The MLB playoffs start today. Sort of. There are two Wild Card games today and tomorrow. While these are technically playoff games, I am a traditionalist, so I long for the days when no teams make the playoffs and we all just go home for six months. I hate excitement. I hate having more happy fan bases. I hate fun. I hate baseball. Thus, I hate these Wild Card games. I love hyperbole and I love fake mailbags. Here's a Playoffs/Awards fake mailbag for me:
I think Johnny Cueto is the NL Cy Young Award winner. Do you think I'm cool?
~Cool Guy, Somewhere, USA (probably Cincinnati)
Eh no, I do not think you're cool. Johnny Cueto had a wonderful season. His ERA is elite, he led the NL in strikeouts and innings pitched, he won 20 games and he has a brilliant hair length/waist twist combo that cannot be matched. In just about any season, Cueto would be a runaway winner.
Clayton Kershaw exists, so no one else gets to win this award. Sure, Kershaw threw about 50 fewer innings than Cueto. However, Kershaw also led the NL in ERA, ERA+ (natch), wins, WHIP, FIP, PIP (great expectations), strikeout rate and strikeout-to-walk ratio. In addition, he's got an awesome stutter-stop motion/beard combo. Cueto is great-o but Kershaw is Kershawesome. Someone put that on a t-shirt.
Official K-Slow NL Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw
How are we supposed to pick the AL Cy Young Award winner? Corey Kluber? Felix Hernandez? They're both great candidates. How am I supposed to live without one of those two? How am I supposed to carry on?
~M. Bolton, Scragglyhair, USA.
No one is a bigger Felix Hernandez fan than I am. I have his posters, I have his baseball cards, I have his Fathead, I have his face tattooed on my face, I have it all. I want to pick King Felix because I am not a journalist and I am allowed to be biased. But, I am a blogger too, so it's very important that I am right and that I am loud about being right. I have to throw my support to Kluber.
Hernandez beats Kluber in ERA, but Kluber has more wins, strikeouts, more impressive rate stats and had a BABIP nearly 60 points higher than Hernandez. Trust me, if I could spin things toward Hernandez, I would. I just can't ignore how great Kluber was this year. Somehow, Felix Hernandez had the best season of his Hall of Fame career, and he's going to get edged out by a guy who no one had heard of 12 months ago. Funny how that works. In a movie, they'd fall in love.
Official K-Slow AL Cy Young - Corey Kluber
I think it's lame that players who were already professionals can win Rookie of the Year, so I'm voting for Danny Santana.
~Twins Fan, MN
Submitting a statement to a mailbag is unconventional, but I respect it. It might be lame, but we have to look at this logically. Is Cuban professional baseball on the level of MLB? No. It's likely more analogous to AAA. If we accept this comparison, Jose Abreu made the leap from a AAA-equivalent and then murdered baseballs through all of 2014. He batted .317/.383/.581 with 36 home runs and 107 RBI. Only Victor Martinez, Andrew McCutchen and Mike Trout surpassed his 165 wRC+. That's good; Abreu wins.
Of course, if you want to make a homer case for Danny Santana, I'm not going to get in your way. If you can convince enough writers to get on your side, I'll support you. It's a losing battle, but I'm just sitting on my couch regardless, so what do I care? Santana was a revelation/treasure this year, but it's pretty hard to argue that he was as good as Abreu.
Official K-Slow AL Rookie of the Year - Jose Abreu
Have you ever heard of Jacob deGrom? How many bases did he steal?
~B. Swanson, St. Paul, MN
This is in reference to my prediction that Billy Hamilton would literally run away with the NL Rookie of the Year. He did steal a whole mess of bases, but he did it with a completely garbage sub-.300 OBP. I still think he needs to change his name to Bill Hamilton.
deGrom, who refuses to capitalize the first letter in his last name, came out of nowhere to lead the race for this award. He's got a bit of a mushroom hairstyle, but let's try to look past that. He threw 140.1 innings over 22 starts. He went 9 and 6 with a 2.69 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. His 3.35 strikeout-to-walk ratio legitimizes his stats and his 2.67 FIP makes him nerd-friendly. deGrom is deWinner. I'M ALL ABOUT SLOGANS!
Official K-Slow NL Rookie of the Year - Jacob deGrom
How deep is your love for Clayton Kershaw? Are you willing to select him as the NL MVP as well?
~Dru Hill, Not Sure, Probably USA, maybe China
We've hit our two-obscure-song-reference limit, so it's time to stop. My love for Kershaw is very deep. He led the National League in fWAR and he's an outstanding baseball player. I have no problem with a pitcher winning MVP and Kershaw is a perfect example of a pitcher who deserves the award. I'm still going to pick Andrew McCutchen though.
McCutchen led all NL position players in fWAR and he was just a tad behind Kershaw. McCutchen did miss a few games and his defense continues to see-saw, but he's also having his finest offensive season, leading the National League with a 168 wRC+. McCutchen is the best position player in the National League and he had the best season in the National League. Seems pretty cut-and-dry to me. BACK TO BACK, BACK TO BACK, BACK TO BACK...
Official K-Slow NL MVP - Andrew McCutchen
How does Mike Trout get robbed this year?
Seems unlikely that all the trout in the world have banded together to support a guy with the last name "Trout." Also, Trout of all creatures should know that the plural form of Trout is Trout, not Trouts. Finally, Trout was hardly robbed in 2012 and 2013, although he was very deserving both years.
This season appears to finally be Trout's MVP season. Like, for real this time. Trout led all position players in rWAR and fWAR. He finally led his team to the playoffs (my tongue is stuck) and he finally drove in 100 runs (so stuck). The Angels are the best team in baseball. Mike Trout is the best player in baseball. Mike Trout plays for the Angels. This one is kind of hard to mess up.
Official K-Slow AL MVP - Miguel Cabrera
Wait! I messed up.
The Real Official K-Slow AL MVP - Miguel Cabrera
The Actual Real Official K-Slow AL MVP - Miguel Trout
Close enough. I'll be back with fake questions about the playoffs tomorrow.