MLB Award Races at the All-Star Break
At the beginning of the year, I blogged my predictions of who would win the MLB awards at the end of the 2018 season. So far, I look a little bit off.
I swung and missed on Austin Hays winning American League Rookie of the Year, while my NL Cy Young and Rookie of the Year picks haven’t been able to stay healthy. Other than those choices, I had decent predictions. Not perfect, but decent.
Still, this isn’t the beginning of the season anymore. Believe it or not the 2018 season is more than halfway done and here are the award winners if the season ended today.
AL Cy Young: Luis Severino
This is probably the most competitive award race at the moment (even though the AL ROY is the only one that seems to be locked up). You have my preseason pick Chris Sale ballin’, Corey Kluber being his usual self, and Kluber’s teammate Trevor Bauer having a breakout season. Oh, and the Astros have Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole being ridiculous; but the pick here is Severino.
With his 2.12 ERA and league leading 14 wins, Severino is the main reason the Yankees have been so good. Yes they have that stout lineup, but their rotation is less than desirable. Masahiro Tanaka is inconsistent and often injured, Sonny Gray has been hot garbage, C.C. Sabathia has been solid but he isn’t the ace he used to be. Without Severino the Yankees would be in big trouble and not close to World Series contenders and that is why I’d give the Yankees workhorse the prize.
NL Cy Young: Jacob DeGrom
Both Cy Young awards land in New York. Whatta ya know! I typically prefer awards be given to players on winning teams, but DeGrom has been unreal. The fact that he even has a winning record pitching for the Mets should be evidence enough. He has a 1.79 ERA, 142 strikeouts in 115.1 innings, only 29 walks, and 5.4 WAR; enough said.
Max Scherzer probably comes in second place and has a strong argument to win in his own right. I just think it becomes easy for people to overlook his greatness because of how consistent it has become.
AL MVP: J.D. Martinez
Trout, Betts, Judge, Ramirez, Lindor. All worthy candidates but J.D. Martinez takes home the bacon. No, he doesn’t play the field everyday so his WAR isn’t as godly as Trout’s or Betts’, but he has been unreal for the Red Sox in 2018. He leads the league with 28 homers and 77 RBI’s all while hitting .331.
What puts things over the top for me is the fact that Boston is a noticeably much scarier team. Last year they really missed David Ortiz. They still won 93 games, but there was a noticeable gap in the middle of the lineup. J.D. has taken care of that. He has elevated everyone’s game, and helped the Sox win 64 games BEFORE the All-Star break.
NL MVP: Nolan Arenado
I got one! I picked Arenado at the beginning of the year and it looks like he is on pace to fulfill my prediction. Hitting over .300 and tied for the NL lead in homers, Arenado has been great for Colorado. Nolan’s also maintained his status as a the best defensive third baseman in baseball making this pick way easier than the AL MVP race.
AL Rookie of the Year: Gleyber Torres
I really didn’t think Torres would be up this early in the season but injuries pushed him up to the bigs quickly, and he hasn’t disappointed. He is currently on the DL, but when Torres has played he hasn’t looked like a rook. There is no one even close to Gleyber in the awards race. He was the only rookie selected to the all-star team because of his .294 average, 15 homers, and .905 OPS. Simply put, he’s been awesome.
His teammate Miguel Andujar has also played well- not to Torres’ level- but no one expected him to step up at the hot corner like he has, so he deserves more praise than he has received.
NL Rookie of the Year: Juan Soto
Ronald Acuna was the easy pick to start the year but sadly he got hurt. He still has a chance, just like any player, to have a strong second half and pull away with an award but as of right now Juan Soto takes home the bacon.
Brian Anderson of the Marlins has been solid all-around, but the 19-year-old Soto has been too good to not expect him to continue his success. In 157 at-bats soto has 9 homers, a .312 average, and a .980 OPS. It is a small sample size, but that number is better than Aaron Judge’s OPS of .959. That would put Soto’s OPS as the eight best in baseball behind names who are all MVP candidates.
No race seems to be locked up, except AL ROY, and these picks will most likely change by seasons end. Just look what happened last year after Chris Sale’s dominant first half. Anyway, it is going to be an exciting second half and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the year unfolds.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)