At the end of the regular season, the International Baseball Writers Association of America, of which I am a member, asked for people’s votes in their year-end awards.
Starting on November 15, the winners of those awards will be revealed. So, in advance of that, here’s how I voted:
Reasoning: Although he was not usually the closer for the Yankees, Betances was the definition of shutdown as a reliever this year, with a 1.50 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 84 IP. Davis and Allen were more traditional closers and were, obviously, among the best this year. I have to admit I can’t remember exactly why I had Davis above Allen or Zach Britton, so maybe it was a precognition of how he’d do in the postseason.
Aroldis Chapman had the best WAR on Fangraphs of NL relievers and continues to one of the must-see closers in the league. Rosenthal and Familia also put up great numbers.
Rookies of the Year:
A tough fight between Correa and Lindor, made even harder by the fact they had the same number of games played (99) and were close in at-bats as well, allowing for a nearly even sample size to compare the two. I went with Correa due to his better power numbers and the better general impression I got from watching him compared to Lindor, but it very easily could have gone the other way.
- Kris Bryant
- Matt Duffy
- Jung-Ho Kang
Who knows how this could have been different if Kang had not been injured?
Managers of the Year:
The two managers in Texas were able to bring their teams to the playoffs despite the fact most thought otherwise, an Paul Molitor got the Twins into the final weekend of the regular season with their playoff hopes alive despite the fact that everyone thought otherwise.
Both the Cubs and Mets overachieved this season, and the Cardinals had the best regular season record in baseball. We may never know how much the managers contributed to that, but they must have done something right.
Price had the highest Fangraphs WAR in the AL among pitchers, was among the strikeout leaders, and was a key cog for the Blue Jays after the trade deadline. Keuchel won 20 games (which doesn’t matter much, but is fun to mention), had the best Baseball Reference WAR, and was the ace of the Astros staff. Either would have been great picks, but I leaned towards Price. Sale (who is proof that W-L is not the best indicator of how well a player pitched), Gray and Kluber round out my top five.
This was ridiculous. A guy who threw two no-hitters and came close at other times is FOURTH. Ultimately, I went with Arrieta, but any of the top three would have a great claim to it.
- Mike Trout
- Josh Donaldson
- Manny Machado
- David Price
- Lorenzo Cain
- Jose Bautista
- Kevin Kiermaier
- Nelson Cruz
- Dallas Keuchel
- Miguel Cabrera
This was a push. I gave Trout a slight edge due to his better WAR, slugging and OPS, but I won’t be complaining if Donaldson wins, either.
- Bryce Harper
- Joey Votto
- Paul Goldschmidt
- Kris Bryant
- Jake Arrieta
- A.J. Pollock
- Zack Greinke
- Clayton Kershaw
- Andrew McCutchen
- Buster Posey
The easiest category. When it came to being valuable this year, there was Bryce Harper, and then there was everybody else. He had a .5 advantage in Fangraphs war over the second-best fWar in baseball (Mike Trout) and a 2.1 advantage over Goldschmidt, the next best fWar in the NL. He led all baseball in OBP, SLG and (obviously) OPS. He was tied for the NL lead in HR and was second in the NL in batting average. He was the best player in baseball. Enough said.
I have no problem with any of these picks….it’s gonna be tight this year for many categories.