Quick break from Nats off-season stuff to talk about the “silly season” of baseball. Its awards week, with all the major BBWAA awards to be given out this week.
Here’s my predictions for how the awards will go. This is not necessarily how I believe the awards should go … once again, I think narrative wins out over Mike Trout‘s 10+ WAR season, and we may see an east coast bias in the AL rookie award. But lets see how it goes.
Here’s the list of finalists, published last week.
The writers have to submit their ballots at the end of the season; I finished this post in early October but waited until the awards season to arrive to publish it. Thus, it contains no inclusion of any post-season accolades or accomplishments since the votes were already in before the playoffs started.
How do I think the voting will go?
- AL MVP: Betts, Trout, Donaldson, Machado, Altuve (maybe some 5th place votes for Ortiz).
- NL MVP: Bryant, Seager, Murphy, Rizzo, Freeman/Arenado
- AL Cy Young: Kluber, Verlander, Porcello, Sale, Britton
- NL Cy Young: Scherzer, Fernandez, Hendricks, Lester, Snydergaard
- AL Rookie: Sanchez, Fulmer, Mazara
- NL Rookie: Seager, Turner, Maeda
- AL Manager: Franconia, Bannister, Girardi
- NL Manager: Baker, Maddon, Roberts
Actual Award Results added as they were awarded:
- AL MVP: Trout, Betts, Altuve, Donaldson, Machado. (Ortiz came in 6th).
- NL MVP: Bryant, Murphy, Seager, Rizzo, Arenado
- AL Cy Young: Porcello, Verlander, Kluber, Britton, Sale (Verlander get hosed)
- NL Cy Young: Scherzer, Lester, Hendricks, Bumgarner, Kershaw
- AL Rookie: Fulmer, Sanchez, Naquin
- NL Rookie: Seager, Turner, Maeda
- AL Manager: Franconia, Bannister, Showalter
- NL Manager: Roberts, Maddon, Baker
My prediction results: 4 for 8. Got Seager, Franconia, Scherzer, Bryant. Missed on Fulmer, Roberts, Porcello, Trout. Historically i’ve been pretty good at these predictions; this was a very bad year for me. Which is good, because it means that the electorate is improving and that generally my over-thinking of voters picking bad results should lessen.
Links to other awards that I didn’t necessarily predict:
- Sporting News Executive of the Year: Theo Epstein. No surprise there.
- Gold Gloves: No Nats this year
- Fielding Bible: No Nats … and I don’t believe a Nat has ever been given a Fielding Bible award.
- Silver Sluggers: Two Nats this year: Murphy and Ramos
- Relievers of the Year (Mariano Rivera/Trevor Hoffman Awards): Zach Britton, Kenley Jansen
- Roberto Clemente Award: Curtis Granderson
- Comeback Players of the Year: Rick Porcello in the AL, Anthony Rendon in the NL
- BA Executive of the Year: Chris Antonelli, Cleveland.
- DH of the Year (Edgar Martinez Award): David Ortiz for the 8th and final time.
- J.G. Taylor Spink Reporter of the year: Claire Smith from ESPN.
Note: I made some prediction mistakes based on the publication of the 3 finalist links; I’ll note those in the discussion links below.
- AL MVP : I know some view “MVP” as “Best Player,” but it isn’t. And I’m in agreeance with the narrative that with like candidates, the playoff chase matters. Who cares that the Angels went 74-88 with 10-win Trout; Betts had nearly as valuable a season while doing a bit of everything for Boston. Betts wins, Trout gets another 2nd place finish. With the publication of the finalists, we now know that I was wrong on Donaldson for 3rd and that it will go to Altuve; i get that, since Altuve was “in the lead” for a lot of the season.
- NL MVP: Bryant and it isn’t close. I think Seager gets 2nd over Murphy b/c he’s a short stop.
- AL Cy Young: I like Kluber slightly over Verlander but I could see arguments on both sides. What I really hope does NOT happen is over-emphasis on Britton’s season. Yes he’s had a nice season; no he isn’t the best pitcher in the AL. I am slightly proud of myself for at least getting the top 3 right.
- NL Cy Young: Kershaw’s injury has opened the door for a slew of guys: Scherzer probably has the combination of wins, IPs, Ks to be the “leader” even if he’s eclipsed in WAR by Fernandez, Snydergaard. Lester, Cueto and Hendricks also each have cases. This could be a completely wide-open race. I wrote most of this before the tragic death of Fernandez; will he now win out of sentimentality? No he won’t; with the publication of the 3 finalists we know Fernandez wasn’t in the top 3.
- AL Rookie: Michael Fulmer was a shoe-in until Gary Sanchez hit 20 homers in his first 45 games; this race is closer than you might think. Fulmer really should get it, but the NY media narrative game is strong. I think Sanchez ekes it out; it was a pretty historic debut. I did get the third finalist wrong, Cleveland’s Naquin sneaks in.
- NL Rookie: Seager is in the MVP discussion and should win unanimously. Trea Turner’s probably top 3, as is Seager’s japanese teammate Maeda. I am guessing Maeda pips Turner for 2nd place based on playing a full season.
- AL Manager: No idea how this goes: maybe Franconia in Cleveland still? Perhaps Girardi for having the Yankees in the WC mix after their sell-off? Maybe John Ferrell for getting Boston’s act back together? Maybe Bannister in Texas for running away with a division that most thought Houston would win? I thought Girardi would sneak in over Francona; if we knew about Francona’s post-season exploits we may be giving him the award unanimously.
- NL Manager: Baker in Washington still for me. Yes Maddon will get some love, but Baker’s going to improve the Nats by 13 wins; the Cubs were widely expected to get to 100 wins. Maybe Roberts in LA gets some love too. Honestly this is the award i’m least confident in guessing.
Running Diary of Awards candidates.
End of April; Here’s MLB’s players of the month link.
- MVP : Manny Machado and Bryce Harper had fantastic months. Names also in the mix early in 2016: Dexter Fowler, Nolan Arenado, Josh Donaldson.
- Cy Young: Jordan Zimmermann and Jake Arrieta, picking up right where he left off. Also off to great starts: Chris Sale, Stephen Strasburg and Noah Snydergaard.
- Rookie: Nomar Mazara and Trevor Story. Also in the mix: Kenta Maeda, Aledmys Diaz, Vincent Velasquez.
Mid May Check-in:
- MVP : Jose Altuve now in the lead in the AL. Machado and Mike Trout in the mix. In the NL Harper has tailed off, opening the door for Clayton Kershaw and Anthony Rizzo to nose their way into the discussion. Arenado also tailed off a bit in May but still strong.
Cy Young: Sale has won his first 9 starts and looks unbeatable; Zimmermann has taken a step back in the AL race. In the NL, Kershaw remains the class of the league and the likes of Arrieta and Strasburg stay close behind.
- Rookie: Nomar Mazara leading the way in the AL: Twins 1B Byung Ho Park close behind. In the NL, Diaz is also an MVP candidate right now and remains in the NL ROY lead. Story’s “storybook” start keeps him close.
- AL MVP : Jose Altuve has cooled slightly, leaving last year’s 1-2 finishers Trout and Donaldson in the lead again this year. But if Altuve continues to produce at these levels (with slash lines nearly identical to Trout’s) he’ll win as long as Houston stays in the playoff hunt. And once again, Trout finds himself leading the league in value-based stats while playing for a dead-last team, and once again he likely finishes 2nd to someone like Donaldson, who has a good but not as good of a season but plays for a winner. Ortiz’s monster farewell season gets him top 5 votes.
- NL MVP: Harper has never regained his bat since the walk-a-thon in Chicago, and with a lack of any other candidate it seems ripe for another Kershaw double. He’s hit the D/L though, having some wonder if the likes of Kris Bryant could get the award since he’s the best player on (one of the) best teams. Matt Carpenter is quietly having a fantastic season. If the Giants (as of the halfway point owning a better record), then their leader Buster Posey will get votes.
- AL Cy Young: Sale has started the season 14-2 and Cleveland’s entire rotation (led by Danny Salazar) sits among various league leader categories.
- NL Cy Young: Kershaw remains the class of the league and needs to miss significant time to lose out. Its hard to fathom the season he’s having, with just 9 walks in 121 innings in the first half. Strasburg is the first NL starter in 100 years to start a season 12-0 and seems like the likely 2nd place finisher. But there’s a slew of NL starters with sterling numbers right now: Bumgarner and Cueto in particular. NL East beasts Snydergaard and Fernandez have been awesome as well.
- AL Rookie: Nomar Mazara has tailed off and Park got demoted to AAA; the leader in the clubhouse seems like Detroit starter Michael Fulmer right now. Tyler Naquin is in the running, and Baltimore’s Hyun Soo Kim is there as well.
- NL Rookie: Diaz and Story are still on the whole having great seasons but Dodger SS Corey Seager is running away with this and could hit 30 homers from the shortstop position this year. Don’t sleep on Seager’s teammmate Kenta Maeda though; he’s rebounded from a rough patch to be a solid starter.
- AL Manager: probably Jeff Bannister for the turnaround in Texas. Perhaps Terry Franconia for the surprise in Cleveland.
- NL Manager: likely our own Baker for having the Nats on a 96 win pace, which would beat 2015 by 13 games. But likely it goes to Bochy or Madden for leading good teams to good records.
- Comeback Player of the year: I have nothing narrative-driven for either league. Maybe Stephen Wright in the AL and maybe Anthony Rendon in the NL?
Mid August check in:
- AL MVP : I think it goes Altuve-Trout-Donaldson at this point. Betts and Machado fill out the top 5.
- NL MVP: With Kershaw’s injury, I think its Kris Bryant’s to lose. Daniel Murphy gets some top 5 votes, as does Buster Posey and Nolan Arenado.
- AL Cy Young: Hamels and Quintana seem like the obvious choices, even if Fulmer is leading the league in bWAR.
- NL Cy Young: Kershaw’s injury has opened the door for a slew of guys: Bumgarner, Scherzer and Strasburg, deGrom and Arrieta. Who knows how it shakes out. If Strasburg finishes the season 21-3 though, it’ll be hard to vote against him.
- AL Rookie: Michael Fulmer leads the AL in bWAR midway through August; he seems like a shoe-in for ROY. And he’s crushed it for my fantasy team too; that Cespedes trade isn’t looking so hot now is it?
- NL Rookie: Seager sits 3rd in the NL in bWAR; he has to be the unanimous vote right now.
- AL Manager: Franconia in Cleveland.
- NL Manager: Baker in Washington.
Mid September check-in:
- AL MVP : Its tight: Trout has now eclipsed 10 WAR on the season. Altuve has dropped out, but Betts has risen. Its going to be close, but I think it goes Betts-Trout-Donaldson with Machado and Altuve filling out the top 5. You have to think Ortiz’s monster farewell season will get some votes too.
- NL MVP: This is now Bryant’s to lose. Daniel Murphy gets some top 5 votes, as does Buster Posey and Corey Seager. Anthony Rizzo also gets some MVP votes, and if the Mets somehow sneak into the playoffs so does Cespedes on narrative. Freddie Freeman getting some attention with his monster WAR season but he’ll be a 5th-place type vote getter at best.
- AL Cy Young: this race is wide open. Kluber leads the league in bWAR but may not be the best pitcher on his staff. Porcello has reached 20 wins but is vastly eclipsed by Kluber in terms of Ks. Sale, Quintana in the mix, as is Verlander. Tanaka has quietly had a solid season too. Some narrative-driven writers are pushing for Zach Britton.
- NL Cy Young: Kershaw’s injury has opened the door for a slew of guys: Scherzer probably has the combination of wins, IPs, Ks to be the “leader” even if he’s eclipsed in WAR by Fernandez, Snydergaard. Lester, Cueto and Hendricks also each have cases. This could be a completely wide-open race. I wrote most of this before the tragic death of Fernandez; will he now win out of sentimentality?
- AL Rookie: Michael Fulmer was a shoe-in until Gary Sanchez hit 20 homers in his first 45 games; this race is closer than you might think. Fulmer really should get it, but the NY media narrative game is strong.
- NL Rookie: Seager is in the MVP discussion and should win unanimously. Trea Turner’s probably top 3, as is Seager’s japanese teammate Maeda.
- AL Manager: No idea how this goes: maybe Franconia in Cleveland still? Perhaps Girardi for having the Yankees in the WC mix after their sell-off? Maybe John Ferrell for getting Boston’s act back together? Maybe Bannister in Texas for running away with a division that most thought Houston would win?
- NL Manager: Baker in Washington still for me. Yes Maddon will get some love, but Baker’s going to improve the Nats by 13 wins; the Cubs were widely expected to get to 100 wins. Maybe Roberts in LA gets some love too.