Top Shelf’s MLB Awards


The long baseball season has finally concluded. This season has certainly had it’s magical moments. From two amazing farewell tours for the legends Vin Scully and David Ortiz. To Bartolo Colon hitting his first ever home run. To the sad, unfortunate death of Jose Fernandez. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything as amazing as what I saw in Miami when they played their first game after Fernandez’s death. What Dee Gordon did will honestly be a baseball moment I will never forget.

I’ll save the baseball tributes to the professionals. What I will get into is who I think should win the MVP and Cy Young awards and who I think will win the awards. This may be the most wide open race for all of the awards that I can remember. With a number of cases to be made for plenty of stars, I’m going to justify my case for the players I believe should win each award.

American League Most Valuable Player

Who should win the award
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox- This guy is seriously retiring after the Red Sox season is over. What a magical farewell tour this has been for Big Papi. Everything I see about the AL MVP is Mookie Betts vs Mike Trout. Understandable, but why are people forgetting about David Ortiz? Maybe I’m just naive and love a great story. Retiring while going out with an AL East division title, an MVP and who knows what else. Maybe I am naive? Or maybe his 38 long balls, league high 127 ribbies and a triple slash of .315/.401/.620 says that I have a compelling case. “Oh, but he’s a DH and doesn’t play defense, Eric!” Yeah, well when you hit like David Ortiz, I don’t give a damn how he plays defense or if he even plays it at all. I know you sabermetric fanatics are going to crush me, as Ortiz’s WAR isn’t among the top 10 in the American League. But there’s just so much more to Ortiz’s game than what you box score scouts can fit into your fancy formulas. David Oritz is the Boston Red Sox. And I say that as probably the biggest Mookie Betts fan that doesn’t live and die by the Boston Red Sox.

Mookie, you are amazing. You can do everything on the diamond. I imagine you’ll win the AL MVP and if not this year, there will be one in your future. But I’m sure that you can even admit, there’s no one more valuable to their team than David Ortiz. Don’t steal his moment!

I won’t rule out Mike Trout because he’s on a bad team. I despise that these voters who vote for an award based on individual success weigh the success of the entire team on their vote. If you want to use that logic as a tiebreaker, I can understand that. But when that’s your first argument against a player, I’m not listening to you. Trout has been crowned the best player in the game for quite some time now and he absolutely deserves to be in this conversation.

Who will win the award: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox 

National League Most Valuable Player

Who should win the award
Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
– Listen, I don’t care that the Rockies didn’t make the playoffs. As I said in regards to Mike Trout, this is an individual award based on the success of an individual.  This is the second year in a row that Arenado has been tied for first in the NL in home runs and the second year in a row he’s lead the NL in RBI. This is not the Coors effect as he has 38 home runs on the road the past two seasons. That ranks third in the NL over that span. Not only is Nolan Arenado the best hitter in the National League, he’s also the best defensive player in the league. No, he doesn’t play on ESPN all the time, nor is he on the best team in baseball. And no, he probably won’t win the award that he’s very deserving of. But don’t you dare keep this guy buried on the ballot because the Rockies stink.

This is in no way saying that Kris Bryant, or Anthony Rizzo for that matter, are not deserving. With nearly identical stats across the board, like Boston, how do you choose one over the other? Bryant is getting all the pub from the media, so I can only assume he’s going to be the one to take home the hardware.

Who will win the award: Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs

American League Cy Young

Who should win the award
Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers- As I’m writing this, I still am not fully convinced that Verlander should win the award. Verlander, Corey Kluber, Rick Porcello and Zach Britton all can have their cases made. But with a gun to my head, I’m going with Verlander. Verlander lead the American League in strikeouts (254), only behind Max Scherzer for the major league lead. Verlander was second in the AL in ERA (3.04) and first in WHIP (1.001) while being second in innings pitched (227 2/3). Top two in those categories is insane for a guy we wrote off a year ago. I guess I just convinced myself.

I’ve been long saying that Rick Porcello was going to win the award. I’m not into the “win” stat, but you can’t ignore a 22-4 record. Without the sexy stats to backup his unbelievable season, I don’t see Porcello getting the vote to bring home the Cy. Still an incredible bounce back season and he made his contract finally seem worth it.

Corey Kluber finds himself in the top five in the American League in wins, innings pitched, ERA, WHIP and strikeouts. He’s certainly deserving, but he’s pretty much behind Verlander in all those categories.

While Zach Britton probably has the best case to be made in the eyes of others, I just can’t see giving the Cy Young to a pitcher that pitched only 67 innings this season. Britton converted all 47 of his save chances while only allowing four(!) earned runs all season. His WHIP was under one (0.836) and if he were to blow a save during the season, the Orioles don’t make the playoffs. And because of that, I think he gets the nod.

Who will win the award: Zach Britton, Baltimore Orioles


National League Cy Young

Who should win the award
Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals- Scherzer led the National League in wins (20), WHIP (0.968), innings pitched (228 1/3) and strikeouts (284). It’s the one award that I think the voters will get correct. I’m not sure how anyone one else in the NL can win this award. While Madison Bumgarner and Jon Lester had great seasons, when you lead the league in the four categories like Scherzer did, there’s really no case to be made.

Who will win the award: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals