CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Three Cleveland Indians were named among the BBWAA award finalists released on Monday night.
Jose Ramirez joins Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve in the final three for American League MVP. Corey Kluber is up for AL Cy Young alongside Red Sox lefty Chris Sale and Yankees righty Luis Severino. Terry Francona is up for his second consecutive AL Manager of the Year award, joined by Twins and Astros skippers Paul Molitor and AJ Hinch.
Kluber is considered to be the front-runner for the AL Cy Young, overtaking Sale mid-season with an incredible stretch from June 1st to September 30th. In that time, Kluber went 15-2, allowing 30 earned runs over 166 1/3 innings (1.62 ERA) with 224 strikeouts and a 2.06 FIP.
Ramirez is expected to be a distant 3rd in the MVP race after a career year across the board. The 25-year old posted a 6.6 fWAR while slashing .318/.374/.583 with 29 home runs and 107 RBI, all career highs.
If the selected group of writers err on the side of sabermetrics, Judge could take home the award with a 8.2 WAR, the highest mark in baseball, and a 173 wRC+. If traditional statistics win through, Altuve’s resume is fronted by his .346 average despite trailing Judge in almost every other major statistic.
Judge also led a Yankees team thought to be a year away from playoff contention to an AL Wild Card bid, while Altuve’s Astros were thought to have many other weapons.
Francona is up for his 3rd Manager of the year award, having won in 2016 with the Indians and in 2013 with the Boston Red Sox. Molitor and Hinch are each up for their first.
Given that the awards are voted on prior to the post-season, Molitor turning around a 103-loss team to an 85-77 wild card bid – the first team ever to do so – seems like an easy bet to take the award. Hinch’s Astros were the best team in the American League for much of the season.