Game No. 163 is later Monday, but if I had a vote for any or all of the Major League Baseball Awards, here’s how my ballot would look. I took value into consideration further than any one statistical measure, and all else being equal a candidate on a good team was given a little more weight.
The toughest choice for me was the AL Cy Young Award, followed by the NL Rookie of the Year. For me, the AL Manager of the Year was the easiest choice, despite there being a number of qualified candidates.
In the NL, the easiest pick for me was the MOY. Otherwise the National League was quite close for each award, including the Cy Young.
American League Most Valuable Player
- Mike Trout, OF — Los Angeles Angels
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B — Detroit Tigers
- Josh Donaldson, 3B — Oakland Athletics
- Chris Davis, 1B — Baltimore Orioles
- Evan Longoria, 3B — Tampa Bay Rays
Cabrera has the offensive numbers to repeat as MVP — and he probably will win the vote — but Trout was, again, the game’s best player, and it’s not close enough for me to go for Cabrera.
Donaldson was tremendous this season, even improving defensively as the season progressed, and was so consistent that he gets the slight edge at No. 3 over Davis.
American League Cy Young
- Yu Darvish, RHP — Texas Rangers
- Max Scherzer, RHP — Detroit Tigers
- Anibal Sanchez, RHP — Detroit Tigers
- Felix Hernandez, RHP — Seattle Mariners
- Chris Sale, LHP — Chicago White Sox
Scherzer is going to win it, and it certainly won’t be tragic that he does, he’s had a very good year and was consistent throughout the schedule. Darvish had less support from his offense and had to carry the load for a Rangers rotation that, while solid, clearly leans on their ace more than any other playoff club leans on theirs. He also pitched in a tough environment, and held up through the dog days in the Texas heat, a factor that cannot be measured by any metric.
American League Rookie of the Year
- Wil Myers, OF — Tampa Bay Rays
- Jose Iglesias, SS — Detroit Tigers
- Martin Perez, LHP — Texas Rangers
- Chris Archer, RHP — Tampa Bay Rays
- Brad Miller, SS — Seattle Mariners
I’d actually like to see Myers and Iglesias share this award. Myers was the better hitter, Iglesias the better defender and perhaps the most important rookie in baseball this season. I took Perez over Archer, but I could go either way there. Miller sneaks in over teammate Danny Farquhar and Kansas City Royals outfielder David Lough, among others.
American League Manager of the Year
- Terry Francona — Cleveland Indians
- Bob Melvin — Oakland Athletics
- John Farrell — Boston Red Sox
- Joe Maddon — Tampa Bay Rays
- Joe Girardi — New York Yankees
Land slide for me to go with Francona. Yes, the Indians went out and got Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn over the winter. Neither performed all that well on the field, especially compared to what we have come to expect from them, and somehow Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson have had significantly better seasons that a year ago. Francona is a manager in the truest sense of the word. For me, he’s the best in the game right now.
Melvin gets overlooked by some, but to win two straight division titles with a roster that is probably just the third best in the American League West — and with no true stars and few veterans — is remarkable. The A’s have not been safe from injuries, either. Some credit goes to the front office for finding depth and balance, but Melvin is doing a ridiculously good job mixing it up and finding answers.
What Girardi did this year with just one everyday player in the Top 25 in fWAR and two in the top 58 — and having to filter through all the injuries with below-average replacement level backups — was a pretty special job.
National League Most Valuable Player
- Andrew McCutchen, OF — Pittsburgh Pirates
- Matt Carpenter, 2B — St. Louis Cardinals
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B — Arizona Diamondbacks
- Yadier Molina, C — St. Louis Cardinals
- Carlos Gomez, CF — Milwaukee Brewers
I’m not all over Goldschmidt as most appear to be — he’s a very, very good player who performs as well on the road as he does at home — but in terms of value, McCutchen and Carpenter beat him out here.
If Molina hadn’t been injured, he might have a legit shot to win it. In the vote, I believe it will come down to McCutchen and Goldschmidt, but Carpenter should not be overlooked.
National League Cy Young
- Clayton Kershaw, LHP — Los Angeles Dodgers
- Adam Wainwright, RHP — St. Louis Cardinals
- Cliff Lee, LHP — Philadelphia Phillies
- A.J. Burnett, RHP — Pittsburgh Pirates
- Matt Harvey, RHP — New York Mets
Kershaw has the huge advantage over Wainwright in raw ERA — 1.83 to 2.94 — but in FIP (2.39 for Kershaw, 2.55 for Wainwright) and competition this race evens out a lot more than conventional wisdom would have you believe. Still, the southpaw gets a slight edge here for me.
Lee, somehow, pitched through awful run support, below average defense and a tough pitcher’s environment in Philly to post 222 strikeouts in 222 2/3 innings. Furthermore, he managed to get 222 2/3 innings in with just 31 starts. That’s an average of more than seven innings per start, leading the senior circuit.
I like Burnett over teammate Francisco Liriano for his entire body of work in 2013, despite Liriano having some advantages in some rate stats.
National League Rookie of the Year
- Yasiel Puig, OF — Los Angeles Dodgers
- Jose Fernandez, RHP — Miami Marlins
- Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP — Los Angeles Dodgers
- Julio Teheran, RHP — Atlanta Braves
- Shelby Miller, RHP — St. Louis Cardinals
Puig and Fernandez should each win a separate award here. Both are deserving, but if I had to pick one I’d go with Puig, who was at his best when the Dodgers needed a spark to keep them alive after six weeks of futility.
National League Manager of the Year
- Don Mattingly — Los Angeles Dodgers
- Clint Hurdle — Pittsburgh Pirates
- Mike Matheny — St. Louis Cardinals
- Fredi Gonzalez — Atlanta Braves
- Dusty Baker — Cincinnati Reds
I’m not sure what the consensus is here, but somehow Mattingly survived and flourished without his best player — Matt Kemp — for most of the season and without the best of Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier. I don’t expect him to win the official vote, but he’s my pick, despite some early-season mistakes that seemed to go away for the most part as the team started to perform better at the plate.
Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016.
Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.
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