Postseason awards are always incessantly debated. The discourse goes on from one fan base to the next, from writer to writer, and gets countless hours of air time on every major sports network.
The same questions arise every year. Are these awards meant to be for the best player in each category or to the player that is most valuable to their team? How much value is given to classic statistics versus sabermetrics? How much does team performance affect the value of an individual player?
This season, for the first time, I am afforded an opportunity to vote for the IBWAA postseason awards, and in doing so, I went back and forth on these questions, carefully combing through statistics and watching a great deal of non-Texas Rangers baseball in an attempt to make sure that when I cast my final ballot, I got it right.
In an effort to find transparency, I will share my ballot and my thought process while opening up the comment section for debate.
1- Josh Donaldson
2- Mike Trout
3- Lorenzo Cain
4- Manny Machado
5- Nelson Cruz
6- Edwin Encarnacion
7- Miguel Cabrera
8- Jose Bautista
9- Jose Altuve
10- Kevin Keirmaier
The top two here stand far above anyone else on this list, but deciding between the two of them took the greatest amount of research of any category (including NL Cy Young). I went back and forth on this one; the numbers are so similar. The amazing thing in this is that for most of the season, most people, especially fantasy baseball players, talked about Trout having a down year. The kid is incredible. Here are how the stats stack up:
Player A: R- 122 H-182 HR- 41 RBI-123 SB-6 BB-73 K-130 BA-.300 OBP-.375 SLG-.577 OPS-.952WAR- 8.9
Player B: R- 101 H- 168 HR-41 RBI-89 SB-11 BB-90 K-156 BA-.297 OBP-.399 SLG-.585 OPS-.984WAR- 9.1
Pretty close. After many hours of thought, I gave the edge to Player A, Josh Donaldson, due to his edge in classic stats, runs and rbi, despite the WAR and OPS advantage Trout carries. Of Donaldson’s 41 homeruns, 27 have either tied the game or given the Blue Jays the lead, including three of the walkoff variety. I would be happy with either player being the MVP, but for my vote, Josh Donaldson gets the nod.
Rounding out a top ten list for MVP proved to be rather difficult, leaving off players such as Carlos Correa and a number of pitchers for the defensive prowess of Kevin Keirmaier, but his dWAR stands alone at 4.9, with the next closest player, Kevin Pillar, sporting a dWAR of 2.6. This excellence needs to be recognized.
1- Bryce Harper
2- Paul Goldschmidt
3- Joey Votto
4- Buster Posey
5- Andrew McCutchen
6- Anthony Rizzo
7- AJ Pollock
8- Nolan Arenado
9- Jason Heyward
10- Dee Gordon
Paul Goldschmidt had one heck of a season.
Unfortunately for him, Bryce Harper had a season for the history books.
One point one zero seven. Holy crap.
Harper’s 2015 WAR is 9.9, he’s hitting .331, and has an OBP of .461.
The man is reaching base safely in nearly half of his at bats. Stunning.
Also, people saying Cespedes is the NL MVP: Stop it.
AL Cy Young
1- David Price
2- Sonny Gray
3- Dallas Keuchel
4- Chris Archer
5- Chris Sale
I went back and forth on this, and honestly, if I had to do it again, I would flip #2 and #3, but Price is still the winner in my book. He has been absolutely huge down the stretch, providing the Blue Jays staff with a true ace.
Upon being traded away from Detroit, Price turned in 10 consecutive quality starts (a streak which ended against the Rays on Sept. 26, where he gave up 4 earned runs over five innings). Price finished the regular season with a 2.45 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 225/47.
NL Cy Young
1- Zack Grienke
2- Jake Arrieta
3- Clayton Kershaw
4- Madison Bumgarner
5- Gerrit Cole
You cannot argue against any of the top three here; any of them would make a fantastic Cy Young selection. Arrieta was out of this world hot after the All-Star break and makes for a horrific wild card match up for the Pirates.
However, Grienke, with his 1.68 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. Insane numbers. Over the course of the season, Grienke surrendered only 144 hits in 214 innings pitched.
AL Rookie of the Year
1- Carlos Correa
2- Francisco Lindor
3- Miguel Sano
Correa is a stud and I am looking forward to a Rangers-Astros rivalry based off of Correa and Odor for many years to come. However, the glove of Lindor made this much closer for me than for many others. The 2015 rookie class will resonate around MLB for a long time.
NL Rookie of the Year
1- Kris Bryant
2- Matt Duffy
3- Jung Ho Kang
This race started as what looked to be a season long battle between Bryant and Joc Pederson, but both bats cooled substantially mid-season. Bryant was able to rally though, playing a huge role in the Cubs reaching the postseason. An .865 OBP is fantastic for a first year player, and as Bryant continues to gain patience at the plate, that number will rise rapidly.
In addition to Pederson, Taylor Jungmann had a sneaky good freshman campaign and turned in great numbers until he ran out of steam over his last 6 starts and fell off of this list. Keep an eye on that kid, he has a future.
AL Manager of the Year
1- Jeff Banister
2- AJ Hinch
3- Paul Molitor
That number represents the Rangers’ preseason chances to make the postseason in 2015. Yet here they are, after losing their ace, missing their number two starter for half of the season, using Wandy Rodriguez and Ross Detwiler as standard parts of the first half rotation, and using a revolving door of 12 leftfielders (including Mike freakin’ Napoli).
Never ever quit.
NL Manager of the Year
1- Terry Collins
2- Joe Madden
3- Clint Hurdle
Have you heard this one? The Mets, the Cubs, and the Pirates all walk into the playoffs………
Whoa, that’s reality. This is a fun baseball season.
It’s hard to win in New York when you don’t have the budget of the Yankees, so I give the nod to Terry Collins.
AL Reliever of the Year
1- Shawn Tolleson
2- Zach Britton
3- Dellin Betances
Here is where I get accused of being a homer.
2.65 ERA, 35 saves in 37 chances, 71.1 innings pitches, 9.5 K/9 for someone who is not your prototypical closer. ESPN has Tolleson ranked second in their AL Cy Young point ratings, behind only Dallas Keuchel.
NL Reliever of the Year
1- Mark Melancon
2- Trevor Rosenthal
3- Jeurys Familia
51 saves. Melancon is the most valuable reliever in all of baseball, but Familia makes the top three as a fun (yet often stress inducing) surprise.
What are your thoughts? What did I get right and what did I miss completely? I am interested in hearing your opinions.