Fantasy MVPs & LVPs

Matthew Pouliot
Rotoworld
Matthew Pouliot names his fantasy MVPs and LVPs, plus offers his real MVP, Cy Young and ROY choices

Fantasy MVPs & LVPs

Matthew Pouliot names his fantasy MVPs and LVPs, plus offers his real MVP, Cy Young and ROY choices

It's the 20th annual edition of the fantasy MVPs and LVPs column. Awards are given to players that most over- or underperformed my preseason projections. So, basically, everyone I was most wrong about. I do, however, give injured players a break when it comes to LVPs

I also have my real MVP/Cy Young/ROY choices below.

The Fantasy Most Valuable Players
 
Catchers
 
MVP - Yasmani Grandal

Projection: .239/.339/.442, 15 HR, 40 R, 41 RBI, 1 SB in 301 AB
2018 stats: .243/.352/.470, 24 HR, 65 R, 68 RBI, 2 SB in 436 AB

Grandal’s career high for games played going into this season was 129, and he didn’t figure to top it while sitting in favor of Austin Barnes against lefties. However, he got off to an outstanding start in April to leave Barnes in the dust, and he went on play in 140 games and top his previous high in plate appearances by 36. In what was a horrible year for catchers, he ranked third at the position in fantasy value, trailing only J.T. Realmuto and Yadier Molina.

Honorable mention - J.T. Realmuto, Yadier Molina, Salvador Perez
2017 Winner - Yadier Molina
2016 Winner - Wilson Ramos
2015 Winner - Nick Hundley
2014 Winner - Devin Mesoraco
2013 Winner - Jonathan Lucroy
2012 Winner - Wilin Rosario
2011 Winner - Alex Avila
2010 Winner - Buster Posey
2009 Winner - Joe Mauer
2008 Winner - Ryan Doumit
2007 Winner - Russell Martin
2006 Winner - Brian McCann
2005 Winner - Brandon Inge
2004 Winner - Craig Wilson
2003 Winner - Javy Lopez
2002 Winner - Eli Marrero
2001 Winner - Paul Lo Duca
2000 Winner - Charles Johnson
1999 Winner - Mike Sweeney
 
LVP - Willson Contreras

Projection: .274/.351/.489, 23 HR, 63 R, 82 RBI, 4 SB in 442 AB
2018 stats: .251/.341/.393, 10 HR, 50 R, 54 RBI, 4 SB in 471 AB

Contreras never showed the same kind of power this year that he did in 2017, but he started the All-Star Game for the NL squad and hit .283/.372/.458 through Aug. 1. From there on in, he came in at .173/.268/.237 in 44 games.  Despite leading all catchers in plate appearances this year, he didn’t even finish in the top 10 at the position in fantasy value. Still, I expect the ugly finish was an aberration, and I’ll be high on him again next spring.

Dishonorable mention - Gary Sanchez, Welington Castillo, Buster Posey
2017 LVP - Jonathan Lucroy
2016 LVP - Yan Gomes
2015 LVP - Jonathan Lucroy
2014 LVP - Joe Mauer
2013 LVP - Jesus Montero
2012 LVP - Carlos Santana
2011 LVP - Joe Mauer
2010 LVP - Matt Wieters
2009 LVP - Russell Martin
2008 LVP - Kenji Johjima
2007 LVP - Ramon Hernandez
2006 LVP - Javy Lopez
2005 LVP - Jason Kendall
2004 LVP - Mike Piazza
2003 LVP - Paul Lo Duca
2002 LVP - Charles Johnson
2001 LVP - Jason Kendall
2000 LVP - Michael Barrett
1999 LVP - Todd Hundley
 

First Basemen/Designated Hitters
 
MVP - Jesus Aguilar

Projection: .242/.313/.452, 9 HR, 24 R, 29 RBI, 1 SB in 186 AB
2018 stats: .275/.352/.541, 35 HR, 80 R, 108 RBI, 0 SB in 488 AB

When the Brewers loaded up their outfield by adding Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich last winter, there was a lot of talk about Ryan Braun playing first base, at least against lefties, in order to keep Domingo Santana in the lineup. Aguilar was an afterthought despite hitting .265/.331/.505 with 16 homers in 279 at-bats in 2017. Aguilar did make the team, though, and he started crushing it after making his first start in the seventh game of the season. He shoved both Eric Thames and Braun aside as the year went on, and he finished tied with Max Muncy, of all people, for the position lead in homers. He gets the nod over Muncy here because he drove in an extra 29 runs.

Honorable mention - Max Muncy, Jose Martinez
2017 Winner - Cody Bellinger
2016 Winner - David Ortiz
2015 Winner - Joey Votto
2014 Winner - Victor Martinez
2013 Winner - Chris Davis
2012 Winner - Adam LaRoche
2011 Winner - Mark Trumbo
2010 Winner - Joey Votto
2009 Winner - Kendrys Morales
2008 Winner - Aubrey Huff
2007 Winner - Carlos Pena
2006 Winner - Ryan Howard
2005 Winner - Derrek Lee
2004 Winner - Travis Hafner
2003 Winner - Carlos Delgado
2002 Winner - Derrek Lee
2001 Winner - Ryan Klesko
2000 Winner - Frank Thomas
1999 Winner - John Jaha
 
LVP - Joey Votto

Projection: .302/.439/.524, 29 HR, 97 R, 89 RBI, 4 SB in 540 AB
2018 stats: .284/.417/.419, 12 HR, 67 R, 67 RBI, 2 SB in 503 AB

Certainly other first basemen had worse years -- Votto led the NL in OBP for the seventh time in nine seasons -- but they weren’t second- or third-round picks in fantasy leagues. Votto lost two-thirds of his home run total and one-third of his run and RBI totals from 2017. Jose Peraza outhomered him! He also hit 30 points lower than he had in any of the previous three years. On the plus side, he didn’t hit for the worst batting average since 1909, as Chris Davis did.

Dishonorable mention - Eric Hosmer, Cody Bellinger, Chris Davis
2017 LVP - Miguel Cabrera
2016 LVP - Jose Abreu
2015 LVP - Chris Carter
2014 LVP - Chris Davis
2013 LVP - Ike Davis
2012 LVP - Eric Hosmer
2011 LVP - Adam Dunn
2010 LVP - Lance Berkman
2009 LVP - David Ortiz
2008 LVP - Travis Hafner
2007 LVP - Richie Sexson
2006 LVP - Todd Helton
2005 LVP - Todd Helton
2004 LVP - Jason Giambi
2003 LVP - Paul Konerko
2002 LVP - Tony Clark
2001 LVP - Mark McGwire
2000 LVP - Sean Casey
1999 LVP - Darin Erstad
 

Second Basemen
 
MVP - Javier Baez

Projection: .264/.304/.481, 28 HR, 72 R, 83 RBI, 12 SB in 526 AB
2018 stats: .290/.326/.554, 34 HR, 101 R, 111 RBI, 21 SB in 606 AB

I didn’t see how Baez could get much better than his 2017 performance given his hacktastic ways, but he had a dynamite season, one marked by surprising consistency (his worst OPS in any month of the year was .769, his worst average was .262). It also helped his fantasy owners a bunch that he tried 30 steal attempts, up from 13 in 2017 and 15 in 2016. He’ll probably be on my avoid list next year, since I don’t think one can count on him to reach the century mark in runs and RBI again and continuing to do that much running. Still, he should be right back in that 30-35 homer range or maybe even a little higher.

Honorable mention - Whit Merrifield, Jose Ramirez, Scooter Gennett, Jed Lowrie
2017 Winner - Whit Merrifield
2016 Winner - Brian Dozier
2015 Winner - Dee Gordon
2014 Winner - Jose Altuve
2013 Winner - Matt Carpenter
2012 Winner - Aaron Hill
2011 Winner - Ben Zobrist
2010 Winner - Rickie Weeks
2009 Winner - Aaron Hill
2008 Winner - Dustin Pedroia
2007 Winner - Brandon Phillips
2006 Winner - Dan Uggla
2005 Winner - Chone Figgins
2004 Winner - Mark Loretta
2003 Winner - Marcus Giles
2002 Winner - Alfonso Soriano
2001 Winner - Bret Boone
2000 Winner - Jose Vidro
1999 Winner - Roberto Alomar
 
LVP - Brian Dozier

Projection: .249/.333/.464, 31 HR, 104 R, 83 RBI, 15 SB in 610 AB
2018 stats: .215/.305/.391, 21 HR, 81 R, 72 RBI, 12 SB in 553 AB

Dozier hit .269 with an average of 38 homers, 105 runs, 96 RBI and 17 steals between 2016 and 2017 before busting this year. Dee Gordon was even worse, but he did have a broken toe that he tried to play through initially and which seemed to curtail his running after he returned from a 10-day absence. Dozier’s decline lacked any such explanation. He could get back to 30 homers next year, but I wouldn’t expect him to resume hitting for average.

Dishonorable mention - Dee Gordon, Robinson Cano, Eduardo Nunez
2017 LVP - Rougned Odor
2016 LVP - Dee Gordon
2015 LVP - Chase Utley
2014 LVP - Jason Kipnis
2013 LVP - Rickie Weeks
2012 LVP - Jemile Weeks
2011 LVP - Chone Figgins
2010 LVP - Aaron Hill
2009 LVP - Kelly Johnson
2008 LVP - Robinson Cano
2007 LVP - Josh Barfield
2006 LVP - Jorge Cantu
2005 LVP - Bret Boone
2004 LVP - Alfonso Soriano
2003 LVP - Roberto Alomar
2002 LVP - Roberto Alomar
2001 LVP - Edgardo Alfonzo
2000 LVP - Jose Offerman
1999 LVP - Delino DeShields
 

Third Basemen
 
MVP - Matt Carpenter

Projection: .256/.369/.455, 21 HR, 82 R, 64 RBI, 2 SB in 481 AB
2018 stats: .257/.374/.523, 36 HR, 111 R, 81 RBI, 4 SB in 564 AB

Carpenter was on my avoid list this year because he was probably going to start sitting some against lefties, he wasn’t going to hit for average and he wasn’t going to drive in runs. I wasn’t expecting him to be the utter disaster he was the first six weeks -- he hit .140 with three homers in 35 games through May 15 -- but I certainly didn’t foresee what happened next; he hit .326/.430/.707 with 30 homers in an 81-game span from May 15-Aug. 15. He finished in another slide, coming in at .203 with three homers in his last 40 games, but, obviously, he provided quite a return on a modest investment.

Honorable mention - Miguel Andujar, Eugenio Suarez, Matt Chapman
2017 Winner - Jose Ramirez
2016 Winner - Adrian Beltre
2015 Winner - Josh Donaldson
2014 Winner - Todd Frazier
2013 Winner - Josh Donaldson
2012 Winner - Chase Headley
2011 Winner - Jose Bautista
2010 Winner - Jose Bautista
2009 Winner - Mark Reynolds
2008 Winner - Jorge Cantu
2007 Winner - Ryan Braun
2006 Winner - Michael Cuddyer
2005 Winner - Morgan Ensberg
2004 Winner - Adrian Beltre
2003 Winner - Bill Mueller
2002 Winner - Aaron Boone
2001 Winner - Albert Pujols
2000 Winner - Troy Glaus
1999 Winner - Fernando Tatis
 
LVP - Kris Bryant

Projection: .284/.382/.519, 33 HR, 113 R, 85 RBI, 7 SB in 592 AB
2018 stats: .272/.374/.460, 13 HR, 59 R, 52 RBI, 2 SB in 389 AB

I was low on Bryant going in, listing him as the No. 25 player in my top 300, because I didn’t see him excelling in the triple crown categories. He got off to a nice start, but even so, he wasn’t tearing it up from a fantasy perspective with his .286-8-27 line after two months. His shoulder problems arose afterwards, and he wasn’t nearly 100 percent at any time in the second half. That does get him some forgiveness points here, but in the end, he was a second-round pick who played in 102 games and hit all of 13 homers. On a per-game basis, he was about as valuable as Rafael Devers.

Dishonorable mention - Josh Donaldson, Miguel Sano, Kyle Seager
2017 LVP - Kyle Seager
2016 LVP - Maikel Franco
2015 LVP - Carlos Santana
2014 LVP - David Wright
2013 LVP - Pablo Sandoval
2012 LVP - Mark Reynolds
2011 LVP - Pedro Alvarez
2010 LVP - Pablo Sandoval
2009 LVP - Garrett Atkins
2008 LVP - Chone Figgins
2007 LVP - Eric Chavez
2006 LVP - Hank Blalock
2005 LVP - Adrian Beltre
2004 LVP - Eric Hinske
2003 LVP - Edgardo Alfonzo
2002 LVP - Jeff Cirillo
2001 LVP - Tony Batista
2000 LVP - Vinny Castilla
1999 LVP - Ken Caminiti
 

Shortstops
 
MVP - Trevor Story

Projection: .274/.340/.527, 31 HR, 79 R, 99 RBI, 10 SB in 529 AB
2018 stats: .291/.348/.567, 37 HR, 88 R, 108 RBI, 27 SB in 598 AB

Story was my favorite pick this spring and I owned him just about every league I drafted, but this was beyond my wildest expectations. Story stole 15 bases in his first two seasons combined before swiping 27 in 33 tries this year. He finished second in the NL in homers, fourth in RBI, sixth in steals and even 12th in batting average among qualifiers. I wouldn’t expect him to be quite so good again, but he should be here to stay as an elite fantasy shortstop for a few years.

Honorable mention - Didi Gregorius, Alex Bregman, Jose Peraza, Jurickson Profar
2017 Winner - Elvis Andrus
2016 Winner - Jonathan Villar
2015 Winner - Xander Bogaerts
2014 Winner - Dee Gordon
2013 Winner - Jean Segura
2012 Winner - Ian Desmond
2011 Winner - Asdrubal Cabrera
2010 Winner - Omar Infante
2009 Winner - Ben Zobrist
2008 Winner - Mike Aviles
2007 Winner - Hanley Ramirez
2006 Winner - Hanley Ramirez
2005 Winner - Felipe Lopez
2004 Winner - Carlos Guillen
2003 Winner - Edgar Renteria
2002 Winner - David Eckstein
2001 Winner - Rich Aurilia
2000 Winner - Jose Valentin
1999 Winner - Jay Bell
 
LVP - Addison Russell

Projection: .267/.330/.466, 23 HR, 78 R, 85 RBI, 4 SB in 517 AB
2018 stats: .250/.317/.340, 5 HR, 52 R, 38 RBI, 4 SB in 420 AB

Russell failed to meet expectations in 2017 after hitting 21 homers as a 22-year-old sophomore in 2016, but he still showed decent power, slugging .418 against a .239 average. This year, he slugged .340 while hitting .250. His isolated slugging percentage was a .090 after coming in at .179 both of the previous two years. Even without the domestic violence suspension, he’d be a question mark going into next year. One imagines that the Cubs will be very receptive to any trade offers.

Dishonorable mention - Carlos Correa, Elvis Andrus, Orlando Arcia
2017 LVP - Jonathan Villar
2016 LVP - Carlos Correa
2015 LVP - Hanley Ramirez
2014 LVP - Jean Segura
2013 LVP - Starlin Castro
2012 LVP - Elvis Andrus
2011 LVP - Hanley Ramirez
2010 LVP - Yunel Escobar
2009 LVP - Jimmy Rollins
2008 LVP - Troy Tulowitzki
2007 LVP - Bill Hall
2006 LVP - Clint Barmes
2005 LVP - Kaz Matsui
2004 LVP - Angel Berroa
2003 LVP - Jose Hernandez
2002 LVP - Rich Aurilia
2001 LVP - Tony Womack
2000 LVP - Royce Clayton
1999 LVP - Royce Clayton

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Outfielders

MVPs - Khris Davis, Mitch Haniger, J.D. Martinez

Davis’s projection: .239/.321/.500, 38 HR, 84 R, 96 RBI, 3 SB in 544 AB
Davis’s 2018 stats: .247/.326/.549, 48 HR, 98 R, 123 RBI, 0 SB in 576 AB

Haniger’s projection: .258/.333/.448, 21 HR, 71 R, 73 RBI, 8 SB in 511 AB
Haniger’s 2018 stats: .285/.366/.493, 26 HR, 90 R, 93 RBI, 8 SB in 596 AB

Martinez’s projection: .292/.365/.552, 33 HR, 90 R, 109 RBI, 3 SB in 518 AB
Martinez’s 2018 stats: .330/.402/.629, 43 HR, 111 R, 130 RBI, 6 SB in 569 AB

Besides being a little better than usual, Davis got more help from the rest of the A’s lineup than expected; not only was he second in the majors in RBI, but he was 20th in runs scored in spite of his .326 OBP. … If only we could combine Haniger’s first and final quarters of the season with Carpenter’s middle of the year; Haniger hit .295/.383/.577 with 10 homers in his first 41 games and .318/.375/.545 with seven homers in his last 42 games. … I figured Martinez would settle for fewer homers in Fenway than he had in Detroit and Arizona, but he hit 26 in 77 games, which is better than Manny Ramirez or David Ortiz ever did. Only Mo Vaughn, with 27 in 1996, had hit more homers in a season at Fenway since 1980.

Honorable mention - Christian Yelich, David Peralta, Juan Soto, Michael Brantley, Mookie Betts, Nick Markakis
2017 Winners - Aaron Judge, Tommy Pham, Marcell Ozuna
2016 Winners - Wil Myers, Charlie Blackmon, Mark Trumbo
2015 Winners - A.J. Pollock, Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon
2014 Winners - Michael Brantley, Charlie Blackmon, Corey Dickerson
2013 Winners - Carlos Gomez, Yasiel Puig, Marlon Byrd
2012 Winners - Mike Trout, Alex Rios, Adam Jones
2011 Winners - Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Kemp, Melky Cabrera
2010 Winners - Carlos Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, Angel Pagan
2009 Winners - Adam Lind, Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Kemp
2008 Winners - Ryan Ludwick, Josh Hamilton, Nate McLouth
2007 Winners - Magglio Ordonez, Curtis Granderson, Eric Byrnes
2006 Winners - Jermaine Dye, Gary Matthews Jr., Matt Holliday
2005 Winners - Grady Sizemore, Jason Bay, Andruw Jones
2004 Winners - Jim Edmonds, J.D. Drew, Aaron Rowand, Jeromy Burnitz
2003 Winners - Gary Sheffield, Scott Podsednik, Vernon Wells
2002 Winners - Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero, Garret Anderson
2001 Winners - Ichiro Suzuki, Barry Bonds, Cliff Floyd
2000 Winners - Darin Erstad, Richard Hidalgo, John Vander Wal
1999 Winners - Brian Giles, Luis Gonzalez, Roger Cedeno
 
LVPs - Billy Hamilton, Giancarlo Stanton, Manuel Margot

Hamilton’s projection: .258/.317/.347, 6 HR, 84 R, 38 RBI, 56 SB in 550 AB
Hamilton’s 2018 stats: .236/.299/.327, 4 HR, 74 R, 29 RBI, 34 SB in 504 AB

Stanton’s projection: .268/.366/.625, 55 HR, 111 R, 124 RBI, 2 SB in 544 AB
Stanton’s 2018 stats: .266/.343/.509, 38 HR, 102 R, 100 RBI, 5 SB in 617 AB

Margot’s projection: .281/.333/.434, 16 HR, 89 R, 59 RBI, 28 SB in 597 AB
Margot’s 2018 stats: .245/.292/.384, 8 HR, 50 R, 51 RBI, 11 SB in 477 AB

Hamilton overcame a horrible first 2 ½ months to hit .271/.316/.366 in his final 87 games, but his stolen base totals never caught up, probably in part because he was mostly batting ninth. He swiped at least 56 bases each of the previous four years. … 50 homers for Stanton seemed reasonable given that he hit 59 in 2017 and was moving from Marlins Park to Yankee Stadium. Instead, he lost 21 homers and added 48 strikeouts from his 2017 totals. He remained completely healthy and he was still a top-10 fantasy outfielder, but owners were right to be disappointed. His OPS+ of 126 was well down from his career mark of 147. … Margot was a player I was particularly high on after he showed steady improvement as a rookie, but the Padres soured on him after a slow start, dropping him in the lineup and giving him frequent days off, and while he was OK after the first two months (.265/.306/.418 from June on), he never looked like a blossoming star. I won’t rank him as a top-30 OF again next year.

Dishonorable mention - Byron Buxton, Charlie Blackmon, George Springer, Marcell Ozuna
2017 LVPs - Starling Marte, Carlos Gonzalez, Gregory Polanco
2016 LVPs - Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista
2015 LVPs - Carlos Gomez, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo
2014 LVPs - Shin-Soo Choo, Jay Bruce, Ryan Braun
2013 LVPs - Ryan Braun, B.J. Upton, Jason Heyward
2012 LVPs - Jacoby Ellsbury, Justin Upton, Delmon Young
2011 LVPs - Carl Crawford, Alex Rios, Jason Heyward
2010 LVPs - Matt Kemp, Adam Lind, Carlos Lee
2009 LVPs - Manny Ramirez, B.J. Upton, Alfonso Soriano
2008 LVPs - Andruw Jones, Jeff Francoeur, Carl Crawford
2007 LVPs - Jason Bay, Andruw Jones, Jermaine Dye
2006 LVPs - Jason Lane, Randy Winn, Scott Podsednik
2005 LVPs - Carlos Beltran, Sammy Sosa, Corey Patterson
2004 LVPs - Sammy Sosa, Marlon Byrd, Brian Giles
2003 LVPs - Pat Burrell, Shawn Green, Larry Walker
2002 LVPs - Ken Griffey Jr., Juan Pierre, Richard Hidalgo
2001 LVPs - Richard Hidalgo, Darin Erstad, Carl Everett
2000 LVPs - Ken Griffey Jr., Juan Gonzalez, Carlos Beltran
1999 LVPs - Jose Cruz Jr., Kenny Lofton, Ray Lankford
 
Starting Pitchers
 
MVPs - Blake Snell, Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer, Patrick Corbin, Miles Mikolas

Snell’s projection: 12-10, 22 HR, 3.77 ERA, 1.291 WHIP, 185 K in 179 IP
Snell’s 2018 stats: 21-5, 16 HR, 1.89 ERA, 0.974 WHIP, 221 K in 180 2/3 IP

Cole’s projection: 13-10, 24 HR, 3.86 ERA, 1.247 WHIP, 170 K in 182 IP
Cole’s 2018 stats: 15-5, 19 HR, 2.70 ERA, 1.033 WHIP, 276 K in 200 1/3 IP

Bauer’s projection: 13-11, 27 HR, 4.07 ERA, 1.289 WHIP, 205 K in 190 IP
Bauer’s 2018 stats: 12-6, 9 HR, 2.21 ERA, 1.089 WHIP, 221 K in 175 1/3 IP

Corbin’s projection: 11-10, 22 HR, 4.01 ERA, 1.263 WHIP, 167 K in 172 2/3 IP
Corbin’s 2018 stats: 11-7, 15 HR, 3.15 ERA, 1.050 WHIP, 246 K in 200 IP

Mikolas’s projection: 11-10, 23 HR, 4.13 ERA, 1.248 WHIP, 148 K in 172 1/3 IP
Mikolas’s 2018 stats: 18-4, 16 HR, 2.83 ERA, 1.071 WHIP, 146 K in 200 2/3 IP

I started sliding Snell up my rankings in the spring, but not nearly high enough, obviously. In 2017, he allowed 113 hits and 59 walks in 129 1/3 innings. In 2018, he allowed 112 hits and 64 walks in 180 2/3 innings. … Cole topped his previous career high in strikeouts by 74 even though he no longer got to face pitchers regularly. He went from allowing 31 homers while pitching in Pittsburgh and the NL Central to 19 while working in Houston and the AL West. I still think my caution was warranted here, but it was pretty obvious from the get-go in April that he was a new pitcher. … I though Bauer would always give up too many homers to post sterling ERAs. Somehow he allowed just nine this year after giving up 25 in as many innings in 2017. He did it even though his groundball rate was slightly lower than in the previous two seasons. … Corbin had an amazing season for a guy with one above average pitch. He’s one I’d stay away from in free agency this winter. … Mikolas overachieved somewhat, but there was still a lot to like there, even if his strikeout rate was poor. He issued one unintentional walk every eight innings, and his groundball rate was fifth in the majors among ERA qualifiers.

Honorable mention - Mike Foltynewicz, Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom, J.A. Happ, Kyle Freeland
2017 Winners - Luis Severino, Zack Greinke, Corey Kluber, Gio Gonzalez, Robbie Ray
2016 Winners - Rick Porcello, Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Justin Verlander, J.A. Happ
2015 Winners - Jake Arrieta, Dallas Keuchel, Zack Greinke, Marco Estrada, Jacob deGrom
2014 Winners - Corey Kluber, Garrett Richards, Johnny Cueto, Jake Arrieta, Tanner Roark
2013 Winners - Hisashi Iwakuma, Max Scherzer, Jose Fernandez, Bartolo Colon, Matt Harvey
2012 Winners - R.A. Dickey, Kyle Lohse, Gio Gonzalez, Kris Medlen, Chris Sale
2011 Winners - Justin Verlander, Ian Kennedy, James Shields, Clayton Kershaw, Doug Fister
2010 Winners - Mat Latos, Trevor Cahill, David Price, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jered Weaver
2009 Winners - Zack Greinke, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Wandy Rodriguez, Joel Pineiro
2008 Winners - Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Dempster, Ervin Santana, Roy Halladay
2007 Winners - Fausto Carmona, Josh Beckett, Aaron Harang, James Shields, Erik Bedard
2006 Winners - Bronson Arroyo, Brandon Webb, Francisco Liriano, Aaron Harang, Justin Verlander
2005 Winners - Chris Carpenter, Dontrelle Willis, Andy Pettitte, Cliff Lee, John Patterson
2004 Winners - Johan Santana, Ben Sheets, Carl Pavano, Oliver Perez, Chris Carpenter
2003 Winners - Esteban Loaiza, Jason Schmidt, Livan Hernandez, Brandon Webb, Roy Halladay
2002 Winners - Odalis Perez, Derek Lowe, Matt Clement, Tim Wakefield, Roy Halladay
2001 Winners - Mark Mulder, Joe Mays, John Burkett, Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt
2000 Winners - Ryan Dempster, Jeff D’Amico, Glendon Rusch, Darryl Kile, Chan Ho Park
1999 Winners - Mike Hampton, Todd Ritchie, Tim Hudson, Kevin Millwood, Jose Lima
 
LVPs - Chris Archer, Jose Quintana, Stephen Strasburg, Luke Weaver, Marcus Stroman

Archer’s projection: 13-10, 25 HR, 3.52 ERA, 1.193 WHIP, 207 K in 184 1/3 IP
Archer’s 2018 stats: 6-8, 19 HR, 4.31 ERA, 1.375 WHIP, 162 K in 148 1/3 IP

Quintana’s projection: 15-9, 24 HR, 3.44 ERA, 1.158 WHIP, 195 K in 196 IP
Quintana’s 2018 stats: 13-11, 25 HR, 4.03 ERA, 1.319 WHIP, 158 K in 174 1/3 IP

Strasburg’s projection: 15-6, 20 HR, 2.93 ERA, 1.055 WHIP, 203 K in 168 2/3 IP
Strasburg’s 2018 stats: 10-7, 18 HR, 3.74 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 156 K in 130 IP

Weaver’s projection: 13-10, 24 HR, 3.78 ERA, 1.238 WHIP, 182 K in 183 1/3 IP
Weaver’s 2018 stats: 7-11, 19 HR, 4.95 ERA, 1.496 WHIP, 121 K in 136 1/3 IP

Stroman’s projection: 14-10, 19 HR, 3.55 ERA, 1.221 WHIP, 159 K in 190 IP
Stroman’s 2018 stats: 4-9, 9 HR, 5.54 ERA, 1.476 WHIP, 77 K in 102 1/3 IP

Injuries aside, there weren’t many total disasters at the SP spot this year. Even Archer had a 3.57 ERA over the final two-thirds of his season. Quintana was never the pitcher of 2016 at any point, but after a poor April, he had a 3.55 ERA over his last 28 starts. Weaver had a 112/44 K/BB ratio in 125 1/3 innings when his 4.67 ERA got him moved to the pen. His FIP was 4.13 at the time. Stroman had a 3.91 FIP to go along with his 5.54 ERA. He might last into the late rounds in mixed-league drafts next year, making him potentially a very good get.

Dishonorable mention - Zach Godley, Jake Arrieta, Dallas Keuchel, Jon Gray, Sonny Gray
2017 LVPs - Madison Bumgarner, Jon Lester, Rick Porcello, Julio Teheran, Matt Moore
2016 LVPs - Dallas Keuchel, Felix Hernandez, Gerrit Cole, Zack Greinke, Adam Wainwright
2015 LVPs - Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Felix Hernandez, Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister
2014 LVPs - Justin Verlander, Mike Minor, Clay Buchholz, C.J. Wilson, Justin Masterson
2013 LVPs - CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Matt Cain, R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson
2012 LVPs - Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, Ricky Romero, Jon Lester, Dan Haren
2011 LVPs - Brian Matusz, Ubaldo Jimenez, Francisco Liriano, Ricky Nolasco, Chad Billingsley
2010 LVPs - Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Tim Lincecum, Javier Vazquez, A.J. Burnett
2009 LVPs - Francisco Liriano, Cole Hamels, Joba Chamberlain, Derek Lowe, Daisuke Matsuzaka
2008 LVPs - Justin Verlander, Fausto Carmona, Pedro Martinez, Ian Snell, Rich Hill
2007 LVPs - Jeremy Bonderman, Mike Mussina, Dontrelle Willis, Jose Contreras, Scott Olsen
2006 LVPs - Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson, Felix Hernandez, Dontrelle Willis, Odalis Perez
2005 LVPs - Oliver Perez, Curt Schilling, Tim Hudson, Zack Greinke, Eric Milton
2004 LVPs - Esteban Loaiza, Barry Zito, Jose Contreras, Jamie Moyer, Javier Vazquez
2003 LVPs - Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson, Ramon Ortiz, Freddy Garcia, Derek Lowe
2002 LVPs - Chan Ho Park, Freddy Garcia, Bud Smith, Brad Penny, Javier Vazquez
2001 LVPs - Scott Elarton, Livan Hernandez, Kevin Millwood, Bartolo Colon, Dave Burba
2000 LVPs - Jose Lima, Ramon Martinez, David Cone, Omar Daal, Kevin Millwood
1999 LVPs - Roger Clemens, Jeff Fassero, Chan Ho Park, Tom Glavine, Brett Tomko
 

Relief Pitchers

MVPs - Blake Treinen, Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress, Edwin Diaz

Treinen’s projection: 4-5, 31 SV, 6 HR, 3.36 ERA, 1.191 WHIP, 71 K in 69 2/3 IP
Treinen’s 2018 stats: 9-2, 38 SV, 2 HR, 0.78 ERA, 0.834 WHIP, 100 K in 80 1/3 IP

Hader’s projection: 5-3, 2 SV, 8 HR, 3.15 ERA, 1.107 WHIP, 98 K in 68 2/3 IP
Hader’s 2018 stats: 6-1, 12 SV, 9 HR, 2.43 ERA, 0.811 WHIP, 143 K in 81 1/3 IP

Jeffress’s projection: 3-3, 0 SV, 6 HR, 3.82 ERA, 1.337 WHIP, 51 K in 61 1/3 IP
Jeffress’s 2018 stats: 8-1, 15 SV, 5 HR, 1.29 ERA, 0.991 WHIP, 89 K in 76 2/3 IP

Diaz’s projection: 4-4, 36 SV, 8 HR, 2.82 ERA, 1.104 WHIP, 98 K in 67 IP
Diaz’s 2018 stats: 0-4, 57 SV, 5 HR, 1.96 ERA, 0.791 WHIP, 124 K in 73 1/3 IP

Two relievers from the same team is a new one here, but thanks in part to the win totals, both Hader and Jeffress were top-10 fantasy RPs this year. Jeffress’s performance was the bigger surprise than Hader’s; even when he was very good with Milwaukee in 2015 and 2016, he never struck out more than a batter an inning. He allowed 55 hits and struck out 42 in 58 innings in 2016. This year, he allowed 49 hits and struck out 89 in 76 2/3 innings.

Honorable mention - Adam Ottavino, Bud Norris, Shane Greene, Kirby Yates
2017 Winners - Corey Knebel, Felipe Rivero, Brad Hand, Greg Holland
2016 Winners - Seung Hwan Oh, Alex Colome, Sam Dyson, Tyler Thornburg
2015 Winners - Jeurys Familia, Andrew Miller, Wade Davis, Shawn Tolleson
2014 Winners - Zach Britton, Francisco Rodriguez, Mark Melancon, Hector Rondon
2013 Winners - Koji Uehara, Kenley Jansen, Edward Mujica, Greg Holland
2012 Winners - Fernando Rodney, Jim Johnson, Aroldis Chapman, Rafael Soriano
2011 Winners - Craig Kimbrel, Fernando Salas, Brandon League, Jordan Walden
2010 Winners - Neftali Feliz, John Axford, Rafael Soriano, Chris Perez
2009 Winners - Andrew Bailey, David Aardsma, Ryan Franklin, Rafael Soriano
2008 Winners - Brad Lidge, Kerry Wood, Brian Fuentes, Francisco Rodriguez
2007 Winners - Jeremy Accardo, Takashi Saito, Kevin Gregg, Manuel Corpas
2006 Winners - J.J. Putz, Jonathan Papelbon, Takashi Saito, Akinori Otsuka
2005 Winners - Chad Cordero, Derrick Turnbow, Huston Street, Todd Jones, Bob Wickman
2004 Winners - Brad Lidge, Joe Nathan, Jose Mesa, Shingo Takatsu
2003 Winners - Eric Gagne, Tim Worrell, Joe Borowski, Guillermo Mota
2002 Winners - Eric Gagne, Juan Acevedo, Byung-Hyun Kim, Octavio Dotel
2001 Winners - Byung-Hyun Kim, Jeff Zimmerman, Octavio Dotel, Jose Mesa
2000 Winners - Keith Foulke, Robb Nen, Gabe White
1999 Winners - Scott Williamson, Billy Koch, John Rocker
 
LVPs - Roberto Osuna, Ken Giles, Corey Knebel, Hector Neris

Osuna’s projection: 4-4, 36 SV, 8 HR, 2.74 ERA, 0.975 WHIP, 98 K in 65 2/3 IP
Osuna’s 2018 stats: 2-2, 21 SV, 1 HR, 2.37 ERA, 0.974 WHIP, 32 K in 38 IP

Giles’s projection: 3-3, 37 SV, 6 HR, 2.64 ERA, 1.098 WHIP, 91 K in 64 2/3 IP
Giles’s 2018 stats: 0-3, 26 SV, 6 HR, 4.65 ERA, 1.212 WHIP, 53 K in 50 1/3 IP
 
Knebel’s projection: 3-4, 38 SV, 8 HR, 3.09 ERA, 1.149 WHIP, 94 K in 67 IP
Knebel’s 2018 stats: 4-3, 16 SV, 7 HR, 3.58 ERA, 1.084 WHIP, 88 K in 55 1/3 IP

Neris’s projection: 4-5, 28 SV, 10 HR, 3.54 ERA, 1.194 WHIP, 85 K in 68 2/3 IP
Neris’s 2018 stats: 1-3, 11 SV, 11 HR, 5.10 ERA, 1.301 WHIP, 76 K in 47 2/3 IP

Of course, the first two players here were traded for one another, with the Blue Jays rightfully wanting Osuna out of town and the Astros gladly taking the upgrade. Giles ended up with a 4.99 ERA in Houston and a 4.12 ERA in Toronto, which seems like a step in the right direction. However, his FIP was 2.28 ERA in Houston and 4.33 in Toronto. He still hasn’t found his best slider since losing it at the end of 2017, but at least he walked just seven batters all year. I think he’ll prove to be pretty good next season, or at least decent enough to rack up 30 saves on a Toronto team that seems to be eyeing 2020.  

Dishonorable mention - Alex Colome, Greg Holland, Archie Bradley, Brad Brach
2017 LVPs - Seung Hwan Oh, Francisco Rodriguez, Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman
2016 LVPs - Trevor Rosenthal, Jonathan Papelbon, Shawn Tolleson, Jake McGee
2015 LVPs - Jenrry Mejia, Steve Cishek, Greg Holland, Fernando Rodney
2014 LVPs - Ernesto Frieri, Jim Johnson, Grant Balfour, Sergio Romo
2013 LVPs - John Axford, Jonathan Papelbon, Tom Wilhelmsen, Brandon League
2012 LVPs - Heath Bell, Jordan Walden, Brandon League, John Axford
2011 LVPs - Matt Thornton, Joakim Soria, Ryan Franklin, Neftali Feliz
2010 LVPs - Chad Qualls, Jonathan Broxton, Trevor Hoffman, Bobby Jenks
2009 LVPs - B.J. Ryan, Brad Lidge, Brandon Morrow, Matt Capps
2008 LVPs - Jason Isringhausen, Manuel Corpas, J.J. Putz, Huston Street
2007 LVPs - Tom Gordon, Salomon Torres, Jorge Julio, Bob Wickman
2006 LVPs - Derrick Turnbow, Brad Lidge, Ryan Dempster, Armando Benitez
2005 LVPs - Danny Kolb, Danny Graves, Guillermo Mota, Keith Foulke
2004 LVPs - Arthur Rhodes, Joe Borowski, Shawn Chacon, David Riske
2003 LVPs - Billy Koch, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Armando Benitez, Jose Mesa
2002 LVPs - Keith Foulke, Scott Strickland, Armando Benitez, Antonio Alfonseca
2001 LVPs - Todd Jones, John Rocker, Billy Koch, Dave Veres
2000 LVPs - Bob Howry, Scott Williamson, John Rocker, Billy Wagner
1999 LVPs - Rod Beck, Jeff Montgomery, Rick Aguilera, Gregg Olson



Award Ballots
 
- Here are my MVP, Cy Young and ROY ballots for 2018:

AL Rookie of the Year

Three quality bats headline the AL ROY options:

Miguel Andujar: .297/.328/.527, 27 HR, 83 R, 92 RBI, 2 SB in 606 PA
Shohei Ohtani: .285/.361/.564, 22 HR, 59 R, 61 RBI, 10 SB in 367 PA
Joey Wendle: .300/.354/.435, 7 HR, 62 R, 61 RBI, 16 SB in 545 PA

Of course, there’s plenty here that goes beyond offense. Andujar was maybe the game’s worst defensive third baseman. Ohtani played no defense, but he gets to add a 4-2 record and a 3.31 ERA in 10 starts as a pitcher to his resume. Wendle was solid defensively at second and aided the Rays with his versatility, starting 17 games at third, 13 in left and seven at short.

Both versions of WAR give Wendle a clear edge over the other two as position players. I think Wendle’s defense might be a bit overrated there -- I don’t see him as a standout at second -- but there is a good argument for ranking him over the other two on that side of the ball. Ohtani’s pitching, though, gives him enough of a bump to get the nod from me. I worry that Ohtani made the wrong call in playing out the final three weeks of the season rather than having his Tommy John surgery earlier, but if he hadn’t, I probably would have supported Wendle here.

1. Ohtani
2. Wendle
3. Andujar

AL Cy Young

Blake Snell:

1.89 ERA, 219 ERA+, 2.95 FIP, 221 K, 7.5 rWAR, 4.6 fWAR in 180 2/3 IP

Chris Sale:

2.11 ERA, 207 ERA+, 1.98 FIP, 237 K, 6.9 rWAR, 6.1 fWAR in 158 IP

Justin Verlander:

2.52 ERA, 159 ERA+, 2.78 FIP, 290 K, 6.2 rWAR, 6.8 fWAR in 214 IP

Corey Kluber:

2.89 ERA, 151 ERA+, 3.12 FIP, 222 K, 5.9 rWAR, 5.6 fWAR in 215 IP

Trevor Bauer:

2.21 ERA, 198 ERA+, 2.44 FIP, 221 K, 5.8 rWAR, 6.1 fWAR in 175 1/3 IP

Gerrit Cole:

2.88 ERA, 140 ERA+, 2.70 FIP, 276 K, 5.3 rWAR, 6.3 fWAR in 200 1/3 IP

Luis Severino:

3.39 ERA, 129 ERA+, 2.95 FIP, 220 K, 4.8 rWAR, 5.7 fWAR in 191 1/3 IP



What a mess this is. The three best performers pitched the fewest innings of the group, so quantity versus quality is a major issue here. Snell and Verlander are the favorites to take home the hardware. Just comparing those two, it’d seem to favor Snell that he gave up 22 fewer runs in 33 1/3 fewer innings. Verlander, though, had the better strikeout rate and better FIP. It was enough to give him a pretty huge edge in Fangraphs’ version of WAR. Averaging out the two WARs puts Sale and Verlander in a dead heat, with Snell edging out Bauer for third.

One thing I like looking at is quality of competition, but it doesn’t make a huge difference here. Snell did have the highest opponents OPS of the group, but only by a slight margin over Verlander, Severino and Cole. Bauer had the easiest schedule of the bunch by a more significant margin.

Those voting Verlander will likely support it by saying he pitched deeper into games, but, again, it’s not a huge difference. Verlander topped Snell in 33 innings partly because he made three more starts and also because Snell basically underwent a rehab assignment in the majors in August when he threw 14 innings in his first three starts back from injury. Verlander totaled 17 2/3 innings beyond the sixth inning this year, compared to 11 1/3 for Snell. Both sustained similar dropoffs when facing lineups the third time around.

Really, I’m just happy I’m not actually voting for this award. Add 20 innings of similar quality to the totals of either Sale or Snell and I’d happily mark one first on my ballot. As is, I just don’t see a definitive choice. Some might bail on the pick and just go Blake Treinen instead, but while Treinen was awesome, I can’t see a reliever being the best pitcher in the league.

1. Verlander
2. Snell
3. Sale
4. Kluber
5. Cole

AL MVP

Mookie Betts:

.346/.438/.640, 129 R, 80 RBI, 10.9 rWAR, 10.4 fWAR in 614 PA

Mike Trout:

.312/.460/.628, 101 R, 79 RBI, 10.2 rWAR, 9.8 fWAR in 608 PA

Matt Chapman:

.278/.356/.508, 100 R, 68 RBI, 8.2 rWAR, 6.5 fWAR in 616 PA

Francisco Lindor:

.277/.352/.519, 129 R, 92 RBI, 7.9 rWAR, 7.6 fWAR in 745 PA

Jose Ramirez:

.270/.387/.552, 110 R, 105 RBI, 7.9 rWAR, 8.1 fWAR in 698 PA

Alex Bregman:

.286/.395/.532, 105 R, 103 RBI, 6.9 rWAR, 7.6 fWAR in 705 PA

J.D. Martinez:

.330/.402/.629, 111 R, 130 RBI, 6.4 rWAR, 5.9 fWAR in 649 PA

Khris Davis:

.247/.326/.549, 98 R, 123 RBI, 2.9 rWAR, 2.6 fWAR in 654 PA


That’s the AL’s top seven players this year, plus Davis, who will likely finish in the top five in the official balloting. Davis was worth more than WAR suggests, since it doesn’t take context into account and Davis was a fair amount better with runners on and RISP than with the bases empty. Still, I’m pretty sure he didn’t help Oakland’s cause as much as Chapman did, and WPA (Win Probability Added, a stat designed to contextualize all offensive results) still puts him behind Betts, Bregman, Martinez and Trout.

Betts and Trout were awfully close here, with both putting together truly incredible performances. Even though both spent time on the DL, Betts had the eighth best season by rWAR in the expansion era (since 1961) and Trout was 19th. Betts’s 136 games played is the fewest of any player in the top 20 on that list and tied for the fewest in the top 40. Betts likely would have been fourth or fifth on the list had he played in 150 games.

Trout still might have been the better player of the two. He hit in a tougher environment, certainly. Baseball Reference credits Trout with a 199 OPS+ and Betts at 186. Betts is an awesome right fielder, but Trout posted some of his best defensive numbers to date. Where Betts does have the edge is in the clutch stats. While Trout was terrific in general with runners on and in scoring position, he hit just .136 with two homers in 59 at-bats in late and close situations. Betts hit .314 with six homers in 70 at-bats in such situations. Trout’s numbers also suffer in situations deemed high leverage by Baseball-Reference. It’s enough to make Betts the choice here.

1. Betts
2. Trout
3. Ramirez
4. Bregman
5. Lindor
6. Chapman
7. Martinez
8. Verlander
9. Mitch Haniger
10. Xander Bogaerts


NL Rookie of the Year

It went unnoticed with the lack of any NL East race, but Ronald Acuna slipped during the final two weeks (.271/.313/.339, 1 HR, 18 K in final 15 games) to leave the door open for Juan Soto in the NL ROY race.

Ronald Acuna: .293/.366/.552, 28 HR, 78 R, 64 RBI, 16 SB in 487 PA
Juan Soto: .292/.406/.517, 22 HR, 77 R, 70 RBI, 5 SB in 494 PA
Harrison Bader: .264/.334/.422, 12 HR, 61 R, 37 RBI, 15 SB in 427 PA

Walker Buehler: 8-5, 2.62 ERA, 151/37 K/BB, 12 HR in 137 1/3 IP
Jack Flaherty: 8-9, 3.34 ERA, 182/59 K/BB, 20 HR in 151 IP

Acuna and Soto couldn’t be more even offensively, leaving defense and baserunning to decide the outcome. Acuna had the much better reputation in those categories, but his defensive numbers were surprisingly mediocre this year. He still has enough of an advantage to carry the edge here, but I wouldn’t blame someone for leaning the other way.

Bader had defense and baserunning in spades, and if he had played as much as the other two, he might well have been the most valuable NL rookie. Between him, Brian Anderson and Buehler, Flaherty and Dereck Rodriguez on the mound, it was a strong and deep NL rookie class. I’m picking Buehler over Bader for the third spot on the ballot, but it’s close.

1. Acuna
2. Soto
3. Buehler

NL Cy Young

Jacob deGrom:

1.70 ERA, 216 ERA+, 1.99 FIP, 269 K, 9.6 rWAR, 8.2 fWAR in 217 IP

Aaron Nola:

2.37 ERA, 175 ERA+, 3.01 FIP, 224 K, 10.5 rWAR, 5.6 fWAR in 212 1/3 IP

Max Scherzer:

2.53 ERA, 168 ERA+, 2.65 FIP, 300 K, 8.8 rWAR, 7.2 fWAR in 220 2/3 IP

Kyle Freeland:

2.85 ERA, 164 ERA+, 3.67 FIP, 173 K, 8.4 rWAR, 4.2 fWAR in 202 1/3 IP

Patrick Corbin:

3.15 ERA, 137 ERA+, 2.47 FIP, 246 K, 4.6 rWAR, 6.3 fWAR in 200 IP

German Marquez:

3.77 ERA, 124 ERA+, 3.40 FIP, 230 K, 4.7 rWAR, 4.5 fWAR in 196 IP



It’s a race for second place here. RWAR aside, deGrom stands out from the pack. He was helped out by Citi Field playing as an extremely strong pitcher’s park this year, but the guy made 32 starts and allowed 48 runs… that’s really hard to beat.

RWAR favors Nola because it believes the Phillies had a historically bad defense. And the defense was really bad, but there’s reason to think it didn’t pose as much of a problem for Nola as for the rest of the Phillies’ staff. Nola got fewer outs by himself, via the K, than the other two top Cy contenders, and allowed just one unearned run this season. The Phillies’ defense still boosts his case, but I think the truth lies somewhere in between the rWAR and fWAR tallies. Scherzer’s 300 strikeouts gives him an edge.

1. DeGrom
2. Scherzer
3. Nola
4. Freeland
5. Corbin

NL MVP

Christian Yelich:

.326/.402/.598, 118 R, 110 RBI, 7.6 rWAR, 7.6 fWAR in 651 PA

Lorenzo Cain:

.308/.395/.417, 90 R, 38 RBI, 6.9 rWAR, 5.7 fWAR in 620 PA

Javier Baez:

.290/.326/.554, 101 R, 111 RBI, 6.3 rWAR, 5.3 fWAR in 645 PA

Freddie Freeman:

.309/.388/.505, 94 R, 98 RBI, 6.1 rWAR, 5.2 fWAR in 707 PA

Nolan Arenado:

.297/.374/.561, 104 R, 110 RBI, 5.6 rWAR, 5.7 fWAR in 673 PA

Trevor Story:

.291/.348/.567, 88 R, 108 RBI, 5.6 rWAR, 5.0 fWAR in 656 PA

Paul Goldschmidt:

.290/.389/.533, 95 R, 83 RBI, 5.4 rWAR, 5.1 fWAR in 690 PA

Matt Carpenter:

.257/.374/.523, 111 R, 81 RBI, 4.9 rWAR, 5.0 fWAR in 677 PA

Anthony Rendon:

.308/.374/.535, 88 R, 92 RBI, 4.2 rWAR, 6.3 fWAR in 597 PA


This was just as much of a mess as the AL Cy for about 5 ½ months until Yelich seized both the narrative and the WAR lead among NL position players in mid-September. Yelich carried an .823 OPS into the All-Star break and he was at .886 when he began his homer binge in mid-August. He went deep 18 times in his final 39 games and finished 3-for-4 in Game 163 on Monday to end up with a 1.000 OPS. It was the first time he had finished a game that high since April 22.

So, yes, I concur that Yelich is the NL MVP, even though I thought Cain was Milwaukee’s MVP for at least 4 ½ months.

Of course, there was one player ahead of Yelich in both WARs, Jacob deGrom. That’s a tough one for me. I never want to penalize a player because his teammates weren’t very good. If Yelich’s Brewers had finished in fourth place instead of first, I’d still probably list him first here. But it’s different for a pitcher, isn’t it? DeGrom pitched 32 times this year, and as amazing as he was, the Mets went just 14-18 in his starts. I imagine they would have gone something like 8-24 in those games with an average pitcher going, so deGrom still added plenty of value. Still, I don’t know that a pitcher can be MVP when a team won fewer than half of his starts. It would have made for a really tough call if Yelich hadn’t been quite so good in September.

1. Yelich
2. Baez
3. Cain
4. DeGrom
5. Arenado
6. Scherzer
7. Freeman
8. Goldschmidt
9. Story
10. Carpenter

Previous selections

AL MVP
2000: Pedro Martinez
2001: Jason Giambi
2002: Alex Rodriguez
2003: Alex Rodriguez
2004: Vladimir Guerrero
2005: Alex Rodriguez
2006: Derek Jeter
2007: Alex Rodriguez
2008: Dustin Pedroia
2009: Joe Mauer
2010: Josh Hamilton
2011: Justin Verlander
2012: Mike Trout
2013: Mike Trout
2014: Mike Trout
2015: Mike Trout
2016: Mike Trout
2017: Jose Altuve

AL Cy Young
2000: Pedro Martinez
2001: Mark Mulder
2002: Pedro Martinez
2003: Pedro Martinez
2004: Johan Santana
2005: Johan Santana
2006: Johan Santana
2007: CC Sabathia
2008: Roy Halladay
2009: Zack Greinke
2010: Felix Hernandez
2011: Justin Verlander
2012: Justin Verlander
2013: Max Scherzer
2014: Corey Kluber
2015: Dallas Keuchel
2016: Corey Kluber
2017: Corey Kluber

AL Rookie of the Year
2000: Terrence Long
2001: Ichiro Suzuki
2002: Eric Hinske
2003: Angel Berroa
2004: Bobby Crosby
2005: Huston Street
2006: Justin Verlander
2007: Dustin Pedroia
2008: Evan Longoria
2009: Andrew Bailey
2010: Neftali Feliz
2011: Jeremy Hellickson
2012: Mike Trout
2013: Jose Iglesias
2014: Jose Abreu
2015: Francisco Lindor
2016: Michael Fulmer
2017: Aaron Judge

NL MVP
2000: Barry Bonds
2001: Barry Bonds
2002: Barry Bonds
2003: Barry Bonds
2004: Barry Bonds
2005: Derrek Lee
2006: Albert Pujols
2007: Jake Peavy
2008: Albert Pujols
2009: Albert Pujols
2010: Joey Votto
2011: Matt Kemp
2012: Yadier Molina
2013: Andrew McCutchen
2014: Clayton Kershaw
2015: Bryce Harper
2016: Kris Bryant
2017: Giancarlo Stanton

NL Cy Young
2000: Randy Johnson
2001: Randy Johnson
2002: Randy Johnson
2003: Mark Prior
2004: Randy Johnson
2005: Roger Clemens
2006: Brandon Webb
2007: Jake Peavy
2008: Tim Lincecum
2009: Adam Wainwright
2010: Roy Halladay
2011: Roy Halladay
2012: Clayton Kershaw
2013: Clayton Kershaw
2014: Clayton Kershaw
2015: Zack Greinke
2016: Max Scherzer
2017: Max Scherzer

NL Rookie of the Year
2000: Rick Ankiel
2001: Albert Pujols
2002: Austin Kearns
2003: Brandon Webb
2004: Khalil Greene
2005: Ryan Howard
2006: Hanley Ramirez
2007: Troy Tulowitzki
2008: Geovany Soto
2009: J.A. Happ
2010: Jason Heyward
2011: Craig Kimbrel
2012: Bryce Harper
2013: Jose Fernandez
2014: Jacob deGrom
2015: Kris Bryant
2016: Corey Seager
2017: Cody Bellinger

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