2014 Baseball Awards V.2

June 5, 2014

Since I’m following baseball closely due to numerous season long bets and because I like to rank things and think my opinion is important, I’ve decided to pretend what I would do if I had a vote in baseball’s major awards. I made my initial rankings right before I left for the World Series Of Poker a couple weeks ago and those rankings are reflected in parentheses. I’ll try to update and post my votes a couple times a month. I should note that I refuse to vote for pitchers in the MVP races or relief pitchers for Cy Young.

American League MVP

1. Nelson Cruz (1)
2. Jose Bautista (4)
3. Josh Donaldson (8)
4. Edwin Encarnacion (UR)
5. Miguel Cabrera (UR)
6. Michael Brantley (2)
7. Jose Abreu (6)
8. Brandon Moss (5)
9. Victor Martinez (9)
10. Alexei Ramirez (3)

Other: Brian Dozier (7), Melky Cabrera (10), Mike Trout

Comments: Nelson Cruz has been the best hitter in the American League and the Orioles are squarely in the playoff hunt, so he deserves to be number one, but if this were truly a “most valuable” award rather than a “best hitter” award, then Edwin Encarnacion has to be in the conversation. EE was hitting .260 with 2 HR and 15 RBI at the end of April and is now amongst the league leaders in all categories after a monstrous May. More importantly, his success has directly reflected that of the Toronto Blue Jays, a .500 team with Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera performing at an MVP level, but have emerged as the best team in the AL with Encarnacion’s production. After a forgettable April, Miguel Cabrera has also entered the MVP race. Victor Martinez is having an overlooked season, hitting over .330 with as many HR (13) as strikeouts (14). Mike Trout has gotten off to such a “slow” start that he’s only a fringe MVP candidate at the moment.

American League Cy Young

1. Masahiro Tanaka (1)
2. Felix Hernandez (2)
3. Chris Sale (UR)
4. Yu Darvish (5)
5. Mark Buehrle (UR)

Other: Sonny Gray (4), Max Scherzer (3), Scott Kazmir, Dallas Keuchel

Comments: Tanaka has absolutely dominated in his transition to the United States. I believed the hype, but I didn’t think he’d be overpowering MLB hitters like he has been. Sale arguably has put up the best numbers in all of baseball, but he’s still pitched less than 50 innings. It honestly pains me to give Buehrle a top five vote. Sure, he’s the only 10 game winner in baseball and boasts a sparkling 2.10 ERA, but he pitches to contact, resulting in a pathetic strikeout rate and allows a lot more baserunners than the pitchers ranked below him. Still, until those runners start crossing the plate, one has to give Buerhle credit for knowing what he’s doing. History suggests his weak peripheral numbers are going to catch up to him eventually and he’ll fall out of Cy Young race. Dallas Keuchel has been the best pitcher in baseball the past month and, remarkably, a Houston Astro pitcher is now in the Cy Young hunt.

American League ROY

1. Masahiro Tanaka (1)
2. Jose Abreu (2)
3. Dellin Betances (UR)

Other: Yangervis Solarte (3), George Springer, Xander Bogaerts, Collin McHugh

Comments: Tanaka and Abreu are easily the top two choices with their Cy Young and MVP caliber performances so far. Betances has put up crazy numbers for a non-closing relief pitcher. Only three closers have been more valuable to their fantasy teams and Betances doesn’t even have a single save. He’s had more fantasy value than legitimate Cy Young contenders like Sonny Gray and Max Scherzer. He’s almost striking out 2 batters an inning. Absurd. Springer got off to a rough start and has struck out in about a third of his ABs, but he had a huge May that would put him squarely in the ROY race if he can maintain an even remotely similar pace. The one stolen base is a disappointment though.

National League MVP

1. Troy Tulowitski (1)
2. Giancarlo Stanton (2)
3. Paul Goldschmidt (6)
4. Yasiel Puig (3)
5. Carlos Gomez (5)
6. Charlie Blackmon (4)
7. Justin Upton (7)
8. Hunter Pence (UR)
9. Michael Morse (UR)
10. Freddie Freeman (10)

Other: Justin Morneau (8), Dee Gordon (9), Ryan Braun

Comments: Nothing too exciting going on in the NL MVP race since my initial rankings. The most notable change is the cooling off of the Colorado hitters. Tulowitski has dropped to a mere mortal pace while Blackmon and Morneau have become ice cold and the Rockies have fallen out of the playoff hunt. Meanwhile, the best team in baseball, the San Francisco Giants, who had no representatives in my initial top ten, now have two players getting votes.

National League Cy Young

1. Johnny Cueto (1)
2. Adam Wainwright (2)
3. Tim Hudson (UR)
4. Julio Teheran (5)
5. Zack Greinke (3)

Other: Jose Fernandez (4), Michael Wacha, Kyle Lohse, Jason Hammel

Comments: Cueto has been the best pitcher in baseball so far, but I honestly can’t see him holding off Wainwright too much longer. Hudson is similar to Buehrle except he’s not allowing baserunners. He hasn’t been overpowering, but the National League has been helpless against him so far. Jose Fernandez sadly falls out of the race for good.

National League ROY

1. Billy Hamilton (1)
2. Chris Owings (2)
3. David Hale (3)

Other: None

Comments: This race has been uninspiring so far. Hamilton gets the edge due to his game-changing speed (22 steals), but even that hasn’t resulted in a lot of run scoring. Things could heat up soon with the recent promotion of Oscar Taveras and Gregory Polanco, Eddie Butler, and Andrew Heaney all expected to make their debuts in June.

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