MLB Awards at the Break

My half-season award winners:


Cy Young

Cabrera (though Papi has the statistical lead)


Cy Young


In the NL, it’s Dickey and McCutchen, and Harper as ROY, easy choices for now. AL is less clear cut, but I think you’re right there as well, with Trout as ROY.


If the vote were held now, Dickey would probably win the NL Cy young, but there are good arguments to be made for a few others, including Cueto. But Dickey’s WHIP is better, and his Wins would put him over the top.

I agree with McCutcheon for NL MVP. David Wright is slightly ahead of him in overall WAR, but in offensive WAR McCutcheon is well ahead, and it’s really offense that most people are looking for in the MVP vote.

Verlander’s a good choice for AL Cy Young, although Chris Sale is having a great year for the White Sox. His WHIP is virtually identical to Verlander’s, his ERA is better, he has more Wins, and his WAR is almost as good.

Can’t agree with Cabrera for MVP though.

Despite having played a full 20 games fewer than Cabrera and many of the other top contenders, Mike Trout already tops the league in offensive WAR. His batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage are all better than Cabrera’s. Not only that, but he also provides well above average defense, giving him a defensive WAR of 0.9 already for the season.

Robinson Cano is also, in my view, at least as deserving as Cabrera. His offensive WAR is the same, his OPS+ is only a couple of points behind Cabrera’s and, like Trout, he provides even more value on defense, whereas Cabrera’s only real value is as an offensive player.


Cy Young:
Justin Verlander

Robinson Cano


Cy Young:
R.A. Dickey

Andrew McCutchen

Trout is certainly deserving of serious MVP consideration. Verlander, Dickey and McCutcheon are also my favorites for the other awards.

In the AL I’d go with Mike Trout for MVP and, obviously, Rookie of the Year. I guess Verlander for Cy, although Chris Sale has quietly pitched brilliantly.

In the NL, McCutcheon for MVP. Rookie of the Year goes to… Lance Lynn, I guess. Dickey is an easy choice for Cy. WAR claims many other pitchers have been equally valuable. It’s wrong.

AL MVP: Mike Trout

AL Cy Young: I’ll vote for Chris Sale, though I see Verlander pulling ahead in the second half of the season.

NL MVP: Andrew McCutcheon

NL Cy Young: Johnny Cueto

Is he eligible? There’s that weird “45 days on the Major League roster before September 1” rule, and all Lynn’s innings last year were June through August.

Lynn is in fact not a rookie, for exactly this reason; see

The NL doesn’t actually have many rookies playing fulltime at this point. Looks like Wade Miley of Arizona and Houston’s Lucas Harrell are the only two rookie pitchers in the league who currently qualify for the ERA title. Miley’s actually been quite good: 10-5, 3.13 ERA, better than 3-1 K-BB ratio.

Michael Fiers, Jared Hughes, and Joe Kelly have been very good, but in only about 50 innings each. (Anybody out there able to name the teams for all five of these guys? I sure wasn’t.)

ESPN says that just five NL position players qualify for the batting title at present: Norichika Aoki of Milwaukee, Bryce Harper of the Nats, Yonder Alonso (one of my favorite BB names) of the Padres, Kirk Nieuwenhuis of the Mets, and the Reds’ Zack Cozart. None of 'em has had a real standout year so far, with Aoki edging out Harper for best OPS right now (.804 to .800). Looks like only Cozart has played regularly over the whole season. (ETA: possibly Alonso, too.)

Todd Frazier, Matt Carpenter, and Wilin Rosario all have better OPS marks but in more limited playing time.

If pressed, I’d go for Miley. But then, they don’t give me a vote.

RickJay, I’m curious–what makes WAR wrong in the case of Dickey vs. Cueto et al.?

AL MVP: Mike Trout (not close)

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander (Sale has been good but Verlander has been ridiculous.)

NL MVP: Andrew McCutchen (Braun a distant second)

NL Cy Young: R.A. Dickey for now, but 15 ER in his last 3 starts…the wheels may be coming off a bit. Matt Cain is my dark horse.

Good question. I said Dickey upthread, but after actually looking at stats, I could easily be persuaded to vote for Cueto. He’s having a very nice year and the Reds need it.

Because it simply makes no sense. To be honest I cannot even understand how WAR thinks they’re equal. I’m baffled, try as I might, to explain it, but I think basically WAR is claiming Dickey’s BABIP makes him less valuable. And in a sense they’re right, but in a sense they are wrong.

To use a really easy comparison, Fangraphs cites Dickey and Strasburg as both being worth 3.3 WAR, so they’re a good match. (every source has difference numbersm but we’ll go with Fangraphs.) But

  • Dickey has pitched 20 more innings, with an identical ERA.
  • Dickey’s team wins more often.

The arguments that Strasburg is equalk in value have to be that (1) he is somehow more effective even though he gives up just as many runs as Dickey and hasn’t pitched as often, and (2) that the W-L record has nothing to do with his pitching.

I can’t really justify (1). Strasburg does have more strikeouts and a higher BABIP. I would wholeheartedly agree that this makes it much likelier Strasburg will be more effective than Dickey in the future. But it does not change the fact Dickey got guys to hit into outs in the past. Up to this point in 2012 it is indisputably the case that R.A. Dickey has been as effective, in terms of the core thing pitchers do - get outs and not gie up runs - as Steven Strasburg, and has done it while pitching more innings. It is a matter beyond any dispute. You cannot base an assessment of his value in the past on what you think he will be like in the future. Descriptive and prescriptive statistics aren’t the same.

As to (2), examining the game logs, I see no evidence Strasburg has been unusually victimized by bad luck. I can’t find SNWL records for either player, which sucks, but I don’t see that Dickey has been bailed out. He has no cheap wins this year.

To conclude that Strasburg is an equal pitcher you’d have to assign a LOT of value to the fielders behind Dickey, considering that Strasburg’s team doesn’t win as often when he pitches (well, one less game.) I guess that’s possible. But the Mets are, by almost any metric, a bad defensive team; depending on who you believe, they range from “fairly mediocre” to “crappy.”

If Dickey has just been getting guys to hit the ball at fielders, that is not an easily repeatable feat to say the least. I would not bet much money on him being my Cy choice at the end of the season. But if he has done it up to this point, then he has.

Aren’t knuckleballers one of the exceptions to the general rule about BABIP being almost completely due to luck and/or team defense?

Thanks for the explanation. Makes sense. You did mean that Dickey’s team wins LESS often, though, correct? (Since, so far at least, it does…)

No, more (when he’s pitching.) When I posted that Dickey’s team was 14-4 in games Dickey started, Strasburg’s was 13-5 in games started by Strasburg.

I think folks would suggest that a high BABIP is indicative of bad luck. Isn’t the general idea that BABIP is not really a function of the pitcher’s skill, it’s just a semi random number that will generally revert to league average over time?

Strasberg is giving up the same number of runs as Dickey, while dealing with a BABIP 50 points higher than Dickey. If you assume the pitcher has nothing to do with BABIP, and normalize for it, then Strasberg has to be considered more effective overall.