Cleveland Indians left-hander C.C. Sabathia and San Diego Padres right-hander Jake Peavy were the best pitchers of 2007 in their respective leagues, according to their peers. They are the 2007 Players Choice Award winners for Outstanding Pitcher in the American League and National League, though both failed to win key games in October that would have extended the season for each of their clubs.
Sabathia posted a career-best 3.21 ERA and also set career highs in wins (19), innings pitched (241) and strikeouts (209). He helped lead the Indians to the AL Central Division Championship. Then he started and won Game 1 of the AL Division Series against New York, but twice lost key games in the AL Championship Series to the Boston Red Sox.
The other finalists for the AL award were right-handers Josh Beckett of the Boston Red Sox and Chien-Ming Wang of the New York Yankees.
Peavy established career highs in wins (19), innings (223 2/3) and strikeouts (240) and finished the season ranked first among all MLB pitchers in ERA (2.54) and strikeouts. He started the Padres' one-game playoff against Colorado to decide the NL wild-card winner and gave up six runs and 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings as the Rockies prevailed in 13 innings, 9-8.
The other NL finalists were Colorado left-hander Jeff Francis and right-hander Brandon Webb of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Players Choice Awards annually recognize the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player in each league. The Player of the Year and Man of the Year awards bestow top honors without regard to league. Balloting of all MLB players was conducted in September.
Each 2007 Players Choice Award winner will recommend the charity of his choice to receive a grant from the MLB Players Trust.
The other award winners will be announced in the next few days, during the World Series. Here are the finalists for those honors:
Outstanding Player: OF Curtis Granderson (Detroit), OF Magglio Ordonez (Detroit), 3B Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees).
Outstanding Rookie: RHP Brian Bannister (Kansas City), 2B Dustin Pedroia (Boston), OF Delmon Young (Tampa Bay).
Comeback Player: LHP Jon Lester (Boston), 1B Carlos Pena (Tampa Bay), DH Sammy Sosa (Texas).
Outstanding Player: 1B Prince Fielder (Milwaukee), OF Matt Holliday (Colorado), 3B David Wright (New York Mets).
Outstanding Rookie: 3B Ryan Braun (Milwaukee), OF Hunter Pence (Houston), SS Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado).
Comeback Player: OF Rick Ankiel (St. Louis), OF Josh Hamilton (Cincinnati), 1B Dmitri Young (Washington)
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Player of the Year: OF Matt Holliday (Colorado), OF Magglio Ordonez (Detroit), 3B Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees).
Marvin Miller Man of the Year: LHP Tom Glavine (New York Mets), OF Torii Hunter (Minnesota), RHP Jake Peavy (San Diego).