The Red Sox — who led the league in run differential with +184 — also lead this year’s American League All-Star team with three selections, including David Ortiz, who had one of the best final seasons of all time.
Babe Ruth Award (or Player of the Year) | Mike Trout, Angels. 29 home runs, 100 RBIs, .315 average, .441 on-base, .550 slugging, 123 runs, 30 stolen bases, 116 walks, 35 win shares, 10.6 WAR. Trout, 24, led the league in WAR for the fifth straight season. It’s not his fault the Angels are bad.
2. Jose Altuve, Astros
3. Mookie Betts, Red Sox
4. Kyle Seager, Mariners
5. Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
Pee Wee Reese Award (or Teammate of the Year) | David Ortiz, Red Sox. 38 home runs, 127 RBIs, .315 average, .401 on-base, .620 slugging, 48 doubles, 24 win shares, 5.1 WAR. Ortiz could have won this award in 2003, his first season with the Red Sox, when he was the best clutch hitter in the league. He could have won this award in 2004, when he was the best clutch hitter in the league and ALCS MVP and the Red Sox won their first World Series since 1918. He could have won this award in 2005, when he led the league in RBIs. He could have won this award in 2007, when he led the league in walks and on-base percentage and the Red Sox won the World Series again. He could have won this award in 2013, when he said “this is our fucking city” before the Red Sox’s first home game after the Boston Marathon bombings and he was World Series MVP. There hasn’t been a player with this much gravitas since Kirk Gibson.
Ortiz has hit .295/.409/.553 with 17 home runs and 60 RBIs in 82 postseason games. Appreciate him for one more October.
2. Ian Desmond, Rangers
3. Mike Napoli, Cleveland
Walter Johnson Award | Justin Verlander, Tigers. 16-9, 3.04 ERA, 254 strikeouts and 57 walks in 227.2 innings, 20 win shares, 6.6 WAR. Verlander led all pitchers in WAR — and he’s engaged to Kate Upton, an achievement that can’t be measured by advanced metrics.
Jackie Robinson Award | Michael Fulmer, Tigers. 11-7, 3.06 ERA, 132 strikeouts and 42 walks in 159 innings, 14 win shares, 4.9 WAR. Gary Sanchez was Babe Ruth for one-third of the season, but Fulmer was one of the best starting pitchers in the league.
2. Gary Sanchez, Yankees
3. Chris Devenski, Astros
Connie Mack Award | John Farrell, Red Sox. 93-69. The Red Sox went from worst to first for the second time in four seasons.
2. Jeff Bannister, Rangers
3. Terry Francona, Cleveland
Catcher | Salvador Perez, Royals. 22 home runs, 64 RBIs, .247 average, .288 on-base, .438 slugging, 18 win shares, 2.8 WAR. The weakest position on the board. Perez was the easy choice. Best fielder | Perez
First base | Miguel Cabrera, Tigers. 38 home runs, 108 RBIs, .316 average, .393 on-base, .563 slugging, 25 win shares, 4.9 WAR. He hit .346/.423/.635 with 20 home runs and 55 RBIs in the second half of the season. Best fielder | Mitch Moreland, Rangers.
Second base | Jose Altuve, Astros. 24 home runs, 96 RBIs, .338 average, .396 on-base, .531 slugging, 108 runs, 216 hits, 42 doubles, 30 stolen bases, 36 win shares, 7.7 WAR. Altuve won his second batting title and had 200 hits for the third straight season. He has a 37 percent chance to reach 3,000 hits and a 3 percent chance to break Pete Rose’s all-time record. Best fielder | Ian Kinsler, Tigers.
2. Robinson Cano, Mariners
3. Ian Kinsler, Tigers
4. Brian Dozier, Twins
Third base | Kyle Seager, Mariners. 30 home runs, 99 RBIs, .278 average, .359 on-base, .499 slugging, 31 win shares, 6.9 WAR. Probably not the best player in this family. Best fielder | Adrian Beltre, Rangers.
2. Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
3. Adrian Beltre, Rangers
4. Manny Machado, Orioles
A Golden Age of third basemen. Seager, Donaldson, Beltre and Machado (23 years old) were among the top 10 players in the league. Kris Bryant (23) was the best player in the National League. Nolan Arenado (25) led the league in home runs and RBIs. This is the best group since Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Graig Nettles, Buddy Bell, Ron Cey and Doug DeCinces in the late 1970s.
Shortstop | Carlos Correa, Astros. 20 home runs, 96 RBIs, .274 average, .361 on-base, .451 slugging, 26 win shares, 5.9 WAR. Played the last four weeks with an injured left shoulder. Best fielder | Francisco Lindor, Cleveland.
Left field | Melky Cabrera, White Sox. 14 home runs, 86 RBIs, .296 average, .345 on-base, .455 slugging, 42 doubles, 20 win shares, 2.6 WAR. He hit .317/.361/.528 with five home runs and 26 RBIs in September. Best fielder | Brett Gardner, Yankees.
Center field | Mike Trout, Angels. 29 home runs, 100 RBIs, .315 average, .441 on-base, .550 slugging, 123 runs, 30 stolen bases, 116 walks, 35 win shares, 10.6 WAR. Trout leads the league in a new category every season — runs and stolen bases in 2012, runs and walks in 2013, runs and RBIs in 2014, slugging in 2015 and walks and on-base percentage this season. Best fielder | Kevin Pillar, Blue Jays.
Right field | Mookie Betts, Red Sox. 31 home runs, 113 RBIs, .318 average, .363 on-base, .534 slugging, 122 runs, 214 hits, 42 doubles, 26 stolen bases, 29 win shares, 9.6 WAR. The best defensive player in the league. Best fielder | Betts
2. Adam Eaton, White Sox
Designated hitter | David Ortiz, Red Sox. 38 home runs, 127 RBIs, .315 average, .401 on-base, .620 slugging, 48 doubles, 24 win shares, 5.1 WAR. Ortiz led the league in slugging, RBIs and doubles. The best final seasons of all time:
Starting rotation |
1. Justin Verlander, Tigers. 16-9, 3.04 ERA, 254 strikeouts and 57 walks in 227.2 innings, 20 win shares, 6.6 WAR. He was 8-3 with a 1.96 ERA in the second half of the season and led the league in strikeouts.
2. Corey Kluber, Cleveland. 18-9, 3.14 ERA, 227 strikeouts and 57 walks in 215 innings, two shutouts, 20 win shares, 6.4 WAR. He will start Game 2 of the ALDS against the Red Sox.
3. Rick Porcello, Red Sox. 22-4, 3.15 ERA, 189 strikeouts and 32 walks in 223 innings, 13 HBPs, 19 win shares, 5.0 WAR. He had a career year, leading the league in wins and strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.9).
4. Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees. 14-4, 3.07 ERA, 165 strikeouts and 36 walks in 199.2 innings, 18 win shares, 5.4 WAR. Missed his last two starts, finishing one out short of 200 innings.
5. Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays. 15-2, 3.00 ERA, 161 strikeouts and 63 walks in 192 innings, 17 win shares, 4.8 WAR. He led the league in ERA and winning percentage in his first season as a starter.
6. Cole Hamels, Rangers
7. Chris Sale, White Sox
8. J.A. Happ, Blue Jays
9. Jose Quintana, White Sox
Reliever | Zach Britton, Orioles. 2-1, 0.54 ERA, 47 saves / 47 opportunities, 74 strikeouts and 18 walks in 67 innings, 10 wild pitches, 19 win shares, 4.3 WAR. Britton had the lowest single-season ERA of any full-time closer in history.
2. Andrew Miller, Yankees-Cleveland
- Koufax (27-9, 1.73 ERA) won his third Cy Young Award, then retired with an arthritic condition. ↩
- Jackson, Felsch, Cicotte and five White Sox teammates were banned for “fixing” the 1919 World Series. ↩
- Mussina won 20 games for the only time in his career. ↩
- Mercer committed suicide in a San Francisco hotel after the season. ↩