2006 Leaders & Numbers

Getting benched in June with his a .236 average—after hitting .239 in 2005—scared Justin Morneau straight into a booming second half, pulling an AL MVP upset over favorite Derek Jeter. Like Morneau, Ryan Howard—considered the first “clean” challenger to Roger Maris’ 61 homers—was a MVP earning near-minimum baseball wage. Part of Albert Pujols’ nonstop demolition included an all-time record 14 homers in April. Emerging fast at age 24, Grady Sizemore became only the second player (Chuck Klein, 1932) to collect at least 50 doubles, ten triples, 25 homers and 20 steals in one year, while Alfonso Soriano—who couldn’t wait to leave Washington—became baseball’s first 40-40-40 (doubles-homers-steals) man. Everyone was talking up Paul Konerko and Jim Thome as the prime White Sox sluggers as 2006 began, but Jermaine Dye obviously got lost in the discussion. An improved sinker and better fielding behind him made Brandon Webb—two years earlier the league leader in walks—much stingier to earn a free pass off of. Johan Santana and rookie phenom Francisco Liriano got all the attention on the Twins’ mound, but it was Joe Nathan who closed out opponents with little fanfare—and little failure. Chien-Ming Wang and Takashi Saito continued to prove that Far East players could easily hold their own in the majors. Carlos Zambrano’s pitching brilliance (and occasional on-mound theatrics) was a lone bright spot in an otherwise forgettable year for the Cubs.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 2006
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Albert Pujols St. Louis 143 .331 535 119 177 33 1 49 137 64 28 4 7 2 20
2. Ryan Howard Philadelphia 159 .313 581 104 182 25 1 58 149 71 37 9 0 0 7
3. Lance Berkman Houston 152 .315 536 95 169 29 0 45 136 76 22 4 3 2 11
4. Miguel Cabrera Florida 158 .339 576 112 195 50 2 26 114 59 27 10 9 6 18
5. Carlos Betran New York 140 .275 510 127 140 38 1 41 116 89 6 4 18 3 6
6. Matt Holliday Colorado 155 .326 602 119 196 45 5 34 114 44 3 15 10 5 22
7. Garrett Atkins Colorado 157 .329 602 117 198 48 1 29 120 73 6 7 4 0 24
8. Chase Utley Philadelphia 160 .309 658 131 203 40 4 32 102 62 1 14 15 4 9
9. Alfonso Soriano Washington 159 .277 647 119 179 41 2 46 95 51 16 9 41 17 3
10. Barry Bonds San Francisco 130 .270 367 74 99 23 0 26 77 77 38 10 3 0 9
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 2006
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. David Ortiz Boston 151 .287 558 115 160 29 2 54 137 96 23 4 1 0 12
2. Travis Hafner Cleveland 129 .308 454 100 140 31 1 42 117 84 16 7 0 0 10
3. Jermaine Dye Chicago 146 .315 539 103 170 27 3 44 120 55 4 6 7 3 15
4. Justin Morneau Minnesota 157 .321 592 97 190 37 1 34 130 44 9 5 3 3 10
5. Jim Thome Chicago 143 .288 490 108 141 26 0 42 109 95 12 6 0 0 4
6. Derek Jeter New York 154 .343 623 118 214 39 3 14 97 65 4 12 34 5 13
7. Grady Sizemore Cleveland 162 .290 655 134 190 53 11 28 76 70 8 13 22 6 2
8. Alex Rodriguez New York 154 .290 572 113 166 26 1 35 121 82 8 8 15 4 22
9. Jason Giambi New York 139 .253 446 92 113 25 0 37 113 98 12 16 2 0 10
10. Manny Ramirez Boston 130 .321 449 79 144 27 1 35 102 84 16 1 0 1 13
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 2006
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Brandon Webb Arizona 3.10 16 8 .667 0 0 33 33 235 317 81 46 4 5 6 2 24 11 29
2. Chris Carpenter St. Louis 3.09 15 8 .652 0 0 32 32 221.2 301 76 40 3 3 10 0 3 7 17
3. Roy Oswalt Houston 2.98 15 8 .652 0 0 33 32 220.1 337 73 34 4 1 6 1 5 6 23
4. Derek Lowe Los Angeles 3.63 16 8 .667 0 0 35 34 218 304 88 53 2 3 5 2 26 5 29
5. Billy Wagner New York 2.24 3 2 .600 40 5 70 0 72.1 85 18 20 1 2 4 0 5 5 2
6. John Smoltz Atlanta 3.46 16 9 .640 0 0 35 35 232 347 90 51 4 5 9 0 10 4 20
7. Takashi Saito Los Angeles 2.07 6 2 .750 24 2 72 0 78.1 71 18 20 3 2 2 0 5 0 6
8. Bronson Arroyo Cincinnati 3.29 14 11 .560 0 0 35 35 240.2 362 88 57 7 6 5 0 5 5 14
9. Carlos Zambrano Chicago 3.41 16 7 .696 0 0 33 33 214 273 81 111 4 9 9 1 2 4 18
10. Clay Hensley San Diego 3.71 11 12 .478 0 1 37 29 187 262 77 69 7 4 6 0 12 5 27
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 2006
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Johan Santana Minnesota 2.77 19 6 .760 0 0 34 34 233.2 310 72 47 0 4 4 1 4 5 10
2. Chien-Ming Wang New York 3.63 19 6 .760 1 0 34 33 218 315 88 48 4 6 2 1 9 11 33
3. Joe Nathan Minnesota 1.58 7 0 1.000 36 2 64 0 68.1 58 12 12 4 3 1 0 2 0 1
4. Roy Halladay Toronto 3.19 16 5 .762 0 0 32 32 220 310 78 29 5 3 5 0 20 5 23
5. Francisco Rodriguez L.A. Anaheim 1.73 2 3 .400 47 4 69 0 73 88 14 23 5 10 1 0 2 2 4
6. C.C. Sabathia Cleveland 3.22 12 11 .522 0 0 28 28 192.2 268 69 41 3 3 7 0 14 5 16
7. B.J. Ryan Toronto 1.37 2 2 .500 38 4 65 0 72.1 53 11 19 1 4 0 0 7 5 8
8. Mike Mussina New York 3.51 15 7 .682 0 0 32 32 197.1 285 77 34 1 3 5 0 15 4 19
9. J.J. Putz Seattle 2.30 4 1 .800 36 7 72 0 78.1 81 20 12 1 1 2 0 7 0 5
10. Erik Bedard Baltimore 3.76 15 11 .577 0 0 33 33 196.1 281 82 69 0 6 5 0 4 2 17

Brown type indicates league leader.
Notes: Walks (BB) do not include intentional walks (IB). For pitchers, caught stealing (CS) also includes pickoffs.
How does This Great Game determine the best hitters and pitchers? Find out here.


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2006 Awards


NL MVP
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia

AL MVP
Justin Morneau, Minnesota


NL Cy Young Award
Brandon Webb, Arizona

AL Cy Young Award
Johan Santana, Minnesota


NL Rookie of the Year
Hanley Ramirez, Florida

AL Rookie of the Year
Justin Verlander, Detroit


NL Manager of the Year
Joe Girardi, Florida

AL Manager of the Year
Jim Leyland, Detroit


NL Gold Glove Awards
P Greg Maddux, Chicago-Los Angeles
C Brad Ausmus, Houston
1B Albert Pujols, St. Louis
2B Orlando Hudson, Arizona
3B Scott Rolen, St. Louis
SS Omar Vizquel, San Francisco
OF Carlos Beltran, New York
OF Andruw Jones, Atlanta
OF Mike Cameron, San Diego

AL Gold Glove Awards
P Kenny Rogers, Detroit
C Ivan Rodriguez, Detroit
1B Mark Teixeira, Texas
2B Mark Grudzielanek, Kansas City
3B Eric Chavez, Oakland
SS Derek Jeter, New York
OF Vernon Wells, Toronto
OF Torii Hunter, Minnesota
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle