Sep. 26, 2016
Predictions for MLB awards
Over the next week MLB will be announcing the winners of various awards such as the two leagues MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year. These are our predictions on who will take home each of those awards.
National League MVP
Winner: Kris Bryant
This is an easy decision for me and it should be an easy decision for the Baseball Writers Association (BBWA). Historically the MVP award goes to a player whose team reached the playoff. This year, Kris Bryant has the combination of being the best player in the NL as well as being the member of the team that won the World Series, the Chicago Cubs.
According to Fangraphs, Bryant was by far the best player in the NL last season. Bryant accumulated a WAR of 8.4 which ranks second behind only Mike Trout. The next highest WAR from a player in the NL is Corey Seager at 7.5. Bryant’s stat line was one of the best in baseball with a batting line of .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI. To go along with that, he plays very good defense at third base.
American League MVP
Winner: David Ortiz
This was David Ortiz’ last season in MLB before retiring and it is hard to see the BBWA choosing someone else given how good of a season Ortiz had. On offense, Ortiz may have had the best hitting season of anyone. He hit .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI. He led the league in doubles, RBI, slugging percentage, and OPS.
However, Ortiz is a designated hitter and does not play defense. In my opinion, the award should go to Ortiz’ teammate Mookie Betts. Betts also had incredible offensive production in 2016, batting .318/.363/.534 and hitting 31 home runs and 113 RBI. That offense is combined with his Gold Glove winning defense in right field and his above-average base-running.
National League Cy Young
Winner: Jon Lester
This is a tossup here between Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, and Kyle Hendricks. I think the BBWA could pick either of them and I believe arguments can be made for either as well. Each candidate has reasons why they should win. Hendricks had the lowest ERA in MLB at 2.13. Lester had the best winning percentage at .792 with a great ERA at 2.44. Scherzer’s ERA was higher than both at 2.92 but led the league in games started, strikeouts, and WHIP. In the end the BBWA will give the award to Lester, a veteran who hasn’t won before and has great balanced stats.
American League Cy Young
Winner: Rick Porcello
Just like in the NL, predicting who will win the Cy Young Award is impossible. It might be harder in the AL. The candidates up for the award are Rick Porcello, Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber. Verlander had the best ERA at 3.04 and led the league in strikeouts and WHIP. Kluber had the second best ERA at 3.14 with a record of 18-9.
Kluber’s advanced statistics, such as ERA+ and Field Independent Pitching (FIP), led the league however. Porcello has the highest ERA at 3.15, but led the league in wins with a record of 22-4. The BWAA tends to weigh wins heavily and that I think will win him the award.
National League Rookie of the Year
Winner: Corey Seager
Earlier in the season it looked as if Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story was destined to win this award after hitting 27 home runs in 97 games, but tearing a ligament in his thumb at the start of August will cost him the Rookie of the Year. This decision should be the BWAA’s easiest one. Corey Seager batted.308/.365/.512 with 26 home runs and 72 RBI’s to go along with his above average defense too. It’s rare that a Rookie of the Year candidate is also an MVP candidate, but Seager is that good.
American League Rookie of the Year
Winner: Gary Sanchez
This is another tough award to predict. Tyler Naquin batted .296/.372/.514 with 14 home runs and 43 RBI though 116 games. Michael Fulmer pitched phenomenally through 26 games with a 3.06 ERA. Then there is Gary Sanchez, who only played 53 game.
However, Sanchez may have been the best player in MLB in those last 53 games of the season. He batted .299/.376/.657 with 20 home runs and 42 RBI. Sanchez was the best player when he played, the only problem was he played much less than the others. In the end the BWAA will have some recency bias and choose Sanchez as the winner.
Manager of the Year
Terry Francona coming home with the AL Manager of the Year Award is not going to surprise anyone. The Cleveland Indians battled injuries all season in their lineup and their rotation. They missed their best player all season in Michael Brantley yet still managed to win 94 games this season. Dave Roberts winning the NL Manager of the Year Award over Joe Maddon, on the other hand, will surprise many. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series, he should win, right?
Well the BWAA casts their votes before the playoffs begin so what the Cubs did in the playoffs are irrelevant. For the same reason why Francona likely will win in the AL is why Roberts will win in the NL. Roberts came into a Los Angeles Dodgers’ clubhouse which was a mess and battling even more injuries than the Indians did and were still able to edge out of the San Francisco Giants to win the NL West with 91 wins.