Cy Young and MVP races

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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So who's taking home the personal hardware in this bastardized season?

I think Shane Bieber has had the AL Cy Young wrapped up since the second week of the season. He leads MLB in wins, ERA and Ks, and also tops the AL in WAR. The only question left is whether leading the hitless wonders to a playoff spot is enough to give him serious consideration for AL MVP. Lance Lynn might have the best argument for runnerup, but only some true homerism in the BBWAA can rob Bieber of a unanimous win.

Unless there's a groundswell of "pitcher for MVP" vote, the AL MVP now looks like it's Jose Abreu's to lose. He's leading the majors in hits, total bases and RBI, the AL in SLG and WAR among position players, and is near the top in multiple other categories. He also has the storyline of the veteran leading a young upstart team to a division title (despite a less than desirable pitching staff). Maybe DJ LeMahieu gets some votes. Trout would have needed to dominate the league this year with the Angels hopelessly out of it after about 10 games, but that hasn't happened.

The NL awards still seem to be up in the air. I heard early talk favoring a rejuvenated Yu Darvish, but while he hasn't really tailed off, he also never separated from the pack. I think it will be hard to vote against Max Fried if he finishes the year undefeated with a sub-2.00 ERA. His BB/K numbers aren't particularly impressive, but he's the only qualifying pitcher in baseball to not allow a home run and he leads all NL pitchers by 0.5 in WAR. Trevor Bauer had a couple of poor outings after putting up video game numbers in his first four starts, and old school voters won't care for his 4-4 record when other candidates are comparable in the rest of the categories. Kershaw and his MLB-leading WHIP could also split the "come back" storyline with Darvish.

Fernando Tatis Jr has led the NL in storylines and will probably get some votes for MVP, but he only needs to look to his right to see Manny Machado is having a considerably better season. In the end, Tatis probably takes enough votes away from Machado to eliminate San Diego's candidates. Mookie Betts might have the best argument regardless, with a share of the league lead in home runs and WAR, while also carrying the storyline of the top off-season acquisition meeting all expectations. However, Freddie Freeman has a legitimate chance to take the slash-rate triple crown in the NL.
 

snowmanny

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Good summary. I think Bieber and Betts are your MVPs. I see what you are saying as record as a tie-breaker losing stat Bauer even though Hernandez won at 13-12, but Fried should likely win anyway.
 

jon abbey

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Voit will get some AL MVP votes as well. He won't win it but he deserves attention.
LeMahieu has passed him in OPS and is obviously a much better defensive player. Voit has the HRs and more games played but DJ is NY's best candidate as of now.
 

Oppo

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So who's taking home the personal hardware in this bastardized season?

I think Shane Bieber has had the AL Cy Young wrapped up since the second week of the season. He leads MLB in wins, ERA and Ks, and also tops the AL in WAR. The only question left is whether leading the hitless wonders to a playoff spot is enough to give him serious consideration for AL MVP. Lance Lynn might have the best argument for runnerup, but only some true homerism in the BBWAA can rob Bieber of a unanimous win.

Unless there's a groundswell of "pitcher for MVP" vote, the AL MVP now looks like it's Jose Abreu's to lose. He's leading the majors in hits, total bases and RBI, the AL in SLG and WAR among position players, and is near the top in multiple other categories. He also has the storyline of the veteran leading a young upstart team to a division title (despite a less than desirable pitching staff). Maybe DJ LeMahieu gets some votes. Trout would have needed to dominate the league this year with the Angels hopelessly out of it after about 10 games, but that hasn't happened.

The NL awards still seem to be up in the air. I heard early talk favoring a rejuvenated Yu Darvish, but while he hasn't really tailed off, he also never separated from the pack. I think it will be hard to vote against Max Fried if he finishes the year undefeated with a sub-2.00 ERA. His BB/K numbers aren't particularly impressive, but he's the only qualifying pitcher in baseball to not allow a home run and he leads all NL pitchers by 0.5 in WAR. Trevor Bauer had a couple of poor outings after putting up video game numbers in his first four starts, and old school voters won't care for his 4-4 record when other candidates are comparable in the rest of the categories. Kershaw and his MLB-leading WHIP could also split the "come back" storyline with Darvish.

Fernando Tatis Jr has led the NL in storylines and will probably get some votes for MVP, but he only needs to look to his right to see Manny Machado is having a considerably better season. In the end, Tatis probably takes enough votes away from Machado to eliminate San Diego's candidates. Mookie Betts might have the best argument regardless, with a share of the league lead in home runs and WAR, while also carrying the storyline of the top off-season acquisition meeting all expectations. However, Freddie Freeman has a legitimate chance to take the slash-rate triple crown in the NL.
Tatis has definitely cooled down while Manny has heated up but considerably better? They’re pretty close in every major category with a slight overall advantage to Manny.
 

Gdiguy

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So who's taking home the personal hardware in this bastardized season?
...

The NL awards still seem to be up in the air. I heard early talk favoring a rejuvenated Yu Darvish, but while he hasn't really tailed off, he also never separated from the pack. I think it will be hard to vote against Max Fried if he finishes the year undefeated with a sub-2.00 ERA. His BB/K numbers aren't particularly impressive, but he's the only qualifying pitcher in baseball to not allow a home run and he leads all NL pitchers by 0.5 in WAR. Trevor Bauer had a couple of poor outings after putting up video game numbers in his first four starts, and old school voters won't care for his 4-4 record when other candidates are comparable in the rest of the categories. Kershaw and his MLB-leading WHIP could also split the "come back" storyline with Darvish.
I think DeGrom had a decent shot, but his recent poor injury-shortened start may have ended that

Though it's kind of amazing how different the bWAR vs fWAR leaderboard is; on Fangraphs, Fried is 8th, a full .6 WAR behind Darvish (which is like a 25% difference in the shortened year). I agree though, I think it's got to be Fried's to lose right now
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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Jose Ramirez is making a late run for AL MVP. Tonight he hit his 6th HR of the past 7 games -- a one-strike-from-losing-in-extra-innings walk-off bomb against the team they're likely to face in the playoffs next week, for the victory that clinched a spot in the postseason. He's carried the offense since snapping their 8-game losing streak last week and is top 5 in both HR and stolen bases in the AL.
 

BaseballJones

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Jose Abreu has got to be the leader, right? .333/.381/.644/1.025, 176 ops+, 40 r, 18 hr, 55 rbi in just 54 games - projects to 120 r, 54 hr, 165 rbi over a full season. Leading the way for the first-place White Sox. 2.9 bWAR is 1st in the AL.
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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Fried finishes the year undefeated, but otherwise his last start was a disaster: 1 inning and 2 earned runs on back-to-back home runs (after he'd faced 220 batters without allowing even 1). He left with an ankle injury that's not expected to be a problem going forward. Meanwhile, Trevor Bauer goes 8 strong, allowing 1 hit and 12 K's on short rest. Voters can likely overlook the 5-4 record if he continues to lead the NL in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts. Darvish's most recent start didn't help his case but he gets one more start Friday. Jacob deGrom will get a final chance to build his case on Saturday.
 

VORP Speed

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Most VALUABLE Player. The ultimate context dependent award. Who did the most to help their team. Who came up big and changed outcomes for the better in the most meaningful way.

AL Win Probability Added leader who added all that win probability to the best team in the league? Brandon Lowe.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Tale of two Dodgers...

Dodger A: 48 games, .325/.377/.609/.986, .412 wOBA, 164 wRC+, 12 2B, 14 HR, 39 RBI, 2.1 fWAR
Dodger B: 52 games, .295/.366/.576/.942, .394 wOBA, 152 wRC+, 9 2B, 16 HR, 39 RBI, 2.5 fWAR

One of them is a consensus MVP candidate (Mookie Betts), one you hear nothing about (Corey Seager). Damn, the Dodgers are deep.
 

Kliq

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The thing about Bauer, and I don't know if this really should influence voters, is that he is exact kind of guy who benefits from the short season. He has always been a streaky pitcher and there is no way he is THIS good. He is a ticking time bomb waiting to happen and in a longer season he would get exposed, but he has kept it together for long enough to justify winning the Cy Young this year. If I was a voter, I feel like I'd be partial to voting deGrom, because I know this isn't fools gold with him, even if you can argue that Bauer has been better this season.

The NL MVP race is really fascinating to me. I think that Betts, Tatis, Machado, Freeman, Soto and Ozuna all have legitimate cases, and it is unlikely someone is going to separate themselves from that pack. Mookie and Freeman probably have the best cases, and I could see voters leaning with Freeman for narrative purposes (career NL player who has been nationally underrated for years, as opposed to a former MVP jumping to the NL this season) even if you argue Mookie, as a great defensive outfielder and better baserunner, is a better all-around player.

The AL Cy Young is a wrap, it is Bieber. I think Abreu has put some space between him and his rivals for the AL MVP. He leads all position players in WAR, slugging, hits, total bases, RBI, extra base hits and runs created. LeMahieu, Anderson and Rendon are close to Abreu in the batting average statistics, and Cruz and Voit are close to Abreu in the power categories, but nobody has been the total package like him this year.

Is it kind of weird that B-ref has Abreu (0.5 dWAR) as a much better defender this season than Trout (-0.7 dWAR)?
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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Bauer is no small sample size phenomenon. In mid-August 2018 he was one of 3-4 guys being discussed in a heated race for AL Cy Young, but his chances were derailed by injury (he finished 6th). That's the closest he's come to a full season of dominance, but most players are streaky and I don't think Bauer is a particular outlier. He's shown enough talent over a long enough period that docking him over others for the flukishness of this season seems insulting. It's actually surprising that there aren't any career mediocrities who have remained hot enough for two months to force a discussion for any of the awards.
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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Jose Ramirez with another game-winner as the Indians sweep four from the White Sox. This time it was a 2-out, 2-run double in the 7th that put them up 5-4. I think Cleveland may still have to pass Chicago this weekend for the narrative part to really take hold for Ramirez, but they're now only a game behind the White Sox and finish the regular season against the Pirates.
 

Tokyo Sox

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The thing about Bauer, and I don't know if this really should influence voters, is that he is exact kind of guy who benefits from the short season. He has always been a streaky pitcher and there is no way he is THIS good. He is a ticking time bomb waiting to happen and in a longer season he would get exposed, but he has kept it together for long enough to justify winning the Cy Young this year. If I was a voter, I feel like I'd be partial to voting deGrom, because I know this isn't fools gold with him, even if you can argue that Bauer has been better this season.
Bauer is no small sample size phenomenon. In mid-August 2018 he was one of 3-4 guys being discussed in a heated race for AL Cy Young, but his chances were derailed by injury (he finished 6th). That's the closest he's come to a full season of dominance, but most players are streaky and I don't think Bauer is a particular outlier. He's shown enough talent over a long enough period that docking him over others for the flukishness of this season seems insulting. It's actually surprising that there aren't any career mediocrities who have remained hot enough for two months to force a discussion for any of the awards.
Completely agree with FFA. I appreciate it's subjective but how long does Bauer have to sustain the run he's on this year for it not to be considered "streaky"? He made 11 starts, of which 9 were QS and 2 just missed. He let up 0 or 1 ER in 8 of 11 starts. He has a 0.79 WHIP! It's not a three or four game hot streak he's on -- he's been dominant all season.
 

scottyno

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Obviously he's not going to win, but just want to say that Alex Verdugo is probably going to get a few deserved down ballot MVP votes, which seemed insane to even think about 6 months ago. Tied for 5th in the AL in bwar and 10th in fwar.
 

B H Kim

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He won’t get the votes because the Nats have been so bad and because he missed those games at the start of the season, but Juan Soto is leading the majors in OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+, and wRC+. Obviously not a legitimate comparison, given the abbreviated schedule, but he’s on track for the highest numbers in all five stats since Barry Bonds.
 

ndpope

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The NL MVP race is really fascinating to me. I think that Betts, Tatis, Machado, Freeman, Soto and Ozuna all have legitimate cases, and it is unlikely someone is going to separate themselves from that pack. Mookie and Freeman probably have the best cases, and I could see voters leaning with Freeman for narrative purposes (career NL player who has been nationally underrated for years, as opposed to a former MVP jumping to the NL this season) even if you argue Mookie, as a great defensive outfielder and better baserunner, is a better all-around player.
Due to the unique nature of this year, does Freeman get extra credit on his narrative from coming back form a confirmed COVID-19 battle? That seems like the kind of intangible lazy MVP voters crave.

 
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We have 3 self-contained leagues this year, East, West, and Central. Wouldn't it make sense to have an MVP and a CY winner from each of the 3, rather than for AL and NL?

It would be very fitting for this strange season, and would distinguish as MVP award for a 60-game season from an MVP award from any other season.
 

Kliq

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Bauer is no small sample size phenomenon. In mid-August 2018 he was one of 3-4 guys being discussed in a heated race for AL Cy Young, but his chances were derailed by injury (he finished 6th). That's the closest he's come to a full season of dominance, but most players are streaky and I don't think Bauer is a particular outlier. He's shown enough talent over a long enough period that docking him over others for the flukishness of this season seems insulting. It's actually surprising that there aren't any career mediocrities who have remained hot enough for two months to force a discussion for any of the awards.
I'm not saying he doesn't deserve the award, but just as a long time fantasy owner, Bauer will turn into a pumpkin at some point. He has always had top tier talent and has strung together months of consistency before. He was very good in 2018, but faded at the end due to injuries. He was absolutely terrible last season, especially after the trade to Cincinnati. I just have very little doubt that over the course of an entire season he would be able to keep up this pace due to his past history, and that may end up playing a factor in the vote.
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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I just don't really see it as "streaky" where a lot of players have brief stretches of really good/bad outings over the course of a season (Martin Perez comes to mind). Bauer was a very talented but inconsistent pitcher in his early twenties. Something clicked mid-season 2017 and for the next 1½ years he was one of the truly elite pitchers in baseball. For whatever reason he was bad after his first couple of starts last year (I remember him saying that an injury had thrown off his mechanics before Cleveland traded him but that didn't explain his performance in Cincinnati). This year he's right back to his 2017/18 form, so I don't see a reason to expect it to fall apart if he had another 20 starts.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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We have 3 self-contained leagues this year, East, West, and Central. Wouldn't it make sense to have an MVP and a CY winner from each of the 3, rather than for AL and NL?

It would be very fitting for this strange season, and would distinguish as MVP award for a 60-game season from an MVP award from any other season.
The awards are already too much of a "player got hot for a couple months" given the very short season. Let's not dilute them even more by giving out more of them.
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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Three innings into deGrom's final start and his 6 K's has already caught Bauer for the league lead. However, the solo home run he just gave up guarantees his final ERA will be over 2.00. It's going to be a tight race and I could be wrong, but I have Bauer edging out deGrom and Darvish. I think Fried only going one inning his last start and allowing 2 home runs took him out of the running.

I think my picks at the moment are:
AL CY: Shane Bieber
AL MVP: Jose Ramirez
NL CY: Trevor Bauer
NL MVP: Freddie Freeman

I thought my Tribe fandom might be influencing my thoughts on Ramirez earlier, but some national outlets have started calling him the favorite, and the White Sox finish can't be helping Jose Abreu.
 

BornToRun

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Please no on Bauer. He’s already an insufferable douche, winning the CY would just make him worse.
 

Kliq

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Ramirez has had a nice hot streak to help Cleveland into the playoffs, but Abreu is still ahead of him in nearly every offensive category.