With less than a week left in the 2016 MLB campaign (and all the Division winners sorted), it’s time to assess individual performances and predict the winners, on our award tour.
Before we dive right into the selections, let’s quickly teach (or refresh) you, on how some of the basics work with regards to the voting, when the BBWAA (Baseball Writers’ Association of America) make their selections before the postseason.
Voting FAQ (From BBWAA.com)
Two writers from each MLB city are recommended by the local chapter chairman and approved by the national secretary-treasurer to vote for each award. Writers from NL cities vote for NL awards, and writers from AL cities vote for AL awards, making 30 voters for each award.
How many names are on the ballot?
For MVP, there are 10 spots on the ballot. For Cy Young, there are five. For Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year, there are three. A writer may not split a spot on the ballot between two candidates.
How is the voting counted?
For all awards, there is a point system that is weighted by the spot on the ballot. For the MVP, a first-place vote is worth 14 points. From second to 10th, the ballot spots are worth 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points, respectively. For the Cy Young, the points are 7-4-3-2-1. For the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year, the points are 5-3-1.
Who tabulates the votes?
Jack O’Connell, the BBWAA’s Secretary/Treasurer, counts the votes shortly before the winners are announced in November.
There seems to always be a debate about the definition of the MVP. What does the ballot say?
There is no clear-cut definition of what Most Valuable means. It is up to the individual voter to decide who was the Most Valuable Player in each league to his team. The MVP need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier.
The rules of the voting remain the same as they were written on the first ballot in 1931:
1. Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.
2. Number of games played.
3. General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.
4. Former winners are eligible.
5. Members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.
You are also urged to give serious consideration to all your selections, from 1 to 10. A 10th-place vote can influence the outcome of an election. You must fill in all 10 places on your ballot. Only regular-season performances are to be taken into consideration.
Keep in mind that all players are eligible for MVP, including pitchers and designated hitters.
–Rookie Of The Year-
Corey Seager (Los Angeles Dodgers)
The 22-year old All-Star Shortstop from Charlotte, North Carolina, should win the NL ROY. He’s been a revelation since being called up late last year to replace injured veteran Jimmy Rollins.
No relation to Bob Seger, but he is the brother of Kyle Seager, from the Seattle Mariners.
Let me just display his 2016 numbers here, so we can move on…
153 GP, 103 Runs, 191 Hits, 26 HR, 72 RBI’s, (.312) BA
Honourable mention: Kenta Maeda (LAD), Aledmys Diaz (STL)
Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals)
You could make a compelling argument for a few selections from the rich choice of candidates in the NL, but my money is on Mad Max. ‘Ol crazy eyes has been hurling hot fire all season long for the first place Nationals. He’s posted more strikeouts, and a lower ERA than he did in his 2013 Cy Young campaign with the Detroit Tigers.
Scherzer is also leading the MLB in strikeouts, opponents’ BA, WHIP, and is second in innings pitched. Case closed.
19-7, 2.82 ERA, 223.1 IP, 277 K’s, (.193) OBA, 0.94 WHIP
Honourable mention: Kyle Hendricks (CHC), Jon Lester (CHC), Jake Arrieta (CHC), José Fernández (MIA)
-Most Valuable Player-
Daniel Murphy (Washington Nationals)
Murphy has not started since Sept. 17 or played since Sept. 20, and could remain shut down through the end of the regular season due to an injury. In my estimation though, he’s done enough over his “career year” to earn the NL MVP in 141 GP. The Nationals have already clinched a playoff berth thanks to Murph, and look poised to make a deep run. Dude had been on another level at the dish since coming over from the Mets, hitting (.347) in 2016. He’ll be in tough to get the award (since the Cubs players are media darlings), and if Scherzer gets the Cy Young, the writers may channel their votes away from the Nationals.
In any event, Murphy’s numbers jump off the page, and leave a solid case for the winning vote tally.
88 Runs, 184 Hits, 47 Doubles, 25 HR, 104 RBI’s, (.347 )BA
Honourable mention: Kris Bryant (CHC), Nolan Arenado (COL), Joey Votto (CIN), Anthony Rizzo (CHC)
-Manager Of The Year-
David Roberts (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Many pundits would immediately concede this award to Joe Madden of the Chicago Cubs. The Mad Professor won last year, and has done an admirable job with his 2016 club, recently passing the 100 win mark (First time since 1935 for the Cubbies). That line-up is beyond stacked though, with three legitimate aces in the pitching rotation. That seems to be more of a nod to the front office, than the Manager in my opinion.
While it will be a close race, the award should be handed out to Dave Roberts of the Dodgers, who has helped wrestle the NL West away from the Giants, with a depleted and injury riddled line-up.
Roberts helped bring L.A. back from psychological oblivion once ace Clayton Kershaw was placed on the long-term DL (he missed over 2 months). In fact, every member of the starting rotation (except Kenta Maeda), would spend time on the disabled list. The Dodgers line-up was so decimated over the season that Roberts had to manage 54 players into roles. Yes, you read that correctly. He’s relied on rookies down the stretch and overcame sending a star player (Yasiel Puig), down to the minors because of “attitude problems.”
Ladies and gentleman, Roberts has done more with less, while exceeded expectations, leading the Dodgers to the top of the NL West and beyond.
91-68 (National League West Champions)
Honorable Mention: Joe Madden (CHC), Dusty Baker (WAS)
-Rookie Of The Year-
Michael Fulmer (Detroit Tigers)
The bearded wizard is leading the American League in ERA (3.06) and has helped the Tigers surge to a potential Wild Card berth. Don’t give me that Gary Sánchez nonsense, especially with all that New York Kool-Aid floating around the ballparks. The AL ROY is Michael Fulmer, because he is leading a major statistical category of his peers, and he is pitching for a contending team.
11-7, 3.06 ERA, 159.0 IP, 132 K’s, (.231) OBA, 1.12 WHIP
Honourable mention: Nomar Mazara (TEX), Gary Sánchez (NYY)
Rick Porcello (Boston Red Sox)
The ballots are going to be dispersed all over the board in the American League this season when it comes to the Cy Young award. I’m giving the nod to Boston’s 22-game winner Ricky Porcello. The Red Sox ace has had a career year and is deserving of the award. The Sox have clinched the AL East, and Porcello will unquestionably be their starter in Game 1 of the ALDS.
Still not convinced?
Porcello has the lowest WHIP in the AL (0.99), and has only walked 30 batters. It’s been a remarkable turn-around season for the righty, who didn’t even manage to win 10 games last year, and finished with 15 losses.
22-4, 3.11 ERA, 217.0 IP, 183 K’s, .227 OBA, 0.99 WHIP
Honourable mention: Zach Britton (BAL), Corey Kluber (CLE), J.A. Happ (TOR), Justin Verlander (DET)
-Most Valuable Player-
José Altuve (Houston Astros)
Altuve’s value to his team is beyond irreplaceable. All accounts have the Venezuelan All-Star as one of the most liked players in the league. On top of next level skills, Altuve just oozes energy and positivity, resulting in his Astros being in the Wild Card hunt… right up until last night. He’s a virtual lock to win his second batting title, and has put up career highs in home runs and RBI’s. Those new found power numbers will be just enough to put him over the top in the AL MVP voting (from an unbiased writer).
Honorable mention: Mookie Betts (BOS), Mike Trout (ANA), Zach Britton (BAL), David Ortiz (BOS)
-Manager Of The Year-
Terry Francona (Cleveland Indians)
It’s another close call with the AL Manager of the year. In many ways, like Dave Roberts with the Dodgers, Terry Francona has rallied his troops after several injuries to keep the Indians competitive. The Tribe has won 91 games, clinching the AL Central, leaving the World Series champs (Royals) in the dust. The struggles and injuries of catcher Yan Gomes, and the losses of both Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar from the starting rotation, is a testament to the culture and persevering attitude that Francona has instilled in the 2016 Indians.
Honourable mention: Jeff Banister (TEX), John Ferrell (BOS)
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