As we enter the cold winter months, that are only kept warm by the burning hot stove, the books on the 2016 season are all but closed. We saw the Cubs win the World Series after 108 years of suffering through bad teams, Billy Goats and Bartman. The only thing left to do for this season is to hand out hardware to the MVPs, Cy Young’s, Rookies of the Year and Managers of the Year. Those awards start being passed out tonight to some of baseball’s best young stars and established vets.
As we like to do here at Bronxpinstripes, we decided to vote and see who our writers would give each award to. Let’s go category by category to see who our team thinks deserves to be the best of the best in 2016.
American League Rookie of the Year: (Announced Mon., 11/14)
According to our poll of voters, 75 percent believe that Yankees catching sensation, Gary Sanchez, should take the honors. After being called up early August, The Kraken was released, hitting .299 with 20 homers, 42 RBI and 34 runs. His bat was the force that kept the Yankees in the playoff race much later than they should have been.
It wasn’t only his offense that Sanchez brought to the Bronx, as he was a plus defensive catcher behind the plate managing a makeshift pitching staff. He also had an absolute cannon for an arm throwing out 41 percent of runners trying to steal. While the other two rookies had very solid years,they both struggled down the stretch and it was Sanchez’s name being talked about late in the season.
National League Rookie of the Year: (Announced Mon., 11/14)
It’s a bit unfair for Turner and Maeda to be finalists for Rookie of the Year when the other name in the mix is also in the running for league MVP! Seager had a season to remember for the Dodgers as the 22-year-old was the driving force behind the Dodgers playoff run.
Hitting .308 with 26 home runs, 72 RBI and 105 runs, the young shortstop propelled Los Angeles to the NL West title, while they were without Clayton Kershaw during the dog days of summer. He was 5th in the National League with an overall WAR of 6.1 and ranked in the top 10 of many other advanced metrics.
This was all very evident as 87.5 percent of our voters tabbed Seager as our NL ROY.
American League Manager of the Year: (Announced Tue., 11/15)
This race for the AL Manager of the Year came down to two big name managers, and a fairly new name. Jeff Banister led the Rangers to the AL’s best regular season record finishing 0.5 game in front of Francona’s Indians. The Rangers were loaded on offense and had a solid pitching staff and took advantage of a miserable AL West division. Showalter managed the Orioles to a Wild Card birth and a loss in the AL Wild Card game to AL East foe, Toronto.
I know they say post-season shouldn’t count towards these awards, but Showalter refused to use his best pitcher in a tight game in a win or go home game. (Zach Britton is still in the bullpen waiting for the call). The Rangers promptly got beat by those same Blue Jays. All the while, Francona took the Indians through the regular season missing perhaps their best overall player, Michael Brantley, all the way to the World Series. The Indians were also without top starters Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar.
Francona in a landslide, 100 percent of the BP vote.
National League Manager of the Year: (Announced Tue., 11/15)
Dusty Baker took the job in DC with the hopes of getting the Nationals over the hump as they had fallen short for the past several years in the postseason. The Nats finished second in the NL but once again floundered in the bright October lights.
Out on the West Coast, Dave Roberts took over and had to navigate most the season with the best pitcher in the league on the self most the season. He pressed all the right buttons in leading the Dodgers to the NL West crown, even against the “Even Year” Giants. However, the story was in Chicago as Maddon took the Cubs and turned their high hopes into a 103-win season and a World Series.
Hard to argue against Maddon, but Roberts gave him a run for his money, 62.5 percent of the vote to Maddon.
American League Cy Young: (Announced Weds., 11/16)
We all thought Verlander had reached the end, but he came back in 2016 with an award worthy performance. With a 16-9 record and 3.04 ERA, JV showed that he was back and just as good as ever as he recorded 254 strikeouts, good enough for first in the AL. He was also ranked number one in WAR (6.6) for pitchers in the American League and sported the best WHIP in the league.
Kluber was back to his 2014 form when he won the award as he tallied 18 wins and a 3.14 ERA. He was second in the AL in WAR (6.5) and 5th in strikeouts (227).
Porcello’s claim for the award rests on his 22-4 record when no one was expecting him to be as successful as he was. He had 189 strikeouts a a 3.15 ERA. He was 5th in WAR (5.0), 5th in ERA and 8th in strike outs. His win-loss record stands out as 75 percent of our writers give him the nod.
The NL race is very intriguing as you have a 20-game winner, the ERA leader and the guy that ranked second in both categories. Scherzer was your 20-game winner, as well as leading the NL in WAR (6.2) and strikeouts (284) all while pitching the most innings in the NL. Hendricks was the ERA leader (2.13), and it wasn’t even close, having a 0.31 lower ERA than Lester, the number two guy; not to mention, Hendricks was 16-8 with 170 strikeouts. Lester was the bridesmaid in both wins (19) and ERA (2.44) but also finished top 10 in strikeouts.
The Cubs duo racked up 75 percent of the vote, however it is Hendricks that comes away with the majority to take home the award.
The finalists for the MVP award are no doubt some of the best young players we have in the game today, and they all do it in many fashions. The entrenched vet, albeit only 25 years old, Mike Trout is up for his second MVP award, claiming the title in 2014. He has also finished second in the voting three other times. His season never jumped off the page this year as he was stuck in the mess that was the Angels. When you break it down, it was another superb year for Trout. Hitting .315 with 29 home runs, 100 RBI, 123 runs, 30 steals and 116 walks, Trout was a monster yet again.
Also in that AL West, Altuve held his own in Houston as the league finally realized just how good he is. He’s not just a speedy little middle infielder. While taking down the AL batting crown with a .338 average he also showed some pop with a career high 24 homers. He added 96 RBI, 108 runs and 30 swipes of his own. As those two were doing damage on the West, Mookie Betts took the East by storm giving Red Sox fans a reason not to worry post-David Ortiz. Betts hit .318 with 31 home runs, 122 runs, 113 RBI and 26 steals of his own.
It’s tough that only one of these guys can take home the award, but BP thinks Trout gets his 2nd MVP, receiving 62.5 percent of the vote.
Out of the gate, Daniel Murphy looked to be a shoe-in for this award, but he couldn’t keep up his torrent pace and cooled down a little as the season played out. He did finish with a .347 average, 25 home runs, 104 RBI and 88 run season, but thanks to DJ LeMahieu (like you thought there’d ever be a Rockies reference on this site), he didn’t lead the National League in any category.
We already spoke about what a great season Seager had for the Dodgers, but everyone knows this is Kris Bryant’s award. He was voted the unanimous MVP by Bronxpinstripes thanks in part to his monster second half and him leading the Cubs to their best season in franchise history. Bryant’s .292 average, league leading 121 runs scored, 39 home runs and 102 RBI is a stat line that warrants an individual award to cap amazing team success. I have a feeling KB is just getting started too.
There you have it, the 2016 Bronx Pinstripes Season Awards. Let us know who you think should win each award below, or reach out to us on Twitter @Bronxpinstripes or hit me up at @Jtmac21 to let me know!