Goodbye, regular season and welcome, award season. With only eight teams remaining in the hunt for the World Series, people with no vote for any of the major baseball awards — Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, etc. — can now take to the internet to give their useless thoughts about who should win what award. Does anyone really care what you think?
All right, now let me take to the internet to give my useless thoughts about who should win what award. After doing the American League last week — or, as I called them, the league with more competitive races — let’s talk about the National League. By this point, we have a good idea of who is winning most of the major awards from this side of the league, though there’s one that seems to be up for debate; it’s also pretty apparent that for the four major awards, the winners are almost nearly coming from the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Washington Nationals (ironically, the three division winners).
So, who is taking home hardware in a few weeks? For the sake of easiness, we’ll only be talking about the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year for now. As for Comeback Player of the Year, that will come in a later article because there’s just too many candidates, and with that being a bit of an intriguing award, deserves its own piece.
MVP: Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs
The stats: .292/.385/.554 in 699 plate appearances across 155 games with 176 hits, 35 doubles, three triples, 39 home runs, 102 RBI, eight stolen bases, a 154-75 K-BB ratio, and a 6.6 WAR.
The facts: Really, this is either going to Bryant or his teammate Anthony Rizzo because most of the other preseason candidates — Bryce Harper, Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, Joey Votto, Clayton Kershaw, and Giancarlo Stanton – all either struggled majorly or battled injuries (Votto is really the only main exception there). There’s a case for Washington’s Daniel Murphy (.347/.390/.595 in 132 games with 47 doubles, 25 home runs, 104 RBI, and an insane 57-35 K-BB ratio) and Colorado’s Nolan Arenado (.294/.362/.570 with a league-best 41 home runs and 133 RBI in 160 games) but this is the league-best Chicago Cubs we’re talking about. Bryant and Rizzo are rightfully going to get the majority of the votes because they’re on the best team and for Bryant, who played games at every non-pitching position this year but second base and catcher, he fits what we’re supposed to want in an MVP. It’s the Most Valuable Player, right?
Cy Young: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals.
The stats: 20-7 and a 2.96 ERA across 34 starts with 165 hits, 31 home runs, a 284-56 K-BB ratio, and a 6.2 WAR in 228.1 innings.
The facts: Again, there are some great candidates here – especially in Chicago with both Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks – but Scherzer just is my guy, especially when I remember that Stephen Strasburg battled injuries yet again. Yes, 31 home runs are way, way too much, but that’s always been Scherzer’s game: he’ll give up a home run here or there, but he’ll also work out of trouble and strike out over 200 more hitters than he walked. Is there much else you can ask for in an ace? If he doesn’t miss two months with an injury, Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw probably walks away with this near unanimously, but now? Scherzer has to be the pick and with the Nationals tied 1-1 against the Dodgers after a 5-2 win on Sunday, he should have another opportunity or two this postseason to convince voters about his case.
Rookie of the Year: Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
The stats:.308/.365/.512 in 687 plate appearances across 157 games with 193 hits, 40 doubles, five triples, 26 home runs, 72 RBI, three stolen bases, a 54-133 ratio, and a 6.1 WAR.
The facts: This one is simple, especially with Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story’s season ending in July. What other rookies in the National League, other than Washington’s Trea Turner, have provided as much of an impact on their team that Seager has? Without Seager staying in the lineup all year, do the Dodgers really hold off the Giants (or, depending on how you want to look at it, avoid collapsing the way San Francisco did) to bring in yet another National League West title? Really? Seager put up one of the greatest rookie seasons by a shortstop — not to mention any 22-year-old in history — and arguably the best in Dodgers history. If this isn’t close to a unanimous decision, I’ll be flat out shocked.
Some have said watching Seager is like watching a young Alex Rodriguez again. When you watch the highlights, you’ll see why they compare the two.
Manager of the Year: Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers
The stats: 91-71 for first place in the National League West.
The facts: Roberts managed to somehow win 90 games without Clayton Kershaw for two months and despite setting a major league record for putting 28 players on the disabled list in a single season. That on its own should be enough of an answer here, with all due respect to Joe Maddon and Dusty Baker.
[Featured Image by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]