The MLB season is wrapping up and that means award season is right around the corner. Major awards spark major debates and this year is going to be fun to watch unfold. Of all the major sports the baseball awards seem to be the most talked about and of most interest to people. We are going to take a look at the major awards in both leagues and I will give you who I think should win the award and who I think is going to win the award.
The NL MVP race has been as close as we have had it in a long time. Not that there are 3 guys who are just putting up absurd numbers (well, there is one guy, we’ll get to that in a minute). This year, the NL MVP race has just had really solid players. Can anyone win it? Absolutely. But the question, who will win it?
This race is going to come down to the wire and I personally think it SHOULD be between three players. I will build the case for all 3 and then make my prediction on who SHOULD win, AND who will actually win the award.
In his first year in Milwaukee, Yelich has had a superior season. The Marlins had such a good hitting core of Stanton, Yelich and Ozuna and it’s fun to see all those guys in a pennant race. Would it be cool to see them do it in Miami and chance that franchise around? Sure. But, unfortunately, that couldn’t happen.
Out of those 3 Marlins player, Yelich has been the best former Marlin this season and the most consistent while being in a pennant race. Yelich’s second half is better than his first half and he has surged his way into the MVP race later in the year. Carrying the Brewers to a playoff appearance puts him in a stronghold for the MVP race. But what else puts him there?
Maybe it’s his, league leading .320 batting average, with a .387 OBP, league leading .570 SLG, league leading .957 OPS, 31 HR and 93 RBI’s and a league leading (for hitters) 6.1 WAR.
Those numbers right there prove how good Yelich has been this year. He is leading in batting average, Slugging, On Base + Slugging and is just absolutely mashing the ball. Yelich is that type of player that plays balls to the walls every single game and never lets his foot off the gas pedal. With him leading or close to leading in all the major NL categories, it’s hard to not think that he is leading the race.
But again, he’s a solid pick for the award. There are other solid picks that we have to talk about.
It’s hard to talk about the NL MVP and not include Baez into the discussion. Baez is the best player on the best team in the National League. Although that doesn’t mean everything, it should mean something. In a lot of sports, if you’re the best player on the best team, odds are, you’re getting the MVP. But that’s what’s great about baseball. That is not always the case. Although, it definitely can happen.
Javier has been incredible this year and showing off all 5 tools.
Baez is batting .292 with a .327 OBP and a .565 SLG. Although none is better than Yelich’s stats, they are still very solid. Baez has hit 33 home runs with a league leading 107 RBI’s and a lit of those RBI’s are the reason why the Cubs have the best record in the NL. Baez also has a very respectable WAR, coming in at 5.9. Baez is controlling the Cubs in the field and at the plate and should be highly considered for the MVP award.
The least likely of the bunch but can anyone actually argue against me that deGrom shouldn’t win the MVP. And I don’t want to hear “pitchers shouldn’t win” because they can and they should be able too. If Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander can win the MVP, with deGrom having better seasons than BOTH of them (except for wins, not deGrom’s fault), Jacob can win it too. That brings me to my next point.
I don’t want to hear the argument “he only has 8-9 wins when it’s all said and done. He can’t win the MVP”. That’s just a dumb argument. If you actually looked at the stats, in deGrom’s 9 losses on the season, his starting lineup has hit .164 in those games. That’s actually ABSURD. I’m sorry, who’s fault is that? And in two of those starts, deGrom came out of the game tied 1-1 and the person who got the Mets run, was deGom himself. So I don’t even wanna hear that argument, and we’ll also hear the “the Mets suck, they aren’t even going to be .500, how can he be the MVP?’” I’ll actually say some of that is correct.
The Mets do suck, but that’s not deGrom’s fault. This award is called Most Valuable PLAYER. Not Most Valuable PLAYER on a Winning Team. If you placed this year deGrom on any of the playoff teams, he’d have 24 wins and maybe 2 losses. He’s been that good. Not his fault the Mets stink.
So let’s get to the stats.
9-9 record, with a league leading 1.77 ERA, a NEW single season record 23 consecutive quality starts (23), 259 strikeouts and a 0.94 WHIP.
Oh, and Jacob deGrom’s WAR? 8.6. A full 2+ points HIGHER than any NL hitter.
Forget the CY Young, that argument is over, deGrom should be right in the mix for MVP.
Who SHOULD win- Jacob deGrom
Who WILL win- Christian Yelich
NL CY YOUNG
The NL Cy Young is a 3 horse race between Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Aaron Nola. All three of these pitchers have had amazing season and are deserving of the award.
Scherzer has been the one constant All Star performer for the Washington National over the years. He has put up another Scherzer type year with a 17-7 record 2.57 ERA and .91 Whip. Scherzer leads the NL in strikeouts with 290 and at 213.2 innings he is as reliable as they come when it comes to taking the ball every 5fth day.
Aaron Nola has been the breakout pitching star in the National league this season. Going 16-5 with a 2.44 ERA is one of the main reasons the Phillies stayed in contention basically this entire year. Of all the contending pitchers Nola had the highest WAR of any of them at 9.6. Nola had a chance to run off with this award however the young ace has not been nearly as dominate in the month of the September going 1-2 with a 5.01 ERA. The slow finish is clearly a sign of fatigue for the young starter and with such stiff competition this year in the NL Cy Young race the rocky finish is going to cost him.
You have to feel bad for Jacob deGrom this season as he has had a historical season in terms of giving up runs yet the Mets inability to score any runs for him leaves him with a 9-9 record on the season. The Mets are 15-19 as a team in deGrom starts this year which is absurd considering he has a 1.77 ERA on the season. What is even more absurd is the fact deGrom has started 22 games in which he has given up 1 earned run or fewer and has only a 5-4 record to show for it in those games, that is brutal.
Jacob deGrom is also second in the NL in strikeouts at 259. To put in bluntly no pitcher has been more dominate start to start than deGrom has been despite his Win Loss record this season.
Who SHOULD Win- Jacob deGrom
Who WILL Win- Jacob deGrom
AL CY YOUNG
This race to me is between 2 guys, Chris Sale and Blake Snell. What is interesting here is that both guys have been injured this season so the stat line they could of put up with those extra starts could have been all time seasons. Corey Kluber get a mention here because of his 19-7 record but with a 2.93 ERA in reality he is a distant third in this race.
Chris Sale has only amounted 153.1 innings this season but when he has been out there he has been one of the most dominating pitchers we have seen. Despite the low inning total he has still amassed a 12-4 record and an insane 229 K’s. His .85 Whip shows just how good he has been for a powerhouse Red Sox team. Combine that with his 2.00 ERA and pretty much any other season this guy win the award hands down.
Similar to Chris Sale, Blake Snell has dealt with a few injuries this season and only has been able to pitch 169 innings in his breakout season. What he has done in those innings is pretty amazing and he is one of baseball newest true Aces. Going 20-5 with a 1.97 ERA for a solid Tampa Bay team is a remarkable feat. Considering the fact he is in a division with the Red Sox and Yankees who are 2 of the best offensive teams in all of baseball makes his season even that much more impressive.
Snell was an amazing 8-2 against the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians and Astros which shows how great this guy has been. Snell also was able to pile up the strikeouts with 200 in his 169 innings. Generally winning 20 games is a lock to win this CY Young in most season anyway but when you add in his ERA and the teams he has done it against this to me in a no brainer despite how good Sale is.
Who SHOULD WIN- Blake Snell
Who WILL Win- Blake Snell
The American League MVP is the most tightly contested race of all this award season. It comes down to the fact you have multiple players having great years on really good teams. Some years the MVP award comes down to one guy having a insane statistical season and he blows the rest away. Some years it comes down to the best player on the best team if guys numbers are in a similar place. Then some years like this it is going to come down to who the writers feel is truly the most valuable player to his team.
Mookie Betts has had a monster season and anyone who got lucky enough to select him mid way through the first round in their fantasy drafts is most likely going for a championship. In terms of numbers Betts is rated #1 in Yahoo Fantasy baseball rankings right now. This does not mean anything in real life baseball but it does indicate his overall stat line is the best among baseball. Fantasy is all about stats so in term of well rounded numbers Mookie Betts leads the way!
Betts is leading all of baseball in batting average at 343. Not only is he leading the league in that regard, it is not even really all that close. J.D Martinez who will also be on this list is second at 329 and after that it drops to NL MVP candidate Christian Yelich at 322. Mookie Betts is second in baseball with a 434 on base percentage and that has led him to scoring the second most runs in baseball with 123.
So to go along with setting the table for guys like J.D Martinez, Betts has 31 home runs and 78 runs scored with 28 stolen bases. His OPS is also second in baseball at 1.070. The offensive numbers are there and to go along with that he plays stellar defense with a 1.9 defensive WAR. Between his offense and defense Bett’s WAR stands at a impeccable 10.6 on the season. Mookie Betts is one of the main reasons the Red Sox have the best record in baseball.
The second Red Sox on this list is what every team dreams about when penciling in a clean up hitter in their lineup. This guy does not leaves runners stranded and that has led him to a MLB baseball leading 124 RBI’s. With 41 home runs and a 329 batting average, which are both second in baseball, you can not really do much more at the plate. The problem with J.D Martinez compared a player like Betts is the fact he is a poor defensive player and spends a lot of his time at DH. David Ortiz won a MVP award in similar fashion but generally it can really hurts a player.
His -1.4 defensive WAR hurts him and his overall WAR stands at 6.1 because of it. The other problem for Martinez is he is on the same team as Mookie Betts who bats in front of him and has spent pretty much all season on base. Betts being on base so often with his speed puts Martinez in RBI spots constantly.
This is no fault of Martinez as you still have to drive the guys in but I could potentially see a writer looking at his lineup and discounting his RBI numbers. You could also make the argument that because Martinez protects Betts in the lineup Mookie’s numbers are bigger than they would be in another lineup. At the end of the day I think of the 2 Mookie Betts will get more credit and take away votes from Martinez at the end of the day.
Khris Davis is leading all of baseball in home runs with 45 and is second in baseball with 119 runs batted in. This is the third year in a row the slugger has hit 40 home runs or more and is one of the key reason the Oakland A’s are sitting with a 94-62 record. The A’s are in position to be the second Wild Card in the American League.
Davis does not do much else besides mash and is a prototypical power hitter who is all or nothing most of the time. His 249 average does not inspire and his .872 OPS is far off of some of the other guys. He is also not a great defensive player and his WAR is only 2.8. So why is he so high up for me ahead of some other guys ? Simply take a look at the A’s lineup night in and night out. If you take Khris Davis out of that lineup that team is not even close to playoffs. If you take Betts or J.D Martinez off the Red Sox they are still going to be very good.
Take Davis off the A’s and I have a hard time imaging the they are even decent. That is what the MVP award is about, who is most valuable to their team. I think the real definition of MVP gives Davis a legit chance to win this season.
I left a few guys off this list because I do not realistically think they have a chance to win but they are worth a mention and most likely will get some votes. Mike Trout is putting up another monster season but the Angels lack of success takes him out of the race this year for me. Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor have also have had MVP caliber seasons for the first place Indians but their numbers do not quite make the cut this year.
Who SHOULD Win– Khris Davis
Who WILL Win- Mookie Betts