By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
The MLB regular season is winding down to its dying embers as we hit the final two weeks of games before the post-season. With that in mind, let’s take a look back at the quarter season predictions I made for the main player awards and peg who I have as the winner after watching things play themselves out on the field. If you’d like to look at the quarter season predictions yourself, head on over here.
AL MVP– Josh Donaldson 3B Toronto Blue Jays
Trout has broken out of his slump recently, but that’s not the reason for this pick. Donaldson has been phenomenal for the Blue Jays this season. He’s sporting a .299/.369/.574 triple slash line, is 4th in the MLB in homers with 39, and tops in the league in RBI (120). For those of you that are advanced stats head, he also is second overall in the league in WAR at 8.1. The best player on the hottest team in baseball over the second half of the season, if I had a vote, it would go to Donaldson.
AL Cy Young– David Price, SP Toronto Blue Jays
Another Blue Jay? Yep. However, this isn’t a recency bias because of Toronto’s play this season, Price has been dominating all year long both in Detroit and since coming to Toronto in the blockbuster deal before the deadline. This race is close and Dallas Keuchel still has a major case to win it sporting a 2.51 ERA .219 BAA 1.02 WHIP and a 2.90 FIP (fielding independent pitching). But, Price has been better in two categories with a 2.34 ERA and 2.76 FIP combined with a .228 BAA and a 1.07 WHIP. For what it’s worth Price also holds a lead in WAR at 6.3 to Keuchel’s 5.8. The numbers between these two men are so close though I can’t argue with people who have Keuchel.
AL Rookie of the Year- Carlos Correa SS Houston Astros
My pick early was Devon Travis because he came out of the gates blazing, but injuries have forced him out of the line-up multiple times. He still has solid numbers but quite frankly has just not played enough in order to justify giving him this award. It also helps that Correa’s made a ridiculous case since coming up hitting .279 (5th among rookies with 200+ AB) 19 HR (1st), and 56 RBI (2nd). He’s been every bit the superstar prospect he was rumored to be entering the season and for me he has done enough to win this award.
NL MVP- Bryce Harper, OF Washington Nationals
Hold off on gathering the pitchforks and torches Mets fans. I get it. Yoenis Cespedes has been fantastic since being traded to the Mets and at times has carried this team to victories. But, despite what he’s doing, .293/.340/.646 with 17 HR and 42 RBI since coming to the Mets, it’s not in the same stratosphere as what Harper has done for the Nats. Nor, honestly is any other player in the NL. Harper is posting a .343/.470/.674 triple slash with 41 HR (3rd MLB) 95 RBI (13th MLB) and a ludicrous 1.143 OPS. I know his team’s probably not making the playoffs and voters tend to stray away from these guys but you just have to tip your cap to Harper this season.
NL Cy Young- Zach Greinke, SP Los Angeles Dodgers
Scherzer was the pick here after his first month of the season and the crazy numbers he was putting up. He’s since fallen off and this is really a three horse race between Greinke, teammate Clayton Kershaw and Chicago Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta. I’m giving Greinke the nod because he’s still 31(!) points ahead of Arrieta in ERA (1.65 to 1.96) and his edge in both WHIP and BAA. That said, if you told me you were voting for Arrieta I’d have a hard time disagreeing as his FIP and WAR numbers are better.
NL Rookie of the Year- Kris Bryant, 3B Chicago Cubs
What do you know, the NL pretty much stayed the same as my early awards with Harper taking MVP and I expect Bryant to take home the ROY for the National League. Bryant leads NL rookies with 25 homers (Joc Pederson tied) and RBI (95) while also hitting .277/.370/.497. His WAR is a full 1 win higher (5.8) than the next closest NL rookie Matt Duffy of the Giants (4.3). He’s also 7th in the senior circuit in that category so he’s good not just for a rookie but overall as well.
Pace of Play
Quickly wanted to circle back to this, and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports covered a bad trend in regards to the most talked about topic heading into the season: pace of play. Since starting off the year well and showing generally positive signs, the average game time has started to creep back up towards that 3 hour mark. Passan writes:
“After averaging 2:53:37 in April, 2:51:59 in May and 2:52:55 in June, the games in July pushed past 2:56 and through the first half of August clocked in at 2:58:44. Maybe it’s a bad trend. Maybe it’s an aberration. Not enough data exists to say one way or the other.”
Passan makes a great point following that in saying that the MLB needs to realize that “accepting the current changes as sufficient would be short-sighted.” If the sport wants to change its reputation as long or boring, more changes need to be looked into.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him. Agree/Disagree? Thoughts, comments, complaints? Email or tweet him.