Baseball’s regular season ends today, so there’s no better time to consider who will be in line for postseason awards.
By PETE GRATHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Here we go again.
Angels outfielder Mike Trout again leads the AL in Wins Above Replacement (WAR), but the MVP award likely will go to Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera.
Cabrera leads the AL in each slash line category: batting average (.347), on-base percentage (.441) and slugging percentage (.637). His 44 homers are the same number he hit last year and is second to the Orioles’ Chris Davis. Cabrera also has 137 RBIs.
Plus, the Tigers are headed to the playoffs, while the Orioles and Angels are not. To me, that’s a key factor in the voting.
1. Cabrera; 2. Trout; 3. Davis
This is the most intriguing race.
With 36 home runs and 124 RBIs, the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt has two-thirds of the Triple Crown covered. However, the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen leads in WAR (8.0) and has been a vocal leader as Pittsburgh has finally broken through with a winning season and a playoff berth.
McCutchen gets a slight edge over Goldschmidt and the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter (the most steady offensive player in St. Louis’ lineup) and Yadier Molina.
1. McCutchen; 2. Goldschmidt; 3. Molina
AL CY YOUNG
Leading the league in wins is no longer the key component to picking a Cy Young winner, so the Tigers’ Max Scherzer won’t get a huge boost from his 21-3 record.
What’s more significant is Scherzer’s league-best WHIP (0.97), along with 214 1/3 innings pitched and 240 strikeouts. Combine that with the wins and the former Mizzou star should grab the award.
But there are alternatives. The Rangers’ Yu Darvish has more strikeouts (269) and has allowed just 6.2 hits per nine innings. The White Sox’s Chris Sale has a 3.07 ERA, 226 strikeouts and terrible run support and bullpen “help” from a horrendous White Sox team. The Royals’ James Shields should get consideration, along with Bartolo Colon of the A’s and the Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma.
1. Scherzer; 2. Darvish; 3. Shields
NL CY YOUNG
This is a slam dunk. The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw may be a unanimous choice as he is the leader in ERA (1.83), WHIP (0.92), strikeouts (232) and WAR (8.4).
Kershaw will win his third straight ERA title, the first pitcher to do that since Greg Maddux.
Others who will draw votes include: the Phillies’ Cliff Lee, the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright, the Braves’ Craig Kimbrel and the Marlins’ José Fernandez.
1. Kershaw; 2. Kimbrel; 3. Wainwright
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
I have a vote for this award and am required to keep my ballot secret.
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Can you remember another player who has burst on the scene like the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig? He was dynamite from the start and kick-started Los Angeles’ turnaround from bottom feeders to division champs.
Having said that, the Marlins’ José Fernandez has been the best rookie. Playing for last-place Miami, Fernandez was 12-6 (including a 9-0 mark at home) with a 2.19 ERA and led the league with a .182 opponents’ batting average.
1. Fernandez; 2. Puig; 3. Shelby Miller, Cardinals
AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR
The Royals’ Ned Yost may garner votes on a few ballots, but ultimately the winner will have guided his team to the playoffs.
Unfortunately for the Royals, the Indians’ Terry Francona has done a fantastic job of guiding the Indians through some ups and downs this year and they are on the cusp of the playoffs. But the nod goes to John Farrell, who helped the Red Sox go worst to first and changed a clubhouse that was toxic to one sipping champagne.
1. Farrell; 2. Francona; 3. Joe Girardi, Yankees
NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR
It’s tempting to say the Dodgers wouldn’t have turned around their fortunes had it not been for Don Mattingly. But let’s face it, with a $233 million payroll and a weak division, Mattingly would have lost his job if he had not won the division.
Pittsburgh’s Clint Hurdle has done a wonderful job of helping Pittsburgh shed its losing ways while also keeping the team’s focus on the real goal: making the playoffs.
1. Hurdle; 2. Mattingly; 3. Mike Matheny, Cardinals
To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.