On Monday, the Baseball Writers Association of American (BBWAA) announced the finalists for the 2016 Manager of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards in the American League and National League. Here are those finalists, listed in alphabetical order by award:
Although Trout was the best player in all of baseball by a significant margin, this race will likely come down to Altuve and Betts, who played for contending teams while Trout did not. In any event, Trout has a shot at finishing in the top two of the AL MVP vote for the fifth straight season. Not bad for a 25-year-old.
This one's probably going to Bryant based on his power numbers, his plus fielding and defensive flexibility, and the Cubs' dominance. Murphy and Seager, meantime, hit like All-Star first basemen while manning middle-infield positions.
AL Cy Young
Tough call here. Porcello and his 22 wins will be attractive to old-school voters and he had strong underlying numbers, as well. Kluber, meantime, is the best blend of traditional and advanced dominance. Remember when Verlander was in decline? He'll finish high on the ballot for the first time since 2012.
NL Cy Young
Hendricks and Lester have the low ERAs and that certainly counts for something. However, will voters "penalize" them for pitching in front of the brilliant Cubs' defense? As for Scherzer, he has the innings, the strikeouts and the strongest peripheral indicators. On the downside, he also gave up the most homers of any National League pitcher. There's no correct answer here.
AL Rookie of the Year
None of these candidates logged a qualifying number of innings or plate appearances, so no one stands out in terms of volume. Sanchez was the most impressive on a rate basis, but he played in just 53 games. Fulmer is likely the most appealing mix of excellence and playing time.
NL Rookie of the Year
Seager will win this easily, and it'll be shocking if he's not a unanimous choice. His status as an NL MVP finalist is a bit of "tell" on that front. He manned shortstop pretty much every day for one of the NL's best teams and along the way he put up an OPS+ of 137 with 26 homers and 40 doubles.
AL Manager of the Year
The question with this one is usually, "Who most defied expectations in a positive direction?" That's Showalter, who once again led a rotation-less roster to the playoffs. That said, it's not obvious he'll win. Also keep in mind that the postseason performance has no bearing on any of these awards.
NL Manager of the Year
Dusty Baker, Nationals
Joe Maddon, Cubs
Dave Roberts, Dodgers
Maddon won in 2015, so a repeat seems unlikely. Baker certainly shines in comparison to his predecessor, but Roberts is probably the favorite thanks to all the injuries his team overcame en route to the NL West title.
Finally, here's the full schedule for the upcoming award announcements on MLB Network:
- Players Choice Awards presented by MLB The Show: Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. ET
- Silver Slugger Awards presented by Louisville Slugger: Thursday, Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. ET
- Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards: Friday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. ET
- BBWAA Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards: Monday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. ET
- BBWAA Manager of the Year Awards: Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. ET
- BBWAA Cy Young Awards: Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. ET
- BBWAA Most Valuable Player Awards: Thursday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. ET