Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Down The Stretch - Races & Awards (AL)

American League

In the North, the Twins hold a 5-game lead over the White Sox; their 2-starters-and-a-legion-of-relievers strategy has paid off with the AL's best ERA (3.58) and a Cy Young contender (Tony Tabaka: 20-1, 2.21 ERA).  The #2 team in this race will almost certainly take the first wild card.

In the East, the Indians with their amazing 1-run record of 36-13, are clinging to a 1-game lead over the surging Red Sox. The Tribe has only scored 6 more runs than they've allowed, so that might suggest Boston has the edge down the stretch. the runner-up here is a good bet (but far from certain at this point) for the 2nd wild card.

In the South, Tampa Bay, led by Cy Young ballot-topper Max Mullens, is cruising to its 11th Division title in the last 12 years.

And in the West, Anaheim still leads, but is being challenged by the resurgent Mariners, now just 2 back.  On 11/28 Seattle was 12-27 and wondering what went wrong; then they swept the Royals and White Sox to spark a 61-35 record since.


Looks like a wide-open race.  Minnesota's slugger Michael Aoki tops the balloting (.306/48/126), but will be challenged by dual-threats Elvis Snow (.317/20/85 + GG-caliber CF defense) of Chicago and 2-time defending MVP Peter Magnusson (.265/43/123 and leading for the GG at 2B) of Boston.  And don't count out 3-time MVP Magglio Rodriguez (.315/28/89, 92 walks), also of the White Sox.

AL Cy Young

Tabaka makes the race interesting; he'll undoubtedly draw some votes with the big win total.  His .601 OPS-against is also impeccable.  Tampa Bay's Mullens tops the ballot currently - he's at 18-5 with a 2.74 ERA and a .610 OPS-against.  He's also logged 223 IP - more than double Tabaka's total.  New York's Vin Gumbs has an argument from the qualitative side - his .589 OPS-against and 1.05 WHIP lead all the contenders.


No real outstanding performances in a disappointing year for AL rookies.  Qualitatively, the Orioles' RP Vin Torrealba has had the best season with a 2.63 ERA and a sterling .617 OPS-against (while also picking up 5 wins and 7 saves).  But he's had the lightest workload of the 5, pitching just 51 innings so far.  The Indians' Yoenis Henriquez (12-7, 4.09 ERA in 149 IP) and Baltimore's 1B Bob Uribe (.281/19/77) have to be considered the front-runners.

No comments: