Sports Dojo MLB Awards

Dojo AL MVP- Mike Trout over Miguel Cabrera

As the year was going on, I got caught up in the Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis hype. They both had a shot at the Triple Crown at one point, but Davis took off with the homers and Cabrera got hurt and started to have a severe drop in production. Mike Trout, slow and steady, kept putting up another unbelievable offensive season.

I am taking Trout’s slow and steady greatness for this selection. Lets remember how old Trout is…

Trout has also done something during his first two seasons that is outrageous. In the past 50… FIFTY years there have only been 13 seasons where a player has had a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) above 10, according to Fangraphs. There are 3 people that have done it more than once: Barry Bonds, Willie Mays and Mike Trout. Cabrera has never done it, and his career high WAR of 7.6 came this year. Mike Trout is just on another level.

Mike Trout

2013 21 157 716 589 109 190 39 27 97 33 7 110 .323 .432 .557 .988 328

Miguel Cabrera

2013 30 148 652 555 103 193 26 44 137 3 0 90 .348 .442 .636 1.078 353

Mike Trout has more doubles, steals, walks and runs than Cabrera. He also has a ridiculous slugging percentage for someone who has 33 steals. Since 2003, only 5 players have had as high or higher slugging percentage and as many or more steals as Trout in 2013: Alfonso Soriano (2006), Hanley Ramirez (2007), Ryan Braun (2011), Matt Kemp (2011), and Mike Trout (2012). Anything look similar about these seasons? Well, besides Soriano, every player on that list either won or finished second in MVP voting in their respective league. Soriano’s numbers were ridiculous that year because he went 40-40. He wasn’t close to winning MVP because his team was awful and he had a poor batting average (.277) for an MVP without 50 homers.

Of course, the last stat I threw out there reminds you that Trout may have had a worse season, but he didn’t. He had 3 less homers, but 12 more doubles. The power was still there, but some balls didn’t quite make it over the fence. The biggest improvement was in his strikeout rate and OBP. First, he did have similar strikeout totals this year, but remember he didn’t play a month last year. His strikeout percentage (K/PA) dropped 2.8%, while his walk percentage (BB/PA) rose 4.9%. This led to a .033 point jump in OBP. The more you are on base, the more you can help your team. Trout did more this year to help his team, but his team was just worse than last year.

Mike Trout sliding into 2nd base (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Mike Trout sliding into 2nd base (Photo Cred: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

I am praising Trout’s OBP and how valuable it is, and I haven’t mentioned how Cabrera’s OBP is actually .010 points higher than Trout’s. Obviously, it is a better OBP. However, would you rather have a guy who could cause an out because he is on the bases or a guy who can create runs with his speed? Cabrera’s OBP is better, but Trout’s is more valuable because he can get into better scoring position for his teammates and force errors with his speed. “But Greg, Cabrera hit 17 more home runs than Trout!” Trout was the league leader in runs. The scoreboard counts runs not home runs. Home runs are just another way to produce runs.

To finish off why I’m right, Trout plays a much more difficult position and plays better defense than Cabrera. Trout has to cover a tremendous amount of ground in the outfield, while Cabrera isn’t very good at covering his small area around 3rd base. Cabrera managed to cost his team 9 more runs on defense than Trout from an easier defensive position.

Case Closed.

For this year, like I did in my 2012 AL MVP piece, I will say who I think the writers will vote for.

Baseball Writer’s Vote- 1. Miguel Cabrera 2. Chris Davis (53 home runs will give him enough votes to finish 2nd) 3. Mike Trout

Dojo NL MVP- Paul Goldschmidt over Andrew McCutchen

Every award is tough to pick this year, except NL and AL Rookie of the Year, but this award was one of the toughest for me. I know that the voters will probably pick Andrew McCutchen over Paul Goldschmidt because of the Pirates triumphant return to the playoffs, and McCutchen was their best player all year. However, I would argue that the Diamondbacks would not have finished with a .500 record without Goldschmidt, and his defense and batting statistics are mostly better than McCutchen’s.

 Paul Goldschmidt

2013 25 160 710 602 103 182 36 36 125 15 7 99 145 .302 .401 .551 .952 332

Andrew McCutchen

2013 26 157 674 583 97 185 38 21 84 27 10 78 101 .317 .404 .508 .911 296
Paul Goldschmidt after a walkoff home run against the Miami Marlins (Photo Cred: Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports)

Paul Goldschmidt after a walkoff home run against the Miami Marlins (Photo Cred: Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports)

When you take a closer look at the statistics, you will see how Goldschmidt outperformed McCutchen in so many ways. Goldschmidt had more homers and RBI’s than McCutchen and actually led the NL in those categories. Goldy only had an OBP .003 points lower than McCutchen’s, but his slugging was .043 points better. This gave Goldschmidt the NL leading OPS of .952 and McCutchen an OPS of .911. Goldy clearly put up the better numbers at the plate.

You say, “Now Greg, McCutchen was so much better on the bases with 12 more steals.” I would argue that Goldschmidt was just as effective on the base paths and that his effectiveness is more valuable than McCutchen’s. McCutchen stole 27 bases on 37 attempts so he was successful at stealing a base 73% of the time, and Goldy going 15 on 22 was 68%. They are nearly as effective on the bases and Goldschmidt steals much more than the average first baseman. Since 2000, there have only been 15 other occasions where a first basemen has had 15 or more. While outfielder’s over that span have had over 27 steals 141 times. 15 steals from a first basemen is more valuable than the 27 from an outfielder.

To just finish off how I believe Goldschmidt has been the best player, and thus, the MVP in the NL, his defense saved 13 runs above the average first baseman, and McCutchen only saved 7 runs above the average outfielder. Better defense for his position, better hitting, and more value on the basepaths… Goldschmidt>McCutchen

Baseball Writers vote – 1. McCutchen 2. Goldschmidt 3. Clayton Kershaw

Dojo AL Cy Young- Max Scherzer over Chris Sale/Felix Hernandez

I feel like I am going to say the same thing over and over again, so I’ll just say every big award (MVP and Cy Young) were tough. The AL Cy Young had about 5 guys who could win the award and it feels like that happens every year. I am not going to talk about Yu Darvish (too many walks and not enough innings) and Anibal Sanchez (not enough innings) because I have them as 4 and 5, respectively. As you can see, I am going to be picking at small things to decide this award and I am not going to count the W-L record. If I did, Scherzer would win in a landslide, like I think he will in the actual MVP voting.

Max Scherzer Tigers 21 3 32 214.1 10.08 2.35 0.76 0.259 74.40% 36.30% 7.60% 2.9 2.74 6.4
Chris Sale White Sox 11 14 30 214.1 9.49 1.93 0.97 0.289 77.00% 46.60% 12.50% 3.07 3.17 5.1
Felix Hernandez Mariners 12 10 31 204.1 9.51 2.03 0.66 0.314 75.10% 51.40% 10.00% 3.04 2.61 6

Powered by Greg Danchik’s Awesome Excel Skills and Fangraphs

Max Scherzer (Photo Cred: Chris O’Meara/AP)

Max Scherzer (Photo Cred: Chris O’Meara/AP)

Everyone will point to Max Scherzer‘s W-L record, but he did more than that. He averaged over a strikeout an inning en route to having the second best strikeout total in the AL. Batters had an average below .200 against him over the whole year. He averaged less than a runner on base per inning with a WHIP of .970. Tack that on to having a Fielder Independent Pitching (FIP) below 3 runs. You’ve got yourself a dominant pitcher with a lot of wins. A wins leader, not because his team’s offense was really good, but because he gave his team the chance to win every time out.

Chris Sale narrowly misses on the Cy Young because well, Scherzer was really really good, but also for a few other reasons. Sale also struck out over a batter an inning, but he didn’t do it at the level that Scherzer did. He had a FIP of 3.17, which was much higher than Scherzer’s, relatively speaking. He gave up home runs at a higher rate, which would indicate his stuff isn’t as good.

Felix Hernandez (Photo Cred: Elaine Thompson/AP)

Felix Hernandez (Photo Cred: Elaine Thompson/AP)

Now for King Felix. Felix was dominate for a bad team, much like Sale was. Hernandez actually had a better FIP than Scherzer at 2.61, but it is not a huge difference. The thing that locked it up for me was his HR/FB rate. Felix Hernandez pitches in a park that gave up the 10th least amount of home runs, and Scherzer pitched in a park that let up the 13th most home runs. Yet on 10% of his fly balls, Hernandez gave up a home run (23rd highest in the AL). Like Sale, I would say that this is an indication of how good his stuff is, however it still wasn’t as good as Scherzer’s.

These are the reasons I would pick Max Scherzer for AL Cy Young. Obviously, I had to really nitpick with this award, but it led to Scherzer as my winner.

Baseball Writers – 1. Max Scherzer 2. Felix Hernandez 3. Chris Sale

Dojo NL Cy Young- Clayton Kershaw

I just didn’t really think there was anyone that compared to him. Adam Wainwright was in it before he had a couple of struggles towards the end of the year. I think Jose Fernandez would have been in the conversation had he pitched some more innings and the same is true for Matt Harvey. But they weren’t able to pitch enough innings to compete with Kershaw, so Kershaw stands alone.

Clayton Kershaw (Photo: Cred: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Clayton Kershaw (Photo: Cred: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

To start, Kershaw had an ERA of 1.83 and struck out 232 batters. Since 1984 (roughly the beginning of the Steroid Era), only 2… TWO pitchers have had an equal or lower ERA and as many or more strikeouts. One of those seasons was Dwight Gooden‘s 1985 sophomore season, and Pedro Martinez‘s dominant 2000 season (Side note: Pedro did that in the AL, where he had to deal with DH’s, not pitchers. It was also the height of the Steroid Era.).

Kershaw’s advanced stats also indicate he deserves the Cy. He was second in the NL in FIP, had a HR/FB of 5.8%, and walked 1.98 batters per 9 innings. To top it all off, Adam Wainwright was the only pitcher to top him in innings.

Kershaw is going to go down in history as one of the greats. He is going to get paid like it this offseason too.

Baseball Writer’s vote- 1. Kershaw 2. Adam Wainwright 3. Jose Fernandez

Dojo AL Rookie of the Year- Wil Myers

In the AL, there wasn’t much competition for Rookie of the Year. Manny Machado was basically a rookie, but he can’t be considered because of the at bats he accumulated in 2012. The only person that comes close is Jose Iglesias. Iglesias’s value comes 100% from his defense.

His bat was good at the beginning of the year with a .367 average, but he only had a .235 average in the second half, which is closer to the career average that is expected of him. His presence in Detroit saved them during the Johnny Peralta suspension, but Wil Myers presence in Tampa provided a much needed bat to team up with Evan Longoria.

Wil Myers

2013 22 88 373 335 50 98 23 13 53 5 2 33 91 .293 .354 .478 .831 160

The Rays refused to call up Myers before June, and it almost cost them a spot in the ALDS. However, they still made it there, and Myers is a big reason for that. He homered at a pace that would have led to 24 homers over the whole season. He also had a great batting average for a rookie to add on to an OPS of .831. All of his offense helped spark a Tampa Bay run that almost led them to a division title. You will also notice that when Myers started slumping at the end of the year, the Rays fell out of contention for the AL East and the Sox pulled away.  Wil Myers is the Dojo AL Rookie of the Year, but he would have had major competition if any of the top 5 NL guys were in the AL.

(Side note- I came really close to calling the amount of Myer’s homers in my Top Prospect Tuesday. Also if Myers wants to maintain or improve his batting average and become a true star, he is going to have to raise his poor, to say the least, BB/K ratio of .36.)

Baseball Writer’s Vote- 1. Wil Myers 2. Jose Iglesias 3. Brad Miller

Dojo NL Rookie of the Year- Jose Fernandez over Yasiel Puig

If Matt Harvey was eligible, he would win, but like Machado, he isn’t. Jose Fernandez is a close second to Harvey though. Yasiel Puig presents a good case as well, but Fernandez’s domination prevails.

Puig’s case is driven by his ridiculous stats, but also by the Dodgers revival in the second half of the season. The part of the Dodger’s revival that people forget about is that Hanley Ramirez came back at the same time, and Zack Greinke started to pitch like someone getting paid $147 million should. Puig had 19 home runs, 42 RBIs and a .319 batting average in 104 games and would have easily won the Dojo AL Rookie of the Year, but he’s competing against Jose Fernandez and isn’t going to win that competition.

Jose Fernandez (Photo Cred: Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports)

Jose Fernandez (Photo Cred: Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports)

Jose Fernandez’s season is something else. Over the course of 172.2 innings, he had an ERA of 2.19, a FIP of 2.73, and 187 strikeouts, over a strikeout per inning. However, his second half was downright dominate. He had an ERA of 1.32, a FIP of 1.99, and 68 strikouts, or 11.12 K/9. He pitched for the lowly Marlins, who finished in second if the MLB was about getting the most losses. Yet, the Marlins were 18-10 in games he pitched. In other words, not including the games Fernandez pitched in, the Marlins went 44-90. The Marlins were pretty bad, but Fernandez always improved their chance of winning every time he stepped onto the field. Look for Fernandez to challenge Kershaw for Dojo NL Cy Young Awards (and NL Cy Young Awards) in the near future.

Baseball Writier’s Vote- 1. Jose Fernandez 2. Yasiel Puig 3. Julio Teheran

Dojo AL Manager of the Year- John Farrell

In an incredibly managerial season, John Farrell took a team that exchanged all of their high prices players for middle-tier players and led them to an AL East crown. I figured the Red Sox would be in the celler for a long time, but they are now competing for a World Series title. John Farrell deserves this award over anyone. The Indian’s under Terry Francona is a nice story, but they went 36-52 against teams at .500 or above. (Not that this counts in my decision, but that showed against the Rays in the AL Wild Card game).

Baseball Writer’s Vote- 1. John Farrell 2. Terry Francona 3. Joe Girardi

Dojo NL Manager of the Year- Clint Hurdle

The Pirates had their first winning season and playoff appearance in 21 years. Enough said.

Baseball Writer’s Vote – Clint Hurdle

Greg Danchik

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