Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Postseason Picks

As the playoffs begin tonight with the AL Wildcard game I figured it was as good a time as ever to write up my postseason picks and update my award winners.  My preseason picks did not turn out awful overall as the majority of my playoff teams actually made it and I could possibly get 50% of the major awards correct (unlikely however) but I would like to make some changes and forecast the rest of the way.

My Preseason Picks:
AL Wildcard game: Indians over Houston
ALDS: Royals over Indians in 4
ALDS: Yankees over Angels in 5
ALCS: Royals over Yankees in 6

NL Wildcard game: Cubs over Pirates
NLDS: Cubs over Cardinals in 5
NLDS: Nationals over Dodgers in 4
NLCS: Nationals over Cubs in 6

World Series: Royals defeat Nationals in 7
            World Series MVP: Eric Hosmer

AL Cy Young: Chris Sale
AL MVP: Robinson Cano
AL ROY: Daniel Norris
AL Manager of the year: Ned Yost

NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
NL MVP: Bryce Harper
NL ROY: Kris Bryant
NL Manager of the year: Joe Maddon

My Picks as of October 6th, 2015:
AL Wildcard game: Yankees over Houston
ALDS: Royals over Yankees in 5
ALDS: Blue Jays over Rangers in 4
ALCS: Royals over Blue Jays in 7
            ALCS MVP: Johnny Cueto

NL Wildcard game: Cubs over Pirates
NLDS: Cubs over Cardinals in 4
NLDS: Dodgers over Mets in 3
NLCS: Cubs over Dodgers in 5
            NLCS MVP: Kris Bryant

World Series: Royals defeat Cubs in 7
            World Series MVP: Eric Hosmer

AL Cy Young: David Price
            Guys like Sonny Gray, Chris Sale and Chris Archer will garner votes in this ratce and had extraordinary seasons in 2015 but this race eventually comes down to just two, David Price and Dallas Keuchel.  No one in baseball has been better than Dallas Keuchel was at home this season, going 15-0 across 129.1 innings while striking out 139 batters with a batting average against of only .186 and only allowing 4 home runs but in my opinion even those numbers aren’t enough for him to beat out David Price for this award.  Price finished the regular season 18-5 across 220.1 innings pitched with a FIP of 2.78 good for second best in the American League behind only Chris Sale, while leading all AL pitchers in WAR with 6.4.  When the Blue Jays acquired him at the deadline they did so to win the big games and he has.  Since becoming a Blue Jay he has pitched against the Yankees four times and in those starts he has gone 3-0, throwing 26.1 innings, allowing 5 runs and striking out 27.

AL MVP: Mike Trout
            This race is truly just Mike Trout and Josh Donaldson and no one else is even close.  Many people are looking at this race and saying “Donaldson has run away with it” but if that is far from the truth.  They have the same number of home runs (41), and are both sitting around .300 in terms of batting average but that far from illustrates what is going on in this race.  The main arguments I have heard for Donaldson winning MVP is his RBI production and the Blue Jays making the playoffs.  Both arguments are ridiculous.  RBIs tell you nothing about an individual player’s performance but instead the production of the team as a whole.  Trout and Donaldson’s numbers with runners in scoring position are almost identical in general except Donaldson was provided this situation an extra 14 times.  In fact, with runners in scoring position with 2 outs Trout was much better, his slash line in this situation was .314/.556/.371 while Donaldson had a slash line of .254/.382/.444.  Mike Trout finished with a WAR of 9.0 compared to Donaldson’s 8.7 which is close but wRC+ (quantifies a player’s total offensive value) shows the true difference in their seasons.  Trout finished with a wRC+ of 172 second to only Bryce Harper while Donaldson ended the regular season at 154, good for 7th in all of baseball and 4th in the American League.  It is because of this that I say advantage Trout.

AL ROY: Francisco Lindor
            I previous blogged about this, see it here.

AL Manager of the year: Paul Molitor
            People had the Twins picked to finish last in the AL Central, it took a full 162 games for them to finally be eliminated.

NL Cy Young: Jake Arrieta
            Jake Arrieta was very good in 2014 and very good in the first half of 2015 but his second half is the greatest ever.  He finished 2015 22-6 with an ERA of 1.77 across 229.0 innings with 236 strikeouts.  He threw 107.1 innings in the second half, facing 399 batters and striking out 113 batters.  He only allowed 55 hits, a batting average against of .148 and a WHIP of 0.73.  Oh yeah and he only allowed 9 earned runs (12 total runs).  Since August he has thrown 88.1 innings, he only allowed 4 earned runs, in that same time period 269 pitchers allowed 4+ earned runs in an inning.  So while Greinke and Kershaw were also ridiculously good, I don’t see how Arrieta doesn’t win NL Cy Young.
NL MVP: Bryce Harper
            There is no need to explain this pick he was the best player in baseball in 2015 and produced one of the greatest offensive seasons ever, especially for a player who is still only 22.  He should win this award unanimously.

NL ROY: Kris Bryant
            This award like NL MVP should be unanimous considering he has produced one of the best rookie seasons ever.  According to fWAR his WAR of 6.5 ranks 13/14 all time tied with Dutch Zwilling in 1914.  Since 1990 the only players who produced better rookie seasons are Mike Trout (2012), Mike Piazza (1993) and Albert Pujols (2001).

NL Manager of the year: Joe Maddon
            People laughed at me when I had the Cubs picked to finish second in the NL Central and lose to the Nationals in the NLCS but here we are they won 97 games thanks in no small part to Joe Maddon.

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