2017 Fantasy Baseball: Midseason Awards
The all-star break is always a good time to take stock of where everything has gone. Usually there is some drama as to where the awards go and there has been drama this season, but it may not translate into the awards themselves. This season has seen some players come out of nowhere, but they have dominated their particular categories. In addition to the three major categories we will include a fantasy comeback player of the year.
MVP: Jose Altuve— Houston Astros
Key Stats: .347, 13 HR, 62 Runs, 50 RBI, 18 SB
Why not Aaron Judge? Well, we will see him soon enough, but in terms of fantasy Altuve offers you production six different ways (he also has 37 walks). In terms of actual production he stands second to only Judge in fWAR and bWAR. Since MVPs are based on reputation and on whether you are on a winning team, the fact that he was runner up last season and is on the best team in the American League is an added bonus for him.
Cy Young: Chris Sale— Boston Red Sox
Key Stats: 18 GS, 11-4, 127.2 INN, 2.75 ERA, 178 SO, 0.901 WHIP
Attendance matters and the fact that he has made all of his starts and leads the league in innings pitched matters. If Dallas Keuchel returns from the disabled list and makes all of his remaining starts he could become a factor. If Corey Kluber continues to pitch like he has over the past month then he could become a factor. Sale has done it all season and he has personally kept the Red Sox in the hunt.
Rookie of the Year: Aaron Judge— New York Yankees
Key Stats: .329, 30 HR, 75 Runs, 66 RBI, 6 SB
There can be no doubt that he has been the best player in baseball so far this season. Unfortunately, there are enough people that have a skewed opinion of what it means to be an MVP that he might not get it. A lot will depend on what his team does in the second half. If they miss the playoffs it will be a hard sell, but it won’t be impossible. Mike Trout won it last year without making the playoffs.
Comeback Player: Logan Morrison— Tampa Bay Rays
Key Stats: .258, 24 HR, 49 Runs, 57 RBI, 1 SB
I know what you’re thinking, “come back from what?” Well, Morrison was a promising young player for the Marlins back in 2011, but got into hot water with the club when he was critical on social media. He has bounced around since then, but he has finally discovered himself. The key is the number you don’t see here (50 walks).
MVP: Paul Goldschmidt— Arizona Diamondbacks
Key Stats: .313, 20 HR, 73 Runs, 67 RBI, 13 SB
Throw in the 57 walks and you can see why he might be the most valuable fantasy piece in the National League. Joey Votto gives him a real run for his money, but Goldschmidt has the steals and his team would be one of the wild cards if the season ended today. That is probably enough to hold off Votto for the time being, but there is still another half of the season to play.
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw— Los Angeles Dodgers
Key Stats: 19 GS, 14-2, 132.1 INN, 2.18 ERA, 159 SO, 0.876 WHIP
I’m not old enough to know what it was like to watch Sandy Koufax dominate every four days. Since 2011, Kershaw has been 114-39 and has never had an ERA higher than 2.59. We can rest assured that we seeing Koufaxesque performance in those intervening seven seasons. The only thing that has stopped Kershaw from winning the Cy Young award every season has been health. He probably should have five Cy Young awards, but the voters probably are suffering through fatigue.
Rookie of the Year: Cody Bellinger— Los Angeles Dodgers
Key Stats: .261, 25 HR, 50 Runs, 58 RBI, 5 SB
It’s funny but a team that spends more than 200 million on their payroll gets more production out of its young players than the guys they spend million on. Combine Bellinger with Corey Seager and you have a dangerous duo right there. Sure, they have veterans like Justin Turner doing their part, but most of the big money guys are either on the shelf or ineffective. Imagine that Bellinger has done all this and he spent three weeks in the minors.
Comeback Player: Alex Wood— Los Angeles Dodgers
Key Stats: 13 GS, 10-0, 80.2 INN, 1.67 ERA, 97 SO, 0.893 WHIP
He is more of a traditional candidate for the award. He struggled through a miserable 2016 season where he got yo-yoed between the bullpen and the rotation. He started off the season in the bullpen, but injuries thrust him back into the limelight. Every team that wins more than two-thirds of their games needs players having out of context seasons and Wood is definitely one of those. If he pitches the entire second half in the rotation he will have a say in the Cy Young voting.