Manager of the Year
NL: Dave Roberts (LAD)
AL: Terry Francona (CLE)
Both of these guys deserved these awards. Dave Roberts did a great job with a Dodgers team that was without their best player down the stretch. Yet, Roberts had them up to the task, earning them a playoff birth. Francona, on the other hand, showed just how good he is at fusing the new school and old school. He took the Indians to the top of the AL Central and all the way to the World Series. Although voting is completed before the postseason, the month of October was essentially a Terry Francona showcase. It seemed like every night his decisions paid off and he always put his team in a situation to win. Had he not run out of pitching, we may have seen Chicago going yet another year without a World Series.
Rookie of the Year
NL: Corey Seager (LAD)
AL: Michael Fulmer (DET)
Neither of these guys were much of a surpise. Seager led all rookies with an fWAR of 7.5. In fact that was good enough to rank as the 5th best in baseball among position players and 2nd in the National League. There was no way that Seager wasn’t going to win this award.
Fulmer had similar road in the American League. He finished with an 11-7 record and a 3.06 ERA. Although, had Gary Sanchez played more he definitely could have won this award. He finished the season with a .299/.370/.657 slash line, good enough for 3.2 WAR.
Cy Young Award
NL: Max Scherzer (WSH)
AL: Rick Porcello (BOS)
This was the only award where I had some questions, but it had nothing to do with whether or not these guys were deserving. Both Scherzer and Porcello had phenomenal seasons in a year in which each race was incredibly close. In my opinion, though, I think Kyle Hendricks of the Chicago Cubs deserved more recognition. He posted a 2.13 ERA and did it without the same stuff as Scherzer. Sure, he didn’t have the strikeout numbers, but he showed that he knows how to pitch.
In the American League, it was truly a tossup between Porcello or Verlander. There was no wrong choice. I think Porcello’s 22-4 record, ultimately, gave him the edge.
Most Valuable Player
NL: Kris Bryant (CHC)
AL: Mike Trout (LAA)
Finally, Mike Trout won his 2nd MVP award. He was the best player in baseball once again, and voters finally recognized that. Trout finished the season with 9.4 fWAR. His slash line was .315/.441/.550. But what really pushed him ahead of Mookie Betts was his WRC+ of 171 to Betts’ 135. That’s a pretty big difference and demonstrates just how good Trout was this season.
The National League race finished as expected. Bryant led the NL in fWAR with 8.4. He also slugged 39 home runs with 102 RBIs. But he also showed his value in the field, with his ability to play multiple positions reasonably well. That definitely helped manager Joe Maddon find a way to utilize his deep and talented roster. It was an award that was well deserved.