2008 Leaders & Numbers

Despite a bum elbow that some believe was in need of major reconstructive surgery, Albert Pujols reigned as the game’s scariest presence to opposing pitchers. Teammate Ryan Ludwick, whose numbers greatly improved batting around Pujols, found nothing scary about him at all. Josh Hamilton, tagged as a can’t-miss prospect before diving into a prolonged and deep substance-abuse binge, became the year’s feel-good story with a clean-and-sober realization of his talent. The multi-faceted Grady Sizemore peaked in Cleveland before numerous disabled list stays severely cut into his career. From the shadows of the Red Sox’ marquee mashers came the unlikely ascension of Dustin Pedroia, whose potency at the plate led to MVP honors in just his second full season. Many believed Ryan Howard should have earned the NL MVP for his late-season power surge that electrified the Phillies, but closer Brad Lidge’s perfect (no blown saves) stint on the mound may have been the true difference between Philadelphia making and not making the playoffs. From sigh to Cy: Few pitchers have rebounded from rough times like Cliff Lee, the ace of all AL aces a year after finishing 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA. In his first full year, lightweight Tim Lincecum bucked the trend of big, strong-armed phenoms and blew away all comers toward the NL Cy Young Award. After 17 years of coming close, Mike Mussina finally snagged his first 20-win campaign—and promptly retired, making him the first pitcher since Sandy Koufax to win 20 in his final season.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 2008
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Albert Pujols St. Louis 148 .357 524 100 187 44 0 37 116 70 34 5 7 3 16
2. Lance Berkman Houston 159 .312 554 114 173 46 4 29 106 81 18 7 18 4 13
3. Chase Utley Philadelphia 159 .292 607 113 177 41 4 33 104 50 14 27 14 2 9
4. David Wright New York 160 .302 626 115 189 42 2 33 124 89 5 4 15 5 15
5. Matt Holliday Colorado 139 .321 539 107 173 38 2 25 88 68 6 8 28 2 9
6. Ryan Ludwick St. Louis 152 .299 538 104 161 40 3 37 113 59 3 8 4 4 8
7. Ryan Howard Philadelphia 162 .251 610 105 153 26 4 48 146 64 17 3 1 1 11
8. Hanley Ramirez Florida 153 .301 589 125 177 34 4 33 67 83 9 8 35 12 5
9. Carlos Beltran New York 161 .284 606 116 172 40 5 27 112 79 13 1 25 3 11
10. Chipper Jones Atlanta 128 .364 439 82 160 24 1 22 75 74 16 1 4 0 13
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 2008
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Josh Hamilton Texas 156 .304 624 98 190 35 5 32 130 55 9 7 9 1 8
2. Alex Rodriguez New York 138 .302 510 104 154 33 0 35 103 56 9 14 18 3 16
3. Kevin Youkilis Boston 145 .312 538 91 168 43 4 29 115 55 7 12 3 5 11
4. Grady Sizemore Cleveland 157 .268 634 101 170 39 5 33 90 84 14 11 38 5 5
5. Aubrey Huff Baltimore 154 .304 598 96 182 48 2 32 108 46 7 3 4 0 9
6. Carlos Quentin Chicago 130 .288 480 96 138 26 1 36 100 66 0 20 7 3 16
7. Dustin Pedroia Boston 157 .326 653 118 213 54 2 17 83 49 1 7 20 1 17
8. Justin Morneau Minnesota 163 .300 623 97 187 47 4 23 129 60 16 3 0 1 20
9. Milton Bradley Texas 126 .321 414 78 133 32 1 22 77 67 13 9 5 3 10
10. Ian Kinsler Texas 121 .319 518 102 165 41 4 18 71 44 1 6 26 2 12
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 2008
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Tim Lincecum San Francisco 2.62 18 5 .783 0 0 34 33 227 260 66 83 1 17 6 2 20 3 23
2. Brandon Webb Arizona 3.30 22 7 .759 0 0 34 34 226.2 284 83 60 5 8 12 1 24 11 25
3. Johan Santana New York 2.53 16 7 .696 0 0 34 34 234.1 321 66 58 5 9 4 2 6 7 12
4. CC Sabathia Milwaukee 1.65 11 2 .846 0 0 17 17 130.2 138 24 25 0 1 4 0 5 1 12
5. Brad Lidge Philadelphia 1.95 2 0 1.000 41 0 72 0 69.1 68 15 31 3 4 1 0 8 1 3
6. Ryan Dempster Chicago 2.96 17 6 .739 0 0 33 33 206.2 261 68 75 1 5 7 0 11 4 19
7. Chad Billingsley Los Angeles 3.14 16 10 .615 0 0 35 32 200.2 275 70 74 6 10 8 0 8 4 18
8. Derek Lowe Los Angeles 3.24 14 11 .560 0 0 34 34 211 278 76 38 7 2 1 0 14 3 19
9. Jose Valverde Houston 3.38 6 3 .667 44 7 74 0 72 110 27 17 6 3 2 2 8 0 0
10. Dan Haren Arizona 3.33 16 8 .667 0 0 33 33 216 314 80 36 4 11 6 0 9 2 12
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 2008
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Cliff Lee Cleveland 2.54 22 3 .880 0 0 31 31 223.1 295 63 33 1 4 5 0 3 0 27
2. Roy Halladay Toronto 2.78 20 11 .645 0 0 34 33 246 320 76 36 3 4 12 0 15 5 21
3. Jon Lester Boston 3.21 16 6 .727 0 0 33 33 210.1 290 75 58 8 3 10 1 8 8 27
4. Francisco Rodriguez L.A. Anaheim 2.24 2 3 .400 62 7 76 0 68.1 79 17 30 4 6 2 0 8 0 5
5. Mike Mussina New York 3.37 20 9 .690 0 0 34 34 200.1 316 75 28 3 4 8 0 12 7 24
6. Mariano Rivera New York 1.40 6 5 .545 39 1 64 0 70.2 58 11 6 0 1 2 0 6 1 2
7. Justin Duchscherer Oakland 2.54 10 8 .556 0 0 22 22 141.2 164 40 32 2 1 8 0 4 3 13
8. Daisuke Matsuzaka Boston 2.90 18 3 .857 0 0 29 29 167.2 197 54 93 1 5 7 0 15 5 13
9. Joe Saunders L.A. Anaheim 3.41 17 7 .708 0 0 31 31 198 284 75 51 2 3 6 0 18 10 28
10. Jonathan Papelbon Boston 2.34 5 4 .556 41 5 67 0 69.1 82 18 8 0 2 0 0 2 1 3

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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2008 Awards


NL MVP
Albert Pujols, St. Louis

AL MVP
Dustin Pedroia, Boston


NL Cy Young Award
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco

AL Cy Young Award
Cliff Lee, Cleveland


NL Rookie of the Year
Geovany Soto, Chicago

AL Rookie of the Year
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay


NL Manager of the Year
Lou Piniella, Chicago

AL Manager of the Year
Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay


NL Gold Glove Awards
P Greg Maddux, San Diego-Los Angeles
C Yadier Molina, St. Louis
1B Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego
2B Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati
3B David Wright, New York
SS Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia
OF Carlos Beltran, New York
OF Nate McLouth, Pittsburgh
OF Shane Victorino, Philadelphia

AL Gold Glove Awards
P Mike Mussina, New York
C Joe Mauer, Minnesota
1B Carlos Pena, Tampa Bay
2B Dustin Pedroia, Boston
3B Adrian Beltre, Seattle
SS Michael Young, Texas
OF Grady Sizemore, Cleveland
OF Torii Hunter, Los Angeles of Anaheim
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle