Handicapping the MLB Awards

By Blaidd Drwg

We are in MLB awards season. Yesterday we had the announcement of the AL and NL ROY, won by Jose Abreu and Jacob DeGrom. Abreu was a no-brainer and DeGrom, despite only pitching 144 innings, got 26 of the 30 first place votes over Billy Hamilton (remember him from this) and Kolten Wong, both of whom posted sub-300 OPB and sub-700 OPS. It was a weak year in the NL for rookies.

We have the Manager of the Year, MVP and Cy Young coming up this week and it should be interesting. Keep in mind that the voting is completed for all 3 of the awards on the last day of the regular season, so the playoffs have no impact. Here are my thoughts:

 

Manager of the Year

Predicted Winners: Mike Scioscia (AL), Bruce Bochy (NL)

I took a quick look at the ESPN 2014 predictions and virtually no one had either the Angels or the Giants winning their divisions or the wild card, so they both get the nod from me. It will be interesting to see who wins because you can make the argument than any of the 6 finalists deserve to win the award.

 

Cy Young

Predicted Winners: Felix Hernandez (AL), Clayton Kershaw (NL)

Let me just put this out there – Kershaw was far and away the best pitcher in baseball this year and he will be a unanimous winner. The AL is different. I actually would not have voted for Felix if I had the vote simply because he imploded in his next to last start and essentially cost the Mariners a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Neither Sale nor Kluber pitched for a contender, but here are the stats for all 3 of them:

  W-L ERA SO WHIP IP ERA+ WAR K/9 K/BB
Felix 15-6 2.14 248 0.915 236 170 6.8 9.5 5.39
Kluber 18-9 2.44 269 1.095 235.2 152 7.4 10.3 5.27
Sale 12-4 2.17 208 0.966 174 178 6.6 10.8 5.33

 

There is a small piece of information that I wanted to share. A day after Felix had his disastrous start in Toronto, the official scorer changed a play that was (correctly) ruled a hit to (incorrectly) be an error. That resulted in 4 ER being removed from Felix’s stats and gave him the ERA and WHIP titles. Without the scoring change, Felix essentially has the same ERA as Kluber. It is really a toss-up between Kluber and Felix though – they had virtually identical stat lines with Kluber striking out a few more hitters and Felix giving up a few less hits, but I think this will be a pretty close vote, with Felix coming out just ahead. Sale, while probably better than either Kluber of Felix this year, missed a month of the season and that will lead to him finishing third.

 

MVP

Predicted Winners: Mike Trout (AL), Clayton Kershaw (NL)

The NL is interesting since you have to compare 2 hitters to a pitcher. McCutchen and Stanton both had good, not great, seasons, pulling in a 6.4 and 6.5 WAR respectively. Kershaw, despite an early season injury and just under 200 IP, pulled in a 7.5 WAR. The selling point for me – the Pirates may or may not make the playoffs without McCutchen, the Marlins just suck worse without Stanton but the Dodgers don’t win their division without Kershaw.

All 3 of the AL finalists had fine seasons, but the reality is Mike Trout was just a ton better than either Michael Brantley or Victor Martinez, neither of whom are very likely to be that good next year. Besides, I had to actually look up Brantley’s stats to see how good he actually was, although I was tempted to give him points for being Mickey Brantley’s kid. The scary thing about Trout is that he is just 22 and this was a “down year” for him, posting a career low 7.9 WAR, which was still good enough to lead all of baseball.

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