The following IBWAA ballot makes the case for 2016 MLB awards including MVP, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, Reliever of the Year and Manager of the Year.
As a member of the IBWAA, Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, it’s my privilege to help select the major award winners for 2016. Obviously, I don’t have an official vote, but this is still an interesting process to decide the winners and runner-ups.
*Disclaimer* These selections were tallied before any official selections made public by MLB, and do not represent the IBWAA as a whole.
October, 2nd 2016
Mike Trout is the 2016 AL MVP. He was top five in the AL in BA (.315), first among MLB in on-base percentage (.441), fourth in slugging (.550) and second among all of baseball in OPS (.991). When looking at the candidates for this season, it’s hard to ignore David Ortiz, putting up one of the best seasons of his career, but also for a player retiring at season’s end, who happens to be 39-years old.
Finishing second in RBI (127) while also finishing tops in MLB among slugging and OPS. Trout gets the edge when you consider his WAR of 10.6 as well as playing the field. Ortiz comes in significantly lower (5.1). One can even make the argument that Ortiz wasn’t even his teams’ MVP, as Mookie Betts ranked No. 2 in WAR behind Trout, while of course playing the field.
AL Cy Young
This one is fairly simple. Though I don’t typically consider closers for this award, it’s hard to overlook a special, and especially dominant season, by one Zach Britton. Britton had about as perfect a season as possible, converting all 47 save opportunities and posting a sub-1 ERA–he allowed four earned runs all season and only one since April.
Though the win/loss factor for starters can be a bit misleading, 20 still remains that magical benchmark number for a pitcher. Rick Porcello led the Majors with 22 victories and JA Happ finished second with 20 wins. Porcello had a breakout season, bouncing back from a 9-15 record just a season ago. Though Porcello earned the most run support on average per start (6.61) from the majors’ leaders in runs scored (878) his era improved to 3.15 from 4.92.
However, not one starter really distinguishes himself from the rest. Justin Verlander comes in with the slightly better ERA (3.04) led the league in strikeouts, was second in opponents average and first in WHIP. The top five pitchers in terms of ERA finished just .15 difference.
Though Britton’s 65 1/3 innings would be an all-time low for Cy Young winners, he gets the award in the midst of a dominant season, and in a year in which there’s little separation among the league’s top starters.
AL Rookie of the Year
Mazara is my pick based on 20 home runs, 64 driven in, and a solid slash of .266/.320/.419 through 145 games. The lone knock on Sanchez is his amount of games played (53) but he’s getting the second spot here because what he did was simply astonishing–.299/.376/.657 and 20 home runs, 42 RBI. All in 201 at-bats. Or 53 games. Fulmer was a huge in making 26 starts for the Tigers and winning 11 games. Though he stumbled a bit down the stretch, he deserves votes as the Tigers made a playoff push.
AL Manager of the Year
NL Manager of the Year
Dusty Baker rounds out my top three, also guiding a team to the playoffs in his first year. Terry Collins was an honorable mention, ultimately keeping the Mets afloat through injuries that affected the rotation, most notably Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, and even ducking out on a potential firing mid-season as the Mets were a sub-500 team in August before an improbable 27-13 taking one of the two wildcard spots.
NL Cy Young
Mark Melancon was especially dominant in 2016, closing games for Pittsburgh and then taking over in D.C. Converting 47 of 51 chances, Melancon’s strong presence helped propel Washington into the playoffs. If you don’t think that alone lends credence, just remember a season ago. The Nationals brought in Jonathan Papelbon to stabilize the bullpen for what appeared to be a strong playoff push. Though the move ultimately backfired, and it’s not fair to put everything on Papelbon, the move undoubtedly will be remembered for his adverse results. Things went much better in 2016 for Melancon and Co. The reigning saves leader and NL Reliever of the Year led qualified relievers in ERA (1.64).
There’s no debate. Seager (.308, 26 HR and 72 RBI) was as much a reason for the Dodgers success in 2016 as anyone else. He’s bound to get MVP votes. Maeda had a tremendous season, compiling 16-wins, and helping the Dodgers through the absence of Kershaw. Diaz also put up big numbers, hitting 17 homers, 65 RBI, and hitting .300 through 111 games for St. Louis.