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A. L. East

“That’s Amore!” 2016 Award Front Runners

The trade deadline is a week away, and the playoff picture is coming into focus. Many players have a had big seasons, and I think it’s a great time to look at the 2016 MLB award front runners. Clayton Kershaw was headed for the NL Cy Young, and potentially the NL MVP, but a recent back injury is caused him to miss time. A recent setback in rehab is causing the strong lefty to miss additional time. Of course, there have been a number of rookies to get the call and make solid impacts at the Major League level. This week, let’s focus our attention on the leaders for 2016 awards.

American League MVP

TrumboThere are two players that are making a case for the 2016 AL MVP. Mark Trumbo and Jose Altuve have had monster seasons. I could easily give the award to Altuve, but I’m going with Mark Trumbo. He’s been a great acquisition for the Baltimore Orioles, and he’s played an integral role in helping the Orioles to the top of the AL East. Trumbo has slashed .283/.336/.570 with 30 HR and 73 RBI. He’s on pace for 40+ HR and 100+ RBI. It’s a career year for the slugger, and it could be enough to secure the AL MVP.

His 38.0 Hard% is tied for 30th in MLB, but there’s no denying every time he makes contact there’s a good chance the baseball could leave the park. While Orioles pitching has been suspect, Trumbo has allowed relief for pitchers that are looking for run support. Trumbo has made solid contact throughout the season and has a 70.3 Contact% which is near the top out of all power hitters. If he reaches 40+ HR and 100+ RBI I believe Mark Trumbo is a lock for the 2016 AL MVP.

National League MVP

ArenadoWhile it was easy for me to choose Trumbo for the AL MVP, the National League picture is closer. Two names are on the top of my list: Kris Bryant and Nolan Arenado. While their numbers are similar, Arenado has 39 fewer strikeouts. Arenado has become one of the toughest outs and is my early pick for the NL MVP. He’s turned himself into the top third baseman in the National League and has slashed .288/.359/.563 . The Rockies are under .500, but Arenado has played to the best of his ability.

Arenado’s 37.2 Hard% has lead to 28 HR and 73 RBI. While there will always be naysayers who bring Coors Field into the conversation, Arenado has true power. His splits show this as Nolan has hit .307 with 13 HR and 43 RBI at Coors, and .273 with 11 HR and 30 RBI on the road. Arenado continues to shine and 2016 will be the year where he gets the credit he deserves.

American League Cy Young

Chris SaleWhile we’ve seen numerous players get the Cy Young award on winning teams, 2016 may be the opposite case. Chris Sale has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the past few seasons. His strikeout totals pile year after year, and 2016 has been no different. While he’s had a few blemish games, he’s arguably the top pitcher in the American League. Chris Tillman has been dynamite for the Orioles, but no one can compares to Sale’s 1.01 WHIP.

Sale’s 78.7 LOB% is top-20 in MLB and he’s his 16.9 Soft% is the second-lowest of his career. His Hard% is a bit higher (30.6%) than his career average of 26.7%. It remains to be seen if he finishes the season as a member of the Chicago White Sox, but if he is traded I have a feeling it will be to an American League team. The only current knock on Sale is his attitude. A clubhouse gaffe caused him to miss Saturday’s start, and he’s headed toward missing a second-straight start as the White Sox have suspended Sale five days. The lefty currently sits at 14-3 with a 3.18 ERA and 1[29:29] K:BB. He looked like a lock to reach 20 wins, but the question now is whether or not Sale reaches the high teens. I project Sale to end at 18-5. Will this be good enough to earn the AL Cy Young?

National League Cy Young

FernandezWhile each award will be extremely close, I believe the NL Cy Young will be the closest. Clayton Kershaw was walking away with the award before a back issue put him on the DL. Kershaw currently sits at 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA. I want to name Kershaw the Cy Young, but  his back issue may see him fall behind in the race if he misses a month or more. That leaves four pitchers who can contend for the prestigious Award. Johnny Cueto, Stephen Strasburg, Jose Fernandez, and Jake Arrieta remain in the hunt. Arrieta has shown signs of struggle before the All-Star Break, and Fernandez may be headed to an innings limit. While Cueto and Strasburg have been extremely dominant, I’m going to go out on a limb and say Jose Fernandez wins the 2016 NL Cy Young.

Fernandez’s 175 strikeouts are second only to Max Scherzer’s 181. His 1.03 WHIP is 10th in MLB and his 13.05 K9 is first. Fernandez has been able to strand 77.1% of runners on base and has the MLB-leading 67.9 Contact%. The hard-throwing righty sits at 12-4 with a 2.54 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 1[75:35] K:BB. He’s been one of the top MLB, and fantasy, pitchers and 2016 may be the year he wins the NL Cy Young.

 

AL Rookie of the Year

NaquinThe Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers sit atop their divisions. Tyler Naquin (CLE) and Nomar Mazara (TEX) have made instant impacts on their teams’ success. While Mazara has slowed down since a fast start, Tyler Naquin has stayed consistent and keeps producing. Naquin has slashed .322/.383/.628 with 12 HR and 29 RBI. He’s been successful on 75% of his stolen base attempts, and has been one of the best waiver wire acquisitions in fantasy baseball.

Naquin sits atop all MLB rookies with a 1.011 OPS and .628 SLG. He’s made every at-bat count, and this has led to a 42.4 Hard%. His 75.5 Contact% is not only a top in MLB, but a top of all rookies. The rookie outfielder has taken Cleveland by storm, and could be one of the rookies to watch come playoff time.

NL Rookie of the Year

StoryWhile there were a few awards that had many deserving players, the NL ROY is hands down Trevor Story. He’s taken MLB by storm, and was my top preseason sleeper. How often do we see rookie hitters reach 40 HR? Currently at 26, there is a good chance Story pushes for 40 HR and 90 RBI. Yes, strikeouts are a concern, but he’s been one of the best power-hitting shortstops in baseball.

One may ask how good is Story’s power? Only two players have better Hard% than Story’s 44.3%: David Ortiz (45.0%) and Matt Carpenter (44.5%). Nearly 80% (78.6%) of the time the ball is in the zone Story will make contact. He’s been one of the top hitters and his 26 home runs are fourth only two Mark Trumbo (30), Todd Frazier (28), and Edwin Encarnacion (27). During one of our pre-season radio shows I stated Story will allow Rockies fans to finally get over Troy Tulowitzki. Story has been able to do that, and his headed for the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year.

AL Manager of the Year

Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians

NL Manager of the Year

Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs

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(Click the RED link to listen)

Major League Fantasy Football Radio: Join Ej GarrCorey D Roberts, and Coach Jeff Nelson live Saturday July 30th from 1-3pm EST for episode #65 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. This is a live broadcast and we take callers at 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the hosts. This week we will break down the NFC South from an NFL and fantasy perspective.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

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(Click the RED link to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio: Join Corey D Roberts, Calvin Martin, and Coach Andy Macuga live on Sunday July 31st, 2016 from 7-9pm EST for episode #74 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week is ALL about the trade deadline deals and how they effect us in fantasy.

Andy is the Head Baseball Coach for Borrego Springs H.S. in So Cal, and Calvin is a veteran owner in MLFB leagues as well as the commish of MLFB3.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

I'm a former collegiate and semi-pro baseball player. Chicago sports are the love of my life [Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls] as well as European football. I promise Cubs fans that if Theo can't bring a World Series, I will knock down all doors until I work my way up to GM and bring home a World Series to the Northside of Chicago!

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