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Let the handicapping begin. There are still a couple of weeks left, which is certainly enough time for these provisional seedings to change.


Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
- Contrary to popular belief, leading the league in RBIs no longer helps very much in the MVP balloting. But how Cabrera has accumulated all those RBIs is itself pretty interesting - he's hitting .404/.532/.815 with runners in scoring position, which is... well, I don't know what it is. It looks like a video game with a cheat code, not baseball. His home park gives him a boost? Maybe, but away from Comerica Cabrera is hitting .332/.431/.672 with 27 HRs and 76 RBI. This ain't Josh Hamilton in 2010, people. No, he's not nearly as good a defensive player as Mike Trout (not that Trout has been all that great this year) - but the fact that the Tigers can actually get by playing Cabrera at third base is itself extremely valuable. Otherwise you'd be swapping Victor Martinez's bat for Don Kelly's, and while Kelly's glove will save a few runs compared to Cabrera's, I'd say the team is gnereally better off having Victor Martinez's bat in the lineup - and that too is part of Cabrera's value.

Honourable  Mention - Mike Trout, Adrian Beltre, Chris Davis, Robinson Cano, Manny Machado, Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson, Joe Mauer, Jason Kipnis.

AL Cy Young

Max Scherzer, Detroit
- Two weeks ago, I thought he was the obvious choice. However, the very excellence of Scherzer's W-L record had actually created some resistance to acknowledging just how good his season has been. These days people always want to find a reason not to vote for the guy with all the wins. If Scherzer had been 15-5 rather than 19-1, I don't think there'd have been much debate at all about whether he should win the award. So now - he's helping out. He's gone and lost a couple of games, he's given up the ERA lead. He'd be letting the rest of the pack into the discussion, if the pack had actually produced a legitimate challenger.

Honourable  Mention - Chris Sale, Yu Darvish, Anibal Sanchez, James Shields

AL Rookie of the Year

Jose Iglesias, Boston-Detroit
- Of course he's not going to hit this well in years to come. But he did hit that well this year. Not that he needs to hit that well to be a very useful player, especially in Detroit where they have a first baseman playing third base because they've got a designated hitter playing first base.

Honourable  Mention - Chris Archer, Wil Myers

AL Manager of the Year

Terry Francona, Cleveland. As bad as the Indians were in 2012, they were also extremely lucky not to have a far worse record than they did. A year ago, the Indians played almost as well as Baltimore in the close games (24-12) - it's the only reason they didn't lose 100 games. Which is why I wrote at the end of last season, that "This team stinks, and Terry Francona has a lot of work to do." Well. A lot of work appears to have been done.

Honourable  Mention - Bob Melvin, John Farrell


Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh. Duh. The second most obvious winner of one of this year's awards.

Honourable  Mention -  Andrelton Simmons, Clayton Kershaw,  Matt Carpenter, David Wright, Paul Goldschmidt, Shin-Soo Choo, Joey Votto, Carlos Gomez,  Yadier Molina

NL Cy Young

Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
- Duh again. The most obvious winner of one of this year's awards. Yes, he gets a lot of help from Dodger Stadium, but he's got an ERA of 2.29 on the road this season. He's the best pitcher in the world right now.

Honourable  Mention - Jose Fernandez,  Francisco Liriano, Matt Latos, Jhoulys Chacin,

NL Rookie of the Year

1. Jose Fernandez, Miami - A historically great rookie season, of course. A historically great season for a 20 year old, too. When Jeff Mathis was his catcher, Fernandez has more or less been the exact same guy Dwight Gooden was in his 20 year season (you know, the 24-4, 1.53 season.) As a hitter, Fernandez batted .220/.216/.340 for an OPS of .556, which is better than how the National League hit against him (.182/.257/.265, OPS of .522). That sort of thing has happened before, of course, but not nearly as often as it used to. It's always pretty cool when it does.

Honourable  Mention - Yasel Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu

NL Manager of the Year

Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh - There were some problems. The guy who had been one of the Pirates best hitters over the last couple of seasons (Garrett Jones) suffered an alarming decline. This helped contribute to Pittsburgh having the very worst offensive production in the NL at both first base and right field - those being the two positions where Jones splits his time with a grim collection of nobodies like Gaby Sanchez, Jose Tabata, and Travis Snider. One of their all-stars, pitcher Jeff Locke, went on an 0-3, 6.57 run after the All-Star game. That was roughly when another all-star, closer Jason Grilli, went on the DL for an extended period. The Pirates coped with all of these issues, and are about to put an end to an entire generation of futility. It can be done, Jays fans. 

Honourable  Mention - Fredi Gonzalez, Dusty Baker

ALL Stars

It surely makes more sense to choose your all-stars when you've got the entire season to consider, no?


C - Joe Mauer
, Minnesota.
1b - Chris Davis, Baltimore.
2b - Robinson Cano, New York
3b - Miguel Cabrera, Detroit.
ss - J.J. Hardy, Baltimore.
lf - Alex Gordon, Kansas City
cf - Mike Trout, Los Angeles
rf - Shane Victorino, Boston .
dh - David Ortiz, Boston
rhp - Max Scherzer, Detroit
lhp - Chris Sale, Chicago
rp - Joe Nathan, Texas.


C - Yadier Molina
, St Louis
1b - Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona
2b - Matt Carpenter, St Louis
3b - David Wright, New York
ss - Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta
lf - Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado
cf - Andrew Mc Cutchen, Pittsburgh
rf - Jay Bruce, Cincinnati
rhp - Jose Fernandez, Miami
lhp - Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
rp - Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta
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Mike Green - Monday, September 16 2013 @ 08:49 PM EDT (#279123) #
Matt Harvey might have a case to be in the top 5 for the NL CYA award.  It was only 175 innings, but they were pretty good ones.
Eephus - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 01:26 AM EDT (#279127) #
I am quite glad to see Jay Bruce get some notice. Not only is he a terrific power hitter but he also must be one of the best defensive right-fielders in the NL. Imagine a guy who reads the ball in the air like Rasmus with an arm like Bautista. Strangely enough, he kinda runs like Adam Lind.
Magpie - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 07:12 AM EDT (#279128) #
Matt Harvey might have a case to be in the top 5 for the NL CYA award.

Yeah, I figure by the time we're done the fact that it's only 175 IP, as good as they were, will loom larger than it does now. It's Cliff Lee who's really throwing a spanner in the works.

Jay Bruce (and Andrew McCutchen, of course) are also from the 2005 draft class. Along with Alex Gordon. And a host of players not mentioned here, but pretty useful nonetheless - Ellsbury and Buchholz, Upton and Tulowitzi, Zimmerman, Rasmus, and Garza (and guys like Braun and Romero who won't be putting 2013 on their highlight reels but distinguished themselves earlier.) Surely that's one of the most impressive first rounds in a very long time. And even so, most of the guys picked in the Top 30 simply didn't do anything of note in the majors. You roll the dice, and you see what happens. That's why they call it a crapshoot.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 08:43 AM EDT (#279130) #
It's amazing that the Boston Red Sox, despite leading the tough AL East, don't have an obvious candidate for the MVP or the Cy Young. Kudos to them for a real team effort , but I pray that John Farrell isn't named manager of the year. Oh, the horror!
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#279131) #
Adam Wainwright also has a good case to be in the top 5 for the NL CYA.  It's hard to make the argument for Latos over Wainwright.

Magpie - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 09:29 AM EDT (#279132) #
It's hard to make the argument for Latos over Wainwright.

It's not hard - Latos has posted a better ERA and his home park is a tougher place to pitch. On the other hand, Wainwright's been almost as good and he's given his team an extra 24 innings.
Mike Green - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 09:40 AM EDT (#279133) #
BBRef has Latos' ERA+ as 123 and Wainwright's as 124; Wainwright's ERA is lower.  Maybe the numbers were different when the article was written.

I should have elaborated- Wainwright appears to have pitched more innings, a little better and has had a lesser defence behind him. It all adds up to quite a bit (arguably more than the difference between Kershaw and Fernandez once you factor in Fernandez' bat). 

Magpie - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 12:29 PM EDT (#279139) #
Maybe the numbers were different when the article was written.

Did the original work about ten days ago and just updated a few numbers since. And ten days ago... Latos was 2.98, Cliff Lee 3.09, and Wainwright 3.14.

So that's what I was thinking!
Magpie - Tuesday, September 17 2013 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#279141) #
the difference between Kershaw and Fernandez once you factor in Fernandez' bat

Fernandez doesn't really have a big edge with the bat, because Kershaw is pretty decent himself (by the special standards we use for pitchers!)
Mike Green - Thursday, September 19 2013 @ 10:29 AM EDT (#279210) #
I was checking on Clayton Kershaw, trying to find out how he has managed to post such a low BABIP with a high line drive rate and low pop-up rate (probably luck and defence in that order). 

His BBRef comparables at age 24 are a nice example of the variability and unpredictability of pitchers.  He was off to a great start to his career by the end of last year.  His BBRef comparables are Jim Palmer, Vida Blue, Vic Willis, John Candelaria and 6 other pitchers who were grave disappointments.  I do think that Kershaw is more likely to fall in somewhere in the Blue/Palmer range of quality, especially after this year, but you just don't know.  Strangely, he was better through age 24 than all of his BBRef comparables- usually there will be two or three comparables who were better. 

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