This will be an interesting year for MLB post season awards. Except for one category, there really are no obvious, clear-cut winners. The following represents my top three votes on my ballot for the IBWAA awards.
As I have written in the past, I do not believe the MVP has to come from a winning team. I think it should go to the player who had the best year, and in the National League this season, that is undoubtedly Nolan Arenado. He tied for the league lead in homers with 41, led the NL by far with 133 RBIs and hit a very respectable .294. I voted for Daniel Murphy second. He had a tremendous year — second in the league with a .347 batting average, 25 homers and 104 RBIs. He also led the league in doubles. I had Kris Bryant third, and he will probably win. He had a great year (39, 102, .292) and seems to be the favorite among voters. I had Yoenis Cespedes fifth.
I do not understand why people are not talking about David Ortiz as the American League MVP. Thirty eight homers, 127 RBIs to tie for the league lead and a .315 batting average. And he’s on a winning team. And it’s his final season. Is it because he is a DH? That doesn’t matter to me — he had the best all-around year and he got my vote. I had Mookie Betts second (31, 113, .318) and Miguel Cabrera third (38, 108, .318). I had Mike Trout fourth. Now, the sabermetrics crowd is once again touting Trout as MVP (why don’t they just rename it the Mike Trout Award and give it to him every year?). While his numbers are excellent (29, 100, .315), they pale in comparison to my top guys. Ortiz won’t win — it will likely be Betts. Oh, and if you are a first time reader, there is nothing I care less about than WAR. And I happen to think RBIs are very important.
NL Cy Young
This was one of my toughest votes. I kept bouncing back between Max Scherzer and Jon Lester, but Scherzer clinched it with me when he won his 20th game on the final day of the season (yes, I still thinks wins are important. You know who else thinks they are important? Pitchers.). Scherzer went 20-7 with a 2,96 ERA. He also led the league with 284 strikeouts and with 228.1 innings pitched. I had Lester second, with a 19-5 record and a 2.44 ERA, second in the league. Kyle Hendricks led the league with a 2.13 ERA, but he only won 16 games, so he was third. I think Scherzer will win in a very close race.
AL Cy Young
There was no clear-cut winner in the American League, either. No pitcher had a sensational ERA (the leader, Aaron Sanchez had a 3.00). So I went with Rick Porcello, who was 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA. I had Corey Kluber second (18-9, 3.14 ERA, 227 strikeouts) second and J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.18 ERA) third. I think I meant to flip Kluber and Happ, but I guess I forgot! I predict Porcello will eek this one out.
NL Rookie of the Year
This was the easiest vote. Corey Seager could be unanimous. I put his teammate Kenta Maeda second and Trevor Story third. Story could have mounted a serious challenge if he didn’t miss the last two months of the season with injury.
AL Rookie of the Year
This was extremely difficult as well. I debated Gary Sanchez and Michael Fulmer, but ultimately, I went with Sanchez. What he did (20 homers in just 201 at bats) was sensational. Fulmer was very good (11-7, 3.06 ERA), but he didn’t set the world on fire like Sanchez. Nomar Mazara is third. I have a feeling Fulmer will win. Sanchez will fall victim to an anti-Yankees bias, plus the fact that he only played for two months.