The Baseball Writers of America released their finalists for the 2016 season.
While most were predicted earlier in the year, there are some omissions that I thought would be in consideration. Before I preview who I think will win, I’d like to mention the ones that were left out.
For the National League the major ones were in the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player.
It’s certainly saddening that Trevor Story, who led all rookies in home runs and missed everything after his injury right the trade deadline. From the beginning of the season the kid was impressive. Before he got hurt he had made Seager almost seem non-existent. If he had finished out the season he would have most likely finished around the numbers that Nolan Arenado had put up. Maybe not the same, but somewhere near as the two were battling for the team lead in both homers and RBIs prior to the injury.
Speaking of Arenado, he was not considered for the MVP. I get it. He’s on a bad team and they didn’t make the playoffs. But explain to me, if Mike Trout can be on an atrocious team and be considered then Arenado can be considered for the MVP as well. He led the National League in home runs and led the league in RBIs. I also get that he plays 81 games at home at 5280 feet. I don’t care. The man produces whether it’s at home or if it’s on the road. Get the man in the talks. Should he win? Probably not but he’s deserving of being on consideration.
The gripe in the Cy Young is Noah Syndergaard. Third in the league in ERA and ninth in Ks and with one of the worst offenses in the game he posted a 14-9 record. He has a right to complain about not being in the top three for consideration.
The American League missed on including David Ortiz who had one of the greatest seasons we had ever seen by someone his age. You could probably switch out Trout for him and be okay. Especially because they made the playoffs with a great second half push.
I’m not a huge fan of J.A. Happ but he was omitted. Can’t argue with who is in the running but I believe Happ should be up for consideration as his stats mirror those of Porcello minus the innings pitched on the year.
Now on to the real candidates.
NL MVP: Bryant vs. Murphy vs. Seager
I’m choosing Bryant. I’ve been saying Bryant is the MVP since the middle of the year. He finished with 39 home runs, 102 RBIs and 121 runs. He also moved around and played multiple positions throughout the year. He was the most feared bat in the Cubs lineup and I know postseason play won’t provide a factor for the writers but for me it does. He got hot at the right time and helped turned that World Series around.
AL MVP: Betts vs. Altuve vs. Trout
I don’t think Trout deserves to be in the talk because his team was bad with him. I can only imagine what it would be without him. Between Altuve and Betts I’m taking Betts. His average is below that of Altuve’s but he makes up for it in the home run and RBI category. He also helped propel his team into the postseason with stellar play along with the old man Ortiz. It’s really a toss up. I like teams that make the playoffs.
NL Cy Young: Hendricks vs. Lester vs. Scherzer
Hendricks. He won the award towards the end of the season in my opinion. His 0.98 WHIP is only behind Scherzer’s but his ERA is more than .80 lower than Scherzer’s. With a record of 16-8 he did more than his fair share to earn the award. Scherzer certainly had a Cy Young caliber season including a 20 strikeout game, it’s hard to argue with opponents .586 OPS that Hendricks produced in a masterful season.
AL Cy Young: Porcello vs. Kluber vs. Verlander
I’m going to go with Verlander on this one. I love the 22-4 record that Porcello posted but Verlander threw more games and innings. Verlander led the AL in WHIP at 1.00, Ks at 254 and finished second in BAA at .207. Porcello showed he was worth his contract that he signed, but Verlander returned to his from a few years ago and put his name at the top of the list for the Cy Young this year.
NL Manager of the Year: Maddon vs. Baker vs. Roberts
Is this really an argument? Roberts and Baker did a wonderful job this year but Maddon helped break a 108-year curse. Advantage Maddon.
AL Manager of the Year: Banister vs. Francona vs. Showalter
Showalter lost this when he brought in Jimenez and not Britton against the Jays. Francona wins this because of what he got from his team during the year. Best record in the AL and cleaning house in the first two rounds of the playoffs without two of his best starting pitchers in Carrasco and Salazar. Francona also lost his first World Series ever this go round.
NL Rookie of the Year: Maeda vs. Seager vs. Turner
Seager is in consideration for MVP. Turner came up halfway through the year and provided a boost for the Nationals as Bryce Harper struggled. In my opinion Maeda had an okay year but nothing to qualify him for a win. Seager wins this one pretty easily as he was the best bat in the Dodgers lineup the whole year.
AL Rookie of the Year: Fulmer vs. Naquin vs. Sanchez
To me this is between Fulmer and Sanchez. The only problem is that Sanchez came up very late in the year and even though he produced, it wasn’t quite enough time for him to win the award. Fulmer was mesmerizing during the early part of the year and it looked like he was learning from Verlander throughout the year. I’m giving this one to Fulmer as he finished the year with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.