(Yes, I took this pic of Mike Trout. Front row at Tempe Diablo in Tempe… and two seats away from Angels owner Arte Moreno.)
Are we sick of voting yet?
Don’t worry, you don’t get a vote in the Major League Baseball year-end awards. But there’s still plenty of time to debate the winners.
Here are my picks:
The candidates are:
Mookie Betts, Boston: .318 BA, 31 HR, 113 RBI, 122 R, 26 SB
Jose Altuve, Houston: .338 BA, 24 HR, 96 RBI, 108 R, 30 SB
Mike Trout, LA Angels: .315 BA, 29 HR, 100 RBI, 123 R, 30 SB
Mike Trout is the best player in baseball (and he’s an incredibly personable and approachable guy, very fan and media friendly). Despite not having much protection in the Angels lineup – the Angels are a bad team – Trout managed to produce. A five-tool stud who.
Betts played a major role in leading the Red Sox to the top of the East Division, which is the most competitive division of the six. He is the cornerstone player on a young and talented Boston team that should be a World Series contender for years to come. And he’s a very good defender in RF.
Altuve, for the third consecutive season, led the AL in hits. He posted the best batting average for the second time in the past three years. Like Betts, he’s a five-tool star on a young and talented team.
Who will win? Mookie Betts
Who should win? MikeTrout
The candidates are:
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs: .292 BA, 39 HR, 102 RBI, 121 R, 8 SB
Daniel Murphy, Washington: .347 BA, 25 HR, 104 RBI, 88 R, 47 2B
Corey Seager, LA Dodgers: .308, 26 HR, 72 RBI, 105 R, 40 2B
Kris Bryant has lived up to the hype. He’s among the best hitters in the game and has proven versatile with the glove – he started both at 3B and in the OF this past season. The Cubs are loaded with talent, but Bryant easily stands out in that group.
Murphy led the NL in batting average and helped the Nationals win a division title when their best player (Bryce Harper) struggled through a disappointing season.
Seager led all rookies in almost every offensive statistical category. On a veteran-heavy Dodgers team, Seager was the team leader and carried the team to a division title even though the game’s best pitcher (Clayton Kershaw) missed nearly half the season with an injury.
Who will win? Kris Bryant
Who should win? Kris Bryant
AL Cy Young
Justin Verlander, Detroit: 227 IP, 16-9 W-L, 254 K, 3.04 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Rick Porcello, Boston: 223 IP, 22-4 W-L, 189 K, 3.15 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Corey Kluber, Cleveland: 215 IP, 18-9 W-L, 227 K, 3.14 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
After a couple of disappointing seasons, Justin Verlander promised everyone he would return to his Cy Young form. He did in 2016. He led the AL in strikeouts and WHIP, two of the more telling stats of a good pitcher.
Porcello was the ace of the Red Sox staff and led all of baseball in wins. But I’ll argue that wins aren’t indicative of good pitching. Porcello is a solid pitcher and posted some good stats in a division loaded with big bats.
Kluber was the leader of what is the best starting rotation in the AL when healthy. He is a former Cy Young winner and could be an annual candidate, but Verlander was slightly better this year.
Who will win? Rick Porcello
Who should win: Justin Verlander
NL Cy Young
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs: 190 IP, 16-8 W-L, 170 K, 2.13 ERA, 0.97 WHIP
Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs, 202 IP, 19-5 W-L, 197 K, 2.44 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
Max Scherzer, Washington: 228 IP, 20-7 W-L, 284 K, 2.96 ERA, 0.96 WHIP
Kyle Hendricks had some impressive performances last year but struggled with consistency. He put it all together this season and led the NL in ERA. He should be celebrated in every Little League park across America because he has proven you don’t have to throw 98mph to be successful. He barely touches 90mph with his fastball, but it’s his movement on all pitches that consistently fools hitters.
Lester led a great rotation in innings, wins, earned run average and strikeouts. He is a proven big-game pitcher and made half of his starts in a hitter-friendly ballpark.
Scherzer led the NL in innings, wins and strikeouts. He’s the undisputed ace of the Nationals that won the division this season. His solid numbers were slightly better than Lester’s.
Who will win? Max Scherzer
Who should win? Kyle Hendricks