A slow Monday. No games. Let's fill some time by going over all the awards. If I had a vote ...
National League Cy Young Award
Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy summed up the NL Cy Young race:
NL CY Young voters: no matter which of the three you vote for, you got it right. Congrats! And horribly wrong. Idiot.— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) October 2, 2015
My hypothetical ballot:
3. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw struck out 301 batters and posted a 1.39 ERA over his final 24 starts. And he's going to finish third in the voting. Because of the advantage in strikeouts that he has over Arrieta and Greinke, Kershaw has a sizable edge in FanGraphs WAR -- he's at 8.6 to 7.3 for Arrieta and 5.9 for Greinke. The comparison with Greinke is interesting because Greinke allowed 19 fewer runs (in 10 fewer innings). Kershaw's 2.7-win edge in WAR suggests about a 27-run difference in value. So in saying Kershaw had the better season you have to attribute about 46 runs to good luck for Greinke and bad luck for Kershaw. I don't know if I can do that. Greinke did have an amazing strand rate and batting average allowed with runners in scoring position (.157) but was that good luck or good pitching? Without looking at all the video evidence, it's difficult to analyze. And when Kershaw was getting hit hard (for him) early in the season, he was making some bad pitches.
Anyway, in the end, I go with Arrieta, not so much because his second-half dominance trumps Greinke's season-long excellence, but because he didn't get to pitch half his games in Dodger Stadium. Greinke had a 1.46 ERA at home and 1.88 on the road and Kershaw had a 1.67 ERA at home, 2.60 on the road. Arrieta actually had a better on the road, where he went 13-1, 1.60. He was also great against the division rival Cardinals and Pirates, going 5-2 in nine starts with a 1.45 ERA.
American League Cy Young Award
It's basically a coin flip between Keuchel and Price, but Keuchel led the AL in innings, adjusted ERA, WHIP and -- yes -- wins. He was 15-0 at home, but Minute Maid isn't a pitcher's park in the same sense as Dodger Stadium; Keuchel just pitched really well there for whatever reasons.
National League MVP
1. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
2. Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs
3. Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
5. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
9. Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
10. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
Harper wasn't particularly great in high-leverage situations -- he wasn't great against the Mets; he hammered the Phillies, Braves and Marlins -- but his overall numbers can't be denied. He easily topped NL position players in WAR (9.9 to Goldschmidt's 8.8 on Baseball-Reference, 9.6 to Goldschmidt's 7.5 on FanGraphs) while leading the NL in home runs, runs, OBP and slugging, losing the batting title to Dee Gordon on the final day of the season.
I slotted the three Cy Young candidates 2-3-4. Greinke actually tied Harper in Baseball-Reference WAR at 9.9, as he chipped in a .224 average and two home runs to gain an addition 0.6 WAR at the plate. Rizzo moves past fellow first basemen Goldsdchmidt and Votto due to excellent results in high-leverage situations -- .408/.518/.738. Because of that, he led the NL in Win Probability Added at 7.3 wins, ahead of Goldschmidt and Votto (6.2) and Harper (6.1).
American League MVP
1. Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays
3. Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros
6. David Price, Toronto Blue Jays
8. Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
In the end, Trout edged Donaldson in both FanGraphs WAR (9.0 to 8.6) and Baseball-Reference WAR (9.4 to 8.8). Trout was awesome in high-leverage moments (.325/.426/.699), but so was Donaldson (.351/.426/.713). Donaldson, with more help around him, led the AL in both runs and RBIs. Donaldson will probably win the award in a landslide thanks to the big edge in RBIs (123 to 90), but in reality it should be more of a coin flip. In the end, Trout's bad August (.218, one home run) came during a month in which the Angels went 10-19 and went from two games back to 7.5 games back. At the same, Donaldson was red hot, as the Blue Jays took off.
The rest of the ballot isn't as fun to fill out as the NL. I have Keuchel third, the guy who really helped keep the Astros afloat all season with one clutch outing after another. Cain and Machado were brilliant on both side of the ball. There's kind of a dropoff after the top five. Beltre ranks eighth among AL position players in Baseball-Reference WAR and 12th in FanGraphs WAR and hit .328/.379/.540 the final two months with 56 RBIs in 60 games as the Rangers surged.
National League Rookie of the Year
1. Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
2. Matt Duffy, San Francisco Giants
3. Jung Ho Kang, Pittsburgh Pirates
A great year for rookies, but Bryant pulled away from the crowd by hitting .323/.400/.567 the final two months.
American League Rookie of the Year
2. Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
Another coin flip race, but Lindor's edge in the field and .313 average trumps Correa's edge in power. I think Correa probably edges Lindor out in the voting, however, as the more high-profile candidate on a playoff team.
National League Manager of the Year
1. Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs
2. Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates
3. Terry Collins, New York Mets
Considering all the rookies Maddon had to work into the lineup -- and the 97 wins -- he's a pretty easy choice here.
American League Manager of the Year
1. A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros
2. Jeff Banister, Texas Rangers
3. Joe Girardi, New York Yankees
I don't have a strong opinion on this one. Banister probably pulls it out since the Rangers won the West.