasaki (original); Barry Zito (revised)
Finishing seventh among first-year players in WAR, Seattle closer Kazuhiro Sasaki (1.3 WAR) won the AL ROTY vote for a team that missed the postseason. He was also 32 years old, after pitching for 10 seasons in the Japanese professional leagues (i.e., not a rookie!). Thus, he will not be getting this award from us.
The four best rookies were Minnesota Twins starter Mark Redman (3.4), Oakland southpaw Barry Zito (3.4), Athletics OF Terrence Long (2.4), and Chicago White Sox reliever Kelly Wunsch (2.0). Normally, teammates would cancel each other out (see above), but Long’s -0.2 dWAR eliminates him from contention here, anyway. The Twins finished under .500, so it’s down to Zito and Wunsch.
The Pale Hose won the AL Central by 5 games, so Wunsch’s value takes a hit, while the A’s won the AL West by just a half game over the Mariners—meaning Zito had the most value here, even though he didn’t even pitch 100 innings on the season. Oh well! That’s a lot of WAR value for a rookie pitcher in any circumstance. Zito’s numbers (7-4, 2.72 ERA, 78 Ks, 1.176 WHIP)—meant the difference to Oakland.
2000 NL ROTY: Rafael Furcal (original, confirmed)
The Braves sweep our NL awards today, as Atlanta shortstop Rafael Furcal (4.0 WAR) won the NL ROTY vote, and he’s getting our nod, too. Only St. Louis Cardinals starter Rick Ankiel (4.1) was in the same value range, and the Cards won the NL Central by double digits.
Furcal posted 1.2 dWAR at a key position, while also hitting .295 with 40 SBs, 73 BBs, and 37 RBI. The Braves had a top-heavy roster after many years of competing throughout the 1990s, and Furcal represented what the team needed to stay on top, clearly, as the team barely won the NL East over the New York Mets.