2013 MLB Awards Picks: MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year

AL and NL MVP, Cy Young and ROY Picks

Clayton Kershaw is our hands-down 2013 NL Cy Young winner.

Clayton Kershaw is our hands-down 2013 NL Cy Young winner. (Credit JaMikePA)

Let’s all take a deep breath and await the hate mail: we’re not voting for Miguel Cabrera for AL MVP, and we’re not voting for a Cardinal, Pirate, Dodger, Brave or Red for NL MVP. (Read on: we have our reasons, and we think they’re pretty legitimate.)

The 2013 MLB season is over - 163 games later – and before the 2013 MLB playoffs officially begin, now seems like a good time to share our SidelineMOB staff picks for all the major 2013 MLB award: AL MVP, NL MVP, AL Cy Young, NL Cy Young, and AL & NL Rookies of the Year.

In deliberating over each award, we took a few things into account: overall performance, percentage of team production (for offensive players), season-long production and meaningfulness of each player’s contribution to his team.

So who is our pick for each major MLB award for the 2013 season? Read on and find out – and let the debate begin.

2013 AL MVP

The Pick: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

The Reason: We’re not debating the all-time greatness of what Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers is doing at the plate. Cabrera followed up a 2012 AL Triple Crown by ranking 1st in batting average, 2nd in home runs and 2nd in RBI in 2013.

But Mike Trout is actually responsible for more of his team’s production at the plate than Miggy. If you combine each player’s runs scored with their RBIs, then eliminate their HR total (thereby ensuring you don’t count their own home run RBIs twice), you come up with this:

Mike Trout: 109 runs + 97 RBI – 27 HR = 179 runs created (24.6% of LAA team runs)

Miguel Cabrera: 103 runs + 137 RBI – 44 HR = 196 runs created (24.4% of DET team runs)

We’re not punishing Cabrera for having a more productive offensive team around him. We’re just saying that, making all things equal and relative, Trout had as productive an offensive season for his team, percentage-wise, as Cabrera. Defensively, there’s absolutely no comparison. Trout made 1 error in center field all year for the Angels, posting a .996 fielding percentage, 2nd among AL CF.

The Contenders: Miguel Cabrera (DET), Chris Davis (BAL), Robinson Cano (NYY)

2013 NL MVP

The Pick: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks

The Reason: Goldschmidt isn’t getting the requisite amount of love from NL MVP voters, and we’re not sure why. He tied for the NL league lead in home runs and led the NL in RBIs with 125. If you apply the same formula to Goldschmidt as we did to Trout & Cabrera, and then compare him with NL MVP contenders Andrew McCutchen, Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter, it looks like this:

Paul Goldschmidt: 103 runs + 125 RBI – 36 HR = 192 runs created (28% of ARI runs)

Andrew McCutchen: 97 runs + 84 RBI – 21 HR = 160 runs created (25.2% of PIT runs)

Yadier Molina: 68 runs + 80 RBI – 12 HR = 136 runs created (17.4% of STL runs)

Matt Carpenter: 126 runs + 78 RBI – 11 HR = 193 runs created (24.6% of STL runs)

McCutchen was, at least in terms of position players, primarily responsible for Pittsburgh making the playoffs. Molina is the best defensive catcher that MLB has seen in years. Carpenter was a breakout star at 2B for St. Louis. But Paul Goldschmidt, who also rated as the #2 1st baseman in the NL, was responsible for nearly 3 of every 10 runs scored by the Arizona Diamondbacks, who finished .500. Just imagine where that team would have been without him.

The Contenders: Andrew McCutchen (PIT), Clayton Kershaw (LAD), Yadier Molina (STL)

2013 AL Cy Young

The Pick: Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers

The Reason: It seems trendy to pick against Scherzer for some reason – maybe it’s because voters want to make a case for Chris Sale and Felix Hernandez, two phenomenal pitchers stuck on miserable teams in 2013. Sale could have easily won 20 games for a winning club this year, while King Felix was backed by the worst defense in the American League and rarely got any run support.

But Scherzer, his 21-3 record, 2.90 ERA and 0.97 WHIP can’t be ignored, for two reasons: one, he ranks in the AL’s top 5 in wins, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, innings pitched, and quality starts percentage. Two, where would the Tigers be without him during a 2013 season in which Justin Verlander went 13-12?

The Contenders: Chris Sale (CHW), Felix Hernandez (SEA), Bartolo Colon (OAK)

2013 NL Cy Young:

The Pick: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Reason: Kershaw not only deserves the NL Cy Young, but also deserves serious consideration in the NL MVP conversation. Look at this unbelievable stat line:

Clayton Kershaw: 16-9, 1.83 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 232 K, 4.46 K/BB, 48 ER in 236.0 IP

Pitchers may come close to Kershaw in individual statistics, but no one touches him in terms of overall dominance. This is, with all due respect to Jose Fernandez, Adam Wainwright and Matt Harvey, the easiest MLB awards race to handicap in 2013.

The Contenders: Adam Wainwright (STL), Jose Fernandez (MIA), Matt Harvey (NYM)

2013 AL Rookie of the Year:

The Pick: Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays

The Reason: With all due respect to Jose Iglesias, who had a solid rookie season, you don’t trade a star away to a fellow playoff contender (as the Red Sox did to Iglesias, who is now a Detroit Tiger). Iglesias is a plus defender at shortstop and flashed his glove early and often this year, but Myers bested him in virtually every offensive category, and his play in right field is a key reason the Rays surged after the All Star break to reach the 2013 AL playoffs.

2013 NL Rookie of the Year:

The Pick: Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins

The Reason: This is the deepest field of Rookie of the Year candidates either league has seen in quite some time; the top 5 or 6 NL rookies would probably have won AL Rookie of the Year this season. It goes without saying that Shelby Miller, Evan Gattis, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Julio Teheran all merit consideration and praise.

But it’s a two-horse race between Fernandez and Los Angeles Dodgers wunderkind Yasiel Puig, who captivated the baseball world with his audacious play. So why pick Jose Fernandez? For one, Fernandez played all season for the Marlins, a historically bad team this year. In playing for such a bad team, all Fernandez did was post this stat line:

Jose Fernandez: 12-6, 2.19 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 187 K in 172 2/3 IP, 9.75 K/9

With all apologies and due respect to Puig, Jose Fernandez was not only the NL Rookie of the Year, but a top 3 candidate for NL Cy Young in 2013.


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