Before the playoffs begin on Tuesday night, there’s some unfinished business to take care of and it’s choices for the biggest of the individual awards. Here are TheSportsNotebook’s picks for the 2014 American League awards—MVP, Cy Young and Manager Of The Year.
MVP: Mike Trout (Los Angeles): The numbers speak for themselves. Trout’s on-base percentage was .377, his slugging percentage was .561 and he hit 36 home runs. Trout drove in 111 runs and scored 115 more. While he had a good supporting cast around him, it wasn’t a great one and the Angels finished with the best record in baseball. No debate required for this year’s award.
Cy Young: Corey Kluber (Cleveland): It’s a tight race between Kluber and Felix Hernandez in Seattle. Kluber is behind in ERA—2.44 to 2.14—and it’s a virtual draw in innings. Kluber is ahead in wins 18-15 and Cleveland is a little tougher park to pitch in than Seattle. That swings it Kluber’s way.
Manager Of The Year: Buck Showalter (Baltimore): If you had told me at the start of the year that the Orioles would get a lousy year from Chris Davis and that Manny Machado would get injured all over again just as he started to play well, I would have assumed Baltimore would be sub-.500. Instead they finished with the second-best record in all of baseball. Showalter’s performance was one for the ages.
I’ve heard arguments for Kansas City’s Ned Yost, but I completely disagree. Yes, this was the Royals’ first postseason appearance since 1985, but given how much young talent this team has and how much pitching they have, I think getting over the playoff hump should be the minimum for Yost to keep his job, not get Manager of the Year.