MLB’s Individual Awards: If the Season Ended Today
Baseball’s season is now three-fourths of the way complete, and most of the division races have yet to be sorted out—except for Kansas City’s dominance in the AL Central. Meanwhile, the individual awards are seeing some separation. Here’s a look at which players will be walking away with the best hardware.
AL Rookie of the Year—Carlos Correa, SS Houston Astros: .282/.347/.517 (average/on-base/slugging), 15 home runs, 43 RBIs.
Correa is still only 20 years old and has superstar written all over him. An above-average defensive player at a premium position, his bat is actually his best asset. The future is pretty bright for Correa, who is a five-tool player and budding superstar.
Runner-up—Nathan Karns, SP Tampa Bay Rays: 7–5 record, 3.44 ERA, 24 games started.
AL Cy Young Award—Sonny Gray, SP Oakland A’s: 12–5 record, 2.10 ERA, 0.98 WHIP (walks/hits per innings pitched).
Gray has been the lone bright spot on the worst team in the American League. He doesn’t rely on strikeouts but allows the fewest hits per nine innings (6.5) in the league. Although Dallas Keuchel has more wins, Gray has done his work despite a less-than-stellar supporting cast.
Runner-up—Dallas Keuchel, SP Houston Astros: 14–6 record, 2.37 ERA.
AL MVP—Josh Donaldson, 3B Toronto Blue Jays: .302/.370/.585, 34 home runs, 95 runs scored, 100 RBIs.
Donaldson was good in the first half of the season—19 home runs and a .291 average—but has completely obliterated the rest of the league since then. The two-time All-Star is hitting a blistering .328/.420/.736 since the All-Star break as the Blue Jays are the hottest team in the league. He’ll have to keep up his hot hitting to one-up the reigning-MVP Mike Trout, who’s actually hitting better than he did last season.
Runner-up—Mike Trout, OF Los Angeles Angels: .297/.394/.586, 33 home runs, 73 RBIs.
NL Rookie of the Year—Kris Bryant, 3B Chicago Cubs: .262/.366/.481, 20 home runs, 75 RBIs.
Bryant, like Correa in Houston, is another star-in-the-making. The 23-year-old has been especially hot in August with a batting line of .338/.437/.676 while hitting six home runs. He could very well reach the 30 home run plateau this season and looks like a future star for years to come.
Runner-up—Jung Ho Kang, 3B/SS Pittsburgh Pirates: .288/.365/.459, 12 home runs, 46 RBIs.
NL Cy Young Award—Zack Greinke, SP Los Angeles Dodgers: 13–3 record, 1.67 ERA, .847 WHIP.
Greinke, who won the AL Cy Young in 2009 with Kansas City, shot up the NL ranks this season with his 45 2/3 inning scoreless streak that went from June 13 to July 26. He still has the best ERA in baseball and WHIP, but he is going to have to finish strong to hold off hard-charging teammate Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw, who’s won three of the last four NL Cy Youngs, has led the league in ERA each of the past four seasons.
Runner-up: Clayton Kershaw, SP Los Angeles Dodgers: 10–6 record, 2.29 ERA, 222 strikeouts.
NL MVP—Bryce Harper, OF Washington Nationals: .330/.455/.640, 31 home runs, 74 RBIs.
Harper leads the NL in nearly every major batting category, including on-base percentage, slugging, and home runs. The only thing that could keep him from taking home some hardware is if his Nationals continue to struggle and fall out of the race completely. But, Paul Goldschmidt is in the same boat with the mediocre Diamondbacks.
Runner-up—Paul Goldschmidt, 1B Arizona Diamondbacks: .327/.442/.561, 24 home runs, 93 RBIs.