Biggest Surprise Team: Minnesota Twins
Who else? Coming off a 103-loss season, most people wrote off the Twins before they even played a game this year. After clinching a postseason berth on Sept. 28, their first since 2010, the Twins will now vie for a chance to reach the Divisional series. The Twins will most likely face the Yankees in the one-game playoff.
Biggest Bust: San Francisco Giants
Many had them competing for the National League West crown with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Now the team sits in last place in the division and also posts the worst record in all of baseball. Things really seemed to derail after the team lost ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner to an injury he suffered in a dirt bike crash in April. Although he’s returned and pitched well, the team will need to add more offense if they want to compete again next year. They have the third lowest team batting average in the National League at .248, and have hit the fewest home runs out of any team in the majors at 127.
Rookie of the Year: Aaron Judge
Despite dropping off statistically after the All Star break, Judge gets the nod. His current line of 50 home runs, 111 runs batted in and a .284 batting average is beyond ridiculous for a rookie. He broke nearly every rookie record for the Yankees in what will be a season few will forget. His 204 strikeouts is an area that will need improvement, but something tells me he’ll be around for a while.
AL MVP: Jose Altuve
What has turned into a two man race for MVP between Altuve and Judge is ultimately decided by consistency. From beginning to end Altuve hardly showed any signs of slowing down. For the fourth consecutive year he’s eclipsed 200 hits. His home run total has also risen (24) and he’s posted his highest batting average yet, .347.
AL CY Young: Chris Sale
Despite an up-and-down second half, the award goes to Sale. He became the first pitcher to strike out 300 batters since Pedro Martinez in 1999 (also for the Red Sox). For the first two months, the man seemed practically unhittable at times, striking out 10 or more batters eight straight times during that stretch. Hopefully he’s saved some of his brilliance for the postseason, but his regular season performance should get him the honor.
NL MVP: Nolan Arenado
If we were solely going off numbers, Giancarlo Stanton would be the runaway winner. Although Stanton’s 57 home runs stand out, Arenado has been one of the driving forces behind the Colorado Rockies’ success this year. He’s hitting a career best .305, to go along with 36 HRs and 129 RBIs. His nine errors committed are also the fewest of his career, putting him in an excellent position to win his fifth consecutive Gold Glove award. His performance has helped carry a Rockies team with average-at-best pitching. His play will be one of the deciding factors on how far the Rockies make it into the playoffs. Either way, Arenado deserves the award
NL CY Young: Max Scherzer
Like Chris Sale, Max Scherzer also got off to an incredible start to the season. Some could argue he’s had a more consistent season as well. If you put Scherzer’s stat line against that of anyone else in the league, he tops everyone in all major categories outside of earned run average. Even still, he’s posted a 2.55 ERA while compiling 16 wins and 263 strikeouts. He’s also allowed the fewest baserunners per inning out of anyone in the National League. He’s the Nationals ace and will be looked upon to help guide them to their first ever World Series championship as a franchise.