Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Down The Stretch - Races and Awards (NL)

NL North

The Cubs are up by 2 games on the Reds heading into the last 25.  Chicago's 4th-ranked offense has ridden a monster season from RF Walter Brooks (.339/51/145).  The runner-up here could still pick off a wild card but it's an extreme long shot.

NL East

The Pirates have put it together on both sides of the ball (leading the NL both in runs, 670, and ERA, 2.63) in building a 12-game cushion.  The Mets, with Cy Young leader Ruben Ozuna sporting a perfect 23-0 record, have a rear naked choke on the first wild card - they're 7 up on the Astros.  The Nats are 3 back of the Astros for the 2nd wild card, and the 72-65 Phillies make the East the only division with all teams above .500.

NL South

The Cardinals are on pace for a 21-win improvement and an end of the 10-season Houston-Atlanta hegemony in the South.  Pitching has led the way for St. Louis (4th-best 3.14 ERA) with 3rd-year ace Esteban Mateo (15-5, 2.06) currently 5th on the Cy Young ballot.  The Astros and Braves are just a game apart for the 2nd wild card...one of these teams is going to miss the playoffs with as many as 90 wins.

NL West
The Rockies are cruising to their 4th straight West title (and 5th in 6 seasons).  3B James Bacsik has led the offense with 114 RBI, while SP Stubby George (12-10, 3.01) and closer Norman Weston (8 wins, 33 saves, 1.63) pace the staff.


5 nice seasons on the ballot, but it looks like Brooks in a runaway.  He'd probably win it easily if he sat out the last 25 games, but right now he projects to 60 HR's and 171 RBI.

NL Cy Young
Totally dominant season from Ozuna.  To go with the 23 wins (projects to 27), he has a 1.59 ERA, .90 WHIP and a ridiculous .514 OPS-against.  Moya gets foiled in his bid to tie Caldwell with 7 CY's.

NL Rookie
Some pretty mundane ROY efforts in the AL as well. Certainly none of these guys stand out, so it will probably at least be a close race.  Brewers' closer Miguel Marichal currently tops the ballot - he has managed 25 saves (32 opportunities),  but I can't say his 5.03 ERA and 34 innings pitched are compelling.  I'm surprised to see Mets SS/CF Benito Olivo on the ballot, but if there's ever a year that a pure defensive player (9 + plays and .993 in CF, 2 + plays and 1.000 at SS) wins the ROY, this might be it.

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