Friday, November 7, 2014
2014 American League Awards
As usual, I'm here to offer my opinions on the baseball awards season. However, I wanted to say something first.
This year's awards seem way more predictable overall than they've been in years past. Some gambling websites aren't even offering odds on Mike Trout winning the MVP; it's such a sure bet that there are no odds that a bookmaker could offer and still expect profit. That said, there are a couple of ones that will be fun to talk about, as always. And probably my favorite argument is right here in this post. I'll give you a clue: it starts with American League, and ends with Cy Young.
I'd also like to point out that, at least for these two posts, I won't be using links to Baseball Reference. I continue to be frustrated by their bombardment of advertisements, and I refuse to link to them, as at this point, their usability is below even Yahoo or ESPN. It saddens me, but I can't in good faith link to such a problem website.
My choice in italics.
Rookie of the Year
Jose Abreu, White Sox
Dellin Betances, Yankees
Matt Shoemaker, Angels
Abreu holds a special place in my heart as one of my better draft picks in fantasy baseball history. Interestingly, I've traded almost all of my best picks: Abreu, Clayton Kershaw, Prince Fielder. Watch out Chris Sale, you're probably next.
Anyways, Abreu was a masher all year, and just his power numbers would've warranted a Rookie of the Year victory. But on top of that, he seemed to mature before our eyes over the course of the season, pushing his batting average up from a solid .292 in the first half to a stalwart .317 at the end of the season. Betances was a great short reliever, and Shoemaker had a great season (16-4, 3.04/1.07). But Abreu came onto the scene loudly and only got louder. He's my pick.
Manager of the Year
Mike Scioscia, Angels
Buck Showalter, Orioles
Ned Yost, Royals
I can't speak to this award much, because I'm biased towards Buck and because I think Manager of the Year is one of those awards that relies heavily on the eye test. Showalter is far and away the guy I saw the most of with regards to lineup adjustments and pitching decisions, and he managed to pull a patchwork pitching staff to a runaway win of the American League East. Good enough for me.
Felix Hernandez, Mariners
Cory Kluber, Indians
Chris Sale, White Sox
Sale had a great two-thirds of a season, but his injury took away his ability to earn the Cy Young award in my book. So it's really a two-man race between Felix and Kluber. Felix led the league in ERA and WHIP, while Kluber had more wins and strikeouts (total and per 9 innings) than Hernandez. Both guys finished strong, both guys played for teams that nearly played the playoffs.
It's six in one hand, half a dozen in the other, but I'm going with Kluber. I still don't like the idea of giving the Cy Young to someone who gets 15-16 wins, even if it's a flawed statistic. I also like that, while the Indians were gasping for air in September, Kluber registered at least 7 innings and 104 pitches in each of his final five starts, nabbing the win in all five. When the season was on the line, Kluber did his best work. Felix was good down the stretch, but not that good.
Most Valuable Player
Michael Brantley, Indians
Victor Martinez, Tigers
Mike Trout, Angels
It's not really worth discussing this one very much. Trout is far and away the most prolific offensive player in baseball right now. Every simple or advanced statistic you want to look at, he's at the top. Martinez and Brantley are fine players who had great seasons, but Trout is a force of nature.
We'll get the baseball writers' picks next week. My National League picks will come out before that.
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