Special thanks to contributing writer James Boyce.
In the playoffs I’ll be rooting for the Pirates and the Royals.
Teams Rankings (previous month)
1. Angels (1) – Best overall record.
2. Nationals (4) – Best record in the NL and best record in September at 19-8.
3. Orioles (3) – Top spot in AL East.
4. Dodgers (5) – Top spot in NL West, plus they have Kershaw, though as wonderful as he’s been in the regular season, his post season ERA is 4.23.
5. Cardinals (10) – Top spot in NL Central and fended off…
6. Pirates (14) – an equally hot Pirates team on the last day. Hosting WC game.
7. Tigers (9) – Top spot in AL Central and fended off…
8. Kansas City (6) – an equally hot Royals team on the last day, but back in the playoffs for the first time in 29 years. Hosting WC game.
9. Giants (11) – Visiting the Pirates in WC battle.
10. Athletics (2) – Visiting the Royals in WC battle. Had awful September. Limped into playoffs, holding off Mariners on last day.
——————————————————– Playoff team divider
11. Mariners (8) – Missed it by that much.
12. Indians (15) – Late charge led by my vote for AL Cy Young Winner Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco.
13. Yankees (12) – Good bye to Jeter – last hit gave him 50 RBIs on the year, 3465 career hits, and a lifetime .310 average.
14. Blue Jays (16) – Started off strong but couldn’t put it all together in weak AL East.
15. Brewers (7) – Struggled in September. Earlier in the year they were one of the top teams in baseball, now, barely over .500.
——————————————————— .500 record divider
16. Mets (21) – Strong finish. Will get Matt Harvey back next year. Let’s hope he is just as electric.
17. Braves (13) – Awful finish, same record as the Mets!
18. Marlins (17) – Will get Jose Fernandez back next year. Let’s hope he is just as electric.
19. Rays (18) – Two teams from the same state finish with the same record.
20. Padres (20) – Got better as the year progressed, but just terrible offensively, last in runs/rbis.
————————————— Protected 1st round picks below
21. Reds (19) – They had Cueto’s CY Young caliber year but not much else.
22. Cubs (25) – Soler power. The future is bright.
23. White Sox (24) – Another two teams from the same state (and city) finish with the same record. Good bye Paul Konerko.
24. Phillies (22) – Cole Hamels looked good.
25. Red Sox (26) – Gave a nice retirement ceremony for Jeter.
26. Astros (27) – Jose Altuve plays last day and wins AL batting title.
27. Twins (23) – Faded as the year progressed and just fired Gardenhire. I’d bet they hire Paul Molitor. Congrats to Hughes for setting the K/BB mark.
28. Rangers (29) – Gave a few teams fits at the end as a playoff spoiler.
29. Rockies (28) – Congrats to Justin Morneau on winning NL batting title.
30. Diamondbacks (30) – Just an awful year. Let Gibson and Trammell go as soon as last out was made.
Players of the Month
C – Yasmani Grandal – helped SD surge up the rankings
1B – Adrian Gonzalez – finishes with overall RBI lead with 116
2B – Joe Altuve – wins overall batting title at .341
3B – Juan Aribe – still plugging along at 35
SS – Danny Santana – hopefully keeps playing at this level next year
OF – Matt Kemp – finished strong
OF – Carl Crawford – Dodgers have several players hitting well
OF – Michael Brantley – underrated player and had a great season
DH – Jose Bautista – Joey bats was crushing it
Carlos Carrasco – a lot of fun watching him and Kluber K just about everyone they faced
Clayton Kershaw – will win NL Cy Young but what about NL MVP?
Corey Kluber – my vote for AL Cy Young, a big reason they were #1 in Ks
Francisco Liriano – got better after he came back from injury
Collin McHugh – AL rookie of the year afterthought? Fun fact McHugh was drafted by the Mets and even started for them a couple times in 2012. He was traded straight to the Rockies, the team he shut out in his debut, for Eric Young Jr. The Rockies lost him, ineptitude?, and the Astros claimed him on waivers.
Jake Peavy – change to the NL/Giants worked wonders
Michael Pineda – amazing month for Yankees – hopefully he stays healthy and uses less pine tar
Stephen Strasburg – an outstanding month, finish – 1.13 ERA, .075 WHIP in September
Jordan Zimmermann – no hitter on last day ! what a great catch to end game. Against Henderson Alvarez no less.
Fantasy Players of the Year
Hitters – based on the 5 Categories of R, HR, RBI, SB, and OBP
C – Buster Posey – Best Value – Devin Mesoraco. The Reds had 2 stand out performances and yet they finished 4th in their division.
1B – Victor Martinez – Best Value – Victor Martinez/Jose Abreu. Nice bounce back seasons from Anthony Rizzo and ALbert Pujols.
2B – Joe Altuve – Best Value – Brian Dozier went 20/20 and Anthony Rendon helped everywhere.
3B – Miguel Cabrera – Best Value – Todd Frazier went 20/20 and Rendon was so good he was the 2nd best player in 2 positions.
SS – Dee Gordon, probably best value as well – Pleasant Surprise – Danny Santana. Actual Surprise – Alexi Ramirez and Alcides Escobar finished within the top 6 SS.
LF – Michael Brantley, probably best value as well – Pleasant Surprise – Corey Dickerson. Rockies seem to have a lot of talent, management and Coors effect holding them down.
CF – Mike Trout – Fast Guys – Billy Hamilton & Ben Revere
RF – Giancarlo Stanton – Best Value – Charlie Blackmon. I didn’t think he could continue after his 6 for 6 game early in the year.
UT – Josh Harrison – covered the most positions with useful value, Brock Holt was helpful for a good stretch and played more positions than Harrison.
Pitchers – based on the 5 Categories of W, ERA, WHIP, Ks, and S&H
Best SP – Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto, Felix Hernandez, Corey Kluber, Adam Wainwright, and Chris Sale.
Best traded starter – Jon Lester
Best FA starter signing – Phil Hughes
Biggest surprise – Jake Arrieta
Best rookie pitcher – Collin McHugh
Best 5th starter in NL – Tanner Roark
Best 5th starter in AL – Matt Shoemaker
Best RP – Greg Holland and Craig Kimbrel
Best closer who didn’t start as a closer – Zach Britton
RP – Dellin Betances & Wade Davis, best 8th inning guys
Best midseason surprises – Carlos Carrasco and Jacob deGrom
Best hitting pitcher – Madison Bumgarner
Year End Awards
American League (previous guesses)
MVP – Trout (Trout, Trout) – best player on best team. Leading the league in RBIs and Runs is pretty cool. Others – Altuve, Brantley, V.Martinez.
Cy Young – Kluber (Kluber, Sale) – just the most electric pitcher this year, maybe because he had the “out of no where” feeling but he had a promising 2nd half for the Indians last year, and after struggling earlier this year, put it all together where he dominated over the last 5 months of the season. Interesting article brings up difference between Indians defense (awful) vs Mariners defense (average) in Kluber vs King Felix debate, with Kluber having the better Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) ERA. Others – F.Hernandez, Sale.
Rookie – Abreu (Abreu, Abreu). Abreu seemed to wear down in the power department as the season progressed, hitting 5 HRs over the last two months after swatting 30 over the first four, opening up the door to still very unlikely possible choices, but not really. Others – McHugh, Shoemaker,Springer, Tanaka, Ventura.
Manager – Buck Showalter (Yost, Melvin). Just another terrific job by Buck. Others – Maddon (father of the shift? Team may have run out of magic but still probably the best manager in the AL), Scioscia, Yost.
MVP – Kershaw (Stanton, McCutchen). I’d like this to go to a hitter but you can just feel it’s going to go to Kershaw. Maybe if MLB, sports writers, etc. better marketed the Henry Aaron Award around more. Since 1999 it’s been awarded to the all round best hitter in each league, then the MVP can really be considered an MVP as opposed to this hybrid MVP / Best Hitter award and there would be less reluctance to give it to a pitcher. Others – McCutchen, Rendon, Stanton (who should win HA award).
Cy Young – Kershaw (Kershaw, Kershaw). Led the league in Ws, ERA, and CGs. Would have led in everything else if he didn’t miss the 1stmonth of the season. Others – Cueto, Wainwright.
Rookie – deGrom (Hamilton, Hamilton). Whereas deGrom got better as the season progressed, Hamilton was just the opposite. Still he did better than most people were expecting from him, but a second half OPS of .511 and a .123 September AVG compared to a 2nd half lights out deGrom (2.16 ERA, .093 WHIP, .197 BAA, and one 8 Ks in a row performance) will cost him the award. Others – Giles, Hamilton, Hendricks.
Manager – Mattingly (Williams, Redmond). Toss up but went with Mattingly since he has to deal with the circus that is LA gets him bonus points. Others – Bochy (probably the best manager in the NL), Williams, Redmond, Hurdle (last couple of years Pirates seem to be able to take someone else’s starting pitching trash and turn it into gold – Liriano, Volquez, Worley).