American League (Paul)
MVP: Josh Donaldson
Preseason: Robinson Cano
Mid-Year: Josh Donaldson
The Blue Jays third baseman leads the American League in WAR at 8.5, hit 40 home runs and has a .948 OPS. Additionally, he leads the AL in Context Neutral Wins, a stat I recently embraced. Outside of Mike Trout, who just barely comes in 2nd, my runners-up include Lorenzo Cain and Manny Machado.
Cy Young: David Price
Preseason: Felix Hernandez
Mid-Year: Chris Sale
Price's WAR is 6.4, which is tops for AL pitchers and 3rd behind Kershaw and Arrieta overall. He is 2nd in FIP behind Sale, but wins out because of the stability he brought the Jays, especially in September when Sale was hit hard. Price and Donaldson would be the first pitcher/hitter teammate combo to win the MVP/Cy Young awards since 2013 (Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer). I thought that would be a more impressive stat...
Rookie of the Year: Carlos Correa
Preseason: Carlos Rodon
Mid-Year: Devon Travis
On the mid-year episode of the podcast, Travis was my ROY, but only because I had to give one. Unlike the NL, the American League's 2015 crop of rookies was shaky at best. But, two young shortstops changed all that: Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor. Correa, the Astros 21-year-old shortstop, edges out Lindor on my ballot. His slash line of .281/.348/.514 is ridiculously impressive when you consider the fact that he hadn't played above A-ball before this year. Put me in the camp that wants the Astros to hang on to that second AL Wild Card so more people get to know him.
Most Surprising Team: Texas Rangers
Mid-Year: Houston Astros
Last year, the Rangers were the worst team in the American League with a 67-95 record. This year, they are the favorites to win the AL West and should win 87-89 games. Jeff Banister should get lots of credit for the job he's done in his first season in Arlington. Banister and the Rangers get the nod over my mid-season selection, the Astros. That's because since August 1st, the Rangers are 35-19 and the Astros are just 25-28.
Most Disappointing Team: Seattle Mariners
Mid-Year: Seattle Mariners
The Mariners were a hot pick to win it all in 2014 (including from yours truly). To say they underperformed would be accurate. Since August 1st, the Mariners have played better with a 27-25 record. But, it came well too late. The Mariners offense and pitching were both bad; their offense is 22nd in OBP and their pitching staff has the 22nd best ERA. Speaking of the number 22, Robinson Cano (my preseason MVP pick) hasn't lived up to expectations. His slash line of .282/.330/.436 is below his career marks of .307/.355/.494. But hey, he's only signed for 8 more years. That 2023 free agent class is gonna be crazy. Seattle sports fans have had a rough year.
National League (Peter)
MVP: Bryce Harper
Preseason: Giancarlo Stanton
Mid-Year: Bryce Harper
Choking incidents aside, Bryce Harper is the easy choice for NL MVP. He is first in all of baseball in AVG, OBP, and SLG (.336, .467, .658). And he's going to play over 150 games. How can you justify voting for anyone else? When I made Harper my choice at the midway point in the season, Harper had a .339/.464/.704 slash line. Despite his SLG coming down slightly, he still leads the 2nd place hitter, Mike Trout, by 60 points. The 22-year-old has been incredibly good and incredibly consistent all season long. Back to the choking thing, maybe Jonathan found out Bryce had extra batting gloves the whole season?
Runners-up: Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, Anthony Rizzo, Andrew McCutchen
Cy Young: TBD
Preseason: Clayton Kershaw
Mid-Year: Max Scherzer
I'm sorry. This race is just too close to call without letting the whole season play out. It's a three pitcher race with Jake Arrieta, Clayton Kershaw, and Zack Greinke all having Cy Young worthy seasons. Look for a blog post this weekend with my selection.
Rookie of the Year: Kris Bryant
Preseason: Jorge Soler
Mid-Year: Joc Pederson
Three months ago, this looked like a much closer race. Pederson took home my mid-season ROY and had a 3.1 WAR. Since then, Bryant has distanced himself from Joc and all other competition. Since 1920, only ten rookie position players have had a higher WAR season than Bryant's 6.2 (and that number could reach Nomar's 6.4 by season's end). Throw in rookie pitchers, and he's still 14th overall. That's because 281/.372/.502 is pretty impressive from a rookie. He's also shown himself to be a great baserunner, swiping 13 bags. Runners-up include Matt Duffy, Jung-ho Kang, Noah Syndergaard, and Randal Grichuk.
Most Surprising Team: New York Mets
Mid-Year: St. Louis Cardinals
Yes, the Cubs have been a great story. But for me, the Mets are the most surprising team. Only 5 of the 38 Fangraphs "experts" selected the Mets to make the playoffs before the season, while the Cubs had 15 supporters. Props to Pedro Gomez; he was the only ESPN ""expert"" (that's a double quotation, folks) to pick the Mets before the season. They've done it with great young pitching. Their starters have the 3rd best ERA in baseball (behind the Dodgers and Cardinals). Yoenis Cespedes (294/.338/.624) and Tyler Clippard (30 IP, 2.97 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) were great deadline pickups.
Most Disappointing Team: Washington Nationals
Mid-Year: Miami Marlins
Much like the rest of the NL awards, this one is easy. From the Fangraphs and ESPN polls I referenced above, every single expert picked the Nationals to win the NL East. That's 38 out of 38 for Fangraphs and 15 out of 15 for ESPN. This one also hits close to home; on our first podcast, I offered up my entire life savings if the Nats didn't win the division. Well, I guess it's time to pay up. From the recent choking incident to Drew Storen's locker slam to Matt Williams bunting and so much more, this season has been one of the most disappointing for any team in the history of the game. 2014 seems like so long ago.
Best New Podcast: A Foot In The Box
These just keep getting easier...