This year the BBWAA selected their winners for the end of the year awards. Only one award here is really worth discussion – the Cy Young. But the fact that, in my opinion, the writers got this award so incredibly wrong, it makes the MVP winners worth talking about as well. It boggles my mind that the BBWAA can get it so wrong on one hand, yet so right on the other.
NL/AL Cy Young
Winners: Max Scherzer (NL) Rick Porcello (AL)
I can’t argue with the season that Scherzer had (I even picked him as my favorite to win it a while back). He lead the league in both IP and Ks. But it could be argued that Kyle
Hendricks and Jon Lester both had better, more meaningful years for the Cubs. Hendricks, in fact, had a WHIP .01 of a point higher than Scherzer and he had a lower ERA – the lowest in all of baseball. Really could’ve (in, my opinion should’ve) been Hendricks’ award.
In the AL, the BBWAA really messed it up. No two ways about it. And because we haven’t had enough election controversy this year, Boston’s Rick Porcello took home the award despite receiving fewer first-votes than Detroit’s Justin Verlander. Some folks were genuinely upset about it. Porcello’s win was aided by his 18 second-place votes and also by the fact that Verlander was (inexplicably) left off of two of the thirty ballots. Even Corey Kluber had a better year than Porcello and would’ve been a worthy recipient. It seems the writers picked Porcello because of his ML-leading 22
wins – an idea that infuriates me. Most people in the know (and I include myself in that category) realize that pitching wins is, for the most part, a useless stat when evaluating a pitcher’s overall performance. It doesn’t tell the whole story. While Porcello did have a fairly low ERA and WHIP (3.15 and 1.01 respectively) he also received the highest run support in all of baseball (6.6 runs per start). Let’s face it, a lot of those 22 wins were about Boston’s offense more so than Porcello’s pitching.
Winners: Kris Bryant (NL) Mike Trout (AL)
Luckily, the MVP awards were handed out the following day and I was able to restore some sort of the faith in the BBWAA. Unlike the Cy Young, they got the MVP right in both leagues. The NL was a no-brainer but for anyone else who has followed these awards as I have, they realize that Trout’s election, even though well deserved, was a departure from previous seasons.
Kris Bryant captured his first MVP award this season to go along with a World Series title. In doing so, Bryant became the first player to win College Player of the Year (2013), Minor League Player of the Year (2014), Rookie of the Year (2015), and MVP (2016) in 4 consecutive seasons. Bryant’s numbers improved across the board from his rookie campaign and was an easy choice in the NL.
How do I begin to break down the AL? Trout’s election makes me so happy as a baseball fan. He’s been the best player in baseball for five years in a row (and yes, this should’ve been his 5th award instead of his 2nd) and this year for a change, he was not penalized for his team’s continued ineffectiveness. Trout’s win continued his streak of five consecutive seasons finishing at least 2nd for the award.
If I may go on gushing about Mike Trout, I came across some amazing stats. Most
astonishing is his career WAR. In case you had any doubt, we’re seeing a once-in-a-generation talent. Right now, at the age of 25 Trout has a WAR of 48.5. This is after only 5 full big league seasons. I looked at players with a lower career WAR to find how many were Hall of Famers. I stopped counting at 23. Another way to put this in perspective is to look at Babe Ruth. He’s the all time leader in WAR at 163.1 over 22 seasons. Through Ruth’s age-25 season he only had a career WAR of 32. Trout will easily have a case full of MVP trophies before his career is over.