MVP: Chipper Jones- Not really a surprise here, right? Edgar Renteria was the consensus pick mid-season but Chipper upped his play in the second half and took the lead. Chipper finished second in the NL in batting average with a .337 mark and first in the NL in OPS at 1.029. All this while playing some of the best defense of his career at the hot corner and earning serious consideration for a Gold Glove. Chipper, despite his proneness to injury, has been just as much or even greater of an offensive weapon these past few years.
Cy Young: John Smoltz- Smoltz nudged out Tim Hudson here after Hudson stumbled a little late. The stats are yet again amazing for Smoltz, who is suffering through more and more nagging injuries as his career wears on. Despite some dead arm and a couple other ailments that caused him to miss a few starts, Smoltz threw over 200 innings, posting a 3.11 ERA and accumulating almost four strikeouts for every walk. Probably the most impressive stat however, is just how consistent the 40-year old ace has been. Out of 32 starts, only six were not quality starts and one of those was a shutout performance in which he was removed after five innings. Smoltz finished 14-8 on the season but deserved a much better record. He'll start 2008 only 25 strikeouts away from 3,000 on his Cooperstown-bound career.
Rookie of the Year: Peter Moylan- Close call here between Moylan and Yunel Escobar, but the dominant side-arm reliever win this one. After struggling in the minors and majors last year, Moylan started the year with Richmond. He didn't last long though. After only two appearances of scoreless baseball, Moylan got a shot with the big club and never looked back. Moylan became one of Bobby Cox's most reliable and trusted men out of the pen. The Australian right-hander's versatility is what really made him valuable. Not only could he get a double play (2.67 GO/AO) but he showed an ability to get a strikeout when needed, pitch multiple innings, and handle both right-handers and lefties. Moylan never had an ERA above 2.40 in a full month and over the last three months, went 3-2 with a 1.26 ERA in 50 innings.
Least Valuable Player: Andruw Jones- It's not so much that he was downright the worst player on the team this year (that award goes to Chris Woodward), it is that based on expectations coming into the season, Andruw by far under shot his more than any player on the Braves roster. The man that was supposed to be automatic for a .260 average and 40 home runs, struggled all season long to finish with a .221 average. Every time he would get you thinking he was ready to snap out of the slump, Jones would start another nose dive. He did finish with 94 RBIs, but don't let that fool you. Andruw hit a mere .231 with runners in scoring position. I have little doubt that Andruw will rebound once his elbow is healthy but you just can't take the chance on him with that kind of money for someone who isn't that consistent when he is right.
Least Valuable Pitcher: Mark Redman- Redman wins despite not being on the roster for very long. That should tell you just how bad he was. Signed as a replacement for Mike Hampton, the soft-tossing southpaw started five games for Atlanta and in 21.2 innings put up an 11.63 ERA. Redman went 0-4 after with the Braves and really, I have never seen such a miserable pitcher in the major leagues. Good way to follow up an undeserved All-Star selection in 2006 I guess.
Trade of the Year: Soriano/HoRam- Yes, I know some of you will be mad at me for not choosing the Mark Teixeira deal, which so far has been better than I expected, but looking at the paths these two took this year, it was pretty easy for me to choose. The deal was regarded as a win for the Braves right off the bat, but I'm not sure anyone thought it would turn out as this much highway robbery. Rafael Soriano enjoyed a successful year as the Braves setup man and then eventually closer. There were some undeniable rough spots thrown in there but for the most part he was consistent, rarely allowing runs to score in an important situation. He struggled towards the end of the year but after inherriting the closer's role in the absence of Bob Wickman, he locked in and dominated once again. In 13 innings in September, Soriano posted a 0.69 ERA, allowing only four hits and three walks while striking out seventeen batters. Horacio Ramirez did not enjoy that kind of success though. The left-hander went 8-7 for Seattle, but had an ERA of 7.16. He allowed 139 hits and 42 walks in 98 innings, while striking out only 40 batters before being removed from the rotation late in the season. He is a candidate to get non-tendered this off-season.
Well, the 2007 season is over. It was significantly better than last year but still not that great. Hey, at least the Mets aren't in the playoffs either, right? 2007 had some great performers from the Braves. This team was four points away from being only the second team in MLB history to have four players with at least 300 at bats hit above .330, however Yunel Escobar dropped just below before the end of the season. Still, a very good offensive year with some bright spots on the pitching staff as well.