CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 06:  Rick Porcello #22 of the Boston Red Sox throws a pitch in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians during game one of the American League Divison Series at Progressive Field on October 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Rick Porcello, Anthony Rendon win Comeback Player of the Year Awards

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Red Sox starter Rick Porcello and Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon were announced as the winners of the Comeback Player of the Year Awards for their respective leagues, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday.

Porcello, 27, had mostly struggled as a starter in his first seven seasons in the majors, culminating with a career-worst 4.92 ERA in 2015. The right-hander bounced back in 2016, putting up a 22-4 record with a 3.15 ERA and a 189/32 K/BB ratio in 223 innings en route to winning the American League Cy Young Award. That came with a bit of controversy.

Rendon, 26, looked like he would be a perennial MVP candidate after a strong showing in 2014. However, he struggled to a .707 OPS and battled injuries in 2015, limiting him to 80 games. This past season, Rendon hit .270/.348/.450 with 20 home runs, 85 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 647 plate appearances. It’s a nice turnaround for a player the Nationals will soon have to consider signing to a contract extension.

Kate Upton clarifies comments on BBWAA awards voting

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 29:  Model/actress Kate Upton (L) and MLB player Justin Verlander attend the 2016 LACMA Art + Film Gala honoring Robert Irwin and Kathryn Bigelow presented by Gucci at LACMA on October 29, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for LACMA)
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for LACMA
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Last week, model/actress Kate Upton criticized the Baseball Writers Association of America — two writers from Tampa Bay, specifically — because her fiancé, Tigers starter Justin Verlander, was snubbed from the 2016 American League Cy Young Award despite getting nearly twice as many first-place votes than Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, who won.

Upton wrote on Twitter, “Hey @MLB I thought I was the only person allowed to [expletive] @JustinVerlander ?! What 2 writers didn’t have him on their ballot?”

She continued, saying, “He had the majority of 1st place votes and 2 writers didn’t have him on their ballots?!! can you pick more out of touch people to vote?@MLB”

Upton added, “Sorry Rick but you didn’t get any 1st place votes? you didn’t win. #ByeFelicia @MLB keep up with the times and fire those writers.” She then retweeted a chart posted by Justin’s brother Ben statistically comparing Justin to other Cy Young candidates.

In particular, Upton was critical of MLB.com’s Rays beat writer Bill Chastain, who sent in his AL Cy Young ballot a week early and left Verlander off entirely, believing nothing could happen that would alter his vote. In Verlander’s final two starts, he pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts against the Indians, then pitched seven innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts against the Braves, lowering his season ERA to 3.04. Porcello gave up six runs in 12 1/3 innings in his final two starts, causing his ERA to rise to 3.15. Had the two Tampa writers (Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press) each given Verlander at least a third-place vote, he would have had enough points to overcome Porcello.

Chastain said to the New York Post, “At the time, I thought I picked the best five guys. Maybe I should have waited until the end. When I voted, it looked pretty clear to me.” He added, “I wasn’t out to get Verlander. It was nothing personal.”

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports asked Verlander about Upton’s “dismissive comments,” but Verlander directed him to his fiancée. She said:

In the time since Upton made her initial comments, she has been dismissed by many for a multitude of reasons. But she does have a point. There really shouldn’t be any reason for a writer to turn in his or her ballot early, especially in a race that was as close as the 2016 AL Cy Young Award.

Some will say that forcing writers to wait until the end of the regular season to vote gives them little time since the playoffs start almost immediately. However, balloting is done via email now, not snail mail.

Others will say that the small window of time gives the writers little time to do research. The process of research should be a continuous process throughout the last month or two of the season. The final week or two of the season won’t invalidate that research and small adjustments — like ranking Verlander above Porcello — can be made.

The BBWAA does its awards voting prior to the start of the offseason because it prevents some players from getting an unfair advantage due to having good teammates. It also somewhat mitigates recency bias. The voting should not, under any circumstances, be moved to the end of the postseason.

Games started between 3 and 3:30 PM EDT on October 2, the final day of the season and all ended by 7:15 PM EDT. The first postseason game, the AL Wild Card game, started at 8 PM on October 4. That’s just over 48 hours, which is plenty of time to send in ballots, barring extenuating circumstances.

Trout, Fernandez honored in Esurance MLB Awards

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 24:  Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim slides into home after a sacrifice fly by C.J. Cron #24 in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 24, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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With the final distribution of BBWAA awards on Thursday and another long two months before Cooperstown welcomes its newest inductees, Friday was the perfect time for one last round of baseball accolades. The Esurance MLB Awards (originally referred to as This Year in Baseball Awards and, from 2011 – 2014, the GIBBYS) recognized players, executives, managers, and events in 19 different categories: Best Major Leaguer, Hitter, Pitcher, Rookie, Defensive Player, Social Media Personality, Offensive Play, Defensive Play, Social Media Post, Moment, Performance, Fan Catch, TV/Radio Call, Player-Fan Interaction, Trending Topic, Manager, Executive, Postseason Major Leaguer, and Postseason Moment.

What makes the Esurance MLB Awards unique is the voting process; unlike the BBWAA, which depends solely on the opinions of credentialed sportswriters, the Esurance awards are decided by members of the media, MLB front offices, retired players, fans, and members of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

Following a season that validated all of our feelings about Mike Trout‘s greatness with another well-deserved MVP award, Trout also took home hardware as the Best Major Leaguer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was his first distinction as the best overall player in the Esurance MLB Awards, though he played runner-up to Miguel Cabrera (2013), Clayton Kershaw (2014) and Bryce Harper (2015) over the last several years.

The late Jose Fernandez was also recognized in the Best Moment category when the Marlins honored the 24-year-old after his untimely death in late September.

The Indians dominated most of the categories, accounting for six awards in the Best Defensive Player, Offensive Play, Trending Topic, Manager, Postseason Major Leaguer, and Postseason Moment categories. Nationals’ right-hander Max Scherzer, Cubs’ first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and Red Sox’ legend David Ortiz each garnered multiple distinctions. Scherzer earned awards for Best Pitcher and Performance, while Rizzo was recognized for the Best Defensive Play of the year and Best Social Media Personality. Ortiz was selected for the Best Player-Fan Interaction and singled out as the Best Hitter overall.

The full list of winners is below — and, in case you’re wondering, David Ross‘ award-worthy social media posts can be found here.

  1. Best Major Leaguer: Mike Trout, Angels
  2. Best Hitter: David Ortiz, Red Sox
  3. Best Pitcher: Max Scherzer, Nationals
  4. Best Rookie: Corey Seager, Dodgers
  5. Best Defensive Player: Francisco Lindor, Indians
  6. Best Social Media Personality: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
  7. Best Play, Offense: Tyler Naquin, Indians
  8. Best Play, Defense: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
  9. Best Social Media Post: David Ross, Cubs
  10. Best Moment: Marlins honor Jose Fernandez
  11. Best Performance: Max Scherzer, Nationals
  12. Best Fan Catch: Phillies fan
  13. Best Call, TV/radio: Vin Scully, Dodgers
  14. Best Player-Fan Interaction: David Ortiz, Red Sox
  15. Best Trending Topic: World Series Game 7
  16. Best Manager: Terry Francona, Indians
  17. Best Executive: Theo Epstein, Cubs
  18. Best Major Leaguer, Postseason: Andrew Miller, Indians
  19. Best Postseason Moment: Rajai Davis, Indians