It seems like just yesterday that I posted my first blog post of 2015 way back in January, however, the month of December is truly only a few short days away. But just because the year is winding down doesn’t mean my blogging is.
While the month of December is never an exceedingly busy blogging month, there are some things I’m planning to write about.
The MLB Winter Meetings are quickly approaching, set to take place from December 6th to the 10th in Nashville, Tennessee. With some of the biggest offseason transactions usually taking place during those meetings, there is sure to be a ton to write about as teams begin reshaping their teams into what they hope will be 2016 contenders.
Following that, at some point (the date hasn’t been announced), the GIBBY Awards (Greatness In Baseball Yearly) are due to be announced, though I haven’t seen anything about that yet. That seems rather odd, with there usually being something about it written several weeks in advance. But as far as I know, the awards are still being handed out. If so, I’ll be sure to post something about it.
Most of December, I’ll just be writing about what seems relevant at the particular point in time, but the one thing I know I’ll be doing, other than what I previously mentioned, is interviews. I posted my first 2015 offseason interview last weekend, but there are two more already complete, with there to be more in the works, theoretically. Those two interviews will likely be posted this coming month.
Other than that, everything is up in the air. You’ll just have to check back to see what I decide to write about.
Ryan O’Hearn was drafted by the Royals in the 8th round of the 2014 draft, after batting .292 with eight home runs and 44 RBI’s in his final season at Sam Houston State College.
Since the draft, O’Hearn has seen his power numbers explode in a big way. In O’Hearn’s very first professional game in 2014 with the Idaho Fall Chukars, he went 5-5, including a home run in his very first at-bat on his way to winning MVP honors with the Pioneer League, with a .361 average to go along with 13 homers and 54 RBI’s in 64 games.
In his most recent 2015 season, O’Hearn saw a substantial drop in his batting average, but still managed a decent .263 on the year between two levels. What stands out the most, however, is O’Hearn’s continued power surge, hitting 27 blasts over the course of the year.
Many question whether or not O’Hearn’s amazing power increase can be sustained as he climbs the levels of the Royals’ minor league system, but I see no reason to believe it won’t be able to be replicated in 2016 and beyond. If O’Hearn can keep posting the same type of numbers, it’s only a matter of time before he’s making an impact at Kauffman Stadium for the Royals.
Ryan O’Hearn — top prospect in the Royals’ organization — took the time recently to answer some of my questions:
1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball? Who was your biggest baseball influence growing up?
I have been interested in baseball as long as I can remember — from little league all the way up, it’s been constant. My older brother played, so I remember going to all of his games in high school, and my dad loves baseball, so we were always at a baseball field. My dad was definitely the biggest influence growing up. He gave me every opportunity to play and be around the game.
2.) Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? Why?
My favorite baseball player growing up was Josh Hamilton. I always loved watching him hit, and wanted to hit like him! Also, his story is pretty amazing. It shows how faith can get you through anything.
3.) You were drafted by the Royals in the 8th round of the 2014 draft. What was that process like for you? Where were you when you first found out? Initial thoughts?
The draft process is unlike anything else; everything you’ve worked for and dreamed about your whole life comes down to one moment. For me, getting drafted was as motivating as it was exciting. For one, the 8th round isn’t where I wanted to be, and just getting drafted isn’t the goal. So when I got picked, I just thanked God and the people who helped me along the way, and I took it as an incredible opportunity. I was at my house with my family. It was definitely an amazing day and moment that I will never forget.
4.) After hitting a combined 11 home runs in your three seasons at college, you’ve topped that number in each of your first two pro seasons, hitting 13 in 2014 and 27 in 2015. What changes (if any) have you made to your game that you attribute to the power increase you’ve seen?
My homerun numbers in college have a lot to do with the ballpark that I played in. Also, I played in the worst time for homeruns in college baseball. Both the new bats and raised seam baseballs didn’t help — at least all that is what I tell myself [laughs]. With that being said, I just really think I matured physically and just kind of figured it out in short season. That was a time that I really gained a lot of confidence in myself as a player and learned a lot about myself. When I was drafted, the Royals director of scouting, Lonnie Goldberg, just told me to be myself and let it fly. They gave me the freedom to really just get after it and develop as a player.
5.) On the topic of power hitting, you won the 2015 South Atlantic League home run derby during their All-Star festivities. Did you approach the derby with any different of a swing than you do in an at-bat during the season? After the derby, did you notice a negative change in your swing that many big league home run derby participants complain about?
The home run derby was a lot of fun. I had never been in one before. During batting practice every day, I usually turn it loose and hit homeruns in my last round, so I didn’t really change my swing at all. I think the trick is to not get too pull happy so you can create backspin. For me, it didn’t have any effect on my swing after at all. It was just a fun event that I was fortunate enough to win.
6.) Talk a little bit about life on the road: What’s the most difficult aspect of it? What do you do to pass the time?
Life on the road is probably the biggest adjustment going from college to professional baseball. It’s not easy getting used to overnight bus rides and living out of a suitcase. There’s no doubt that the minor league baseball season is a grind. It’s not glamorous, and getting through those long road trips will test you. For me, bus rides are a good time to read my bible, listen to music and sleep as much as possible.
7.) You made it to the Mills Cup finals as part of the Carolina League playoffs with the Wilmington Blue Rocks this past season. Although you ultimately didn’t pull out a championship, how would you describe the overall playoff experience?
Playing in the playoffs is an awesome experience, and I think it really helps to develop you as a player. The playoffs aren’t easy to come by; many players and coaches never get to experience that. Also, that helps prepare you to play in the postseason in the big leagues, which is really why you play the game in the first place!
8.) What do you feel went well in 2015? What are your goals for 2016?
I think that there were positives and negatives for me in 2015. Obviously, as a first baseman RBI’s and homeruns are very important. So as far as that goes, I’m pretty happy with that. Now, with that being said, there is always room for improvement! I think that I am just now starting to really figure out my swing and learning how to be a good hitter. Defensively, I want to be an asset on defense, and continue to get better in that area as well. I just hope that in 2016 I can continue to grow as a player and consistently get better.
9.) Favorite TV show? Favorite food?
I don’t watch much T.V. outside of sports, but I did watch the show ‘Workaholics’ on Comedy Central a lot in college. As for food, I love steak. That’s always been my favorite food!
10.) Lastly, what advice would you give to kids who are just starting out that dream of playing professional baseball one day?
I would just say to them that there is no easy path to accomplish your dreams, not everything is going to go how you plan it. There will be coaches, scouts, and people along the way that don’t believe in you, and you can’t let that discourage you. Also, there will be people along the way that will help you. Rely on them and learn as much as you can from coaches and other people who have been there before. Nobody gets to play this game forever; never take a day on the baseball field for granted. Remember that being able to play baseball is a gift; this game will give you a platform the higher up in it that you go. Use it to give all the glory to God. I think that’s really why we’re here, and we get to enjoy the game of baseball along the way.
Big thanks to Ryan O’Hearn for taking the time to answer my questions.
You can follow him on Twitter: @Rohearn11
The Most Valuable Player award was first given out in 1911 to Ty Cobb of the American League and Frank Schulte of the National League. Originally known as the Chalmers award, named after Hugh Chalmers, the award didn’t catch on as well as had been hoped, and therefore was discontinued after the 1914 season.
In 1922 the League Awards were established to honor the baseball player in the American League (National League began being recognized in 1924) who provided the greatest all-around service to their club. The winner — who received a medal and cash for winning — was voted on by a committee of eight baseball writers, with a player not being able to win more than once. Like the Chalmers awards, these awards didn’t last long, stopping in 1929.
Finally in 1931 the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Most Valuable Player award was established, which is the award still given out today.
Voting for the award is fairly straightforward.
Two writers from each city of both the American League and National League make up the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) voters for the Most Valuable Player award, making a total of thirty voters for each league (fifteen teams, with two voters per city). A first place vote earns a player fourteen points, a second place vote gets nine points, a third place vote receives eight points, a fourth place vote is worth seven points, and so on, all the way until tenth place for one point. Once added up, the player with the highest overall total wins.
There is no specific criteria for the voters to use when choosing the Most Valuable Player, but some suggested attributes include value of a player to his team (strength of offense and defense), number of games played, and a player’s overall character, disposition, loyalty and effort.
The 2015 Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player award winners for both the American League and National League were announced Thursday night on MLB Network. Here are the winners, along with my thoughts on each:
AMERICAN LEAGUE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Original Pick: Josh Donaldson
Finalists: Lorenzo Cain, Josh Donaldson and Mike Trout
Winner: Josh Donaldson
Thoughts On Josh Donaldson Winning
Anytime a players posts a .297 average with 41 home runs and 123 RBI’s, they have to be considered as a very strong candidate for Most Valuable Player. That’s exactly what Josh Donaldson was able to do this season, and he was the favorite heading into the award announcement on Thursday night.
Josh Donaldson wound up winning by a fairly large margin, amassing a total of 385 points off of 23 out of 30 first place votes, with Mike Trout getting the other 7 first place votes and 304 total points, and Lorenzo Cain placing third with 225 points of his own.
This marks the third time that Trout has finished second in the American League MVP voting, joining him with Mickey Mantle for second most runner up finishes in baseball history. But with the year Donaldson had, you simply had to pick him to take home the honor.
Helping the Blue Jays make the playoffs for the first time since 1993, Donaldson came up time and time again throughout the year for Toronto, and proved his value in some very big spots. He becomes just the second player in Blue Jays team history to win the Most Valuable Player award.
If Donaldson can keep it up and post another incredible season in 2016, it very well may not be his last time in the running for the award.
NATIONAL LEAGUE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Original Pick: Bryce Harper
Finalists: Paul Goldschmidt, Bryce Harper and Joey Votto
Winner: Bryce Harper
Thoughts On Bryce Harper Winning
There were three finalists for the National League Most Valuable Player award, but there was truly only one choice. The year Bryce Harper had made him more than deserving of the award in the minds of many people. Inevitably, the Baseball Writers Association of America agreed.
Bryce Harper received all 30 first place votes for a collective 420 points. Paul Goldschmidt received 234 points, and Joey Votto got 175 point from the voters, earning him a third place finish.
At 23 years of age (Harper just turned 23 in October), Harper becomes the youngest player to ever win the MVP by a unanimous vote, and just the seventh all-time. In addition, Harper’s MVP is the first in Washington franchise history.
Batting .330 with 42 home runs, combined with a .460 OBP due to 124 walks, made Harper the easy pick for the award. While the Nationals didn’t make it to the postseason — a factor that has played a large part in the voting in recent years — it didn’t truly matter. His stats were more than worthy of him being the first player since Albert Pujols in 2008 to win MVP from a team that didn’t reach the playoffs.
Finally able to have a fully healthy season after battling injuries over the early part of his career, Harper ultimately was able to break out as a superstar, and all signs point to him being able to keep it up as he matures into his prime.
Both Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper had terrific seasons in which they came up time and time again all season long for their given teams, making them very valuable. Moving forward, they will undoubtedly be in the MVP conversation in future seasons. It should be interesting to see which players emerge to challenge them in 2016.
The Cy Young award — named after the Hall of Fame pitcher who died in 1955 — was first handed out in 1956 to Don Newcombe, with the goal of recognizing the “most valuable pitcher” from each season. The first eleven years of the award saw one pitcher per year receiving the honor, but in 1967 the Cy Young began being handed out to a pitcher from each league who was voted on as the best from the season.
Voting for the award is fairly straightforward.
Two writers from each city of both the American League and National League make up the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) voters for the Cy Young award, making a total of thirty voters for each league (fifteen teams, with two voters per city). A first place vote earns a player seven points, a second place vote gets four points, a third place vote receives three points, a fourth place vote is worth two points, with a fifth place vote earning a single point. Once added up, the player with the highest overall total wins.
The 2015 Major League Baseball Cy Young award winners for both the American League and National League were announced Wednesday night on MLB Network. Here are the winners, along with my thoughts on each:
AMERICAN LEAGUE CY YOUNG
Original Pick: David Price
Finalists: Sonny Gray, Dallas Keuchel and David Price
Winner: Dallas Keuchel
Thoughts On Dallas Keuchel Winning
Things couldn’t have been any closer statistically between Dallas Keuchel and David Price. Keuchel posted a 2.45 ERA on the season compared to Price’s 2.48 mark; Keuchel won 20 games, while Price netted 18; Price won in the strikeout race, but only by a total of nine punchouts. To make a long story short, their seasons were nearly identical.
Because of the close race, I unsuccessfully picked Price to win, but Keuchel ultimately had a slight edge by pitching 232 innings that included three complete games and two shutouts.
In addition, Keuchel set the record for most games won at home in a single season without a single loss, with 15 (the previous record was 13). For those reasons, the end result wasn’t as close as many had predicted.
Dallas Keuchel won the Cy Young award fairly easily, receiving 22 of the 30 first place votes for a total of 186 points, with David Price coming in second with 143 points and 8 first place votes, and Sonny Gray coming in third with a total of 82 points.
The season Dallas Keuchel had was inarguably unbelievable, and it should be very interesting to see if he can keep it up moving forward. Keuchel becomes the first Astros pitcher to win the Cy Young award since 2004, when Roger Clemens won the honor.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CY YOUNG
Original Pick: Jake Arrieta
Finalists: Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw
Winner: Jake Arrieta
Thoughts On Jake Arrieta Winning
As close as the American League Cy Young race was, the National League side of things was even closer. With Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw all having terrific seasons in vastly different ways, it was difficult to pick between them for who was most deserving.
Even so, it was Arrieta who wound up winning the National League Cy Young award. While Greinke’s 1.66 ERA was unfathomable, and Kershaw continued his dominance with 301 strikeouts, Arrieta did something in the second half of the season that I feel truly put him over the top in the Cy Young voting.
Following the All-Star game, Arrieta went on a stretch never before matched in the history of the game. Arrieta posted a mere 0.75 ERA over the entire second half of the season, bringing his ERA down to 1.77 on the year, and ultimately was a big factor in the Cubs making the postseason.
Jake Arrieta got 17 total first place votes for a collective 169 points, barely beating out Zack Greinke’s 147 points including 10 first place selections, and Clayton Kershaw who received three first place votes of his own but finished third with 101 points.
The fifth Cubs pitcher to ever win the award, and the first since Greg Maddux in 1992, Arrieta continues the Cubs’ offseason award winning streak. With Kris Bryant winning the Rookie of the Year and Joe Maddon picking up the Manager of the Year award, the Cubs become the first team with three major award winners since the Mariners in 2001.
With this year’s Cy Young award race being the closest it has been in years, it makes everyone around the baseball world begin to look ahead to the 2016 season. The best teams are usually the ones with great pitching, and it should be fun to see how Dallas Keuchel and Jake Arrieta, and their respective teams, do in 2016 and beyond.
The Rookie of the Year award was first handed out in 1947 to Jackie Robinson, after he broke baseball’s color barrier and went on to have a great first season of what would become a Hall of Fame career. Given out to a single player again in 1948, the award was expanded in 1949 to include a player from each league, and has been that way ever since.
Voting for the award is fairly straightforward.
Two writers from each city of both the American League and National League make up the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) voters for the Rookie of the Year award, making a total of thirty voters for each league (fifteen teams, with two voters per city). A first place vote earns a player five points, a second place vote gets three points, with a third place vote receiving one point. Once added up, the player with the highest overall total wins.
The 2015 Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year award winners for both the American League and National League were announced Monday night on MLB Network. Here are the winners, along with my thoughts on each:
AMERICAN LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Original Pick: Carlos Correa
Finalists: Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Miguel Sano
Winner: Carlos Correa
Thoughts On Carlos Correa Winning
For a player who made his MLB debut two full months into the season (June 8th), Carlos Correa put up unbelievable stats in 2015. The former number one overall pick in 2012, Correa batted .279 with 22 home runs and 68 RBI’s, all while stealing 14 bags to boot.
Carlos Correa received 17 of the 30 first-place American League Rookie of the Year votes, for a total of 124 points, to edge out runner up Francisco Lindor, with his 109 points, and Twins’ slugger Miguel Sano, with a mere 20 points. At just 21 years old, Correa was the youngest position player in the big leagues this season, and with him still learning how to go about life in the big leagues, he will only improve as the years go on.
Correa became the 14th shortstop in history to win the award, and is just the second Astros player to earn the honor, joining Jeff Bagwell who won back in 1991.
Although some players have posted great rookie seasons only to go onto have poor MLB careers, it’s safe to say that Carlos Correa is bound for many more historic seasons moving forward.
NATIONAL LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Original Pick: Kris Bryant
Finalists: Kris Bryant, Matt Duffy and Jung Ho Kang
Winner: Kris Bryant
Thoughts On Kris Bryant Winning
Kris Bryant’s journey to the major leagues was a short one, going from first round draft pick in 2013 to MLB All-Star this past season (Joc Pederson was the only other rookie in the Midsummer Classic). Furthermore, in the minds of many, it was Bryant’s performance all season long was one of the many key factors that helped carry the Cubs to the postseason.
Winning the National League Rookie of the Year by a unanimous vote (just the 20th such player in history), Bryant follows in the footsteps of fellow Chicago slugger Jose Abreu, who won the American League Rookie of the Year last season, earning all 30 first-place votes.
Bryant batted .275 with 26 homers and 99 RBI’s this season (breaking both the homers and RBI’s mark for a Cubs’ rookie), and, despite his league-leading 199 strikeouts, was truly the only logical choice for the award. He was consistent for the most part throughout 2015, and came up big each and every time the Cubs needed him to.
Picking up each of the 30 first-place votes, Bryant’s 150 points overall easily carry him past the runner up, Matt Duffy, who picked up 70 points, and Jung Ho Kang, who placed third, with his 28 overall points from the BBWAA.
As with Carlos Correa, the newest Chicago Cubs’ superstar, Kris Bryant, will likely only get better as time goes on. It should be interesting to see how Correa and Bryant, and their respective teams, fare over the next decade or so.
The 2015 Silver Slugger award winners were announced Thursday night on MLB Network. While the Gold Glove awards given out on Tuesday focused on the defensive side of baseball, the Silver Slugger awards are given annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League.
Marking the 36th annual Silver Slugger awards, which began in 1980, the awards are voted on by the coaches and managers of Major League Baseball (managers can not vote for their own players), with voters considering several offensive categories in selecting the winners. Those categories include batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage, in addition to coaches’ and managers’ general impressions of a player’s overall offensive value.
Barry Bonds’ 12 career Silver Slugger awards stand as the most all-time by a single player at any position, and no one from this season’s winners are even close. Here are the list of winners with my thoughts on each:
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Barry Bonds holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as an outfielder, with twelve.
NL Winners – Bryce Harper (1st career), Andrew McCutchen (4th career) and Carlos Gonzalez (2nd career)
AL Winners – Mike Trout (4th career), Nelson Cruz (1st career) and J.D. Martinez (1st career)
The year that Bryce Harper had was historic, and he more than deserves the Silver Slugger, blasting 42 homers all while hitting .330 and tallying a 1.109 OPS (the second highest ever for a player age 22 or younger, behind only Ted Williams). Andrew McCutchen picked up his fourth consecutive Silver Slugger award after another solid year with the Pirates, and Carlos Gonzalez won his second career award by having an explosive second half of the season in which he hit 27 of his 40 homers for 2015. On the American League side of things, it was Mike Trout picking up his fourth Silver Slugger, having now won the award in each of his first four MLB seasons. Trout cranked out 41 homers while hitting just a tick under .300, and proved even further that he is one of the best players in the game. Nelson Cruz and J.D. Martinez picked up their first career Silver Slugger awards for their offensive contributions from 2015.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Miguel Cabrera holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a first baseman, with six.
NL Winner – Paul Goldschmidt (2nd career)
AL Winner – Miguel Cabrera (6th career)
Paul Goldschmidt’s 33 homers and .321 average led all of first basemen in the National League, and he became the first 1st baseman since Vladimir Guerrero back in 2002 with an OPS of over 1.000 and 20+ stolen bases in a season. It was once again Miguel Cabrera receiving the honor for the American League, as although he had a somewhat down year by his standards — playing in only 119 games — he did more than enough to take home the hardware.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Ryne Sandberg holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a second baseman, with seven.
NL Winner – Dee Gordon (1st career)
AL Winner – Jose Altuve (2nd career)
Dee Gordon has really broken out over the past few seasons, but he really put it all together in 2015. When all was said and done, Gordon hit a cool .333 on the season after getting off to an unbelievably hot start in April. Gordon is the first NL second baseman since Jackie Robinson to win the league batting title, which truly shows how great of a year he had. Like Gordon, Jose Altuve has become a star in recent years. His 204 hits and 58 stolen bases in 2015 led all of the AL, and Altuve is just the 2nd AL second baseman with multiple 200+ hit, 30+ stolen base seasons, joining Rod Carew.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Wade Boggs holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a third baseman, with eight.
NL Winner – Nolan Arenado (1st career)
AL Winner – Josh Donaldson (1st career)
Both Noland Arenado and Josh Donaldson picked up their very first career Silver Slugger awards on Thursday night, but it’s likely to be the first of many for both. With 42 homers — tied for most in the NL with Bryce Harper — and 130 RBI’s (most in MLB), Arenado finally cemented himself as a full on superstar player in 2015. Donaldson did much of the same, hitting 41 homers and driving in 123 of his own on the verge of what is likely to be an MVP season for him.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Barry Larkin holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a shortstop, with nine.
NL Winner – Brandon Crawford (1st career)
AL Winner – Xander Bogaerts (1st career)
As with third base, this category also saw both recipients winning for the first time in their career. But also as with the previous category, it’s likely that these won’t be the only Silver Sluggers for them in their careers. Brandon Crawford exploded this season, increasing his homer total from 10 in 2014 up to 21 this year, and setting career highs in hits, doubles, homers, RBI’s and runs. While Xander Bogaerts didn’t have quite the same caliber year, he still had a good one, with a .320 average and 7 homers, becoming the first Red Sox winner of this award since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Mike Piazza holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a catcher, with ten.
NL Winner – Buster Posey (3rd career)
AL Winner – Brian McCann (6th career)
Buster Posey has been seen as one of the best hitting catchers in all of baseball for quite some time, and he proved why yet again in 2015. His .318 average and 19 homers led all MLB catchers, as he did in the majority of conceivable categories. In the AL, it was Brian McCann picking up his first American League Silver Slugger with his 26 homers, after winning five others in the past with the National League Braves.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: Mike Hampton holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a pitcher, with five.
Winner – Madison Bumgarner (2nd career)
It’s common knowledge that most pitchers simply can’t hit. However, for the few that can, it is a true thing of beauty. Madison Bumgarner falls in that category, leading all pitchers with hits (17), RBI’s (9) and homers (5) this past season. His .247 average isn’t great upon first glance, but when you consider the fact that he’s a pitcher, it takes on a different context. Hitting a homer off of Clayton Kershaw in 2015, and even being called on to pinch hit a few times, there’s no other option for this award than Bumgarner.
Most Silver Slugger Awards: David Ortiz holds the record for the most Silver Slugger Awards as a Designated Hitter, with six.
Winner – Kendrys Morales (1st career)
Something doesn’t add up with the winner of this category. Don’t get me wrong — Kendrys Morales had a great year, hitting 22 homers and leading the Royals in most statistical categories. But there were several other better candidates, in my opinion. David Ortiz once again had his name in the hat after a 37 homer season, as did Edwin Encarnacion with his 39 dingers (the person many people felt should’ve won). However, despite that, the award was given to Morales. It is what it is, but I can’t seem to wrap my head around this one.
2015 SILVER SLUGGER AWARDS FAST FACTS
- There were nine first time Silver Slugger award winners.
- There were five Silver Slugger award winners that also won last year.
The Giants led with the most winners, with three Silver Slugger award recipients.
There were five Silver Slugger winners who also won a 2015 Gold Glove.
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 position 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
CY YOUNG FINALISTS
American League: Sonny Gray, Dallas Keuchel and David Price
National League: Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER FINALISTS
American League: Lorenzo Cain, Josh Donaldson and Mike Trout
National League: Paul Goldschmidt, Bryce Harper and Joey Votto
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.
The 2015 Major League Baseball Players’ Choice Award winners were announced Monday night on MLB Network. Unlike the BBWAA awards, these awards (as the name would suggest) are voted on by players from around baseball each September, when they receive a ballot to make their picks for each category. Seven categories in all, American League players vote for American League players, with National League players voting for National League players; with the exception of the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, Always Game award and the Player of the Year award, in which players from both leagues vote for a single player.
The winning player for each category is awarded a grant from the MLB Players Trust, ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 dollars, depending on the award that they win. The money goes to the winner’s choice of charity, with some players deciding to split up the money between multiple causes. This marks the 24th annual Players Choice Awards, which began in 1992. Here’s a recap of the winners, with my thoughts on each:
OUTSTANDING ROOKIE AWARD ($20,000)
AL Nominees – Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Miguel Sano
AL Winner – Carlos Correa
NL Nominees – Kris Bryant, Matt Duffy and Jung Ho Kang
NL Winner – Kris Bryant
The players absolutely got it right in my opinion. Both winners are likely to pick up the BBWAA Rookie of the Year awards when they are announced next week, as each had terrific campaigns. After a .279 average with 22 homers and 68 RBI’s, all while playing a great defensive shortstop all at the age of 21, Carlos Correa is sure to be a big part of the Astros for the next decade or two. Likewise, Kris Bryant had an unbelievable season, hitting 26 homers and notching 99 RBI’s, helping to send the Cubs back to the playoffs for the first in what would seem to likely be several years to come.
OUTSTANDING PITCHER AWARD ($20,000)
AL Nominees – Sonny Gray, Dallas Keuchel and David Price
AL Winner – Dallas Keuchel
NL Nominees – Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw
NL Winner – Zack Greinke
As with Rookie of the Year, you very well could be looking at the winners of the BBWAA Cy Young award with this category. Dallas Keuchel and Zack Greinke went about their success in different ways, but both had results that made them dominant each and every start. Keuchel had a breakout season, going 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA. All season long, he was lights out for the Astros and was a big part of them making it to the postseason. Greinke was also great each and every start, winding up with unfathomable stats of 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA. That’s certainly worthy of this award.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD ($20,000)
AL Nominees – Prince Fielder, Kendrys Morales and Alex Rodriguez
AL Winner – Prince Fielder
NL Nominees – Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Harvey and Joey Votto
NL Winner – Matt Harvey
After playing all 162 games in three straight years, Prince Fielder participated in only 42 games in 2014 due to a neck injury. Coming back to play all but four games in 2015, Fielder certainly put up stats worthy of this award. This season, Fielder launched 23 home runs and drove in 98 runs, all while hitting a solid .305. Matt Harvey was in much of the same boat as Fielder in 2014, having missed the entire year due to Tommy John surgery. But Harvey came back with a vengeance in 2015. Harvey went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA on the year, and helped the Mets make it all the way to the World Series.
ALWAYS GAME AWARD ($10,000)
Nominees — Jose Altuve, Josh Donaldson and Dee Gordon
Winner — Jose Altuve
This award was brand new for the 2015 season. It was established to honor “the player who — game in and game out — constantly exhibits grit, tenacity, perseverance and hustle; all for the benefit of his teammates and fans”. All of the players nominated for the award were worthy, but Jose Altuve took home the award. Altuve has been a huge part of the Astros over the past few years, and plays the game full on for every single out. He is definitely the player I would have chosen for this award, and I’m glad to see him win.
OUTSTANDING PLAYER AWARD ($20,000)
AL Nominees – Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson and Mike Trout
AL Winner – Josh Donaldson
NL Nominees – Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt and Bryce Harper
NL Winner – Bryce Harper
There were dozens of outstanding players throughout Major League Baseball from the 2015 season. With that said, there were a handful that stood above the rest. For this category, it was Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper voted on as the outstanding players of the year. Many people — myself included — have Donaldson and Harper picking up the MVP for their respective league when the official award is announced next week. With Harper having hit 42 homers to go along with a superb .330 average, and Donaldson blasting 41 of his own, it is no wonder why they each took home this particular honor.
MARVIN MILLER MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD ($50,000)
Nominees – Dee Gordon, Adam Jones and David Robertson
Winner – Adam Jones
In the minds of many people around the baseball world, this is the most important award given out each season. The Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award is given each year to the player most recognized for outstanding on-field performance and off-field contributions to his community. Past winners include Mark McGwire, Albert Pujols, Chipper Jones and Mariano Rivera, among many others. This season, the award was presented to Adam Jones, who certainly does more than his fair share of contributions both to his ball club and to his community each year.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD ($50,000)
Nominees – Josh Donaldson, Zack Greinke and Bryce Harper
Winner – Josh Donaldson
With all three players presenting equally impressive seasons in their own way, you could truly make a strong argument for any of the nominees to win the Player of the Year award. But, in the end, the season Josh Donaldson put together was magnificent. His 40+ home run year truly helped drive the offensive side of the Blue Jays, along with Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and the late season pickup of Troy Tulowitzki. Combined, Toronto was able to reach the postseason for the first time since 1993. A lot of that can be credited back to Donaldson, who came up big all season long.
We’re less than a week removed from the 2015 World Series, but offseason moves are already taking place. On Thursday, news broke that the Rays and Mariners had completed a six-player trade that sent Nathan Karns, C.J. Riefenhauser and Boog Powell (not THAT Boog Powell) to Seattle in exchange for Brad Miller, Logan Morrison and Danny Farquhar. Overall, it appears to be a good trade for both sides.
But while there are sure to be dozens of deals made throughout the upcoming offseason, that’s not what this blog post is for.
In this post, I’m going to give a very brief overview of the upcoming MLB awards schedule, which are going to begin being announced on Monday night with the 2015 Players’ Choice Awards at eight on MLB Network. I’m going to be covering the winners of those in a post following the announcement, with my thoughts on each winner.
The very next night, the BBWAA award finalists for Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and MVP are going to be announced (on MLB Network), in addition to the Gold Glove Award winners (on ESPN). Again, I’ll be sure to typed up a little something about those, as with every other award that gets announced.
Following the Silver Slugger Award winners on the 12th, the most important BBWAA award winners are set to be revealed on consecutive nights throughout the next week. Beginning with Rookies of the Year on Monday the 16th, followed by the Cy Young Awards on Tuesday, Managers of the Year on Wednesday (I won’t be writing about those), and ending with the coveted MVP awards on Thursday the 19th, it’s sure to be interesting to see if they all match up with my predictions I made for each winner.
So, there you have it — an overview of the upcoming MLB Awards. With so much talent this year in baseball, it’s sure to make for a good crop of winners from each and every category of awards throughout the coming two weeks.
After losing games one and two of the World Series started by Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, respectively, the Mets had reason for concern heading into game three of the World Series on Friday night. But as I stated at the end of my previous post, they had Noah Syndergaard on the mound for the game, and with him having been great all season long, they still had reason to hold out hope of a series comeback. They simply had to score enough runs to beat out the Royals and Yordano Ventura, who was sure to be equally terrific.
But it appeared to be more of the same for the Mets when the game started. An Eric Hosmer RBI-groundout in the very first inning struck a blow to the Mets before they even had a chance to swing the bats. But the Mets wasted no time in answering back. In the bottom half of the same inning, David Wright blasted a two-run homer to give the Mets a 2-1 lead early on, and provided some needed positivity to the club.
However, the Mets didn’t hold the lead for long. In the top of the second, an RBI-single by Alex Rios and a passed ball by Syndergaard with a man on third gave the Royals a one run lead once again. Even so, Syndergaard helped his own cause by getting a leadoff single in the third inning — the youngest pitcher with a World Series hit since Dwight Gooden in 1986 — which he was well rewarded for. The very next batter, Curtis Granderson, hit a line-drive homer that cleared the right field wall by just a few feet, making the score 4-3, Mets.
From the second inning on, Syndergaard lived up to his nickname of “Thor”. He was magnificent, retiring ten straight at one point. The Mets also helped him out, scoring another run in the bottom of the fourth, coming via a Michael Conforto ground ball to first base that lead to confusion between the second baseman, Ben Zobrtist, and Eric Hosmer. Ultimately, Conforto chugged his way safely to first, and the run scored without a play.
A little history was made in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Raul Mondesi Jr. made his major league debut against Syndergaard. Although he struck out, Mondesi became the first player in the entire history of Major League Baseball to make his big league debut during the Fall Classic. That’s certainly impressive.
Also impressive was the Mets’ resurgence of a run-scoring machine. While the Royals didn’t score again after the second, the Mets posted another four runs in the sixth inning, coming from contributions from Juan Uribe, David Wright (who had four RBI’s on the game) and Yoenis Cespedes. The Mets held a 9-3 lead when the inning concluded, and that’s where things would wind up as the final score.
With game four now being a game in which the Mets were simply looking to tie things up and not worrying about being eliminated, you had to figure they could be a bit more relaxed and therefore able to perform much as they did in game three. It was sure to be a fun game.
Steven Matz — the second rookie on the mound for the Mets in back-to-back games — was on the mound in game four, opposed by the Royals’ Chris Young. Matz and Young are two completely different kind of pitchers, so it was fun to watch how each went about trying to get the other team out.
Early on for the Mets’ side of things, it was a rookie show. Steven Matz lead off with a couple of scoreless innings, and Michael Conforto kicked off the third inning with a homer (the youngest players since Miguel Cabrera in 2003 to hit a World Series homer) off of Chris Young, who had been equally good to that point in the game. Wilmer Flores followed up with a fall-in single, and later advanced to second on a wild pitch and third on a terrific sacrifice bunt by Matz. Then, the unbelievable happened.
Curtis Granderson lifted a fly ball into right field which was easily caught by Alex Rios. But Rios forgot how many outs there were, and took a step or two towards the infield before realizing it was only the second out of the inning. Although it was going to be a close play anyhow, it took away any shot at nailing Flores at the plate. That simply can’t happen — not in the World Series. But it did, giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.
The Royals would answer back in the fifth, scoring a single run via an Alex Gordon RBI-single. But despite that run, Matz was still able to pitch well to get out of the inning. His opposer, Chris Young, was removed after the fourth inning, and replaced by Danny Duffy. But Duffy promptly allowed yet another home run to Conforto, who became the only Mets player other than Gary Carter to hit two homers in a Fall Classic game. Things were looking good for the Mets.
Ben Zobrist lead off the sixth inning with his eighth double of the postseason, getting things started against Matz, who many people were shocked was still in the game. As a result, the next batter, Lorenzo Cain, knocked a ball up the middle that scored Zobrist and made it a 3-2 game with no outs. Matz was promptly removed, replaced by Jonathan Niese, and the potential further damage was contained.
That is, until the eighth inning, when the Royals took the lead an never looked back. Daniel Murphy committed an untimely error on an Eric Hosmer ground ball, which allowed Ben Zobrist to score. Singles by Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez plated two more and put Kansas City up by two runs, 5-3, which is where the game concluded after a failed attempt at a comeback for the Mets.
This isn’t the way many baseball fans envisioned things going at all. The Royals are a good team, but to win games going up against Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz is absolutely amazing. Sitting one win away from a World Series title, you knew they were sure to be on their game in Sunday’s game five potential elimination game. But going up against Harvey yet again, you had to figure it was going to be a challenge.
While the story of the game on Sunday was predicted to be Matt Harvey either keeping the Mets alive or not, it began with Curtis Granderson. As the first batter of the game, Granderson hit a homer off of Edinson Volquez to give the Mets a 1-0 lead and an extremely early spark.
Harvey struck out the side in the fourth — the second Mets pitcher (Tom Seaver being the other) to strike out the side in order in a World Series game — and was looking completely locked in, and much more like the All-Star version of Harvey that baseball fans had come to know, going on to strike out eight through the first five. Even so, despite the flaw in the first, Volquez was just as good to lead things off. With both pitchers totally dialed it, you had to figure that this was going to be one of the best games thus far.
The score remained the same through the sixth inning, when Curtis Granderson, David Wright and Daniel Murphy all lead off the inning with a walk, hit and error, respectively. The next batter, Yoenis Cespedes, looked to cash in with the bases loaded and nobody out, but he fouled an 0-1 pitch off of his left kneecap, and appeared to be headed for the clubhouse. But he stayed in the ballgame, only to pop out before limping off the field. Following Cespedes was Lucas Duda, who came through with a sac fly that plated Granderson to increase the lead to 2-0.
That’s where things would stay through the top of the ninth inning, when the Mets were faced with a huge decision: leave Harvey in after 102 pitches, or bring in the closer, Jeurys Familia, who had blown two saves through this point in the World Series, in game one and game four. After all, if Familia had closed out those games, the Mets would have been sitting three outs away from a World Championship. You simply had to leave Harvey in to finish what he started.
And the Mets did just that. After declaring that there was “no way I’m leaving this game” to manager Terry Collins, Harvey took the hill looking to shut things down in the final inning. However, he appeared a bit too amped up to start with, walking the leadoff man, Lorenzo Cain, and overthrowing some of his pitches. Cain proceeded to steal second, and was knocked in by an RBI-double from Eric Hosmer. Harvey was promptly removed, but no matter what, it was the right call under the situation.
Nonetheless, the Royals, who hold the playoff record for six postseason multi-run comebacks, were now just a well placed hit away from tying the game. Familia was brought in to be the potential hero of game five, which would ultimately make up for his previous subpar pitching. But he wouldn’t complete the game. An errant throw by Lucas Duda to home plate after a groundout by Salvador Perez allowed Hosmer to tie the game at 2-2, and made for Familia’s third blown save of the Fall Classic — the most in baseball history.
The score remained tied through the twelfth, when everything completely fell apart for the Mets. What began as a simple RBI-pinch-hit-single from Christian Colon, putting the Royals up a mere run, turned into a blowout. Christian Colon would eventually score, along with three more runs via a Lorenzo Cain double that scored three runs with the bases loaded.
With the Mets down 7-2 heading into the bottom of the twelfth, you had to figure they stood little chance of a comeback, especially facing the hard throwing Wade Davis. Ultimately, Davis would strike out three, putting an exclamation point on the Royals’ season, and making them 2015 World Series Champions.
My hat certainly goes off to the Royals. I, admittedly, was pulling for the Mets to win, simply because I’m a big Matt Harvey fan and because I wanted to see the season be continued a couple more games out in Kansas City. But you got the feeling back when the Royals rallied to win and advance against the Astros in the ALDS that this was a team that wouldn’t stop until they were declared World Champions as quickly as possible.
This is the Royals’ first World Series crown since back in 1985. After making it to game seven of the Fall Classic in 2014, only to lose to the Giants, this is obvious redemption for that year. Salvador Perez, for his many contributions on multiple levels, was named MVP of the series, which was completely deserved. He was a big part of what made this Royals team so magical.
Heading forward, offseason transactions will ultimately happen. This Royals club that won the World Series will inevitably not be the exact team that takes the field on Opening Day in 2016. But there’s one thing you can guarantee: the Royals will still have a very competitive team with all sights on returning to the World Series next season and beyond.