Who should win the MVP Awards? Who will?

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This first ran on September 29. In light of today’s MVP Award announcment, we figured we’d give it a bump. 

Who should win the AL MVP Award? 

We at HBT have tended to lean toward the idea that the best player should win the MVP Award, regardless of whether his team wins or not. It’s not an iron-clad thing, of course. In the past I’ve supported some more narrative-driven MVP candidates and, more importantly, deciding who is “the best player” in an objective sense is not always a cut-and-dried endeavor. Defense is an inexact science. Players often have competing apples and oranges arguments for their candidacies.

If you look at “best overall player” this year, however, it’s hard to say that Mike Trout and his line of .318/.441/.556 with 29 homers and his usual solid-to-outstanding center field defense is not that guy. Yes, his team stinks, and no, his 2016 season isn’t head and shoulders above any number of his other excellent seasons, making him a less-than-sexy choice in a lot of ways. But it’s hard to stand head and shoulders above uniform excellence and no matter what you think of stuff like WAR and all that goes into it, Trout has a 1.5 WAR lead over Mookie Betts according to FanGraphs and 1.3 according to Baseball Reference. It’s a pretty significant separation, especially when you realize that, dang, Betts is having a whale of a season himself (.320/.365/.538).

Still, Trout isn’t a unanimous pick even with the HBT team, which has it this way:

Craig: Trout
Bill: Trout
Ashley: Betts

Who will win the AL MVP Award?

There has been a lot of talk about Betts and his teammate, David Ortiz, splitting the vote, as it were. Maybe that was a thing that happened more often back in the day when narrative-driven awards were more common, but I think today’s BBWAA voters are way more savvy than that. I think that Ortiz will get some votes thrown his way by virtue of his outstanding offensive season (.316/.401/.622, 37 HR, 124 RBI) and the storybook ending to his career, but I think Betts will ultimately carry the day with the better overall and all-around performance. MVP PREDICTION: MOOKIE BETTS.

Who should win the NL MVP Award?

There are a lot of guys putting up years that, under different circumstances, would be MVP worthy. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, Nolan Arenado, Daniel Murphy, Joey Votto and Corey Seager are all having outstanding campaigns. Most of them are bunched up as far as WAR goes, more so with Baseball-Reference.com’s version, a little less so with FanGraphs. Bryant leads both versions and is putting up outstanding offensive numbers. Murphy, Freeman and Votto are hitting a tad better than him depending on how you measure it, but have less defensive value. Seager’s mix of defense and offense may be closer to what Bryant is doing, although Arenado might have something to say about that. There are a lot of good choices.

Bryant is the best choice, however. His hitting — .293/.387/.560, 39 HR, 101 RBI — is better than the other all-around candidates and his defensive versatility — he’s played all three outfield positions as well as his usual third base — sets him apart. He’s been the best player in the NL this year.

Craig: Bryant
Bill: Bryant
Ashley:Bryant

Who will win the NL MVP Award?

This is one of those years where I suspect our views will match that of the voters. MVP PREDICTION: Bryant, possibly unanimously.

Jose Fernandez wins Comeback Player of the Year in the Players Choice Awards

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Pitcher Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins poses for photos on media day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 24, 2016 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
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Last night the winners of the Players Choice Awards, handed out by the Major League Baseball Players Association, were held. One of the awards was, to say the least, bittersweet.

Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident in September, was voted the NL comeback player of the year. Fernandez, the 2013 NL Rookie of the Year, had Tommy John surgery in 2014 and only pitched a half season in 2015. This past season he reclaimed his position of one of baseball’s most electrifying aces, going 16-8 with a 2.86 ERA, leading the league in strikeouts per nine innings and making the All-Star team. He died on Sept. 25, at age 24, when the boat he and two friends was riding in crashed into a jetty on Miami Beach.

Mark Trumbo of the Orioles, who led the majors with 47 home runs after hitting only 13 for the Mariners in 2015, was voted the AL comeback player of the year. In other awards:

  • New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson earned his second Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, given to the player who most inspires his fellow players through his on-field performances and contributions to his community. Granderson also won in 2009.
  • Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was voted the AL’s outstanding player. Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy was selected the NL’s outstanding player.
  • Kyle Hendricks of the Chicago Cubs, who led the majors in ERA, was the NL’s outstanding pitcher. Red Sox starter Rick Porcello won the AL award.
  • Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer was the AL’s top rookie, and odgers shortstop Corey Seager the top NL rookie.

 

BBWAA announces awards finalists

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a RBI single in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs in game three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The Baseball Writers Association of America announced on MLB Network the top three finalists for each league’s respective Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young, and Most Valuable Player Awards.

Here they are. Remember that votes were turned in before the start of the playoffs.

Now for some stray thoughts. It’s weird not to see Clayton Kershaw‘s name in the top-three of the Cy Young balloting. He had a top-three finish in each of the past five seasons, but missed 12 starts with a back injury. Noah Syndergaard was arguably more deserving of a top-three spot than Lester or Scherzer. There’s also an argument to be made for Jose Fernandez’s inclusion. I’m also shocked that BBWAA voters didn’t push Orioles closer Zach Britton into the top-three, though not doing so was the right call. Will Trout be screwed out of yet another MVP Award?

The award winners schedule: Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (Nov. 8), Players Choice Awards (Nov. 9), Louisville Silver Slugger Awards (Nov. 10), Rookie of the Year Awards (Nov. 14), Manager of the Year Awards (Nov. 15), Cy Young Awards (Nov. 16), MVP Awards (Nov. 17), Esurance MLB Awards (Nov. 18).