Handicapping the Major MLB Awards
With six weeks left in the regular season, nearly every major award given by MLB is worthy of being debated. As it stands right now, who deserves each award and how do the players and coaches project moving into September?
American League Rookie of the Year
Favorite: Aaron Judge, OF New York Yankees
For much of the season this looked like a sure win for Judge. And even though he has slumped in the second half of the season, the powerful right hander will likely bring home the Rookie of the Year. He currently has 37 home runs and will approach 50 if he is able to get hot down the stretch.
Contender: Andrew Benintendi, OF Boston Red Sox
Much of Boston’s success can be credited to Benintendi, who has met expectations as a highly regarded prospect out of the minor leagues. Benintendi is capable of playing all three outfield spots and is an elite hitter, slashing .279/.359/.450 with 17 home runs and 50 RBI’s.
National League Rookie of the Year
Favorite: Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF Los Angeles Dodgers
Forget Rookie of the Year, Bellinger is in the running for the league MVP. Bellinger’s 34 home runs are the most in the National League and he has done so in limited time as he wasn’t even called up to the big leagues until April 25th. Bellinger is a key reason that the Dodgers are 50 games above .500 and has made the loss of Adrian Gonzalez an afterthought for Los Angeles.
American League Cy Young
Favorite: Chris Sale, LHP Boston Red Sox
Sale’s hot start gives him the advantage for AL Cy Young. To this point, the southpaw has pitched to a 2.51 ERA with with 241 strikeouts in 168.1 innings pitched. This utter dominance has the Red Sox hopeful that they can bring a World Series title back to Boston.
Contender: Corey Kluber, RHP Cleveland Indians
But Kluber has not made it easy. The Indians pitcher owns a 2.71 ERA with 192 strikeouts in 139.2 innings pitched for Cleveland. As of late, Kluber has been every bit as good as Sale and could catch him in the race should Sale have a mediocre start or two.
National League Cy Young
Favorite: Max Scherzer, RHP Washington Nationals
Scherzer looks like a lock to bring home his second consecutive NL Cy Young award, a testament to how good he has truly been. Mad Max has proven that he is undoubtedly in the same echelon as Clayton Kershaw and the rest of the game’s greats. The only thing left for him to prove is to carry the Nationals to a deep playoff run.
American League Manager of the Year
Co-Favorite: Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
This race is completely wide open, but Scioscia could steal this award if his team somehow manages to sneak into the postseason. If the season ended today, the Angels would surprisingly be the second Wild Card. This would be one of the more impressive feats in Scioscia’s lengthy career.
Co-Favorite: Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners
The same goes for Servais should he guide the Mariners to the postseason. His team is certainly capable, and in a crowded pennant chase bats like Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz could prove to be the difference.
Co-Favorite: A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros
The Astros are the best team in the American League and seemed to have given Hinch the lead for Manager of the Year until in-house complaints about the direction of the team went public. It’s still not out of the question for Hinch to win this award.
National League Manager of the Year
Favorite: Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers
It’s hard to deny the success of a team on pace to win 115 games. Roberts is a master strategist, maneuvering his lineup in innovative and creative ways to maximize the potential of his club. This would be his second straight Manager of the Year award.
Contender: Bud Black, Colorado Rockies
Black and the Rockies appear to be headed to the postseason for the first time since their magical run to the 2007 World Series. Though talented, the Rockies are viewed as a surprise by most casual fans.
Contender: Torey Lovullo, Arizona Diamondbacks
Lovullo must be recognized for bringing the Diamonbacks back after a disappointing 2016 campaign. His rotation, led by ace Zack Greinke, is capable of taking Arizona to the World Series.
American League MVP
Favorite: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
Is Altuve the best inch for inch player we have ever seen? Standing at only 5 feet 6 inches tall, the second baseman is batting .363/.423/.571 for the best team in the American League.
Contender: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The big knock on Trout will be that he’ll wind up having missed about a quarter of the season due to injury, but he still may be deserving of the award. Trout is slashing .340/.466/.679 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI’s in 76 games. He will come close to the Major League lead in WAR. Astounding.
National League MVP
Co-Favorite: Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF Los Angeles Dodgers
Bellinger is a serious threat to take home both the Rookie of the Year and MVP. If the rookie can do so, it would be the third time the feat has ever occurred and the first in the National League (Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki are the only other two to win both awards in the same season).
Co-Favorite: Giancarlo Stanton, OF Miami Marlins
With a ridiculously hot second half, Stanton could come from behind and win the award. He currently has 44 home runs and would come as a surprise to no one of he reached 60.
Co-Favorite: Paul Goldschmidt, 1B Arizona Diamondbacks
Goldy has been a model of consistency for years. Now that his team is good, could he get his moment in the spotlight?