The MLB season is coming down the homestretch. With just a handful of games remaining until the postseason begins, I will do my best to prognosticate the four prestigious awards in both the American and National Leagues.
AL MVP: José Altuve, Houston Astros. Houston’s second baseman is a mere 5’6”, but he certainly doesn’t play like it. Altuve is leading the American League in hits and batting average, while also playing a Golden Glove-caliber defense. When Carlos Correa broke his thumb, many thought the Astros would implode, but Altuve kept the ship afloat, and now Houston finds themselves in prime position to make a run at the pennant.
AL Cy Young: Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians. This one was a tough call between Kluber and the Red Sox’s Chris Sale. In all likelihood, the race for this award will come down to each of their final few starts. Sale has a clear edge in strikeouts as he recently became the first player to record 300 punch-outs since Pedro Martínez in 1999, but Kluber has a significantly lower ERA. Right now it’s a coin-flip, but based on the Indians’ recent surge, my money is on Kluber.
AL Manager of the Year: Joe Girardi, New York Yankees. Manager of the Year is an odd award. It often seems to go to the manager whose team outperformed preseason expectations and/or dealt with a load of injuries but never folded. In the case of Girardi, he did both. The Yankees were not expected to be much coming out of spring training, but then started 38-21 and currently find themselves on the brink of a playoff berth. The Yankees skipper has also had to manage a roster that has been decimated by various injuries. Didi Gregorius, Gary Sánchez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Greg Bird, Aroldis Chapman, Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro, Michael Pineda, Clint Frazier, and Matt Holliday have all been on the Disabled List at some point this season. Each of those players was expected to play a significant role on the 2017 Yankees. Girardi deserves props for keeping his team afloat, and for that, he should be the AL Manager of the Year.
AL Rookie of the Year: Aaron Judge, New York Yankees. After Judge’s volcanic first half, many thought he could be MVP of the American League. But he has fallen off a cliff in the second half. Despite his regression, he still is hitting .277 with 45 home runs, 101 RBI’s and possesses an absurd 1.003 OPS. Those marks as a rookie are historic, and for that, the Yankees right fielder deserves the American League Rookie of the Year.
NL MVP: Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals. I really wanted to give the NL MVP to Giancarlo Stanton, but the Marlins won’t make the playoffs. I know Mike Trout won it one year when the Angels failed to crack the postseason, but I just don’t see Stanton doing the same despite his mammoth strength leading to his 56 home runs. Murphy is a worthy candidate, as he is batting .317 with 22 homers and 89 RBIs. The Nationals find themselves atop the NL East, despite Bryce Harper missing ample time with a knee injury, and Murphy deserves a lot of the credit.
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers. Kershaw missed about a month of the season, but he has just been too dominant to not claim this award. He is 17-4 with a 2.26 ERA. That is not a misprint, nor is it human. Kershaw is on a completely different level than that of his peers and for that and the Dodgers unmatched success, he deserves to be crowned with the National League’s Cy Young.
NL Manager of the Year: Torey Lovullo, Arizona Diamondbacks. In any other season, the Diamondbacks would be atop the NL West and the ostensible favorites from the National League to make the World Series. But that’s not the case as they have been largely overshadowed by the Dodgers’ success. Even with that, Arizona finds themselves with an 88-65 record. Anyone who would have said that they saw this coming would be a liar. In his first season as Diamondback manager, Torey Lovullo has done a fantastic job and is worthy of Manager of the Year in the National League.
NL Rookie of the Year: Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers. This award was an absolute no-brainer. Bellinger has been unbelievable since being called up at the end of April. In not even a full season, he has posted a .275 batting average to go along with 38 home runs and 90 RBIs. The Dodgers were 9-11 when the rookie slugger was called up to the big leagues, and have gone 88-45 since. It is safe to say that Bellinger has made a monumental impact for the Dodgers. It is clear as day: Cody Bellinger is the NL Rookie of the Year.
Kelly Hogan can be reached at email@example.com.