I’m certainly guilty of spending way too much time lately on pro and college football but considering football is the most popular sport in America these days I should probably be excused. With that in mind, I’m making my return to baseball and in doing so I’m preparing for the playoffs by focusing on the award winners.
These are my selections for Major League Baseball’s post-season award winners.
American League Most Valuable Player
Once again the selections boil down to the new crowd favorite and the old crowd favorite with a potential exception. The new crowd loves Mike Trout because ‘saber metrics’ always seem to give him the advantage over the old crowd favorite Miguel Cabrera. The only other player in the discussion is Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson who has stats very similar to those of Trout.
To me, this isn’t even close. Cabrera is closing in on his third straight batting title and will take two of the three legs of the Triple Crown missing only on home runs. His team is also in the playoffs whereas Trout’s is not. Trout is a phenomenal talent who will no doubt win this award, but Cabrera is the best hitter on the planet right now and has done it consistently.
National League Most Valuable Player
This is another three-man race but this one really could go in any direction. Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks will win two-thirds of the Triple Crown with 35 home runs and 123 RBI’s while hitting over .300. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina has an argument of his own for the MVP.
Molina is considered the top defensive catcher in the game today and once again has the Cardinals in the post-season. He also is batting .314 which for a catcher is incredible.
The guy that really should get this award though is Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen who is as valuable to his team as anyone could be. He is the leader of a Pirates’ team that has made the playoffs for the first time since 1992 and is one of the top defensive outfielders in the game. He has batted .300 plus all year and has 20 homers and nearly 200 hits.
American League Cy Young Award
This will come down to three guys who have all pitched their teams to division titles or at least very close to one in one case. Bartolo Colon has a league best ERA of 2.64 and has three shutouts. He has been an incredible factor in the rise of the Athletics. Yu Darvish has been good in 2013 as well. He has 260 strikeouts and an opponents’ batting average of under .200.
The guy who has to win the award is the Tigers’ Max Scherzer. While his run support has been huge, he also has pitched a ton of innings and has gone at least six innings in 27 of 31 starts. Factor in as well the less than stellar year of Justin Verlander and it makes Scherzer’s year that much more impressive.
National League Cy Young Award
This really comes down to just two guys in Clayton Kershaw and Craig Kimbrel. While the Braves’ Kimbrel has been outstanding in closing 49 games this season for Atlanta with a low ERA and WHIP of .91, Kershaw has to be the guy who walks away with the award.
Kershaw has an ERA of 1.88 with 224 strikeouts and a WHIP of under one. He has been the stabilizing force for the Dodgers who roared from last place in the NL West to win the division.
AL Rookie of the Year
There will be significant attention paid to Jose Iglesias who helped Boston get out front in the East and then helped Detroit overcome the loss of Jhonny Peralta to suspension. While it wouldn’t shock me to see him win, I have to think it will be either Wil Meyers or Chris Archer of Tampa Bay.
NL Rookie of the Year
There will be a massive call for the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig to win this award and with good cause, but the most impressive rookie all season has been Marlins’ pitcher Jose Fernandez. Teams batted just .182 against him and he finished 12-6 for one of the worst teams in baseball.