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MLB Awards – through the first third of the 2015 season

June 10, 2015

Note: I compiled this post over the past two days, so some stats don’t reflect yesterday’s action.

American League MVP

1. Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays: .310/.367/.582, 47 R, 16 HR, 43 RBI, 3 SB, 3.6 WAR
2. Nelson Cruz, Mariners: .329/.384/.613, 33 R, 18 HR, 39 RBI, SB, 2.0 WAR
3. Prince Fielder, Rangers: .356/.414/.547, 27 R, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 1.6 WAR
4. Jason Kipnis, Indians: .338/.414/.518, 41 R, 5 HR, 27 RBI, 8 SB, 3.7 WAR
5. Mike Trout, Angels: .283/.373/.561, 42 R, 16 HR, 33 RBI, 8 SB, 3.2 WAR
6. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: .320/.427/.558, 31 R, 12 HR, 38 RBI, SB, 2.3 WAR
7. Stephen Vogt, Athletics: .290/.385/.544, 27 R, 11 HR, 39 RBI, 2.2 WAR
8. Brian Dozier, Twins: .268/.344/.527, 47 R, 11 HR, 28 RBI, 3 SB, 2.3 WAR
9. Adam Jones, Orioles: .311/.348/.509, 30 R, 9 HR, 30 RBI, 3 SB, 2.2 WAR
10. Eric Hosmer, Royals: .306/.378/.490, 32 R, 7 HR, 35 RBI, 3 SB, 1.9 WAR

Comments: Josh Donaldson has been an absolute monster this year. I figured moving from pitcher friendly Oakland to hitter friendly Toronto would give him a boost, but he’s on pace to hit over .300 with 43 homers and 116 RBI. Pretty sick. With Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion mostly scuffling through April and May, Donaldson has carried the Jays offense to .500 record. As a Mariners fan, Nelson Cruz sure feels like the MVP right now. I can’t imagine where the M’s would be without him. 10-48? Cruz accounts for about 75% of the M’s total offense. Prince Fielder has the lowest WAR on this list (probably because he’s a negative on defense and on the bases), but that offensive line is pretty impressive and his Rangers actually have a winning record. Of course, Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera make their obligatory appearances and Trout will probably climb out of reach on this list as the season progresses. It’s worth noting the lack of any Astro on this list, but that’s largely because Jose Altuve had a pedestrian May.

National League MVP

1. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks: .340/.466/.650, 44 R, 16 HR, 47 RBI, 9 SB, 3.1 WAR
2. Bryce Harper, Nationals: .326/.464/.706, 44 R, 19 HR, 46 RBI, 3 SB, 4.0 WAR
3. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs: .332/.409/.608, 33 R, 11 HR, 35 RBI, 10 SB, 2.9 WAR
4. Dee Gordon, Marlins: .366/.390/.433, 32 R, 16 RBI, 20 SB, 2.9 WAR
5. Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers: .329/.407/.589, 37 R, 11 HR, 39 RBI, 2.6 WAR
6. A.J Pollock, Diamondbacks: .321/.369/.495, 40 R, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 14 SB, 2.5 WAR
7. Todd Frazier, Reds: .282/.356/.587, 37 R, 16 HR, 36 RBI, 6 SB, 2.8 WAR
8. Joc Pederson, Dodgers: .253/.377/.566, 34 R, 17 HR, 33 RBI, 2 SB, 3.1 WAR
9. Matt Carpenter, Cardinals: .300/.391/.520, 38 R, 8 HR, 30 RBI, SB, 2.3 WAR
10. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins: .240/.325/.558, 36 R, 19 HR, 49 RBI, 4 SB, 2.4 WAR

Comments: Goldschmidt and Harper feel like options 1a and 1b here. It’s so close, I can barely call it. Bryce edges Goldy in WAR, but Goldschmidt is hitting .340 while on a 30/30 pace… as a first baseman. Who does that? Oh, Anthony Rizzo also. I wonder how many people outside of Arizona that don’t have him on their fantasy team realize that A.J. Pollock is having an MVP-caliber season? Joc Pederson is having a pretty absurd rookie season for the Dodgers. I think most believed that he had 30/30 potential somewhere down the line, but he’s on a 40 homer pace in his rookie year. It’s kind of weird to consider a .240 hitter an MVP candidate, but it’s even stranger to exclude a guy that leads the MLB in homers and RBI. If Stanton can cut back on his NL-worst whiff rate and get a bit luckier on his BABIP (.275), he will vault up this list and his power numbers could get crazy.

AL Cy Young

1. Chris Archer, Rays: 7 Wins, 1.84 ERA, 11.71 K/9, 0.95 WHIP, 5.40 K:BB, 2.8 WAR
2. Sonny Gray, Athletics: 7 Wins, 1.65 ERA, 8.01 K/9, 0.91 WHIP, 3.48 K:BB, 2.3 WAR
3. Dallas Keuchel, Astros: 7 Wins, 1.85 ERA, 6.88 K/9, 0.92 WHIP, 3.05 K:BB, 2.2 WAR
4. Felix Hernandez, Mariners: 9 Wins, 2.51 ERA, 8.85 K/9, 0.96 WHIP, 3.52 K:BB, 1.4 WAR
5. Chris Sale, White Sox: 6 Wins, 3.04 ERA, 11.31 K/9, 1.01 WHIP, 5.47 K:BB, 2.3 WAR

Comments: Chris Archer has been really, really good and has only gotten better as the year has progressed. In his last three starts he’s posted strikeout totals of 11, 15, and 12. What. Chris Sale has been pretty unlucky to be #5 on this list.

NL Cy Young

1. Max Scherzer, Nationals: 6 Wins, 1.85 ERA, 10.43 K/9, 0.91 WHIP, 7.50 K:BB, 2.8 WAR
2. Gerrit Cole, Pirates: 9 Wins, 1.73 ERA, 9.92 K/9, 1.10 WHIP, 4.53 K:BB, 2.0 WAR
3. Jacob deGrom, Mets: 7 Wins, 2.42 ERA, 9.35 K/9, 1.00 WHIP, 5.06 K:BB, 2.0 WAR
4. Zack Greinke, Dodgers: 5 Wins, 1.92 ERA, 7.68 K/9, 0.95 WHIP, 4.25 K:BB, 1.7 WAR
5. Jason Hammel, Cubs: 5 Wins, 2.76 ERA, 9.12 K/9, 0.89 WHIP, 8.44 K:BB, 1.7 WAR

AL Rookie Of The Year

1. Lance McCullers, Astros: 2 Wins, 2.32 ERA, 10.45 K/9, 0.90 WHIP, 6.00 K:BB, 1.1 WAR
2. Devin Travis, Blue Jays: .271/.336/.504, 24 R, 7 HR, 26 RBI, 2 SB, 1.4 WAR
3. Carson Smith, Mariners: 1 Win, 2 Saves, 1.38 ERA, 10.04 K/9, 0.73 WHIP, 5.80 K:BB, 0.5 WAR

Comments: No real standouts in the AL yet. Devin Travis was making a pretty strong case before getting injured. McCullers has been lights out for the Astros in 5 starts. Smith probably should have been the Mariners closer a month ago.

NL Rookie Of The Year

1. Joc Pederson, Dodgers: .253/.377/.566, 34 R, 17 HR, 33 RBI, 2 SB, 3.1 WAR
2. Kris Bryant, Cubs: .282/.392/.469, 31 R, 7 HR, 34 RBI, 5 SB, 2.2 WAR
3. Chris Heston, Giants: 6 Wins, 3.77 ERA, 8.03 K/9, 1.19 WHIP, 3.67 K:BB, 1.2 WAR

Comments: This will be a fun race to monitor for the rest of the season. Pederson and Bryant are truly elite talents. Heston threw a no-hitter yesterday, but I have a feeling the opposing pitcher in that game, Noah Syndergaard, will pass him on this list by midseason.

Surprise Team

Minnesota Twins – The Astros have been incredibly surprising, but everyone knew they were going to be really good… eventually. The Twins though? I don’t think anyone saw this coming. Granted, the Twins have one of the better farm systems in MLB, but all of their premiere prospects (Buxton, Sano, etc.) are yet to arrive. Trevor May, Mike Pelfrey, and Kyle Gibson have been amazing in the rotation and the Twins have posted one of the AL’s best records despite ace Phil Hughes struggling during the first 2.5 months.

Dissapointing Team

Seattle Mariners – If you would have told me that Nelson Cruz would be hitting .320 with 18 HR and 39 RBI and that Felix Hernandez would have nine wins in early June, I would have guessed that the Mariners were about 10 games over .500. Instead, they are 6 games under. As someone that has watched the M’s closely, it’s pretty obvious what the problem is: a lack of offense in general and a lack of timely hitting specifically. We are bad at getting men on base, but when they get in scoring position we are even worse. It’s hard to blame anyone in particular, but Robinson Cano has been absolutely terrible. He’s not hitting with any authority and he just doesn’t seem like he even cares anymore. I’ve seen him get picked off twice while not paying attention and seems like his effort level never goes above 80%. It’s scary to think Mariners fans might have to watch this for seven more years.

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