The playoffs are in full swing, but after a night off due to the rainout in the Cubs and Nationals series, Dan and I sat down and put together some award picks.
Pete’s Pick: Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros
Altuve has been in the MVP race for the last few seasons and I think he finally takes the crown this year. He is a true 5-tool player, a clubhouse leader, and on one of the best teams in baseball.
Daniel’s Pick: Aaron Judge, RF, New York Yankees
Call it a hot take, but boy has Judge put together an incredible season. If you look at MVP stats throughout history, the baseball writers of America value power and runs over hits and batting average. This year’s MVP race is basically a mix of Judge, Altuve, and Mike Trout of the LA Angels. The reason I take Judge here is because historically, power has proven to outweigh contact. Jose Altuve has led the league in hits since 2014, leading in average every year since then except 2015. However, not once has he won the award. Since 2014, the MVP has led the league in runs, and has come top 4 in Slugging Percentage (SLG), On Base Plus Slugging (OBPS), and RBI. In 2017, Judge led runs, came second in OBP, SLG, and OBPS, all behind Mike Trout. What gives him the advantage over the 2016 MVP? He led his team to the postseason.
Pete’s Pick: Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
For me it’s a coin flip between Goldy and Nolan Arenado, but Goldschmidt fell off near the end of the year. Charlie Blackmon will also get a lot of love, but despite his career year, I think Arenado takes the MVP in a tight race.
Daniel’s Pick: Charlie Blackmon, CF, Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies’ run to the postseason was the result of an incredible season by Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon. As an MVP, Blackmon gets the advantage here because of his contribution to the team, especially from the leadoff spot. Leading the NL in AVG, Runs, Hits, and Triples, Blackmon put up video game numbers to lead his team to October baseball, while setting the record for most Home Runs by a leadoff hitter with 103.
AL Cy Young
Pete’ Pick: Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland Indians
I have literally picked Chris Sale to win this award three opening day’s in a row, and Corey Kluber is showing up for the second time to steal the award. He did it a couple years ago, and he’ll do it again this year. Sale will have his 3rd second-place finish in three seasons.
Daniel’s Pick: Cory Kluber, SP, Cleveland Indians
Chris Sale had an incredible season for Boston, but Cory Kluber outplayed him once again this year. Kluber led in multiple categories, including ERA, Complete Games, Wins, and Strikeouts per walk en route to another Postseason appearance. While Sale had the most strikeouts in the AL by a landslide, Kluber put together a much better season.
NL Cy Young
Pete’s Pick: Max Scherzer, SP, Washington Nationals
Boy, Mad Max’s 7-year 210 Million dollar deal is lookin’ pretty good eh? Scherzer is a machine, and he’ll add some hardware to the mantle by collecting the second of Back-to-Back NL Cy Young’s, and his 3rd overall.
Daniel’s Pick: Max Scherzer, SP, Washington Nationals
Coming off a Cy Young campaign in 2016, a lot of people were unsure if Scherzer would be able to repeat such an elite performance in 2017. He did. Being the most consistent and dominant pitcher in the NL for the second year in a row will have him bringing home some more hardware over the winter.
Pete’s Pick: Aaron Judge, RF, New York Yankees
Despite Andrew Benintendi’s best efforts, the clear winner is Judge here. 50 homers is 50 homers, no matter how much he struggled at the start of the second half. At the end of the day his full body of work is too impressive.
Daniel’s Pick: Aaron Judge, RF, New York Yankees
Pete’s Pick: Cody Bellinger, OF/1B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Bellinger has been so good that he can’t lose this award. He’ll have 40+ homers and around 100 RBI’s at years end and may not even reach 500 at-bats. Had Bellinger started the year in the Majors, we may be talking about an MVP, but he’ll have to settle for ROY.
Daniel’s Pick: Cody Bellinger, OF/1B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Second in Home Runs and Fifth in Slugging Percentage, Cody Bellinger put together an incredible season, even after missing a big chunk of action at the beginning of the year. The one impressive thing about Bellinger is not what he did in 2017, but what he has in store for the future. With the raw power and skill he displayed at the home run derby and throughout the year, it’s evident we’re in for a show in LA.
AL Comeback Player
Pete’s pick: Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City Royals
After a breakout campaign in 2015, Moose only played 27 games last season due to a torn ACL. This year he’s been a beast, setting career high’s in HR’s, RBI’s, SLG%, and OPS. Moustakas was also a 2017 all-star, furthering his case for the award.
Daniel’s Pick: Justin Smoak, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays
Prior to 2017, Smoak’s best season was 2013, when he hit .238/.334/.412 with 20 home runs. After a frustrating 2016 campaign which saw him strike out 112 times in 341 plate appearances, Smoak bounced back with a phenomenal campaign this year. With a .270 average and 38 home runs, Smoak saw his first All Star game appearance and was undoubtedly the Most Valuable Player on a struggling Blue Jays roster.
NL Comeback Player
Pete’s Pick: Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Washington Nationals
Zimmerman’s last healthy season was in 2013, and his last all-star appearance was in 2009. in 2017, he’s been healthy, an all-star and a staple in the middle of a dangerous Nationals lineup. Zimmerman has 34 HR’s and 103 RBI’s along with a .301 average, numbers that very few would have expected from the veteran Nat.
Daniel’s Pick: Greg Holland, RP, Colorado Rockies
After missing part of 2015 and all of 2016 rehabbing Tommy John surgery, Holland put together an incredible season in 2017. Holland saw his first All-Star game and led the league in saves this year, posting a 3.61 ERA.
AL Manager of the Year
Pete’s Pick: Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians
Francona’s Indians are poised for another deep playoff run and he’s already wildly considered to be one of the best manager’s in the league. This one is a no-brainer. Oh, and his team is 28-2 in their last 30 games. Pretty impressive stuff from Tito and his boys.
Daniel’s Pick: Paul Molitor, Minnesota Twins
The Twins are the first team to play in the postseason after losing over 100 games the year before, and lots of credit needs to go to Molitor. While the Twinkies are a long shot to make a deep playoff run this year, it was quite the cinderella story being able to watch them put together such an incredible season after a disastrous 2016 campaign.
NL Manager of the Year
Pete’s Pick: Torrey Louvello, Arizona Diamondbacks
The Dbacks lost 93 games in 2016 and were in shambles following a promising offseason a year ago. Louvello has lead the team to a playoff birth and looks poised to win 93+ games in 2017. The remarkable turnaround makes Louvello a prime candidate for MOY.
Daniel’s Pick: Torrey Louvello, Arizona Diamondbacks
The NL West was arguably the best division in baseball this year, and the Diamondbacks clinched home field advantage in the Wild Card game after an awful showing in 2016. Louvello deserves credit, especially after the team ceased to make any big splashes in free agency over the offseason.