Imagine a world where Bud Selig is suddenly possessed by the powers of the supernatural... more so than usual. He decides that the BBWAA is a silly group and that for whatever reason, a blog would decide who wins the major awards issued by Major League Baseball every year (the winners will be announced this week). And wouldn't you know it, Pinstripe Alley is chosen to vote on the awards!
So tasked with the responsibility of choosing who wins these awards, how would the PSA staff have voted? I surveyed the writers, and 16 of us chimed in with our #HotTakes. I also asked them who would win team-specific versions of the awards among those on the Yankees. Here's how we voted:
Credits (L-R): Anthony Gruppuso, Adam Hunger, Anthony Gruppuso - USA TODAY Sports
Rookie of the Year: Dellin Betances
Cy Young Award: Masahiro Tanaka
MVP: Jacoby Ellsbury
The winners of these awards shouldn't be too surprising for those who watched the Yankees this year. Betances made a huge impact out of the bullpen this year as setup man extraordinare, and though somewhat abbreviated, it was an absolute thrill to watch Tanaka dazzle opposing hitters for 136 1/3 innings and 20 starts. It was enough for both to earn honors as team Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award, respectively. The only competition came from each other. From the team MVP side, it was quite tough as Ellsbury and Brett Gardner had near-identical seasons for the Bronx Bombers both at the plate and in the field, where they were the team's most reliable everyday players. Ellsbury ended up with five more votes for Yankees MVP than Gardner though, so all three team awards went to newcomers! Perhaps that's one bright spot for the Yankees' future. We can only hope.
National League Awards
Credits (L-R): Kyle Terada - USA Today Sports & Stephen Dunn, Mike Stobe & Jason Getz
Manager of the Year: Bruce Bochy
Rookie of the Year: Jacob deGrom
Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw
MVP: Andrew McCutchen
Over in the National League, we had a couple tight award races, and two which were basically no contest. There was no obvious winner for the difficult-to-pin Manager of the Year award; seven different skippers received votes, but in the end, it went to Bochy, whose astute control of the Giants' pitching staff and lineup enabled them to rebound from an under-.500 record last season to sneak into the playoffs this year via the final Wild Card spot. Interestingly, he won the award by two votes over the manager he faced in the NL Wild Card playoff, Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle, who won it last year.
The Mets' righty rookie deGrom took our NL Rookie of the Year handily, missing a unanimous victory by just two votes, which went to Reds speedster Billy Hamilton. The Reds center fielder's 56 steals were eye-catching, but as his 70.8% success rate and shaky performance at the plate brought his case down as throughout the season, deGrom just kept impressing after his mid-May call-up, ending with 2.69 ERA and 2.67 FIP in 22 starts.
Kershaw was the obvious winner of the NL Cy Young Award, and he gave McCutchen a run for his money for the NL MVP as well. A pitcher has to be pretty dominant to receive serious MVP consideration, which is why it was so surprising to see Justin Verlander capture the AL MVP in 2011. If I had a guess, I'd say the writers will probably give Kershaw the MVP this year, too, but our writing staff decided that McCutchen's tremendous season in Pittsburgh beat out Kershaw by two votes.
American League Awards
Credits (L-R): Rob Carr & Hannah Foslien, Jonathan Daniel & Stephen Dunn
Manager of the Year: Buck Showalter
Rookie of the Year: Jose Abreu
Cy Young Award: Corey Kluber
MVP: Mike Trout
None of the awards races in the American League were particularly close. Even in the Manager of the Year voting, the PSA staff saw enough of Buck's tactics all season to give him the nod for the Orioles' unexpected run to their first AL East title in 17 years. He won by five votes over the Wild Card Royals' Ned Yost. The PSA staff loved watching rookies Dellin and Tanaka dazzle throughout the 2014 campaign for their team, but we couldn't ignore the unbelievable season that the Cuban rookie Abreu had over on the South Side of Chicago. Sure, he was 27 and had previous international experience, but a .317/.383/.581 season with 36 homers and an AL-best 169 OPS+ speaks for itself. It was one of the great rookie seasons of all time, and Abreu was the unanimous Rookie of the Year, as he will likely be in the BBWAA voting.
Kluber's tremendous second half won over so many fans that he did what probably would have been unthinkable at the All-Star Break: pass Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in the Cy Young contest. Kluber's under-the-radar campaign with the Indians would have on him the PSA AL Cy Young Award, but it will be intriguing to see how close the actual race is when the Cy Young Award winners are announced on Wednesday. Both that award and the NL MVP figure to be the tightest races of them all. The AL MVP, however, will probably not be close at all. This is finally the year for Angels phenom Mike Trout after finishing runner-up to Miguel Cabrera two years in a row. In another world, this would be Trout's third straight MVP to start his career, but I'm sure he'll be happy to take home the 2014 AL MVP. He's PSA's unanimous winner and like Abreu, he should be unanimous among BBWAA voters as well.
So what do you think? Do you think PSA got the awards right? How would you have voted? Feel free to chime in with your award winners, and let's see this week if the BBWAA agrees!