A few weeks back I did a post about my predictions for the end of the season awards. After a couple of weeks it is apparent to me that most, if not all of my predictions are wrong. No worries, it’s a big part of the reason why I’m not getting paid for this (also a big reason why I don’t play the lotto). More importantly it’s the perfect excuse to try my hand at it again.
Before I jump into it I just want to say that from my viewpoint all of the races are extremely close with the exception of maybe one or two runaways. Since so many playoff/division races are so close a lot is going to be determined by who gets in and who doesn’t.
Original Pick – Jose Altuve (Houston Astros) New Pick – Josh Donaldson (Toronto Blue Jays)
The playoff picture in the AL is still not a very clear one. The AL East is conceivably a three-team race. The AL Wild Card is likely a seven-team race!!! Right now reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson is having a slightly better season than last year. The third baseman is sporting a line of .289/.399/.954 (compared to last year’s .297/.371/.939) with 28 HRs and 80 RBI.
The MVP race in the AL will be an interesting one. For the 5th year in a row Mike Trout is hands down the best player in the game. However, since the award is meant to reward value it will more than likely not go to a player on a last place team. The other two players who will give Donaldson a run at the trophy are Boston’s Mookie Betts and Houston’s Jose Altuve. Both are having incredible years for contending teams (Betts .316/.357/.923 28 HRs 89 RBI Altuve .365/.427/1.006 20 HRs 80 RBI). This award will come down to who survives to play in October and if the season ended today, the Blue Jays would win the AL East. I’ll give the slightest of edges to Donaldson.
AL Cy Young
Original Pick – Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox) New Pick – JA Happ (Toronto Blue Jays)
JA Happ is having a career year for the Jays but really his name is up there because I could only put one (self-imposed rule, I guess). There are probably 6 or 7 guys in the AL whom, if were handed the award today, I’d have no beef. It’s a trickier pick since team performance is not as important here as individual numbers (this is not to say that team performance isn’t a deciding factor). Guys like Michael Fulmer, Rick Porcello, Chris Sale, Zach Britton, and Corey Kluber (I’m sure I’ve left at least a few out) are all having seasons worthy of a Cy Young award. This award is really too close to call for me so why not give it to the AL wins leader, who is also pitching for a contending team.
Original Pick – Nomar Mazara (Texas Rangers) New Pick – Michael Fulmer (Detroit Tigers)
This is probably the easiest race to call right now. Michael Fulmer is tearing up the league in his first season and even has a decent shot to win the Cy Young (he’d be the first since Fernando Valenzuela to win both in the same year) but he probably won’t get to the minimum for innings pitched. Fulmer is sporting record of 10-4 ERA 2.58 WHIP 1.06 and 104 Ks. Earlier in the season the rookie also threw a ridiculous 33.1 consecutive scoreless innings (the record for a rookie is 41 by Grover Cleveland Alexander 1911).
Original Pick – Daniel Murphy (Washington Nationals) New Pick – Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs)
The NL race is just as tight, if not tighter than the AL. Daniel Murphy is still having a career year for the East-leading Nationals, Corey Seager is carrying the Dodgers on his back, but Kris Bryant is pacing the offense of the team with the best record in baseball. Bryant’s line is looking like this: .300/.392/.957 31 HRs 83 RBI. With the Cubs so far out in front, it seems that the award should go to Bryant if all remains the same.
NL Cy Young
Original Pick – Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers) New Pick – Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals)
This is a race that makes me feel lucky that I have nothing to do with the eventual selection. The NL has so many contenders the selection committee might as well just throw a dart at a bunch of names. Really, they could do no wrong.
Kershaw has been on the DL since before the All Star break and was well on his way to winning a 4th Cy Young. However, because of the injury he’ll probably not reach the minimum number of innings pitched (he’d have to pitch about another 39 innings). This time around I went with Scherzer. Here’s how the NL breaks down; there is a different leader in every major statistical category except for two which Scherzer is leading in (Ks and WHIP). Right now Scherzer is 13-7 ERA 3.05 WHIP 0.96 and 217 Ks. It’s a crapshoot, but I’d give it to Scherzer right now.
Original Pick – Trevor Story (Colorado Rockies) New Pick – Corey Seager (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Trevor Story was taking the league by storm up until an injury required season-ending surgery. Right now, the award belongs to Corey Seager and it’s not really even close.
Seager only saw 98 ABs last season (113 PAs) thus making him still a rookie for the 2016 season. He’s carrying the West-leading Dodgers offensively and is going to get some serious consideration for NL MVP. He’s slashing a line of .316/.370/.901 with 21 HRs and 58 RBIs. Even if he were to miss the rest of the season from here on out, the award would be his at this point.