I am a lifetime member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America. Over the past few years, one of my last acts of the regular baseball season is to submit my ballot for the IBWAA Season Awards. This year, I have decided to share my vote with the readers at Cubs Den. Before we begin, it is fair to let everyone know that I am one who considers the MVP and the Cy Young as separate but equal awards. I do not feel a pitcher should be considered for the league MVP unless he has a truly historic season.
|AL MVP||AL CY YOUNG||AL ROY||AL MANAGER||AL RELIEVER|
|1||Jose Altuve, Hou||Corey Kluber, Cle||Aaron Judge, NYY||Terry Francona, Cle||Craig Kimbrel, Bos|
|2||Aaron Judge, NYY||Chris Sale, Bos||Yulieski Gurriel, Hou||AJ Hinch, Hou||Ken Giles, Hou|
|3||Jonathan Schoop, Bal||Craig Kimbrel, Bos||Andrew Benintendi, Bos||John Farrell, Bos||Roberto Osuna, Tor|
|4||Marwin Gonzalez, Hou||Luis Severino, NYY|
|5||Jose Ramirez, Cle||Justin Verlander, Hou|
|6||Mike Trout, LAA|
|7||Francisco Lindor, Cle|
|8||Eric Hosmer, KC|
|9||Nelson Cruz, Sea|
|10||Jose Abreu, CWS|
|NL MVP||NL CY YOUNG||NL ROY||NL MANAGER||NL RELIEVER|
|1||Charlie Blackmon, Col||Max Scherzer, Wash||Cody Bellinger, LAD||Craig Counsell, Mil||Kenley Jansen, LAD|
|2||Giancarlo Stanton, Mia||Clayton Kershaw, LAD||Josh Bell, Pitt||Dave Roberts, LAD||Greg Holland, Col|
|3||Paul Goldschmidt, Ari||Stephen Strasburg, Wash||Paul DeJong, St.L||Dusty Baker, Wash||Corey Knebel, Mil|
|4||Nolan Arenado, Col||Kenley Jansen, LAD|
|5||Ryan Zimmerman, Wash||Zack Greinke, Ari|
|6||Joey Votto, Cin|
|7||Bryce Harper, Wash|
|8||Marcell Ozuna, Mia|
|9||Anthony Rizzo, Chi|
|10||Cody Bellinger, LAD|
For those who may not have picked up on this over the course of the year, I am not a big fan of advanced metrics, at least not yet. With that in mind, I have a feeling that my MVP vote will cause much chagrin among the advanced metric/fantasy baseball crowd. I can almost see the conniptions by some over Jose Altuve, who will lead both his league for the third time and all of base ball in hitting. The .347 average for Altuve is a career high, while his 24 home runs match a career high. This is not to take away from the fantastic year by Aaron Judge, who was a no-brainer for Rookie of the Year, leading the league with 52 homers and second in both RBI and OPS. If you haven’t been paying attention, Jonathan Schoop has probably had the best season that no one has talked about, while the switch-hitting Marwin Gonzalez maintained excellence across the board offensively while playing six different positions for the Astros. A courtesy vote was given to the White Sox Jose Abreu, who persevered in a very trying situation.
While some may think that leading all of baseball in home runs might make Giancarlo Stanton a shoo-in for MVP, baseball fans haven’t see such a dominant season like the one Charlie Blackmon has had in quite some time. The lead-off hitter for the Rockies is leading the senior circuit in batting, runs, hits, and triples while finishing third in OPS, tied for third in home runs, and tied for seventh in RBI. Stanton has put on an awesome power display, but his season also took a little of the spotlight away from the fine year of teammate Marcell Ozuna. In a year without the feats of Blackmon and Stanton, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Ryan Zimmerman could all make legitimate cases for MVP. Although his season didn’t compare, for his leadership skills the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo gets a hometown vote.
The Cy Young race was a little more clear cut, especially in the National League. Max Scherzer’s dominant year gives him the edge over perennial contender Clayton Kershaw and teammate Stephen Strasburg. And while Chirs Sale led all of baseball in strikeouts along with posting a 2.90 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, the way Corey Kluber put the Cleveland Indians on his back and helped carry them to the best record in the American League prevailed. The fact that Kluber led everyone with a 0.86 WHIP and was second overall with a 2.27 ERA helps. It was tough luck that Boston’s Craig Kimbrel, who had one of the more complete seasons by a closer in memory, had to compete with Kluber and Sale. But Kimbrel can take umbrage in easily gaining AL Reliever honors.
The rest of the awards were pretty straightforward. The Dodger’s Kenley Jansen had decent competition from Colorado’s Greg Holland and Corey Knebel of the Brewers for NL Reliever. For guiding Milwaukee out of nowhere to competing for the NL Central crown until the last week of the season, Craig Counsell more than deserves NL Manager recognition. In the AL, Terry Francona’s masterful job with the Indians merits the top manager spot. Both the Yankees’ Judge and the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger were runaways for top rookie honors.