Cultured
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2017 MLB Awards

AL MVP

Mike Trout made a valiant effort by leading the MLB in wOBA, OPS+, and wRC+ while also leading the AL in OBP. If Mike Trout had dragged the Angels to the 2nd Wild Card his narrative case would’ve been stronger, but with 114 games played he remains a distant third given his competition.

The choice between Aaron Judge and Jose Altuve is all about your interpretation of value. Judge has the edge in power and run production while Altuve leads in batting average, defense at a more challenging position, and base running. Aaron Judge is the 6'7" rookie with the flashy 50 plus home runs while Altuve is the diminutive hits leader who continues to improve year by year. No matter which version of Wins Above Replacement you use, Altuve and Judge are too close to determine one way or the other.

Fangraphs WAR: Judge 8.2, Altuve 7.5

Baseball Reference WAR: Altuve 8.3, Judge 8.1

Baseball Prospectus WAR: Judge 7.40, Altuve 6.40

For me it comes down to team narrative. The monstrous season from Aaron Judge led the Yankees to the 1st AL Wild Card. Jose Altuve’s great season contributed to an 101 win season for the Astros. I’d argue the Yankees needed Judge to make the playoffs more than the stacked Astros offense needed Altuve. No matter who wins it will be well deserved. Shoutout Jose Ramirez.

NL MVP

Giancarlo Stanton and his 59 home runs is up there on the WAR leadboards as is Joey Votto and his .454 OBP. You can argue for Anthony Rendon and Charlie Blackmon, the 2 best players from 2 NL playoff teams. Paul Goldschmidt and Kris Bryant are also hanging around. Ultimately I think this will come down to Blackmon and his incredible production from the leadoff spot vs. the imposing narrative case for Stanton. After factoring in Blackmon’s Coors Field adjustment, I’ll take Stanton. Mike Trout’s win over Mookie Betts in 2016 finally put to rest the notion that MVPs shouldn’t come from non playoff teams. I’ll be interested to see the voting breakdown this year.

AL Cy Young

Chris Sale opened 2017 on a tear and looked to be running away with the award after squandering his chance in the second half last year. Once Corey Kluber returned from injury and narrowed Sale’s lead in innings pitched and strikeouts, it became a toss up. Sale had a few blips down the stretch but still finished off a spectacular season with over 300 strikeouts. I believe Kluber’s numbers are better overall but it is by no means as runaway as people are making it out to be. Kudos to Luis Severino on a great 3rd place finish that is right there with Judge for most unexpected 2017 result. Craig Kimbrel had a spectacular season but doesn’t compare to the top 3 starters. RIP Porcello.

NL Cy Young

The NL Cy Young is pretty cut and dry this year. Max Scherzer lead the NL in Fangraphs WAR, strikeouts, and ERA while finishing 2nd in FIP and K/9. Fellow Washington National Stephen Strasburg isn’t far behind but he made 3 less starts. Clayton Kershaw was arguably even better but made 4 less starts. Scherzer wins easily. Shoutout Gio Gonzalez and Alex Wood.

AL Rookie of the Year

Only 1 American League rookie will finish top 2 in the MVP race. Preseason favorite Andrew Benintendi had a nice season and will be around for a long time but Aaron Judge should win this unanimously. Shoutout Jordan Montgomery, Jacob Faria, Trey Mancini, and Rafael Devers.

NL Rookie of the Year

Cody Bellinger set the record for NL home runs by a rookie en route to finishing the year with 39 home runs. Rhys Hoskins’ incredible stretch before cooling in September almost made it interesting but similar to Fulmer vs. Gary Sanchez last season, Hoskins was called up too late to make a run. Shoutout Josh Bell, Paul DeJong, and Ian Happ.

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