AL Most Valuable Player - Mike Trout, Angels
This is getting rather boring, isn't it? Trout is leading the junior circuit in both versions of WAR, and is second in both OPS+ and wRC+. He has been the best player in baseball since his first full season in 2012, and he's still a few weeks shy of his 25th birthday.
AL Cy Young - Corey Kluber, Indians
Kluber's selection is something of a victory for defense-independent metrics. He ranks 15th in the league in ERA and 17th in ERA- (FanGraphs' park-adjusted ERA), and more than one writer has labeled him as something of a disappointment this season. However, Kluber also leads his league in fWAR and FIP, while placing second in xFIP, and third in K-BB% and IP.
AL Rookie of the Year - Michael Fulmer, Tigers
Fulmer leads all American League rookies in fWAR, and his 2.11 ERA ranks third among all starting pitchers with 70+ innings pitched. There is likely some regression ahead for Fulmer, given his 3.53 FIP - but he viewed as a top-50 prospect heading into this season, and the reason why some analysts thought the Mets were ripped off in their trade for Cespedes.
NL Most Valuable Player - Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Kershaw's hold on this is tenuous at best, given his injury and the presence of Kris Bryant, but it is nevertheless a testament to how amazing he has been this year. He leads all National Leaguers (yes, that includes position players) in bWAR by 0.4 and fWAR by 0.5. Kershaw has been transcendent this year.
NL Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Were you expecting a different choice? Kershaw leads all pitchers in fWAR by 1.5, and his 16.11 K/BB is more than double the closest challenger (Noah Syndergaard, at 7.11). He's either first or second in most relevant pitching metrics, with no other pitcher approximating his combination of strikeout ability, control, and run prevention.
NL Rookie of the Year - Corey Seager
Seager was the consensus top prospect in baseball heading into 2016, as well as the heavy favorite for this award - and now we see why. He is batting .297/.357/.521 with 17 HR, and he leads all rookies in both versions of WAR.
Instead of picking a single 'biggest' surprise, I decided to compile the suggestions of our writers into one simple list:
- The Indians offense (if not the Indians in general)
- Didi Gregorius, All-Star caliber shortstop
- The Orioles holding first place with their starting rotation
- The Marlins relative success (particularly considering the early struggles of Giancarlo Stanton)
It made sense to go the same route here, as well;
- The young pitchers in the American League
- The Yankees young pitchers in particular (Pineda, Eovaldi, Severino)
- Boston doing so well
- The sudden mediocrity of Andrew McCutchen
And now for some Yankees-specific awards:
Yankees co-MVP - Didi Gregorius and Carlos Beltran
Gregorius leads the Yankees position players in fWAR, and Beltran leads the pack in wRC+ - so, in essence, it's a draw between the best all-around player, and the best hitter. And that seems fair to me. I am most encouraged by Gregorius, though, who has a ridiculous .353/.389/.647 slash line over the last 30 days, and a strong .294/.334/.441 mark over the last calendar year. If he's the player that we have seen since the weather started to warm-up in 2015, the Yankees will be set at short for quite some time.
Yankees Cy Young - Masahiro Tanaka
Tanaka isn't too far off in the AL Cy Young race, so there was really no other answer here. He's been the team's best and most consistent pitcher (aside from Andrew Miller, I suppose), and he is the only certainty in the rotation. The debate regarding whether or not he is a 'true ace' has always struck me as a bit inane - he's a top of the rotation starter regardless of that designation.
Yankees LVP - Mark Teixeira
Teixeira has -1.2 fWAR (worst on the team), or -0.5 bWAR (second-worst, just ahead of Alex Rodriguez). He's slashing .193/.272/.317, and his .124 ISO is the worst of his career by a staggering margin. For the sake of comparison, he was better in his abbreviated 2013 season by wRC+ (59 to 57). Aaron Hicks has been worse on offense, which is rather amazing, but, hype aside, he was never expected to be an offensive foundation for the team like Teixeira was.