Ladies and Gentleman, it’s that time of the year again! The World Series has ended, the Chicago Cubs have ended their 108 year championship drought by defeating the Cleveland Indians in 7 Games. Two East teams are already making hotstove impact, with RA Dickey and Bartolo Colon signing with the Atlanta Braves while Kendrys Morales signing with the Toronto Blue Jays. Some of the top defensive players such as Kevin Kiermaier, Buster Posey, Adrian Beltre and Anthony Rizzo have won Gold Gloves, among others, with Francisco Lindor going platinum. Jake Arrieta, Mark Trumbo, Miguel Cabrera and Wilson Ramos won Silver Sluggers, among other names such as Yoenis Cespedes and Charlie Blackmon. But who will win the other awards? Athlete’s Hub editor Jameus Mooney sat down with fellow editor Tristin Mckinstry and writer Dawson Peterson to take a look at, and predict each award. We’ll be starting with the Manager of the Year. Then we’ll be venturing into Rookie of the Year, MVP and the Cy Young.
NL Manager of the Year, finalists: Dave Roberts (LAD), Joe Maddon (CHC), Dusty Baker (WSH)
JM: The Manager of the Year goes to the best manager that season. Obviously in most cases, it goes to a manager that led their team to the postseason, all 6 nominees (including AL) made the postseason either by winning its division or winning a wild card slot. Joe Maddon won twice in Tampa Bay (2008, 2011) and last year with the Cubs. Dusty Baker, who won three times (1993, 1997, 2000) with the San Francisco Giants, is in his first year with Washington and Dave Roberts is in his first year as a manager. The Chicago Cubs obviously won the World Series, but does that help Maddon in anyway? The Cubs heading into the season had the best team in baseball in multiple ways…they had the best corner infield in the game, with possible NL MVP Kris Bryant and 1st base Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Anthony Rizzo. They had the best rotation in the game. The reigning Cy Young was their third starter. All you had heard around the season was “The Cubs”. Even then, they won in spite of Joe Maddon’s use of Aroldis Chapman in Games 6 and 7. Dusty Baker had his superstar guy, that’s supposed to be some kind of god, apparently, bat .240. If you want to make baseball fun again and want 500 million dollars, at least bat .280. Yet, Baker managed the team and have possibly the MVP and Daniel Murphy and the best catcher in the game this past season, Wilson Ramos lead you to the postseason. Dave Roberts lost his ace, and had to use a has been such as Scott Kazmir and a never-was Bud Norris as his aces. He still made the postseason. With the way he managed the team all year and used Jansen and Kershaw in the postseason, he has to be my pick.
TM: Sorry Joe, but Dave Roberts wins it in a ******* landslide. The only team that possibly saw the same amount of injuries this season was your AL Champion Indians. 26+ Dodgers on the DL this year, including Clayton Kershaw at one point, and they still win their division? Sorry, but Roberts should run away with it. Love Dusty, but he’s finishing third.
DP: 108 years. He led a very good Cubs team that no one expected to get past Los Angeles, and that’s exactly what they did. Maddon wins it.
AL Manager of the Year, Finalists: Terry Francona (CLE), Jeff Bannister (TEX), Buck Showalter (BAL)
JM: Terry Francona. The Indians were almost as injury plagued as the Dodgers and still found a way to win their division. The way guys like Andrew Miller were managed while being without some of the top pitchers not only on their team but in the AL in general is extremely remarkable.
TM: Jeff Bannister is my Manager of the Year. Yes, his team was picked to win their division by most. However, they did so without dominating or even shutting teams down. Their run differential for 2016 was +8. In comparison, the Seattle Mariners, who finished nine games back in the division, and the Houston Astros, who finished 11 back, both had higher run differentials (+61 and +23 respectively). It’ll be the closest race of all awards, but ultimately it’ll be Bannister’s award.
DP: I also believe Terry Francona will take it. The acquisition of Miller and the way Tito handled the roster throughout the injuries wins this for him.
NL Rookie of the Year, Finalists: Kenta Maeda (LAD), Corey Seager (LAD), Trea Turner (WSH)
JM: This award kind of explains itself. It is awarded to the best rookie of the year. Now, Corey Seager could walk out of here with two awards. He will walk out with at least the Rookie of the Year. Trea Turner could’ve been next year’s ROTY had he fallen short of qualifying this year, but Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson might give him a run for his money. Seager in a landslide.
TM: It’ll be close between Turner and Seager in my opinion but Seager will come out of it with the ROTY award. Seager displayed flashes of his future greatness, while Turner was streaky to me. I have no clue why Maeda was nominated, but hey, that’s just me.
DP: I agree, this is Seager’s award to take.
AL Rookie of the Year, Finalists: Michael Fulmer (DET), Gary Sanchez (NYY), Tyler Naquin (CLE)
JM: Michael Fulmer was legitimately one of the best pitchers in all of baseball the entire 2016 campaign. Gary Sanchez had an excellent month and a half. You see the difference here? Fulmer should win this easily.
TM: I also think Michael Fulmer is going to take this award. He came oh so close to winning the American League ERA title and he just overmatched hitters the entire season. Very rarely was he ever knocked around. Gary Sanchez does have a pretty good case for winning, his games played will ultimately hurt him.
DP: I actually think Sanchez takes it. He did come into the majors late in the season, but he hit at historic levels during his short time in the bigs. The BBWAA writers might look at that and say “he put up these numbers in a very short amount of time? He’s got to win this award.”
NL MVP, Finalists: Kris Bryant (CHC), Corey Seager (LAD), Daniel Murphy (WSH)
JM: This award is given to the overall most valuable player in each respective league. Once you win this award, you become apart of history. This year, I believe Daniel Murphy takes it and becomes the second Washington National to win the award. He leads the candidates in batting average, Kris Bryant didn’t even have the best season of players at his position. Corey Seager has an outside chance of taking it, but Murphy just grabs it.
TM: I agree it’ll be Daniel Murphy. For me, Seager shouldn’t even be in the Top 5 of MVP voting. I feel like he has been overrated because of his potential. Nolan Arenado deserves a look as MVP candidate, but he won’t get it because of Coors. Murphy’s batting average will help propel him to the MVP award, but his meaning to the Nats should also factor in. Bryce Harper had a down season. If Murphy doesn’t have the season he had, they may not have been as good as they were.
DP: I think it’s going to be Kris Bryant. He’s really had two MVP like seasons in his two years in the bigs. Last year it won him the NL ROTY, this year he takes the MVP.
AL MVP, Finalists: Mookie Betts (BOS), Jose Altuve (HOU), Mike Trout (LAA)
JM: I’m going to say Altuve although I think Betts gets it due to him making the playoffs. Altuve really helped the Astros get to the 84 wins they had. If he slumps, they slump, and it would’ve been an even more disappointing season than it already was.
TM: I’m going to go for broke here: I think Mike Trout gets it. Some how, some way, Mike Trout will win the AL MVP. If Trout doesn’t have the season he did, LAA finishes with near 100 losses. That’s how I feel about his season. He was that important to his team.
DP: I’ll say Altuve as well. He just tore it up and he’s the reason that the ‘Stros didn’t really fall flat on their face.
NL Cy Young, Finalists: Kyle Hendricks (CHC), Jon Lester (CHC), Max Scherzer (WSH)
JM: I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Jon Lester. The Cubs don’t win without him.
TM: Kyle Hendricks. Most important stat to me is ERA and he led baseball in ERA.
DP: I’ll go with Lester too. Just to keep this short.
AL Cy Young, Finalists: Justin Verlander (DET), Rick Porcello (BOS), Corey Kluber (CLE)
JM: Verlander led the candidates in every category but wins. JV wins.
TM: I have to agree. Verlander pitched at his highest levels since 2011 and it kept Detroit in the hunt for a Wild Card.
DP: I agree as well. He seemingly came out of nowhere and put this all together. A lot of people doubted him and he made them pay. JV wins the Cy Young.