It’s time for round two of our award predictions, and we now move over to the American League. In case you missed it, the picks for the National League can be found here. Now, a quick overview: the five awards that will be covered are the Comeback Player of the Year, the Hank Aaron Award, the Rookie of the Year, the Cy Young Award, and, of course, the MVP. Without further ado, here are the 2016 American League award winners
Comeback Player of the Year
This award is given to a player who has, in the past, been a top player in the league but struggled in his most recent season. Many times this is due to an injury, but it could simply be due to poor play. The 2015 American League award winner was Prince Fielder of the Texas Rangers.
Stroman suffered a torn left ACL while fielding a bunt during a practice in early March of last year. With an injury like that, one could reasonably have expected him to miss the entire season, but Stroman would come back to make four starts and toss twenty-seven innings in the 2015 season. While his four starts weren’t necessarily bad, he is eligible for this list strictly due to the fact that he missed almost the entire season. In 2015, his limited innings led to a 1.67 ERA, a .963 WHIP, and a 3.54 FIP (this measures a pitchers’ ability to prevent home runs, walks, and hit batters, and the ability to get strikeouts).
So far this season, Stroman has made three starts, winning two and getting a no-decision on the third. He has pitched to a 4.22 ERA, giving up ten runs in 21.1 innings. His WHIP is .02 points higher, and his FIP is .05 points higher, so they arerelatively similar. He is also only 24-years-old.
Hank Aaron Award
The Hank Aaron award is given to the top hitter in each league for that year. The 2015 American League award winner was Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Cano is a .307 career hitter with a 162-game average of twenty-three home runs and ninety-five RBI. He is a five-time Silver Slugger, a six-time All-Star, and has finished in the top-six of MVP voting in five out of the last six years. To this point in the season, he is currently in the top-twenty in slugging and is tied for first in the AL with five home runs.
Rookie of the Year
This award is given to the best rookie in the league. To qualify as a rookie, a player can’t have more than 130 at-bats or more than fifty innings pitched in a previous season. The 2015 American League winner was Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros.
Gallo is currently at Round Rock, which is the Texas Rangers AAA affiliate, but his call-up is coming sooner rather than later. He is currently being blocked by outfielder Josh Hamilton, who should be returning to the lineup from an injury soon. He can also play third base, but with the veteran Adrian Beltre locking that position down, it looks like Gallo will need an injury to see Major League time. As it happens, Hamilton has been injury prone of late, and age isn’t on his or Beltre’s side.
Gallo had a short stint with Texas in June in which he got 108 at-bats. In his limited time, he hit a mere .204 and had an abysmal strikeout rate of about 46% (the league leader last year was Chris Davis, at 31%). With that in mind, he did hit six home runs, which put him on pace for about twenty-seven over 162 games. But that is what Gallo is going to be; he will hit with a lot of power but will also do a lot of striking out, much like an Adam Dunn-type.
This award is given to the best pitcher in the league for the year. The most dominant pitcher gets the privilege of being named the Cy Young winner. Last year’s American League winner was Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros.
So far this year, Felix has pitched extremely well, giving up only two runs in eighteen innings, which amounts to a 1.00 ERA. His only downfall is that he currently isn’t getting any help from his offense. He’s 1-1 so far in three starts, with his one loss coming against the Rangers. Hernandez gave up one earned run in that game, but suffered a 3-2 loss due to two runs scored on two errors by his defense.
Hernandez has been an outstanding pitcher throughout his big league years. He’s pitched to a 3.10 career ERA, which is pretty good considering he’s played his entire career in the AL, and has therefore faced a lot of lineups with designated hitters. He’s also pitched 200+ innings and has recorded at least 175 strike outs every year since 2008. He is 144-102 overall going into his twelfth year with the Seattle Mariners. Felix has made the All-Star team six out of the last seven years, while also finishing in the top eight in the Cy Young voting in six of those past seven years and winning it in 2010. Oddly enough, that was the one year he didn’t make the All-Star team.
Most Valuable Player
This award is given to the player who ends the year above the rest. He performs the best out of all the other players in the league, and almost always is a major contributor to his team’s success. Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays is the reigning AL MVP.
Machado has played two full season (2013, 2015) and two half seasons (2012, 2014). In his first four years, he owns .284 batting average. He hit a shattering thirty-five home runs last year, far surpassing his previous career high of fourteen. So, it would seem he’s finally starting to swing the stick better. He’s off to a good start this year, batting .392 through eleven games, which is second-best in the MLB. He is also tied for first in hits in the majors, and third in slugging and OPS. Machado is a two-time All-Star and has finished ninth and fourth in the AL MVP voting in previous years.
He is also a spectacular third baseman. He has a career .966 fielding percentage, and seems to have at least one web gem a week. Last year, he finished seventh in fielding percentage among AL third baseman. Oh, and did I mention that he has won a Gold Glove award in both of the full seasons he’s played? Yeah, he’s that good.
That concludes my 2016 American League award predictions. Again, if you are looking for the National League awards click on the link above. Now all there is to do is wait to see how the season unfolds.