AL MVP: Eric Chavez, Athletics
Chavy follows his monster 2001 second half (.340, 21 homers, 68 RBIs after the All-Star break) and puts forth another Gold Glove defensive performance that not only garners him his first MVP, it cements him as the best third baseman in baseballĖeven if Chipper Jones were still manning third for the Braves.
DARK HORSE: Miguel Tejada, Oakland. Replaces Jeter in the triad.
NL MVP: Todd Helton, Rockies
If Helton avoids a slump period, he hits .400. Say all you want about Coors Field, Ted Williams got to bat in hitter-friendly Fenway when he hit .406 in 1941. Even Bud Selig wouldnít be stupid enough to suggest an asterisk. If he doesnít hit .400 (and we think he will), he still hits .380 with 50 home runs and 160 RBI.
DARK HORSE: Tino Martinez, Cardinals. And Steinbrenner blows a gasket.
AL CY YOUNG: Tim Hudson, Athletics
No...itís going to be Mark Mulder. No...we like Barry Zito. No...our surprise pick is Corey Lidle. No, weíre sticking with Tim Hudson. Wait, maybe Mulder. No, itís going to be Zito. No, definitely Hudson. Unless of course Pedro returns to being Pedro. If thatís the case we like Pedro. No...we still like Hudson...I mean Mulder...I mean Zito....
DARK HORSE: Mulder. No, Zito. Wait, Hudson. No, Lidle. Wait, Erik Hiljus.
NL CY YOUNG: Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks
Randy Johnson has added a splitter. Randy Johnson has added a splitter. Randy Johnson has added a splitter. Batters may now leave their bats in the dugout.
DARK HORSE: Kerry Wood. Remeber how good he used to be. Heís still only 25.
AL BIGGEST DUD: Jason Giambi, Yankees
Discovers he has to pretend to actually like New Yorkers, this California free-spirit goes into a massive depression and is heard mumbling "Steinbrenner has dog balls" while limping off the field with yet another strained hamstring. Other than at the Yankee clubhouse buffet table, where does one turn in search of dog balls?
DARK HORSE: David Justice, Oakland. Didnít he whiff 100 times in the post season last year?
NL BIGGEST DUD: Mo Vaughn, Muts.
Címon, his real name is Maurice. Wasnít he one of the Bee Gees? He was over-rated in Boston. He sucked in Anaheim. He was hurt. He is overweight and he has to play in front of the second most-clueless fans in the game (second only to the toasted-cheese brains found at Pac Bell Park).
2002 DIVISION WINNERS