AL MVP – Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles:
The 23-year-old shortstop is building on his stellar 2015 campaign with a hot start to the season. He leads the league in WAR and has shown impressive poise and maturity for such a young player. He has lead the Orioles on the offensive and defensive end to second place in the AL East thus far, when they were projected to finish last in the division.
NL MVP – Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals:
This is not the player from the Nationals you expect to see here, but Murphy is continuing his hot play from last years’ playoffs. He is batting .397 to start the season. It’s the kind of number that is unsustainable for 162 games but it is fun to watch the success he is enjoying in his age 31 season.
AL Cy Young – Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox:
Though the White Sox have slipped in recent weeks, Sale has been phenomenal on the mound as usual sporting a 9-1 record to start the season and averaging over seven innings per outing.
NL Cy Young – Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers:
Kershaw barely beats out Arrieta due to his ridiculous strikeout-walk ratio of 105-5. He leads the league in WAR among pitchers and his average of over eight innings per start have been a saving grace for an otherwise average Dodgers team.
AL Comeback Player of the Year – Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers:
A little unorthodox, but after just one start Darvish looks better than he did before Tommy John surgery, hitting 94 mph and higher on his fastball throughout the game. One of the most dangerous pitchers in the game is back and should bolster a hot Rangers team.
NL Comeback Player of the Year – Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants:
After being limited to 52 games last year, Pence has come back to hit .304 with seven home runs. The Giants offense certainly missed him as he has provided consistency in the middle of the order and the team is heating up.
Best AL Team – Boston Red Sox:
After back to back last place finishes in the division the Red Sox look like legitimate title contenders. Their offense is rolling with young guys Xander Boegarts and Jackie Bradley Jr. leading the way. David Ortiz is having a monster year in his final season.
Best NL Team – Chicago Cubs:
The title drought may soon be over. With a 35-15 record and +131 run differential the Cubs are scorching all other teams. They have an excellent pitching staff and a slew of competent hitters that should carry them to the
AL MVP – Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners:
This has to be Cano. After a slow start to last season, Cano has completely flipped the script this year. He currently is second in the American League in home runs (15) and RBIs. While there are other players with gaudier stats in other areas, Cano only hit 21 home runs and 79 RBIs in all of 2015. The Mariners have the sixth best record in baseball, and third best in the AL If Cano wasn’t playing at the level he is now, the Mariners are likely much farther down in the standings.
NL MVP – Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals:
I wanted to go with someone else, just for variety’s sake, but I can’t. Murphy is far and away the best played in the National League right now, and it’s not even close. His .397 batting is 50 points higher than the next closest NL player, Ryan Braun. His .634 slugging and 1.063 OPS have cemented him as the early front-runner for MVP.
AL Cy Young – Rich Hill, Oakland Athletics:
A case can be made for Chris Sale, but again, in the interest of variety, I’ll make a claim for the 36-year-old Oakland A’s starter. Hill has managed to post an 8-3 record on the tenth worst team in runs scored. Hills’ 2.25 ERA is second in the American League.
NL CY Young – Jake Arietta, Chicago Cubs:
Arietta has been on a tear going back to last season. With 24 straight quality starts, and a scoreless streak at Wrigley Field that lasted 52.2 innings, Arietta is the only pitcher in the National League that can challenge Kershaw for the top spot. Arietta’s last loss came on July 25, 2015, when Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies threw a no hitter.
AL Comeback Player of the Year – Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners:
AL MVP and Comeback Player of the Year? Absolutely. Like I mentioned above, Cano’s has started this season much better that he did last year. Cano is on pace for a career high in homeruns, RBIs, slugging percentage and OPS. Don’t call it a comeback.
NL Comeback Player of the Year – Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins:
Fernandez came back off of Tommy John surgery late in 2015, and so far he has been lights out. This season, the hard throwing righty is 8-2 with a 2.53 ERA and 96 strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched a full season since 2013, and at his currnt pace is a shoe-in to win this award.
BEST AL Team – Boston Red Sox:
With two players posting 20+ game hit streaks simultaneously, and David Ortiz looking like a far cry from retirement, the Red Sox have an American League best record of 32-20. The Red Sox will look to send the Ortiz out in style and will surely make another World Series push this season.
BEST NL Team – Chicago Cubs:
Looking to break the curse of the Billy Goat, the Cubs have a legitimate shot to to win the World Series this season. At 35-15, Chicago finds themselves on pace for a 113 win season, just three wins shy of the MLB record set by their own franchise back in 1906 and tied by the Mariners 2001. This may be the year the Cubbies finally snap their 107 year World Series drought— unless the curse of the billy goat has anything to say about it.
AJ may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Willy may be reached at email@example.com
A northwest native, AJ is a returning college student finishing his journalism degree. He loves everything Seattle sports, and plans to carry that enthusiasm into the sports section of the Spectator this year.