Baseball Bits #3: Could Red Sox have 3rd MVP/Cy Young Pair?

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The regular season is over and it’s the perfect time to consider the MVP and Cy Young winners.  The Red Sox have some good candidates.  The Red Sox have several MVP candidates starting with Mookie Betts who showed he is an all around 5-tool player.  David Ortiz in his final season performed better than any player in his final season is also considered a frontrunner for the AL MVP.  Rick Porcello is my top choice to win the Cy Young.  He’s 22-4 with a 3.11 ERA!

 

The Sox have a good chance to have both the AL MVP and AL Cy Young winners this year, I decided to do some research on the MVP and Cy Young award winners.  How many teams had both the MVP and Cy Young award winners and what happened to their teams?  Read on to find out.  

 

The Research

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The “Baseball Bits”

 

  • Since 1956 when the Cy Young award began (it was split into 2 awards (AL and NL) in 1967), 28 teams have had an MVP and Cy Young winner in the same year (MVP/Cy Young pair)

 

  • From 1956 to 1966, there were 7 teams that had MVP/Cy Young pair in the same year

 

  • The last team to do it was the 2014 Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw won both awards)

 

  • 8 of the teams who had MVP/Cy Young pair in the same year had pitchers who won both

 

  • The last team to have different players who won MVP/Cy Young in the same year was the 2013 Tigers

 

  • 15 of the 28 Cy Young/MVP pairs came from the AL

 

  • The Red Sox only had a Cy Young and MVP Winner twice: in 1967 (Carl Yastrzemski & Jim Lonborg) and 1986 (Roger Clemens won both awards).  The Sox lost the World Series in both of those years

 

  • The Indians and Blue Jays, who could also achieve this in 2016, have never done it before

 

  • The Cubs, who are also candidates have done it once (1984, Ryne Sandberg & Rick Sutcliffe).  They lost in the NLCS.

 

  • Only one team who had an MVP/Cy Young pair in the same year missed the playoffs (the 1962 Dodgers)

 

  • 16 of the 27 (59%) who made the playoffs made the World Series, and 8 of the 16 teams won the World Series

 

  • 23 of the 27 teams (85%) made it past the ALDS/NLDS

 

The Verdict

 

One thing that this research proved is that MVP and Cy Young voters place value on players from playoff teams.  It’s not common (especially since 1968) for a team to have an MVP/Cy Young pair but it’s even less common to have that team not make the playoffs.  This year the Sox made the playoffs by winning the division so I think it increases the Red Sox’s chances to have their third MVP/Cy Young pair, especially since they dominated down the stretch to pull away from the pack.  

Below are my picks for who wins the AL and NL MVP and Cy Young:  

 

AL MVP Prediction: Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts has been on fire this year and the fact that he’s a 5 tool player just makes him more worthy of the award.  Betts and the Red Sox lineup have just been really impressive this year.  I also think even though guys like Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera would be good candidates, that the MVP and Cy Young should come from a playoff team and my research shows that voters do as well.  Betts is one of the best of this great Red Sox lineup and the Red Sox have been one of the best offensive teams in the league.  Betts has not only been a top offensive player but his defensive statistics show he’s a top gold glove candidate as well.  Big Papi may be a candidate too since it’s his last season but if voters focus purely on overall numbers, their vote will be for Betts.  

AL Cy Young Prediction: Rick Porcello

I really don’t think there are many good options besides Rick Porcello.  Corey Kluber could compete with him but I’m giving Porcello the edge.  Kluber has won before and was expected to do well this year.  He just won in 2014!  On the other hand, Rick Porcello was not expected to that well this year.  Instead, he’s top 5 in every key pitching category and first in wins so I don’t know how he does not win.  The fact that Porcello along with Hanley Ramirez, have had such great second seasons unexpectedly, vindicates Ben Cherington a bit.

NL MVP Prediction: Anthony Rizzo

Nolan Arenado would be a better candidate if team performance did not matter.  But have the Rockies done anything this season?  I was thinking of making an exception to picking MVPs and Cy Youngs from just playoff teams but there are other candidates that come from the 102-58 Chicago Cubs.  Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant would also make good candidates.  I picked Rizzo because he had a better average and more RBIs despite less home runs.

 

NL Cy Young Prediction: Max Scherzer

There are a lot of good NL pitchers that are worthy of this award.  But if anyone has proven all around excellence in pitching, it’s Max Scherzer.  Scherzer was a candidate last year but didn’t quite make it to the final 3 despite 2 no-hitters (1 that was almost a perfect game).  This year his ERA is good again (2.82) and he has a huge lead in strikeouts (277).  He also has an unbelieveable WHIP (0.94), and leads the NL in wins tied with Jon Lester.  All of those stats are Cy Young worthy.  

 

The Red Sox actually have a pretty good chance of an MVP/Cy Young pair.  I don’t see many players who can beat out Rick Porcello and the Sox have such a good lineup that I’m more than 50% sure a Red Sox player will win the MVP.  The chances are looking good but the winners would need to be really good because this has only happened 28 times.  Are the Red Sox a realistic candidate?  We’ll find out soon and hopefully that means they also have a good chance to win it all.

 

Betts, Papi Homer, lead Red Sox to Victory

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Man on 1st, one out.  Big Papi up to bat.  On a line drive, he hits a homer to right!  The Red Sox lead the Indians, 6-2.

After being postponed for extreme cold on Monday, the Red Sox took down the Cleveland Indians 6-2 in their 2016 Opening Day victory.  David Ortiz and Mookie Betts both hit big dingers to lift the Red Sox over Terry Francona’s new team.  David Price also made his Red Sox debut in the game, striking out 10 and giving up 2 ER and 5 hits in 6.0 innings.

Neither team got a hit until the 2nd inning, when Travis Shaw and Brock Holt both singled.  Meanwhile, David Price had kept the Indians to no hits through two. In the 3rd, after a JBJ single, Mookie Betts hit a two run bomb into left!  Mookie Betts had hit the first of a potential many homers.  David Ortiz later cracked a strong double to right center with two outs.  It was almost an additional homer but went too low.

The Sox were up 2-0 going into the 4th, but the Indians took charge in their half of this inning.  Francisco Lindor got the base hit, and after additional singles by Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes, he scored.  Juan Uribe drove in Santana on another base hit but the inning ended with two left on base.

After a quiet inning at the plate, David Price and the Sox took charge in the bottom of the 5th.  The first out was a liner Mookie Betts had to dive to get.  He chased it, leaped in the air and snagged it!!! What a catch! This is the kind of stuff Betts does best.

The Red Sox lineup then worked its magic in the top of the 6th, Hanley Ramirez got a base hit, and Travis Shaw knocked him to third with another hit!  Brock Holt drove Ramirez in and Shaw to second base.

Indians ace Corey Kluber was beginning to get tired, and he showed it.  Blake Swihart grounded into a force out; Shaw went to third, Holt got out at second, and he was safe.  That was followed by a wild pitch with JBJ at bat to score Shaw and send Swiahrt to second.  Bradley Jr. walked and that did it for exhausted Kluber.  Not the best day for him.

Right handed reliever Jeff Manship took his place.  He took control, and Mookie Betts ended the inning on a double play.   David Price kept control in the bottom of the 6th, striking out one, and finishing off a good outing with a 1-2-3.  With Manship pitching in the seventh, Xander Bogaerts got to second on an error.  David Ortiz got an intentional walk.  Hanley Ramirez also walked to load the bases.

Ross Detwiler came in and casually finished the inning.  Junichi Tazawa pitched a 1-2-3 as Tyler Naquin came in to the game as a pinch hitter.  In the 8th, Joba Chamberlain came in to pitch and the outfield re-assembled to fit Naquin.  Blake Swihart tried to steal after a walk but got caught and Chamberlain finished the inning hitless.

In the top of the 9th, the Red Sox were at it again.  Dustin Pedroia walked, and when Big Papi came up to bat, he hit his first dinger of the season.  He has one more year to extend his finger record after reaching 500 last year.  Hanley Ramirez singled after Ortiz cleared the bases.

Craig Kimbrel easily finished the game in around 15 pitches.  Kimbrel, the new closer is one of the best in the league.  The Red Sox took down the Indians 6-2.  Mookie Betts and David Ortiz along with David Price were stars of the game. The Dox finish the series in the next two nights.

Ranking The Teams 30-25: My Version: The Dreaded Bottom

Another solid start by Matt Garza is wasted

 

Every year around mid-February ESPN’s David Schoenfield has done his ultimate preseason power rankings.  Last year I followed.  Now over the entire February Break, starting today, I’m doing it again.  So welcome to my 2nd annual preseason power rankings. We start with the easiest teams to rank, the bottom ones.  Alright, now for #30.

30. colorado-rockies Colorado Rockies

Welcome to the bottom Rockies.  So, this team has focused their off season mainly on pitching, trying to fix a horrible rotation.  The rotation still sucks real bad.  The bullpen is what has improved.  Signing guys like Jason Motte and Chad Qualls and trading for Jake McGee isn’t going to help the rotation much.  They do however have some young guys in the rotation, which is a sign of an upcoming rebuild, which could be a good thing for the future.

But with some of the signings they made, they weren’t supporting that.  Guys like Gerardo Parra and Mark Reynolds aren’t going to last as long as say, Jon Gray.  Those were the biggest signings this off season, and a lot of the bullpen guys are a little washed up, too.  This is still a very old team, and they are in serious need of a rebuild.

Even if they did snag a couple of good hitters, the guys in the Rockies lineup that are still young don’t know how to hit.  Well, some of them pay off in the field, like DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado, even hard hitting Carlos Gonzalez is a stellar fielder.  But in the end this team is still a washed up mess who’s starters are only going to last a few innings and even in a batter-favored ballpark, still lacks hitting in some parts of the lineup.

Projected Record: 67-95

 

29. cleveland-indians  Cleveland Indians

The Indians were a mediocre team in 2015.  What happened?  Three major things happened to this team.  First, some guys like Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis are getting old and washed up.  Signing Mike Napoli didn’t help much either, Santana’s only older by a few years.  Also, they lost a few players to free agency and didn’t sign enough players to make up for it.  Ryan Raburn, Jayson Aquino, Chris Johnson, Mike Aviles and Gavin Floyd were lost this off season. Their only signings, Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis.  Third, injuries are really affecting the team.  Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis are still recovering from their injuries.  Trading away Michael Bourn, David Murphy and Nick Swisher last July also hurt.

But there are places I could be wrong.  I am like the only person ranking the Indians this low, and I have good reasoning, but there’s a whole other side to it that I just don’t believe.  Here’s some of it:

The Indians had a really good farm system going into last season, and they have some of those guys in their lineup, like Francisco Lindor, Abraham Almonte and Giovany Urshela.  Losing Ryan Raburn hurt though, and they don’t have any more major prospects coming up soon to replace him.

Even though they didn’t sign many people, they traded for their fair share.  They acquired both Kirby Yates and Joey Butler via trade, and they only had to give up cash considerations.  That cash did however help the Rays sign Steve Pearce to replace Butler.

Even though those players are recovering from injuries, they’re the stars of this team, maybe they’ll pick up the pace and shine late in the season. But don’t be too too hopeful for the Indians, they need to get really lucky if they want a chance at anything.

Projected Record: 68-94

 

28. milwaukee-brewers  Milwaukee Brewers

This is another team that needs a lot of good luck if they want to do well.  Even though in my projected standings, the Brewers are in dead last, worst in the MLB, they just have more of an opportunity to improve in the future, unlike the two teams below them in the ranks, that completely screwed themselves for the next few years likely.  This is the point in the ranks where you’ll start to see some rebuilding teams that have room for improvement down the road.  They’re the worst team this year.  In the future, that could change.

They do have a decent, somewhat young lineup.  Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun are very intriguing.  Orlando Arcia could be a future star.  But especially after trading Khris Davis, they have some serious holes.  The outfield will have to work with Domingo Santana, Ramon Flores and Kirk Nieuwenhuis to fill the spots not taken up by Braun.  Chris Carter and Scooter Gennett aren’t the most intriguing, and either Aaron Hill or Will Middlebrooks will have to step it up at third base.  Don’t even get me started on the pitching.

Matt Garza and Wily Peralta will compete for the team ace, even though neither of them has any ace qualities.  Then you have lately acquired Chase Anderson, followed by Taylor Jungmann, and then Jimmy Nelson.  Alright, I’ll give them credit for the lower rotation.  But the bullpen really sucks.  After trading both K-Rod and Jonathan Broxton, they are left with Will Smith, Michael Blazek and Tyler Thornburg as closer options.  Zach Davies or Tyler Cravy will be the long reliever, but the rest of the bullpen is out of place.  So maybe this year will be a long year, but the Brewers actually could improve in the future.  They have more prospects like Brett Phillips on the way after Arcia, and this team looks to be in full rebuild.

Projected Record: 65-97

 

27. atlanta-braves  Atlanta Braves

If the Braves want to succeed, they need some serious luck.  Actually, even though they have future potential, that just won’t happen this year, it’s nearly impossible.  Especially with the rotation they have.  After trading Shelby Miller, the Braves are left with Julio Teheran as an ace, Bud Norris as an SP2, and they have to depend on Mike Foltynewicz, Matt Wisler, Williams Perez, Kyle Kendrick and David Holmberg to fill the other spots.  The bullpen’s even more of a mess.

The lineup isn’t great either.  Freddie Freeman is really the only major bat, even though Nick Markakis, Ender Inciarte and Erick Aybar have some power.  Gordon Beckham and Emilio Bonifacio need a breakout year if they have any hopes of doing anything, and platooning outfielders Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn need a wake up call. they were once everyday starters.

Despite being owners to the #1 farm system in the MLB, signing all washed up veterans his making less room for these prospects who could one day make the Braves great again.  The Braves need to stop stockpiling on older players and let the young minor league stars take over the lineup.

Projected Record: 66-96

 

26. philadelphia.phillies Philadelphia Phillies

Alright, this team may be ready for a better year, but they kind of sabotaged their future.  They were in a good rebuild exiting 2015 and might be a little better this year, but signing veterans to short-term contracts is not helping this team for when they could be good enough to win a pennant if the prospects live up to their name.  For a couple of years, despite my much better predicted record for this team then the teams just above it in the rankings, they’ll be stuck in this position.

What they did this off season is fix their rotation by signing Jeremy Hellickson and Charlie Morton, and trading their young closer Ken Giles for Brett Oberholtzer and Vincent Velasquez.  Okay, Velasquez could be a long-term solution, but not the other guys.  They also snagged Peter Bourjos, Edward Mujica, Andrew Bailey and Ernesto Frieri, all somewhat close to retirement.

What should they have done this off season?  Traded away all their older players for more prospects to support their farm system. Ryan Howard still is around.  At least the rotation looks a lot better, but unless they get some more prospects, that won’t last very long.  The only good thing that comes out of is a couple years where the Phillies get like 10 more wins.

Projected Record: 75-87

 

25. la-angels-of-anaheim Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Halos have some big holes, and need a lot of luck if they want to even be in the playoff race at all.  Their rotation is not very promising.  Jered Weaver is going nowhere but down, I have a feeling Garrett Richards‘ performance in 2015 might have been a one time thing, I don’t know how well Tyler Skaggs and C.J. Wilson will come back, Andrew Heaney isn’t quite ready, and Hector Santiago and Matt Shoemaker are all washed up.  They also have holes in left field and second base, unless Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry create an efficient platoon.  Besides Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar, they don’t have much of a lineup.  They are just a washed up team that needs to rebuild.

 Projected Record: 71-91

 

So that’s all for today with my preseason power rankings.  Be on the lookout tomorrow for Part Two, 24-19.  I also will be releasing my NBA Midseason Report soon.  So who will be in the next wave?