The 2014 Major League Baseball season is officially underway, as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks faced off in Australia for two games this past Saturday. Now that we’ve begun, it’s time to start thinking about end-of-season awards. Who are the favorites? Who are the darkhorses? Who isn’t even close?
Looking at the games that have been logged to this point, we can start to get some answers to these questions. That’s why I’ve gone through and asked the question: “Who would win if the season ended today?”
Let’s take a look.
Manager of the Year: Don Mattingly, Los Angeles Dodgers
Mattingly’s Dodgers have been dominant, being undefeated, while Gibson’s Diamondbacks have struggled to break into the win column, making this a seemingly straightforward competition. However, there’s an argument to be made for the scrappy Diamondbacks, who have mounted ninth-inning near-comebacks in 50% of their games this season. If some of that momentum comes through in the other eight innings going forward, they could make some noise
Ultimately, I think this race is decided by the head-to-head matchup, in which Mattingly’s (undefeated) Dodgers have swept Gibson’s Diamondbacks, outscoring them 10-6 on the year.
Rookie of the Year: SS Chris Owings, Arizona Diamondbacks
It’s been a very weak year for rookies thus far, which is why the 22-year-old Owings currently leads the crop despite an OPS of only .650.
Owings has shown some flashes, though, with an impressive OBP of .400 despite only a .250 batting average. He hasn’t recorded an extra base hit all season, however, and has plenty of room for improvement in that regard.
I was expecting 30-year-old rookie Tuffy Gosewisch (real name, not kidding) to push Owings here, but sadly, he has yet to record a hit all season.
Ryu is currently leading a stacked class of pitchers for this year’s Cy Young award, including Clayton Kershaw (1.35 ERA), Paul Maholm, who has had a perfect season, and Addison Reed, who has a K/9 of 27.
While Kershaw has had a remarkable year, and is averaging a few more innings per start than Ryu, Ryu has yet to allow a run this season, and I think few would say that Kershaw’s season numbers exceed his in the long run. It’s more difficult to pick Ryu over Maholm, as a perfect season is nothing to sleep on, but Ryu’s ultimate benefit is that he’s a starter, and has pitched more than five times as many innings as Maholm has.
MVP: P Hyun-jin Ryu
The final award of the day is the toughest: the MVP award. The Dodgers’ offensive prowess led to several MVP candidates from their lineup, including Dee Gordon (1.667 OBP), Yasiel Puig (.300/.364/.400), Adrian Gonzalez (major league steals leader), and Juan Uribe (is Juan Uribe), while the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt (.444/.444/.556)
has come on strong as well.
While all of these players have put up MVP-worthy stats, Ryu stands above them all. Not only is he on pace to win the Cy Young award with an ERA of zero and a K/9 of exactly 9.00, but he’s batting a triple-slash of .500/.500/.500. Ryu is having a combination of pitching and offense this season that is unprecedented in MLB history, with a better season on the mound than 2013 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and a better season at the plate than 2013 (should have been) MVP award winner Mike Trout.
So there you have it: our award favorites for the 2014 MLB season. It’s still early, but if the stats continue in this direction, I’m certain this is how the year will play out.