Two of the biggest awards in baseball were given out on November 14th with the Cy Young award being given to Blake Snell (AL) and Jacob deGrom (NL) winning their respective league’s titles. Then on November 15th, the MVP votes were in, giving Mookie Betts (AL) and Christian Yelich (NL) the rightful heir to their thrones.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that these awards are essentially meaningless in retrospect to a player’s career and are often used as game show questions twenty years from now. Although I do see the importance of these awards and I think they do highlight the best in the game, these awards are completely arbitrary to a specific group of writers who vote for these things and sometimes, they get it wrong. Despite my opinion, I do have a couple notes on the awards and the players receiving votes.
AL MVP: Mookie Betts 100% deserved to win this award. He was on an amazing Boston Red Sox team that won a World Series with relative ease. Betts can do it all; he has amazing fielding skills, an all-around hitter and a great teammate. I have no problem with Betts winning this award. However, a flaw that I want to point out is having a player like Mike Trout in contention every year. We often take for granted what Trout does every year, hitting .300 with 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and 20 steals. Trout already has two MVP awards and if he were to finish with “only” two in his career, I think a lot of people who grew up watching him would question how we only received two. In short, the MVP vote celebrates the players who have done the best for one season. A player who wins one MVP may be good for one season only compared to a player who finishes in the top 3 every year, but never win. The player who consistently is at the top will end up in the Hall of Fame.
NL MVP: Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers took home the crown above Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs and Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies. Yelich ran away with the award after propelling the Brewers to the playoffs. In the second half of the season, Yelich hit .367 with 25 home runs. I have no problem with this selection again. However, I do wish that Nationals utility man, Anthony Rendon would have gotten more votes. Rendon finished second in WAR in the NL and was often overshadowed by star Bryce Harper.
AL Cy Young: Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell took home this award. This is the only award I have a problem with. Snell had an amazing breakout season and finished his campaign with 21 wins and a pristine 1.89 ERA in 180.2 innings. However, I would argue Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros had a better season with more strikeouts, more innings pitched and fewer walks per nine innings. Verlander’s underlying stats also showed he was better on an individualistic level (look at FIP and BABIP numbers for those of you that like statistics). I’m happy that Snell got the recognition he deserved for playing in a small market, however, I believe that Verlander pitched better based on his circumstances compared to Snell and pitched more innings, providing more durability as well.
NL Cy Young: Jacob deGrom won this single-handedly with no question. Some made the argument for Nationals ace Max Scherzer for the title, but ultimately the voters looked past the measly 10 wins and looking at his historic 1.70 ERA in a season where he pitched 217 innings for a Mets team that was out of contention for much of the season.