- Hope everyone enjoys my picks for the 2013 MLB Awards. You’ll see plenty of awards listed and broken down into American and National League this way there’s no confusion. There’s also four other awards listed — Gold Glove, Iron Glove, Silver Slugger, and Bronze Bust. Gold Glove, obviously, goes to the best fielders and Silver Slugger, obviously, goes to the best hitters. The Iron Glove goes to the worst fielders and the Bronze Bust goes to the worst hitters. Simple as that. I hope everyone enjoys. Enjoy. Tweet me (@FlyByKnite) if you wanna discuss anything.
Most Valuable Player: Mike Trout | CF | Los Angeles Angels
Statistics:.323/.432/.557, 27 HR, 97 RBI, 109 R, 33 SB, .423 wOBA, 176 wRC+, 179 OPS+, 10.4 fWAR
Analysis: People are immediately going to see this selection and wonder why I have Trout winning the award over Cabrera. Well, once you step back and get rid of the ridiculous notion that the MVP should go to a player whose team is going to the playoffs, you can understand this selection a little bit better. Personally, I’m of the belief that the best player should get the award no matter what the people around him do. In all seriousness, I could legitimately write 5000 words about why Mike Trout should get this award but I’ll tone it down here. He’s the best player. Mike Trout, it could legitimately be argued, was the best offensive player in baseball. Combine that with the fact that he’s also the best all-around player in baseball and you see why he should get this award. Should he really be punished because his team didn’t have four frontline starters and instead only featured two and then a whole bunch of awfulness behind them? No. He should not. Trout was the first player in AL history to put up 25+ HR, 30+ SB, and 100+ BB. He’s also the first player in MLB history to hit above .320 with at least 20 HR, 30 SB, 100 R, and 100 BB. Only Joe Morgan in 1976 comes close. And what did Joe Morgan do that year? Win MVP.
Cy Young: Max Scherzer | SP | Detroit Tigers
Statistics: 21-3, 2.90 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 214.1 IP, 240 K, 56 BB, 2.74 FIP, 30.37 RE24, 145 ERA+
Analysis: This should be a pretty no-brainer award this season but not because of the win total that Scherzer has. Quite frankly, wins for a pitcher are pretty worthless in my eyes since a lot of the stuff behind wins is luck dependent and offensive production dependent. Either way, Scherzer wins this award on the strength of his peripherals. Among the top five finishers in ERA, Scherzer had the second lowest FIP, the second highest strikeouts per nine innings, the second most innings pitched, the second highest strikeouts to walk ratio, the second lowest batting average against, and the lowest WHIP. Either way you slice it, the fact that he finished second or first in a lot of the major categories is pretty telling. The only other candidates who come close to Scherzer, in my eyes, are Hisashi Iwakuma of the Mariners, but I doubt he even finishes higher than third in the regular voting because people are getting so enamored with wins right now and the fact that Scherzer reached the “sacred” 20-win plateau, and Yu Darvish of the Rangers, but his team let him down so much in games at times that he doesn’t have the wins to overtake Scherzer despite the fact that he produced a somewhat equally dominant season. I think Scherzer runs away with this.
Rookie of the Year: Wil Myers | RF | Tampa Bay Rays
Statistics:.295/.353/.482, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 49 R, 5 SB, .358 wOBA, 132 wRC+, 133 OPS+, 2.4 fWAR
Analysis: Myers didn’t quite take the league by storm like other rookies in the last two years have but he did a pretty damn good job with all things considered. If he had gotten an entire season’s worth of plate appearances, you’d be looking at a guy who put up over 20 HR and 90 RBI. That guy would be a shoe-in for Rookie of the Year this season. And that’s where Wil Myers is at right now. Personally, I felt Kansas City was stupid for trading him considering he has superstar potential but what they didn’t want, Tampa Bay did. Oh, and in the midst of a playoff race during the final month of the season when no one knew who was going to win the Wild Card spots, Myers hit .317/.360/.558 with a wOBA of .391 and a wRC+ of 154. He produced down the stretch and helped his team reach the one-game playoff with Texas. Hats off to him on a tremendous season. He’ll only be getting better.
Manager of the Year: Terry Francona | Cleveland Indians
Statistics: 92-70, first Wild Card team
Analysis: Last season the Cleveland Indians finished 68-94 and 20 games back in their own division. They were 25 games back in the Wild Card race, which is even crazier. Then they made a few little moves, got Terry Francona to manage them, and stormed back 92-70. They finished just a mere one game back in their own division and won the top Wild Card spot. It’s quite amazing what a great manager can do for you when he’s able to get every little morsel out of his players. Regardless of whether or not the Cleveland Indians have postseason success this year, the job that Terry Francona has done transforming this group of players into winners is quite incredible. It’s the most wins the team has had since 2007, a year that they made the ALCS. I could see a similar result.
Reliever of the Year: Koji Uehara | CP | Boston Red Sox
Statistics: 4-1, 1.09 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 21 SV, 74.1 IP, 101 K, 9 BB, 1.61 FIP, 25.92 RE24, 376 ERA+
Analysis: Where do I start about awesome Uehara was this season? He not only led American League relievers in ERA, but he led them in walks per nine innings, strikeouts to walk ratio, batting average against, WHIP, and also was second in FIP and second in strikeouts per nine innings. The only reliever who came close to Uehara’s level of dominance this season is Greg Holland. And, while I would love to give Holland this award, Uehara blew him away. Consider this. Koji Uehara faced 265 total batters this season and only walked nine of them. Of those nine, two were intentional walks. So remove those two and realize that of the 263 total batters he faced that actually went up there and weren’t intentionally walked, only seven earned free passes. That’s insane. The guy is a machine and pitched like one. Since being named the Red Sox closer on June 21st, Uehara pitched 44.1 innings, struck out 59 batters, and walked only two. And since that day, the Red Sox went 53-34. Pretty impressive. He brought stability to the back end of the bullpen.
Comeback Player of the Year: Ervin Santana | SP | Kansas City Royals
Statistics: 9-10, 3.24 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 211.0 IP, 161 K, 51 BB, 3.93 FIP, 15.30 RE24, 126 ERA+
Analysis: Alright, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this should go to Mariano Rivera after the injury he had last season and the way he came back this season and performed. Take out the fact that Rivera is retiring and is one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball. Does he still get the award over Ervin Santana? Not in my eyes. Consider where Santana has come from. Santana was so bad last year that the Angels basically gave him away to the Kansas City Royals for a pitcher who didn’t even pitch this season. They gave him away for nothing because they didn’t want to pay him what he was going to make this season and get the same results again. Last year, Santana produced a 5.16 ERA, 5.63 FIP, and -22.99 RE24. This season? He was a whole different pitcher. He dropped his ERA by nearly two full runs, his FIP by nearly two full runs, and improved his RE24 by 38.29. Oh, and then there’s his ERA+ which was at 74 last year but went to 126 this year. He turned in what is arguably his best year in the bigs immediately after what was arguably his worst year. That’s a true comeback story.
Most Valuable Player: Andrew McCutchen | CF | Pittsburgh Pirates
Statistics:.317/.404/.508, 21 HR, 84 RBI, 97 R, 27 SB, .393 wOBA, 155 wRC+, 158 OPS+, 8.2 fWAR
Analysis: This is truly a no-brainer. There’s no other candidate in the National League that I can honestly look at and say he should deserve this award. McCutchen is the only guy. Look at his season and realize he’s arguably been the top offensive player in the National League and is also providing fantastic baserunning and fantastic defense. It’s an added benefit that he happens to be on a team headed to the playoffs but it’s a bigger benefit for him that he’s been the keystone part of the resurgence of the Pittsburgh Pirates. That means a whole lot. He’s a loyal player that they’ve personally developed and he’s rewarded them with a fantastic season. He’s the epitome of a franchsie player and he is coming into his own. Perhaps the only other player I’d put into this conversation right now is probably Paul Goldschmidt but McCutchen was better than him as an all-around player this season. I keep using the word but it was truly a fantastic season by Andrew McCutchen.
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw | SP | Los Angeles Dodgers
Statistics: 16-9, 1.83 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 236.0 IP, 232 K, 52 BB, 2.39 FIP, 50.40 RE24, 194 ERA+
Analysis: The last time a left-handed pitcher had a last name that started with K and pitched for the Dodgers, we were watching Sandy Koufax be the left arm of god. Clayton Kershaw has invoked the same kind of feeling that Sandy Koufax gave fans when he took the mound at Dodger Stadium. Clayton Kershaw far and away led the National League in ERA and also took the WHIP crown this season. This is also not the first time Clayton Kershaw has led all of baseball in ERA. He also did it in 2011 and 2012. So, this is the third straight year he’s done this. In the entire history of Major League Baseball, only one other pitcher has led the league in ERA for three straight seasons. His name was Greg Maddux. Kershaw is doing some historic stuff right now and it’s about time everyone takes notice of it. His ERA+ of 194 is the highest ERA+ since Zack Greinke put up a mark of 205 in 2009. Dominance.
Rookie of the Year: Jose Fernandez | SP | Miami Marlins
Statistics: 12-6, 2.19 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 172.2 IP, 187 K, 58 BB, 2.72 FIP, 35.19 RE24, 176 ERA+
Analysis: There are only two names that matter for this award. One of them is Yasiel Puig, who was great during his time with the Dodgers this season, and the other is Jose Fernandez. The young kid was a phenom this season and dominated whoever was up at the plate against him. Consider what Jose Fernandez did since the All-Star Break. He pitched 68 innings and struck out 84 batters while walking 18. His ERA was a microscopic 1.32 and he also sported a 0.82 WHIP. That’s downright disgusting stuff. Puig, meanwhile, hit .273/.373/.481 since the All-Star Break but really tanked in September by hitting .214/.333/452. Fernandez was fantastic all season and got stronger as it went along. A truly dominant rookie from start to finish.
Manager of the Year: Clint Hurdle | Pittsburgh Pirates
Statistics: 94-68, first Wild Card team
Analysis: The true success of this Pittsburgh Pirates team starts about three years ago when they hired Clint Hurdle. In his first year, 2011, he had the Pirates at 47-43 and one game out of first place in the division when the All-Star Break rolled around. They fluttered and floundered after that and finished 72-90 and 24 games back. In 2012, Hurdle had them at 48-37 at the break and actually one game up in the division. But, once again, they slipped and finished 79-83 and 18 games back. This season, however, he transformed them into a consistent team from start to finish. At the All-Star Break this season, Hurdle had the Pirates at 56-37 and one game back. He got them to finish 94-68 and only three games back. However, they earned the top Wild Card spot and it has been a great season for the Pirates. Hurdle got great production out of pitchers who no one wanted anymore – namely Burnett and Liriano – and also production out of hitters who were somewhat cast aside. Awesome job.
Reliever of the Year: Craig Kimbrel | CP | Atlanta Braves
Statistics: 4-3, 1.21 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 50 SV, 67.0 IP, 98 K, 20 BB, 1.93 FIP, 20.59 RE24, 317 ERA+
Analysis: Say hello to the best closer in baseball and the guy who is, as of right now, on pace to be the greatest closer in the history of baseball. That’s right. I said it. Craig Kimbrel is on pace to be the best closer in the history of the game. Better than even Mariano Rivera. But that’s for another day. Among all National League relievers, Kimbrel ranked first in ERA, third in FIP, third in strikeouts per nine innings, and third in WHIP. And here’s the scariest stat of all about Craig Kimbrel. He allowed 39 hits this season. He had 50 saves. He had 11 more saves than hits allowed. The guy was insanely phenomenal and this wasn’t the first time. Since being named the Braves closer in 2011, Kimbrel has 138 saves and only allowed 114 hits. His ERA+ during that time is an astounding 263. Mariano Rivera’s career ERA+ is 202. So, make of that what you will.
Comeback Player of the Year: Francisco Liriano | SP | Pittsburgh Pirates
Statistics: 16-8, 3.02 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 161.0 IP, 163 K, 63 BB, 2.92 FIP, 18.20 RE24, 117 ERA+
Analysis: Consider where Francisco Liriano was just last year. He had an abysmal first half of the season with Minnesota then got traded to the White Sox, who were trying to make the playoffs, and he just flat out stunk for them. He finished last year with a 5.34 ERA and 1.47 WHIP while also having a 78 ERA+ and 4.34 FIP. He was terrible. This year? Not so terrible at all. He’s improved his ERA by over two runs, his FIP by nearly a run-and-a-half, and improved his WHIP. His RE24 last year was a paltry -13.96 but he’s gotten that up to 18.20 this year, an improvement of 32.16. And it’s not like this was a one year thing for Liriano. He was terrible in 2011, as well. He’s really found his pitching form again and looked great. The guy has been a revelation for the Pittsburgh Pirates and has arguably been their best pitcher this season. An awesome turnaround by a pitcher who was thought to have nothing left. Especially when the Pirates got him for a measly $1 million in 2013. You’re reading that right. Phenomenal.
GOLD GLOVE WINNERS
P: R.A. Dickey | Zack Greinke
C: Salvador Perez | Russell Martin
1B: Mike Napoli | Anthony Rizzo
2B: Dustin Pedroia | Darwin Barney
SS: Yunel Escobar | Andrelton Simmons
3B: Manny Machado | Nolan Arenado
LF: Alex Gordon | Starling Marte
CF: Jacoby Ellsbury | Carlos Gomez
RF: Shane Victorino | Gerardo Parra
SILVER SLUGGER WINNERS
DH/P: David Ortiz | Zack Greinke
C: Joe Mauer | Buster Posey
1B: Chris Davis | Paul Goldschmidt
2B: Robinson Cano | Matt Carpenter
SS: Jed Lowrie | Troy Tulowitzki
3B: Miguel Cabrera | Ryan Zimmerman
OF: Mike Trout | Andrew McCutchen
OF: Jose Bautista | Shin-Soo Choo
OF: Jacoby Ellsubry | Jayson Werth
IRON GLOVE WINNERS
P: Anibal Sanchez | Tim Lincecum
C: Matt Wieters | John Buck
1B: Prince Fielder | Adam LaRoche
2B: Jason Kipnis | Dan Uggla
SS: Asdrubal Cabrera | Adeiny Hechavarria
3B: Miguel Cabrera | David Freese
LF: Dayan Viciedo | Matt Holliday
CF: Alejandro De Aza | Shin-Soo Choo
RF: Torii Hunter | Michael Cuddyer
BRONZE BUST WINNERS
DH/P: Paul Konerko | Jorge de la Rosa
C: J.P. Arencibia | Russell Martin
1B: Mitch Moreland | Anthony Rizzo
2B: Jose Altuve | Darwin Barney
SS: Alcides Escobar | Adeiny Hechavarria
3B: Mike Moustakas | Nolan Arenado
OF: Ichiro Suzuki | Eric Young
OF: Nick Markakis | Gregor Blanco
OF: Michael Bourn | Gerardo Parra