2015 Gold Glove Awards; BBWAA Award Finalists

The 2015 Major League Baseball Gold Glove award winners were announced Tuesday night on ESPN2. Given out each year to the players who are judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding Gold Gloveposition in both the National League and the American League, the award is voted on by the managers and coaches in each league (managers can not vote for their own players).

Marking the 59th annual Gold Glove Awards, which began back in 1957, there have been some terrific players to receive the honor. However, no other player has won more Gold Gloves in their career or in a row than Greg Maddux, who took home 18 total and 13 consecutively.

While Maddux’s records seem fairly safe for now, there were some winners for 2015 who could win quite a few Gold Gloves as the years go on. Here’s a recap of the winners, with my thoughts on each:

CATCHER

AL Nominees – Jason Castro, Russell Martin and Salvador Perez

AL Winner – Salvador Perez (3rd career)

NL Nominees – Yadier Molina, Buster Posey and Wilson Ramos

NL Winner – Yadier Molina (8th career)

Picking up his third straight career Gold Glove award, Salvador Perez was by far the best catcher in all of the American League in 2015. On the National League side of things, Yadier Molina takes home his eighth straight Gold Glove award. One of the best at controlling a pitching staff in all of baseball, it’s no surprise that Molina won yet again.

PITCHER

AL Nominees Mark Buehrle, Sonny Gray and Dallas Keuchel

AL Winner – Dallas Keuchel (2nd career)

NL Nominees – Jake Arrieta, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke

NL Winner – Zack Greinke (2nd career)

Dallas Keuchel had a great year and defended his position well all year long, earning him his second career Gold Glove award. Likewise, Zack Greinke had an equally good year for the Dodgers. Both are strong candidate for winning the 2015 Cy Young awards as well.

LEFT FIELDER

AL Nominees – Yoenis Cespedes, Brett Gardner and Alex Gordon

AL Winner – Yoenis Cespedes (1st career)

NL Nominees – Starling Marte, Justin Upton and Christian Yelich

NL Winner – Starling Marte (1st career)

There are a lot of good left fielders in baseball, but Yoenis Cespedes and Starling Marte stand above the rest. Each picked up their first career Gold Gloves, and both could be looking at many more down the road. With them roaming the outfield, they each give their respective teams great defense each and every game.

CENTER FIELDER

AL Nominees – Kevin Kiermier, Kevin Pillar and Mike Trout

AL Winner – Kevin Kiermier (1st career)

NL Nominees – Billy Hamilton, Andrew McCutchen and A.J. Pollock

NL Winner – A.J. Pollock (1st career)

Keeping with the theme of first time winners, both award recipients for center field won their very first award on Tuesday night. Kevin Kiermier has really broken out for the Rays as both an offensive threat and an outfielder who can grab anything hit his way. A.J. Pollock is also a newcomer who has done much of the same.

RIGHT FIELDER

AL Nominees – Kole Calhoun, J.D. Martinez and Josh Reddick

AL Winner – Kole Calhoun (1st career)

NL Nominees – Curtis Granderson, Bryce Harper and Jason Heyward

NL Winner – Jason Heyward (3rd career)

Although any of the three candidates for the American League would’ve been worth winner, I’m glad Kole Calhoun took home the honor. He had a great season, picking up his first career Gold Glove. Jason Heyward picks up his third career Gold Glove after playing a great right field for the Cardinals.

FIRST BASE

AL Nominees – Eric Hosmer, Mike Napoli and Mark Teixeira

AL Winner – Eric Hosmer (3rd career)

NL Nominees – Brandon Belt, Paul Goldschmidt and Adrian Gonzalez

NL Winner – Paul Goldschmidt (2nd career)

Eric Hosmer takes home his third straight Gold Glove award for first base, as he was a big factor in the Royals making it to, and ultimately winning, the World Series. Paul Goldschmidt didn’t guide his team to the playoffs, but he did play another great season at first base for the D-backs, earning him his second career Gold Glove.

SECOND BASE

AL Nominees Jose Altuve, Brian Dozier and Ian Kinsler

AL Winner – Jose Altuve (1st career)

NL Nominees – Dee Gordon, D.J. LeMahieu and Brandon Phillips

NL Winner – Dee Gordon (1st career)

Both Jose Altuve and Dee Gordon won their first career Gold Glove awards on Tuesday, and each are very deserving. Altuve has always stood out at the shortstop position ever since breaking out offensively a few years ago. Gordon also was very deserving of the first of what is sure to be many Gold Gloves for him.

SHORTSTOP

AL Nominees – Xander Bogaerts, Alcides Escobar and Didi Gregorius

AL Winner – Alcides Escobar (1st career)

NL Nominees – Brandon Crawford, Adeiny Hechavarria and Andrelton Simmons

NL Winner – Brandon Crawford (1st career)

Alcides Escobar is the third Royals player to win a Gold Glove award in 2015, and, like Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez, he is very worthy. Brandon Crawford also picked up his first career award, after having another solid year at the shortstop position for the Giants.

THIRD BASE

AL Nominees – Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria and Manny Machado

AL Winner – Manny Machado (2nd career)

NL Nominees – Nolan Arenado, Matt Duffy and Todd Frazier

NL Winner – Nolan Arenado (3rd career)

Manny Machado won his second career Gold Glove award on Tuesday evening, after another brilliant year at the hot corner for Baltimore. He is one of the most exciting players to watch man his position in all of baseball. As is Nolan Arenado, who makes virtually every play and deservingly won his third straight Gold Glove.

2015 GOLD GLOVE AWARDS FAST FACTS

  • There were nine first-time Gold Glove winners.
  • The Royals had the most Gold Gloves winners, with three.
  • There were seven Gold Glove winners who also won a Gold Glove in 2014.

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Also announced last night were the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) award finalists for 2015 Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Most Valuable Player. For the most part, I agree with the finalists, but there are a few I’m surprised about.

Here are the finalists, with who I have winning (click their names to find out why):

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR FINALISTS

American League: Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Miguel Sano

National League: Kris Bryant, Matt Duffy and Jung Ho Kang

I have Carlos Correa and Kris Bryant winning the Rookie of the Year award.

CY YOUNG FINALISTS

American League: Sonny Gray, Dallas Keuchel and David Price

National League: Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw

I have David Price and Jake Arrieta winning the Cy Young award.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER FINALISTS

American League: Lorenzo Cain, Josh Donaldson and Mike Trout

National League: Paul Goldschmidt, Bryce Harper and Joey Votto

I have Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper winning the Most Valuable Player award.

The winner of each award will begin being announced next week on MLB Network.

Here’s the schedule:

AL & NL Rookie of the Year: November 16th

AL & NL Cy Young: November 18th

AL & NL Most Valuable Player: November 19th

I plan on posting a recap of each winner, along with a look at how well I did with my predictions, in a blog entry after each award is officially announced. So be sure to check back for that at some point next week.

Recap of My Votes for the 2015 MLB Major Awards

Over the past week, or so, I’ve been typing up individual posts on who I feel most deserves the awards of American League and National League Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Most Valuable Player. I was planning to post the awardsAwards for each on back to back days, with a day in between, but I decided to publish them on six consecutive days instead.

Some of the choices were easy, while others took a great deal of debate. But in the end, I went with my gut of who I feel deserves each award the most.

In case you missed a few (or all) of my Major League Baseball award posts, I wanted to do a brief recap. Although there are a couple of picks that people will likely disagree with, this is just the way I would vote if my vote had any say.

Here are my picks that I made for each category:

American League Rookie of the Year: Carlos Correa

National League Rookie of the Year: Kris Bryant

American League Cy Young: David Price

National League Cy Young: Jake Arrieta

American League MVP: Josh Donaldson

National League MVP: Bryce Harper

Feel free to click the links associated with each award to be taken to my post on it, giving the full reasoning behind my picks. I’m planning to post a blog entry covering the winners of each award when they’re announced towards the middle of next month, comparing my original picks to the winners and giving my overall thoughts, so be sure to check back for that when the time arrives.

My Vote for 2015 N.L. Rookie of the Year

As I stated in my American League Rookie of the Year post, watching young players succeed upon their first year in the majors is always fun. Though it never guarantees that any given player will carry that early success throughout their career, it’s always a good indication of which players are going to be stars for years to come. We certainly had a fair share of those type of players in the National League this season, with players such as Justin Bour, Joc Pederson, Matt Duffy, Jung Ho Kang, Kris Bryant and Noah Syndergaard all having seasons worthy of recognition. However, in the end, only one player can win the coveted Rookie of the Year award.Bryant

Joc Pederson began the season on a tear right out of the gate, but he saw a tremendous downfall in his stats as the season went on, especially in the second half. His 25 home runs are impressive, but his .210 average (the lowest of all National League rookies) is definitely not. Therefore, he won’t be getting the award.

Another player who had a noteworthy season but not an award worthy season is Matt Duffy. All season long, Duffy was an impactful player for the Giants, notching 76 RBI’s all while hitting a cool .296, but he doesn’t even finish in the top three or four in my mind.

Likewise, Jung Ho Kang (15 homers and a .287 average) and Noah Syndergaard (3.24 ERA with 166 strikeouts) each had a big impact on their respective teams, but neither of them will take home the top rookie honor for the NL. Even so, both helped their teams make the playoffs, and both should be big impact players moving forward.

Justin Bour would likely receive more consideration if he had recorded a higher batting average, as his 23 home runs and 76 RBI’s are impressive. Bour also held the unique ability of coming up big for the Marlins throughout the season, but there was one player in the National League who simply didn’t give any other player a shot.

There is absolutely only one choice for the National League Rookie of the Year award for 2015, and that’s Kris Bryant. Although he struck out nearly 200 times, Bryant came through for the Cubs more often than not this year. He was in fact a big reason they made it to the postseason, recording 26 homers and 99 RBI’s for 2015. As he begins to gain more experience, expect his numbers only to grow more an more. It’s truly amazing the talent level that Bryant possesses.

My Vote for 2015 A.L. Rookie of the Year

Watching young players succeed upon their first year in the majors is always fun. Though it never guarantees that any given player will carry that early success throughout their career, it’s always a good indication of which players are going to be stars for years to come. We certainly had a fair share of those type of players in the American League this season, with players such as Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Miguel Sano, Lance McCullers Jr., and Carson Smith all having seasons worthy of recognition. However, in the end, only one player can win the coveted Rookie of the Year award.Correa

Carson Smith had a terrific rookie season as a reliever with the Mariners. Posting a 2.31 ERA over the course of 70 innings pitched, all while striking out 92, Smith will likely have many more years to come as a top notch relief pitcher. But although his year was great, it’s no where near good enough for the Rookie of the Year.

Lance McCullers Jr., like Smith, is a pitcher who had a good season, making 22 starts for the Astros and striking out more batters than innings pitched. However, also like Carson Smith, McCullers won’t be taking home any hardware in 2015.

Miguel Sano is a solid candidate for the top rookie honor, but he didn’t quite do enough to receive it in my mind. His 18 homers and 52 RBI’s over just 79 games with the Twins is very impressive, but the numbers just aren’t there for him. Even so, Sano is going to be a force to be reckoned with for the next decade or so.

It came down to Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor for me, but Lindor just misses out. He really exploded onto the scene with the Indians back in June and is cementing himself as a future Gold Glove winner. Lindor’s .356 on base percentage and 12 homers as a shortstop are impressive, but not as impressive as another fellow rookie shortstop.

For me, while it was close between Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa, there’s no other choice for 2015 American League Rookie of the Year over Correa. Hyped ever since he was selected as the number one overall draft pick in 2012, Correa burst into the Astros lineup and never looked back. Blasting 22 home runs (an Astros rookie record) and knocking in 68 runs, Correa is sure to be a future All-Star shortstop for Houston.

Kris Bryant Even Better than We Thought?

Ever since he blasted 43 homers in the minor leagues back in 2014, nearly everyone around the baseball world has heard of Kris Bryant. Viewed by many as the player that would send the Cubs back to the playoffs — so far, so good — there was no doubt that Bryant was going to be a great player.Bryant

But him becoming a great player as quickly as he has become one is somewhat shocking for many people. At only 23 years old, the former first round draft pick from 2013 has already been through some ups and downs in the majors, but Bryant has been swinging a hot bat as of late. Over his last 15 games, Bryant is batting .339 with 6 homers and 14 RBI’s — including a walk off homer on Monday afternoon (already the second of his career).

Collectively so far this season, Bryant is hitting .262 with 20 home runs, 75 RBI’s and 12 stolen bases, leading all rookies in RBI’s by a wide margin. With stats like that, it’s no wonder that the majority of fans around baseball are projecting him to walk away with the National League Rookie of the Year award. But many see even greater things for Bryant and the Cubs in 2015.

It’s far too long into the season for anyone to write off the Cubs’ record as a fluke or a hot streak. The Cubs are good — it’s as simple as that. While young stars Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo are helping lead the charge, it’s Bryant who is truly powering the postseason push. Currently holding the second Wild Card spot, the Cubs look to be in good position heading into the final month of the season.

No matter if the Cubs make the postseason or not, Kris Bryant is having an unbelievable season. The amazing thing is, he will get better and better in the years to come. That should be enough to make Cubs fans see visions of playoff runs for the next several seasons, with Bryant leading the way.

2015 Award Frontrunners at the All-Star Break

Sunday marked the last day of MLB games until after the All-Star break, and although the baseball world is looking forward to seeing baseball’s best sluggers put on a show in the home run derby, I wanted to quickly focus my attention on the players who have posted amazing performances throughout the first half of the season.

For this post, I’m covering the players who I feel stand the best chance right now (given, it’s still early) of winning the three major awards of Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year and Cy Young. All three awards have multiple players who can be argued as being deserving, but I have my own opinion as to who deserves each award the most at this point in the season.

Most Valuable Player Award

American League: Mike TroutLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Kansas City Royals

After a couple of seasons of getting beaten out for the award by Miguel Cabrera, Trout is finally breaking out into an every season Most Valuable Player. Already having blasted 26 home runs, and well on his way to another 100+ run year, Trout could be picking up another MVP at the season’s end.

National League: Paul Goldschmidt

I nearly went with Bryce Harper for this category, and when all is said and done, he very well may win it. But there is no ignoring what Paul Goldschmidt is doing for the Diamondback’s. With a .340 batting average, 21 homers and 70 RBI’s, Goldschmidt is having an MVP caliber season.

Rookie of the Year Award

American League: Lance McCullers Jr.McCullers

Picking Lance McCullers Jr. was by no means an easy choice, as there are a few other pitchers and position players that have stats that stand out, but I decided that he was currently the leader. With a 2.52 ERA over 11 games started, McCullers is really impressing a lot of people around the baseball world.

National League: Joc Pederson

It is somewhat difficult to pick between Joc Pederson and Kris Bryant for who deserves the award, but I ended up going with Pederson. Despite batting in the lower .200’s, Pederson’s 20 home runs so far is extremely impressive for a rookie. In my mind, that’s enough to earn him the award.

Cy Young Award

American League: Sonny GrayGreinke

Although there is a good amount of competition at the break for the American League Cy Young award, Sonny Gray leads the charge. With a 2.04 ERA over 18 games started, and an opponent batting average below .200, Gray is in a good spot if he can keep pitching the way he has.

National League: Zack Greinke

Once again, there’s a Dodgers pitcher out in front of the candidates for Cy Young award, but this time it’s not Clayton Kershaw. Instead, Kershaw’s teammate, Zack Greinke, is the one dominating the league. With an incredible ERA of 1.39 after 123.1 innings pitched, Greinke would have to fall apart to not win the award.

Whether or not you agree or disagree with my picks for who deserves each award at this point in the season, one thing is for sure: there is still a lot of season left where any player can have anything happen. With 15 of the 30 teams at .500 or better, in terms of wins-losses go, regardless of the award races, the games following the mid-summer classic are sure to make for an exciting second half.

Kris Bryant Makes His Major League Debut

This quite possibly could be one of a million articles written about Kris Bryant making his Major League debut on Friday afternoon, but it was such a big deal that I felt the need to write a little bit about it as well.

As nearly everyone around the baseball world is aware, Bryant has quickly made a name for himself down in the minors to this point in his career.Bryant After being the second overall draft pick in the 2013 draft, Bryant proceeded to slug a league leading 43 homers in the minors last season.

This year, he picked up where he left off. Following a great Spring Training showing, Bryant headed to Triple-A where he hit .321 with 3 homers and 10 RBI’s over 7 games before his call up, forcing the Cubs to bring him up.

Now that Bryant is in the majors, I expect him to make a solid run at the National League Rookie of the Year award. It’s truly his to lose, as his power is already as good as any other player in the majors.

But you wouldn’t have known that by just watching the Cubs game on Friday. In Bryant’s big league debut, he went 0-4 with three strikeouts, and simply looked lost at times at the plate. Even so, he made a couple of good plays at third on the afternoon, and finally ended the never ending question of when Bryant would make his debut.

Despite the poor showing by Bryant, the Cubs are off to one of their best starts in years — given, it’s still early. But if Bryant can begin to contribute the way many people feel he can and will, the Cubs could be celebrating a postseason appearance in October after such a long playoff drought.