The talented and zealous Darius Austin presented a meta-analysis of various preseason predictions recently, which included win total predictions from BttP’s just completed team preview series. I was also curious as to what the BttP community thought about the upcoming season, but I-as always, being terrified of hard work-wanted to skin the cat in a different way than Darius. So, I had the BttP community vote to predict the playoffs, as well as the winners of the major individual awards.
The “winners” of those polls are the teams and players who got the most votes, not necessarily a majority of them. I eschewed the points system many publications use for awards voting, and simply asked the respondents who they thought will win. Many of the results align with the conventional wisdom going into the season (it’s conventional for a reason), but there were a fair number of surprises as well.
NL Rookie of the Year:
Kris Bryant (56% of the vote)
This one is probably no surprise. Turns out the BttP voters do not think it will take Bryant long to improve his defense or whatever it is Theo Epstein is telling people while struggling to hold in a giggle. The consensus is that Bryant will be in the majors soon enough, with plenty of time to put up some impressive numbers. Prospect hype can always be dangerous, but all those dingers this spring are certainly tough to deny. Young Cubs accounted for 76% percent of the voting, with Jorge Soler also having a strong showing. Joc Pederson, despite being guaranteed a job on a relatively certain playoff team, was only able to muster a couple votes.
AL Rookie of the Year:
Mookie Betts (19%)
Hey, speaking of prospect hype, it’s Mookie Betts! The Red Sox outfielder already has people comparing him to Andrew McCutchen, so winning Rookie of the Year will probably be a walk in the park. Being the savvy folks we are, BttP voters really hedged their Betts (I apologize to my friends and family) on this one. Dalton Pompey and Steven Souza were both right behind Mookie, at 15% each. There’s no consensus here, except that a lot of fun, young players are going to be in the AL East.
NL Cy Young:
Clayton Kershaw (68%)
There’s not much else to say about the dominance of Kershaw. I was looking at his 2015 projections today and my first thought was that they were perhaps being too conservative, in predicting an ERA over 2. Barring injury, it’s his to lose. Three different Washington Nationals combined for 26% of the vote, with poor Gio Gonzalez being left out. I still love you, Gio.
AL Cy Young:
Felix Hernandez (57%)
Felix’s dominance over everyone else in his league is not as gargantuan as Kershaw’s, but it’s hard to argue with his skill, especially when combined with a competitive Mariners team that will keep him relevant and help him a to pretty Win-Loss record. David Price was the only other player to receive multiple votes, finishing with 19%. With the obvious exception of the rookies, this was the only category where the incumbent winner did not receive a single vote. Chris Archer got a Cy Young vote, Corey Kluber did not.
Giancarlo Stanton (34%)
Like the AL Cy Young, the winner here is last year’s runner up. It seems obvious enough that a position player will win this year, and that there is no position player in the NL as good as Stanton. But I suppose you could frame this as a vote of confidence in Stanton following his scary head injury last year. It is very difficult to believe that Stanton will not win an MVP sometime in the next few years, so why not now. Andrew McCutchen was close behind at 19%, but you would think Stanton would get the nod if those two are close at the end of the year, given that McCutchen has already won an MVP, and Stanton’s power numbers will look sexier. Anthony Rizzo and Bryce Harper each got two votes. NOW’S YOUR CHANCE, BRYCE.
Mike Trout (69%)
Fitting that the awards section closes with the highest individual vote total. 69% is a nice result for Trout, indicating the stranglehold he is still perceived to have on the league. Certainly, many of the votes for other players were likely motivated in part by Trout fatigue (or, the assumption that the non-stellar ethicists of the BBWAA will suffer from Trout fatigue). And while it certainly, feels as if Trout has won the last seven AL MVPs, it’s actually just been one! It is hard to imagine a scenario where Trout is not a multiple MVP winner by the end of the year. Second place (if you even want to call it that), went to Josh Donaldson who received fifteen fewer votes than Trout.
THE DIVISION WINNERS AND PLAYOFFS
Los Angeles Dodgers (96%)
This isn’t surprising in choice or certainty. The defending champs and the Padres will certainly keep things interesting, but they do not appear to be strong enough to overtake the Dodgers. Although, if the Dodgers bet on injured starters turns out to be misguided, it could be a lot of fun.
St. Louis Cardinals (68%)
The Pirates had a strong showing at 24%, but it is difficult to argue against a team that does not appear to have any real weaknesses with a track record of success.
Washington Nationals (96%)
I am so sorry, whoever you are.
The Wild Cards:
The Pirates had a strong showing, obviously. But amongst teams not given a good chance to win the division: the Padres, Marlins, and Cubs were all well represented.
Los Angeles Angels (55%)
The Angels just barely overtook the Mariners (44%), which I expect will be how it works out in real life too.
This one was also competative, with the Tigers (31%) and White Sox (24%) getting serious vote totals. Not surprising from what may very well be the tightest race in baseball.
Boston Red Sox (72%)
The highest vote total in the AL belongs to the Red Sox. Both today’s Red Sox, and the version that will exist after the trade deadline. Every AL East team got a vote, except the Rays.
AL Wild Cards:
Again, the Mariners, Tigers, and White Sox populated this tabulation. The Blue Jays and Orioles had high totals also.
Washington Nationals (58%)
The Dodgers got 27%, and the Cardinals were at 10%
A virtual tie between the Angels (24%) and the Red Sox (27%).
Cleveland got 13% of the vote, which is fun to imagine because it will not happen.
World Series Champion:
The Washington Nationals (44%)
Trailing the Nats are the Dodgers (27%) and the Red Sox (10%).
Congratulations, Nats. Certainly, if people are predicting you to win the World Series, it will obviously happen.Next post: BttP Podcast: Ep 14 – Live and Inside a Car!
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