There are just a few games remaining in the 2013 MLB season, and players are making their final case to be considered for the top individual MLB awards. Of the six major awards that will be given out after the World Series, few have a clear-cut winner.
Who will win: Miguel Cabrera is likely to get his second straight MVP award. The Detroit Tigers third baseman is the only viable candidate that is on a playoff team. His .347 batting average is more than 20 points higher than any player in baseball, and he’s got an even higher slugging percentage that of home run leader Chris Davis
Who should win: Just as Cabrera will win the award for two consecutive seasons, Trout will get snubbed in back-to-back years. He’s not quite the slugger that Cabrera is, but his .324 batting average, 48 combined doubles and triples and 33 steals help him come close to equaling his counterpart’s production on offense. In addition, his defense is miles ahead of Cabrera’s. According to baseball-=-reference.com, his 9.1WAR is the best in all of baseball.
Prediction: Miguel Cabrera
Who will win: Much like Cabrera, Max Scherzer will benefit from being on a team that’s going to the postseason. His 20-3 record gives him the best winning percentage, by far, of any pitcher with at least 15 victories. Six other starters have a better ERA than his 3.00, but he leads the AL with a 0.96 WHIP.
Who should win: It’s hard to find a better candidate than Scherzer. He’s been the best pitcher on one of the best teams in the league, and he’s near the top in almost every important category. Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox has pitched just as well with a 2.97 ERA and 1.05 WHIP, but he won’t win with a record below .500. A case can be made for Scherzer’s teammate, Anibal Sanchez, and his league-leading 2.64 ERA, but he wasn’t as much of a workhorse, pitching 30 fewer innings.
Prediction: Max Scherzer
Rookie of the Year
Who will win: Wil Myers has only played half of the season, but his impact has been enough that he should get enough votes to win the award. His .293 batting average, 13 home runs and 51 RBI have been a key to the Tampa Bay Rays’ run towards the first wild card spot in the AL.
Who should win: Chris Archer hasn’t been very good down the stretch, but his 3.21 ERA since joining the Rays rotation in June can’t be overlooked. Myers may be having a better final month, but contribution throughout the year is more impressive than what his teammate has done.
Prediction: Wil Myers
Who will win: Andrew McCutchen is the kind of player that voters will want to win the MVP. He’s the best player on a Pittsburgh Pirates team that has made the playoffs for the first time in two decades. He also has the stats to justify naming him the MVP. His .320 average puts him in the top five in the NL batting race, he’s a top five slugger in the league and no NL player has a higher WAR.
Who should win: There might not be a clear-cut favorite in the NL. St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is hitting .315, while managing one of the best pitching staffs in the MLB. The Arizona Diamondbacks won’t be in the playoffs, but Paul Goldschmidt leads the league in homers and RBI. However, McCutchen’s all-around game and team success make him the best choice.
Prediction: Andrew McCutchen
Who will win: Clayton Kershaw has pulled away as the favorite to win the award. He leads the best starting staff in the majors and is the best pitcher on the team that’s expected to reach the World Series.
Who should win: There shouldn’t be much disagreement when Kershaw wins the Cy Young. His 224 strikeout, 0.92 WHIP and 1.88 ERA are best in the league, and only Adam Wainwright has thrown more innings. Pitchers like Wainwright and Jordan Zimmerman have a few more wins, but that doesn’t matter much when looking at the overall numbers. Matt Harvey appeared to be Kershaw’s biggest competition, but that ended when his season conclude early because of an injury. A case can be made for Craig Kimbrel, who’s having a historical season for a reliever with 49 saves, a 1.25 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 65 innings. A great starter, though, is more important than a great closer.
Prediction: Clayton Kershaw
Rookie of the Year
Who will win: Jose Fernandez hasn’t just been the best rookie pitcher in 2013, but he’s big among the top starters in all of baseball. Voters may not like some of the showboating that he’s displayed, but his 2.19 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 28 starts won’t be overlooked.
Who should win: It’s a two-man race between Fernandez and Yasiel Puig. The outfielder will end the season with just over 100 games played, but he’s made enough of an impact to warrant serious consideration. He’s slowed down since hitting .436 in his first month, but his overall .946 OBP and defensive prowess make him one of the most valuable players in the league. Fernandez may not be on a playoff team like Puig, but he gets the edge after playing almost the entire season.
Prediction: Jose Fernandez