MVP: Mike Trout
If winning in baseball is based on scoring more runs than the other team, then there’s nobody better than Mike Trout. At 23 years old, he’s already the best player in the world, and there’s no telling how high his ceiling will be. Both sabermetricians and old-school thinkers love Trout—deservingly so, considering he has led the league in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) every year since debuting in 2012, and finished first in both RBIs and runs scored this year. He’s unquestionably the best player on the league’s best team, and is a no-brainer for this year’s regular season AL MVP.
Runners-up: Felix Hernandez, Michael Brantley, and Victor Martinez
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
For years, Hernandez’s Cy Young chances have been hampered by a sub-par Mariners offence. This year was no exception, as Seattle’s bats once again ranked in the bottom half in runs scored. Hernandez’s 2.14 earned run average (ERA) is the best of his career, and he gave up more than three runs just three times this year. His win-loss record won’t blow you away, but he nearly always gave his team a chance to win this year. Corey Kluber’s breakout season with the Indians was impressive, but playing with a lead is always easier than playing from behind, a position that Hernandez seems to be stuck in—and thrives.
Runners-up: Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, and Max Scherzer
Rookie-of-the-Year: Jose Abreu
The 27-year-old Cuban phenom burst onto the scene in April, winning both AL Player- and Rookie-of-the Month honours. Abreu finished in the top 10 in all major offensive categories, completely dominating the rest of his rookie class. While his rookie season may have an asterisk beside it after spending five seasons in the Cuban League, Abreu is already drawing comparisons to slugger Ryan Howard, and will certainly compete for the MVP award in the coming years.
Runners-up: Collin McHugh, Matthew Shoemaker, and Marcus Stroman
MVP: Clayton Kershaw
It has been 46 years since the NL MVP award went to a pitcher. It takes an exceptionally talented pitcher to equal the production of an everyday player when you’re only starting once every five days. But, as any Dodger fan can tell you, Kershaw’s season was nothing short of exceptional. His year was reminiscent to that of Pedro Martinez’s historically dominant 2000 campaign. Kershaw led pitchers in essentially all advanced and traditional statistics and finished second in the MLB in WAR, behind only Mike Trout.
Runners-up: Andrew McCutchen, Jonathan Lucroy, and Giancarlo Stanton
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw is a freak of nature. He’s the best pitcher in the league and probably the best pitcher of his generation. Not only did he lead the league with 21 wins, but his 1.77 ERA ranks 13th lowest in the last five decades. He was completely lights out in all but one of his starts, posting a 1.46 ERA in 26 of his 27 starts. Expect Kershaw to take home his third—and likely not his last—Cy Young award this year.
Runners Up: Johnny Cueto, Adam Wainwright, and Jordan Zimmerman
Rookie-of-the-Year: Jacob DeGrom
Entering the season, Billy Hamilton was the consensus favourite for this award, but while the rookie speedster flashed potential, it was by no means spectacular. His 56 stolen bases was bested only by the Dodgers’ Dee Gordon, but he was also thrown out a league-leading 26 times. His stolen base success rate of 74 per cent ranked 208th in baseball, hardly elite. DeGrom, on the other hand, was consistently impressive. His 2.62 ERA ranks in the top 15, above the likes of Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greinke, and Jeff Samardzija. While he may not be a household name yet, the league should be on notice because DeGrom will soon be a force to be reckoned with.
Runners-up: Ender Inciarte, Billy Hamilton, and Ken Giles