With the votes officially cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, the announcements of the MLB award winners for the 2015-2016 season are just around the corner. Here are my official and final predictions for who will be taking home some hardware for their stellar performances this season.
First, the National League.
NL MVP: Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals 2B
I’m sure many of you initially expected a Washington National by the name of Bryce Harper to claim this award at the start of the season, but I can assure you no one saw this coming. Daniel Murphy, the former New York Mets second baseman signed an under-the-radar three year, $37.5 million dollar deal this past winter with the Nationals, built off his incredible 2014-2015 postseason with the Mets and put together a phenomenal first season with Washington. On the year, Murphy slashed an impressive .347/.390/.595, possessed a .985 OPS, all while hitting 25 homers and knocking in 104 runs. Every stat just listed are career-highs for Murphy. On top of his individual performance, certain people and members of the BBWAA factor team success into their decision for the MVP award. With that being said, Murphy’s Nationals finished the year 95-67, good enough to tie them with Texas for the second best record in baseball. Pretty good, huh?
NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals SP
Back to the nation’s capital we go. Max Scherzer continues to establish himself year after year as one of the game’s top arms. The 2013 Cy Young winner(then with Detroit) has transitioned to Washington with relative ease and after his second year with the team, should take him his second career Cy Young award. The righty has put together a season with a record of 20-7, an ERA of 2.96, WHIP of 0.968, and has punched 284 Ks through 228.1 innings of work. Again, Scherzer’s Nationals tied for the second best record in baseball, so he has the team success case on his side. He is nothing short of dominant, perhaps maybe the most dominant pitcher in the league with his wide arsenal of absolutely filthy pitches. Hopefully, the BBWAA clowns reward Max for another stellar season.
NL Rookie of the Year: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers SS
Pretty obvious choice here. Seager was the award favorite entering the year and did nothing but mash all season long. The 22 year old shortstop slashed .308/.365/.512 with an OPS of .877. Also, he clubbed 26 ding dongs, second among all rookies, and knocked in 72 RBI, tied for tops amongst rookies. Seager is already considered by many the best hitter in the Dodgers lineup and was also honored with his first career All-Star selection.
Now, for the American League.
AL MVP: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels CF
Simply put, Mike Trout is the best baseball player in the world. I don’t care what team he is on or where his team finished in the division, Trout is the best. The Most Valuable Player award has a different meaning to all. Some say “Most Valuable” means the best player on a good team, while others say it’s just the best player. Moreover, there ain’t any certain qualifications one needs for the award. With that, certain voters factor in all aspects of the game(hitting, fielding, baserunning) and some just take into account the flashy batting numbers. To me, it’s the best player, AKA, Mike Trout. This past year, the 24 year old center fielder led the majors in WAR, bashed 29 bombs, knocked in 100 RBI, and slashed .315/.441/.550 with a .991 OPS. Through the past 4 years, Trout did win an MVP award, then finished 2nd in the voting the other 3 years. Clear a space in the trophy case, Mike, the MVP should be yours.
AL Cy Young: Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox SP
What a difference a year makes, huh? After a disastrous 2015, people were ready to write off the 27 year old right-hander. Really, nobody expected this. This past season, Porcello led the MLB with 22 wins, had an ERA of 3.15, a WHIP of 1.009, and pitched a career high 223.0 innings. Personally, I don’t value wins all that much since they are more of a team stat, but there is no denying the impressiveness of 22 W’s. With the lackluster list of competition for Porcello in the American League, he should take home the award.
AL Rookie of the Year: Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers SP
The 23 year old righty made his major league debut on April 29th and from then on, Fulmer has been one of the best pitchers in the American League. His 3.06 ERA would have placed him 3rd in the AL, and his 1.12 WHIP would have been good enough for 7th. I say, “would have” since Fulmer failed to qualify for the league leaders due to lack of time at the Major League level. Despite missing the first month, Fulmer’s 159.0 innings slot him second on the team behind Justin Verlander. Further, his 132 strikeouts helped him post a very respectable 7.47 K’s per 9. The only other rookie I considered was Gary Sanchez, the phenom himself, but his two months did not match up appropriately with Fulmer’s more complete season.
by Mark Panzini