The season is almost over, so it is time to predict who will win the major awards.
MVP: Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays
Trading for Josh Donaldson may have saved Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos’ job. Without Donaldson, who knows if the Blue Jays would have been good enough to be buyers at the deadline. Donaldson has been unreal this season with a slash line of.299/.372/.575 with 41 home runs and 122 RBIs. He also has been one of the best clutch hitters this season with three walk off home runs. On defense, he ranks 4th in defensive WAR for third basemen. His WAR is an outstanding 8.75, just 0.15 below Mike Trout. I give Donaldson the edge over Trout for the MVP award, as the Blue Jays are one of the best teams in baseball because of him.
Honorable Mention: Mike Trout
Cy Young: Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros
Keuchel has been outstanding this season for the Astros. In all but one start, he pitched at least six innings. At home, he had one of the best home pitching seasons going 15-0 with an ERA of 1.46, which gave the Astros pretty much an automatic win every time he pitched at home. One thing that has made him even better than last year is that his K/9 rate jumped to 8.48 from 6.57. His ability to get strikeouts and continue to be an elite ground ball pitcher has earned him the Cy Young.
Honorable Mentions: David Price and Sonny Gray
Rookie of the Year: Carlos Correa, Houston Astro
This award could have easily gone to Francisco Lindor, but I give the edge to Correa because of his power and the quality of team he is playing for. Correa has tied the Astros’ home run rookie record with 21 and has a chance to pass it with five games left. He has been compared to A-Rod (good parts of A-Rod) and Jeter and it makes sense because of the way he carries himself on and off the field. On defense, he has had his fair share of spectacular plays as well. He just turned 21 and is already one the best shortstops in baseball.
Honorable Mentions: Francisco Lindor, Lance McCullers, and Miguel Sano
Manager of the Year: Jeff Bannister, Texas Rangers
With the Rangers taking over first-place from the Astros, Jeff Bannister takes over the Manager of the Year award from A.J. Hinch. Bannister has led a team into first place, with a few games left in the season, that has been devastated by injuries. Yu Darvish was out all year with Tommy John, Derek Holland missed several months, Matt Harrison was hurt and was traded away, and the closer at the beginning of the year, Neftali Feliz, was very ineffective and now pitches for Detroit. Through all these issues, he has found a way to lead a team filled with question marks to a team that is a legitimate threat in October.
Honorable Mentions: A.J. Hinch, Paul Molitor, and Kevin Cash
MVP: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
This one is easy to decide. Harper has had one of the best offensive seasons in recent memory. His slash line is .336/.467/.658 and each of those stats lead the league. His OPS+ is 201, which is 101% better than league average, also leads the league. Harper also has 41 home runs, which yet again lead the league. At only 22 years of age, he is only going to get better. I think the National League can expect plenty of MVP awards going to Harper in the future.
Honorable Mentions: Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, and Yoenis Cespedes
Cy Young: Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs
Unlike the MVP race, the Cy Young race may be the toughest to decide. I went with Arrieta because of his dominance of late. In his last 15 starts, he is 12-1 with an ERA of 0.82 and a WHIP of 0.71. He has been even better in his last seven starts going 6-0 with a minuscule 0.33 ERA and a 0.55 WHIP. Arrieta has had one of the most dominant stretches of baseball in recent memory. If I had to pick one pitcher to pitch an elimination game, I would pick him, and luckily for the Cubs they get to do just that in the Wild Card game.
Honorable Mention: Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw
Rookie of the Year: Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
There were big expectations for Kris Bryant and he has fulfilled them in his rookie campaign. He has 26 home runs and is an RBI short of 100. Bryant’s OPS is well above average at .874 and he gets on base a solid amount as well (.372).With runners in scoring position he has been even better with an OPS above .950. The future is now for Chicago and it is looking good for Bryant and the Cubs.
Honorable Mention: Jung Ho Kang, Matt Duffy, and Noah Syndergaard
Manager of the Year: Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals
Matheny came in with a great team, but to be able to hold this team together after the tragic death of Oscar Tavares in the offseason and countless injuries to star players, it has been remarkable. If a team loses its ace and several important offensive players, they are not supposed to be baseball’s best team. This award could have easily gone to Joe Maddon or Terry Collins, but because of the adversity Matheny had to go through, the award goes to him.
Honorable Mention: Joe Maddon and Terry Collins
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