Greetings, everyone! Dr. Doom here again.
Doug is generously letting me write awards-balloting posts again. So I’ll start with some discussion, and you can feel free to weigh in with your ballots in the comments. Rules are at the bottom of the post. More after the jump.
In the Junior Circuit, there are a lot of strong candidates. There’s a pretty strong argument that the 5-7 best players in baseball this year are all in the AL. So let’s start there. Mike Trout is continuing to be a wonder, but he also continues his recent trend of missing time. Two years in a row, he has been, per PA, the best hitter in the AL while playing above-average (and occasionally stellar) CF. Yet, once again, he missed substantial time. Also missing time was Mookie Betts who, when he played, had the argument that he was right up there with Trout. But it was neither of them, but rather Betts’ teammate J.D. Martinez that made a run at a Triple Crown, mashing all over Fenway. And speaking of mashing, no player in either league matched the power prowess of Khris (Don’t Call Me Chris) Davis, who clubbed nearly 50 home runs, many of them moon shots in the AL’s biggest ballpark. Davis’s teammate Matt Chapman combined power at the plate and stellar defense at the hot corner for an 8.2 WAR season. In Cleveland, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez anchored the left side of the infield. with each scoring 100+ runs and compiling identical 7.9 WAR scores. In Houston, third baseman Alex Bregman had a breakout 30 HR, 100 RBI season while leading the league with 51 doubles, good for a 6.9 WAR total. Angel defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons garnered 6.2 WAR with a solid .292 BA, while becoming one of only three players to record more RBI than strikeouts for each of the past three seasons. In Seattle, Mitch Haniger showed that his 2017 rookie season was no fluke, topping 6 WAR with a 90 run/90 RBI season and almost 300 TB in one of the league’s toughest hitter’s parks. In the Bronx, rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar, replacing fan favorite Todd Frazier, struggled in the field but was a hit at bat with 27 HR, 47 doubles and “only” 97 strikeouts, while teammate Giancarlo Stanton put up typical Stanton-esque totals of 38 HR and 100 RBI to help fill the void when 2017 home run champ Aaron Judge lost significant time to injury.
In the Senior Circuit, Christian Yelich wowed in the second half, and it took an unbelievable Brett– or Yastrzemski-like final week (or two) to finally nab the WAR lead among position players from teammate Lorenzo Cain, who might have less baseball mileage on him than any 32-year-old in history (the Brewers were banking on that low mileage when they gave him a five-year deal this last off-season). Cain was decent with the bat, hovering right around a .400 OBP in a league in which only Joey Votto cleared that figure by any substantial margin. The rookies Ronald Acuña Jr. and Juan Soto made a splash. Bryce Harper was an absolute failure on balls in play (just a .281 BABIP), yet led the NL in walks and crept toward a .400 OBP in a 30-HR, 100-RBI season for the (perpetually) disappointing Nationals. His teammate Max Scherzer battled division-mates Jacob DeGrom and Aaron Nola for the title of the league’s best pitcher. Matt Carpenter was a surprise contender on the HR leaderboard. Paul Goldschmidt put up the exact same (MVP-type) season he’s had three years in a row. Nolan Arenado continued to rake in Colorado, smacking two homers on the final day to take the NL title. Javy Báez proved that a low OBP is no barrier to a fabulous season both in the field and the batter’s box, showing heretofore unseen power (more than 80 XBH this year, after a previous best under 50). And dozens of other players (Freddie Freeman, Jesus Aguilar, Trevor Story, Brian Anderson, Anthony Rendon, Max Muncy, Brandon Nimmo, Scooter Gennett, and SO MANY more) had seasons that could and maybe should earn them down-ballot votes. This one’s ridiculously hairy, so good luck with it!
Rules: Vote by making a comment below and numbering your choices with 1 being the MOST preferred candidate, and 10 being your LEAST preferred candidate of your ten choices. Please vote under only one screen name (I’m looking at you, RockInTheHall; it’s been five years, but I haven’t forgotten). Your ballots will be EXACTLY ten places for each award, just as the BBWAA does. Scoring will be 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, just as the BBWAA does. You may post all your ballots in the same comment, or you may vote in separate comments. You are not required to vote in all elections; only vote in the ones you would like to vote in. You may make vote changes, if the discussion so moves you. If you change your vote, please do so in a new comment, not as a reply to your original comment (it’s a lot easier to find new comments than replies to old ones). Please don’t vote strategically; we’re trying to get the best result, not to manipulate the vote totals based on what others have done. Voting will remain open about one week.