So far, all signs point towards Betts being named the eventual AL MVP. Betts has already been named the Overall Best Defensive Player, which is a major honor. At 24, he is perhaps following the footsteps of now veteran Dustin Pedroia by being the best bet for AL MVP in just his second full season. In comparison to Betts, Mike Trout and Jose Altuve did not win any defensive awards. All three won Silver Slugger awards, but Betts being named Best Defensive Player is a huge honor. When combined with his offensive abilities, his résumé make him the obvious choice for the 2016 AL MVP.
The biggest surprise coming out of the recent awards is that Kris Bryant only won the Hank Aaron Award for the NL. No Gold Glove, but more surprisingly no Silver Slugger award. Those went to Nolan Arenado. With Bryant seemingly being the front-runner for NL MVP, this comes as a shocker. Perhaps Bryant will lose to Daniel Murphy or Corey Seager because of his relatively low .292 BA, or perhaps on the Cubs he meant less to his team’s success than Murphy or Seager did. It is important to remember that the MVP is not always the best player. In the year in which the Cubs won the World Series, really anything is possible.
Hank Aaron Award AL
David Ortiz’ final season will go down as the greatest of all time. Not only did he hit .315 at age 40, but also he led the MLB in slugging percentage, OPS and doubles. On top of all of that he hit 38 home runs with 127 RBI. These are MVP numbers; unfortunately defense is half the game, so Ortiz never had a chance to win an MVP throughout his career. At the same time, numbers like these should cement his legacy as the greatest DH ever and push him well over the qualification threshold for the Hall of Fame.
Closer of the Year AL
Saying that Zach Britton had a good year is a considerable understatement. In a year where his Orioles were only two and a half games up in the Wild Card, it is easy to say that Britton is the reason they made the playoffs. He had a remarkable 0.54 ERA over 67 innings and converted 47 saves. The result is a WAR of 4.3, meaning without Britton the Orioles should have missed the playoffs. Zach Britton should be in the conversation for the AL CY Young with the numbers and unhittable stuff he had this season. For comparison’s sake, Kenley Janson who won the award in the NL had an ERA of 1.83.
Winners of Silver Sluggers and Gold Gloves
Besides Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado 3B, Anthony Rizzo 1B and Salvador Perez C were the only players to win both Silver Sluggers and Gold Gloves. Arenado and Salvador had very impressive years, unfortunately their teams did not support them in their pursuits of their respective MVPs. Anthony Rizzo on the other hand, was not the best player on his team, and thus had no chance at MVP. At the same time he had a stellar year and was a major reason why the Cubs won 100+ games and deserves to be celebrated.