For the first time in a while, most MLB post season awards are truly up for grabs; only the Cy Youngs in each league are all-but decided. The predictions below also represent my top three selections in each category in the voting for the IBWAA awards. I will announce the results of those awards when they are released.
I know the MVP is supposed to go to a player on a team that made the playoffs, but I never subscribed to that theory. Paul Goldschmidt had by far the best numbers — his 36 home runs and 125 RBIs led the league, and he also batted .302. Clayton Kershaw was dominant, and in a year without a favorite, a pitcher on a winning team could win. But Kershaw only had 16 wins; if a pitcher is going to win an MVP, he should have mid-20s wins. Andrew McCutchen had an excellent year (21 HRs, 84 RBIs, .317) and might emerge as the winner as several deserving members of the Cardinals will likely split the votes. Freddie Freeman (23 HRs, 109 RBIs, .319) is another strong possibility. I say McCutchen wins, but I would go for Goldschmidt.
NL Cy Young
Unlike the sabermetricians, I do not discount wins when it comes to Cy Young voting. But in this case Kershaw was just so good he should get it despite winning 16 games compared to 19 for both Jordan Zimmerman and Adam Wainwright. Kershaw led the league with a 1.83 ERA and also strikeouts with 232. Kershaw could be unanimous here. Incidentally, I gave Matt Harvey my fifth place vote. Had he been able to finish the season healthy he likely would have challenged Kershaw for the award. Harvey was just that good, too.
NL Rookie of the Year
This is a tough one. Jose Fernandez had one of the great seasons for a rookie pitcher — second in the league with a 2.19 ERA to go along with a 12-6 record. But Yasiel Puig was simply spectacular with 19 home runs and a .319 average in just 104 games. I cast my vote for Fernandez mostly because he was there for the entire season while Puig was a mid-season call up, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Puig wins. Early frontrunner Shelby Miller had a great season but was overshadowed by the other two.
Last year at this time the sabermetrics crowd was touting Mike Trout over Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera for AL MVP. Turned out the vote was not even close; Cabrera rightfully won in a landslide. The same chatter is happening again, and while it will not be a landslide, Cabrera will win again. Cabrera led the American League with a .348 average. He was second in home runs and RBIs with 44 and 137, respectively. He was hobbled for the last month of the season or his stats would have been better, if that’s even possible. Trout had a great year (27 HRs, 97 RBIs, .323) but it doesn’t measure up to Cabrera, despite the WAR nonsense. I actually picked Chris Davis second — he led the league in home runs and RBIs with 53 and 138, respectively and also hit .286.
AL Cy Young
Max Scherzer wins this easily — 21-3, 2.90 ERA, 240 strikeouts. I have Bartolo Colon second (18-6, 2.65 ERA) and C.J. Wilson third (17-7, 3.39 ERA), but those places could go to a host of other pitchers, including Yu Darvish, Anibal Sanchez or Matt Moore. Doesn’t matter, Scherzer is the Cy Young.
AL Rookie of the Year
In mid-season they were thinking of canceling the AL Rookie of the Year because no one was worthy. But then Wil Myers and Jose Iglesias were brought up. Now they will battle it out. I went with Myers because his numbers were better — 13 home runs, 53 RBIs, .293 in 88 games. Iglesias batted .303 with three homers and 29 RBIs in 109 games. I have a feeling Iglesias will win, making him the first player ever traded within a season to win the award. I don’t even know who that third guy is, and I voted for him. Nick somebody.