Ray's Ramblings - Award Winners & A Trade
The awards have started to come out for the 2017 Major League Baseball season. Ray discusses the AL and NL winners in all the major categories including MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year. Ray also gives his thoughts on the deal between the Athletics and Mariners highlighted by Ryon Healy.
Jose Altuve won the AL MVP Award. Here are the results.
Altuve had another bonkers good season for the Astros as he went .346-24-81-112-32 as he pounded out 204 hits, a 4th straight season of 200. Altuve also posted a .957 OPS, the best of his career, as his 2017 effort was a near match for what he did in 2016 (.338-24-96-108-30 with a .928 OPS).He led the AL in multi-hit games (56), was second in runs, third in OBP (.410), third in OPS, third in steals, sixth in slugging (.547) and he led the majors in batting average. Standing 5’6”, he tied Phil Rizzuto (1950) and Bobby Shantz (1952) as the shortest men to ever win the award. He was also just the 5th second baseman to ever win the award in the American League.
Giancarlo Stanton won the NL MVP Award. Here are the results.
Stanton beat Joey Votto by a mere two points, the third closest in NL MVP history (there was a one point margin in 1944 and in 1979 there was a tie).
Stanton had a huge season with a line of .281-59-132-123 with a 1.007 OPS. He was a deserving candidate as he led the NL in WAR, SLG (.631), extra base hits (91), homers and RBI. Stanton had 26 homers the first 81 games before hitting the turbo boost and insanely powering 28 homers over a mere 48 game stretch from July 5th through August 29th. Eighteen of those homers came in August to tie a record that had lasted for 80 years.
At the same time, Votto had one hell of a season as well. Votto was 1st in Adjusted OPS, Adjusted Batting Run, Adjusted Batting Wins, Offensive Winning Percentage and was second in runs created. He also led the league with a .454 OBP and a 1.032 OPS as he went .320-36-100-106.
AL CY YOUNG
Corey Kluber won his second Cy Young Award in four years. Here are the results.
From June 1st through season's end, he had a 5.06 ERA at that time, Kluber led all MLB starters in innings (166.1), strikeouts (224), WHIP (0.76), opponent slugging percentage (.283) and strikeout minus walk percentage (32.5). Kluber posted an 11.88 K/BB ratio after the All-Star break, the third best in history for a pitcher who threw at least 100-innings (Cliff Lee 13.6 in 2012 and Pedro Martinez 12.0 in 2000). He also became the 15th AL arm since 1967 to lead the league in ERA (2.25) and wins (18). Kluber became the first dual AL Cy Young winner since Johan Santana (2004 and 2006).
NL CY YOUNG
Max Scherzer won his third Cy Young Award and his second in a row. Here are the results.
Scherzer extended his streak to five straight seasons of 200 innings pitched and 240 strikeouts. He has finished in the top-5 in the Cy Young vote in 5-straight seasons. He won just 16 games in ’17 but posted a 2.51 ERA with a league-best 0.90 WHIP and 268 strikeouts. He also allowed a mere 5.7 hits per nine innings.
Clayton Kershaw, who came in second, has finished in the top-5 in NL Cy Young voting each of the last seven years.
Aaron Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in unanimous fashion. Here are the results.
Judge hit a rookie record 52 home runs.
He scored 128 runs, the 4th most in AL history for a rookie (Joe DiMaggio 132 in 1936).
He posted a .422 OBP, tied with Minnie Minoso’s 1951 mark for the highest by a rookie.
Judge led the AL in homers, runs, walks (127), strikeouts (208) and was second in OPS (1.049). The award happened despite the fact that he hit .179 from July 14th to August 31st.
Not bad for a player that wasn’t even assured of a roster spot on Opening Day.
Cody Bellinger won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in unanimous fashion. Here are the results.
Bellinger and Judge were the 4th set of rookies to win the award simultaneously: 1997 (Scott Rolen and Nomar Garciaparra), 1993 (Mike Piazza and Tim Salmon), 1987 (Benito Santiago and Mark McGwire). Bellinger is also the 18th Dodger to win the award, the highest mark ever (the Yankees lead the AL with nine). The duo of rookies also hit 91 homers, blowing past the previous record of 67 for rookie winners (in 1987 McGwire had 49, Santiago 18).
Bellinger set an NL Record with 39 homers in his rookie season. He led the Dodgers in homers, RBI (97) and runs scored (87) for a team that fell one victory short of representing the National League with a World Series title.
Athletics receive: RHP Emilio Pagan, INF Alexander Campos
Mariners receive: 1B/3B Ryon Healy
Some folks seem surprised by this deal from an Athletics perspective. I’m not quite getting that feeling.
The A’s have Matt Chapman to be their third baseman for a decade, and first base will be covered by Matt Olson who just hit a remarkable 24 homers in 189 at-bats. Healy simply wasn’t needed.
Speaking of Healy’s performance, it’s very moderate. The Mariners need a first baseman with Yonder Alonso and Danny Valencia currently free agents, and Healy still has two more years before he’s eligible for arbitration. Healy has crushed lefties in his young career with a .877 OPS, but he has been a league average corner infield bat with a .760 OPS against righties. He has a mere 0.17 BB/K ratio as well, and that’s not intriguing in the least. Healy is nothing other than an AL-only play in 2018, and he’s not likely to appreciably improve his production.
The A’s received Pagan who will help in 2018, as he posted 56 strikeouts with a 0.93 WHIP over 50.1 innings in 2017. Campos is 17 years old and is obviously years away.
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday, 7 PM EDT, Wednesday 8 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 9 PM EDT PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work at Fantasy Alarm and on Twitter (@baseballguys).