2018 SDMB Major League Baseball Awards Thread

Please feel free to post here your choices for the various MLB Awards!

The following categories are up for grabs:

NL and AL Most Valuable Player
NL and AL Cy Young Award
NL and AL Jackie Robinson / Rookie of the Year Award
NL and AL Manager of the Year Award

You can for for some or all as you see fit.

Please submit a ranked ballot of at least three names and no more than ten named for MVP and five for the other awards. I’ll figure out the points based on how they really do that. You may submit FEWER than the maximum number of names but, please, no more than three. Also please do not game the system; if you really want Smith to win, excluding Brown, a very obvious candidate, from your ballot entirely rather than placing him second (to deny him points) is not kosher.

Pitchers are eligible for MVP if you wish. What criteria you use to determine MVP, Cy Young, etc. is wholly up to you.

Of course two games remain to be played today, so of course wait until after them to make your decision if you like. Voting will continue through the Division Series but please do NOT take playoff performance into account.

Er, ok, I’'ll go first.


  1. Mookie Betts, Red Sox
  2. Blake Snell, Rays
  3. Mike Trout, Angels
  4. Alex Bregman, Astros
  5. Chris Sale, Red Sox
  6. Francisco Lindor, Indians
  7. Jose Ramirez, Indians
  8. Justin Verlander, Astros
  9. JD Martinez, Red Sox
  10. Mitch Haniger, Mariners

I had a lengthier post, with explanations, and it got eaten. So, here’re some lists.

AL Manager of the Year

  1. Bob Melvin
  2. Alex Cora
  3. Aaron Boone
  4. A.J. Hinch

NL Manager of the Year

  1. Craig Counsell
  2. Brian Snitker
  3. Dave Roberts

NL Rookie of the Year

  1. Juan Soto
  2. Ronald Acuna, Jr.
  3. Harrison Bader
  4. Brian Anderson

AL Rookie of the Year
1A. (BBRef lists Joey Wendle as a rookie. Despite this being his third year with MLB time. Anyway, he has 4.3 WAR, playing for the Rays in 139 games. Tops for Rookies. I guess he doesn’t count though.)

  1. Gleyber Torres
  2. Shohei Ohtani
  3. Miguel Andujar

NL Cy Young

  1. Jacob deGrom (1.70 ERA?! It’s not his fault his team sucks.)
  2. Aaron Nola
  3. Max Scherzer
  4. Kyle Freeland and his 2.40 ERA at Coors. 3.23 on the road. Weird.
  5. Miles Milokas Spend 4 years out of the bigs, come back to over 200 IP, with a 2.83 ERA and 18 wins. Good for him.

AL Cy Young

  1. Justin Verlander 33 more innings than Snell, best WHIP, best SO, almost best SO/9, and I think Snell’s ridiculous ERA has a lot to do with the Jays’ fielding. FIP for Snell is 2.95, compare to Verlander’s 2.78.
  2. Blake Snell
  3. Chris Sale Just not enough innings. Amazing season anyway.
  4. Trevor Bauer You could shuttle these next three guys in any order, and I’d be OK.
  5. Gerrit Cole
  6. Corey Kluber

NL MVP (changed my mind midway through about rankings, and since I still can’t cut/paste with this stupid theme, and if I change themes, I lose everything… Go by the numbers in front of the names.)

  1. Christian Yelich best BA, OPS, 3rd in HR.
  2. Max Muncy doesn’t evidently qualify for BBRef’s WAR ranking. Still .263/.381/.582 with 35 HR in 395 AB
  3. Nolan Arenado .297/.374/.561 with 38 HR (tops NL) in 590 AB.
  4. Trevor Story
  5. Javier Baez
  6. Lorenzo Cain For the life of me, I’ll never figure out how BBRef arrives at some of its WAR figures. 4.9 Offensive WAR, decent but not earthshattering defensive stats in BBRefs listing for him, somehow leads to 6.9 total WAR. And why he’s sixth on my list, instead of 2nd if I went by ranked WAR AL position players.


  1. Mookie Betts. We’re through here.
  2. Mike Trout is just a beast. Highest OPS, with league leading .460 OBP. LOL. Betts was still a hair better.
  3. Jose Ramirez
  4. Alex Bregman
  5. J.D. Martinez
  6. Matt Chapman

I’ll put Ramirez over Bregman on fielding. But ask me tomorrow, and I’ll sort 3-6 some other way. Rick, or whoever, I’ve not watched many A’s games, and those I have were on the radio, but is Chapman as amazing defensively as BB Reference seems to think?


Who will win: Mookie Betts
Who should win: Mookie Betts


Who will win: Christian Yelich
Who should win: Christian Yelich

AL Cy Young:

Who will win: Justin Verlander
Who should win: Blake Snell

NL Cy Young:

Who will win: Max Scherzer
Who should win: Jacob deGrom

AL Rookie of the Year

Who will win: Gleyber Torres
Who should win: Shohei Ohtani

NL Rookie of the Year

Who will win: Ronald Acuña
Who should win: Ronald Acuña

Misc. Top-5 based on my own patented formula:


  1. Mookie Betts
  2. Jose Ramirez
  3. Mike Trout
  4. J.D. Martinez
  5. Alex Bregman


1.Christian Yelich
2. Nolan Arenado
3. Trevor Story
4. Bryce Harper (formula kind of blew it here)
5. Manny Machado

AL Cy Young:

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. Edwin Diaz (!)
  3. Corey Kluber
  4. Gerrit Cole
  5. Blake Snell

NL Cy Young:

  1. Max Scherzer
  2. Jacob deGrom
  3. Aaron Nola
  4. Patrick Corbin
  5. Craig Kimbrel (another questionable result)

I honestly don’t know. He is rated incredibly high by WAR, as you have obviously seen; his traditional defensive numbers don’t pop out at you, though. His E/DP ratio is not outstanding for a third baseman, a common way of judging skill there. I don’t get to see him play much, so I am assuming these crazy high numbers are based on zone rating.

I am admittedly a little dubious that Matt Chapman is as good a defensive third baseman as Brooks Robinson. Sabermetric fielding stats are more accurate than the old ones, but I am not super convinced they’re as accurate as hitting stats. I note that according to BBref, Chapman’s teammate Trayce Walker cost the A’s three runs in the field; my problem with that is he only played twelve innings, in which he actually did make four putouts, a good figure for 12 innings of work by a corner outfielder. That’s just… I don’t know how it’s possible. So maybe Chapman really is Brooks Robinson, but I am, admittedly, applying some skepticism.
My NL MVP ballot:

  1. Christian Yelich, Brewers
  2. Javier Baez, Cubs
  3. Jake deGrom, Mets
  4. Aaron Nola, Phillies
  5. Freddie Freeman, Braves
  6. Nolan Arenado, Rockies
  7. Trevor Story, Rockies
  8. Max Scherzer, Nationals
  9. Max Muncy, Dodgers

I know all the WAR figures put a bunch of pitchers at the top but I think they probably exaggerate pitcher value by about 1 WAR, plus I give Yelich a boost for being on a playoff team.

This past week I got into a big Twitter argument with Keith Law and a bunch of other sabermetricians who argued that how many games you help your team win has nothing to do with value. I say it is all value is. Understand, I’m not saying that Jake deGrom isn’t valuable because he only won ten games; I am saying that if you’re saying he had 9 WAR, that literakly means he made the Mets nine wins better than a replacement level pitcher. the Mets won 75 games, IIRC; without deGrom, they would have won 66 or so, or that’s what the truth should be if deGrom was worth 9 WAR. I just assumed everyone agreed with that but apparently not; Keith Law et al. argued that, no, that has nothing to do with it. “wins above replacement” doesn’t mean wins. Maybe he added no wins at all, but that does not matter, they say.

I honestly think that is really stupid. Adding wins is the only kind of value there is. the genius of sabermetrics was in correctly identifying the statistical hints that show us who REALLY added won wins. In 1982, Pete Vuckovich went 18-6 and Dave Stieb went 17-14. Vuckovich won more games, but the truth is that Stieb added many more wins to the Blue Jays than Vuckovich did to the Brewers. But that’s not theoretical wins. It’s REAL wins. The Blue Jays won 78 games; had they had replacement level pitchers instead of Stieb they’d have won maybe 70. It was real value.

Last year, or maybe the year before, Madison Bumgarner was injured after playing just 4 games. According to BBRef, he was worth 1.0 WAR in those four games. The problem is, the Giants lost all four games. How can Bumgarner have added one win above replacement level when he literally never participated in a win?

A long time ago on rec.sport-baseball someone asked “if a pitcher made 35 starts and gave up just one run in every one of them but his team got shut out, should he win the MVP?” I argued he should; his teammates’ ineptitude had nothing to do with that. I believe I was wrong. The poor guy was insanely unlucky, but he did not add the value of a single win, like it or not. I want him on my team next year, but he wasn’t the MVP.

Anyway what I’m getting around to is that I don’t think it’s wise in the case of starting pitchers to just completely ignore wins and losses - maybe not their W-L record, but the team’s record. Here’s the thing; in assessing the value of Mookie Betts or Christian Yelich, they played in basically every game, or close to it, and a position player doesn’t have as much impact on one game as the starting pitcher does. It’s likely their contributions are spread out such that what sabermetrics says they’re worth is more or less what they’re worth. But a pitcher has a disproportionate effect on a much smaller number of games and it is possible for their contributions to be irregularly assigned to wins and losses.

What I am getting around to is that I’ll give deGrom credit for having a great year, and he really was valuable. I looked at his game logs. The Mets went 14-18 in his starts, and I am pretty convinced that without him they’d have gone 6-26. But BBRef gives him 10 WAR. in my opinion the only way Jake deGrom is actually worth 10 WAR is if you can look at those 32 games and say “With replacement level pitchers throwing those innings, the Mets would probably have gone 4-28.” Examining the logs I think that is probably a stretch - it’s possible, I guess, but unlikely.

Regarding the WAR statistic, which I don’t quite understand… If DeGrom is 9 wins better than a replacement, just which replacement player are we referring to? Noah Syndergaard, or Paul Sewald? Or is it some mythical “average” NL pitcher?

The “replacement player” is considered to be a “mythical” player that the team could bring up at little or no cost, to replace that player, if he was injured or unavailable. I’ve seen it defined as being a player from the team’s top minor league team, or an unsigned free agent. I think the idea is that it’s the minimum competence level to be a major league player.

So, if deGrom has a 9.0 WAR, the Mets would, theoretically, have won nine fewer games with some guy they brought up from the minors, as compared to deGrom.

Replacement level is a theory. It is, basically, the kind of guy you can get for no real marginal cost, the sort of player you have in AAA or that could snag from another team for next to nothing, but who is at least good enough to not humiliate himself. The level of a replacement player is arbitrarily set at the kind of player where, if you had a whole team of them, they’d win about 47 games. That does seem to make sense, really; the mid 40s is about the absolute basement a major league team ever gets to (as Baltimore did this year.)

it is NOT average. If you set the benchmark at average, you would have to conclude that an average player isn’t valuable. But average players are, in fact, very valuable.


  1. Betts
  2. Trout
  3. JD Martinez

Martinez cracks my top 3 mostly because I think he had a huge impact on the success of the team compared to last year. In 2017 the Sox were pretty good, but needed offense. In 2018 they were awesome and had more than enough offense, and one could easily argue JD is the primary reason for the improvement.


  1. Yelich
  2. Báez
  3. Freeman

I’m not really against pitchers winning the MVP, but for me they have to have an historic year. deGrom obviously had an awesome year, but Pedro had better seasons and never won an MVP.