We have reached an interesting year (2017) on MLB Monday because this is the year the Houston Astros cheated to win the World Series. The franchise had been around since 1962 and never won an MLB title, even when employing cheaters previously. It took a franchise-wide effort, really, to break the rules in order for the Trashstros to emerge victorious—and since they were never really punished …
So, there’s that. We assume this will affect our analyses below. How could it not?!
2017 AL MVP: Jose Altuve (original), Aaron Judge (revised)
Speak of the devil! Seven AL players were in the MLB Top 10 for WAR, including two cheating Houston hitters: second baseman Jose Altuve (7.7) and shortstop Carlos Correa (6.7). The former won the vote, too, so we’re definitely re-assigning this award on two counts.
The remaining candidates: New York Yankees rookie right fielder Aaron Judge (8.0), Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons (7.9), Cleveland Indians infielder José Ramírez (7.0), Angels center fielder Mike Trout (6.9), and Baltimore Orioles 2B Jonathan Schoop (6.5). The Halos and the Os both finished under .500, so that means this comes down to Judge and Ramírez.
Cleveland won the AL Central by 17 games, so this is Judge’s award. The Yankees took the top wild-card spot, but without Judge, they’d have been fighting for a playoff spot. Judge hit 52 HRs, scored 128 runs, and walked 127 times to lead the AL in all three categories while driving in 114 runs and posting a 1.049 OPS. He was also a positive defender (0.2), which is always important to note.
2017 NL MVP: Giancarlo Stanton (original), Nolan Arenado (revised)
Our top candidates here were Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (8.1 WAR), Miami Marlins RF Giancarlo Stanton (7.9), and Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (6.9). We took away Votto’s 2010 NL MVP trophy, and Stanton won it this time around for hitting 59 HRs. But with Cincy and Miami both finishing under .500 on the year, this award goes to Arenado, deservingly.
The Rox actually claimed the final postseason slot by 1 game, so it’s appropriate, too: Arenado led the NL with 43 doubles, and he also posted 2.0 dWAR on his way to a fifth consecutive Gold Glove. His offense—.309 average, 37 HRs, 130 RBI, .959 OPS—was pretty good, too. By the way, Arenado has won the GG every season he’s been in the majors so far (2013-2021). He really deserves this nod, in retrospect.
2017 AL Cy Young: Corey Kluber (original), Chris Sale (revised)
The best pitchers in the junior circuit were Cleveland ace Corey Kluber (7.9 WAR), Astros trade acquisition Justin Verlander (6.9), and Boston Red Sox southpaw Chris Sale (5.9). Kluber won the vote, but his team had a 22-game playoff cushion. The Astros had a 21-game cushion, while the Red Sox had a 13-game cushion—although just a 2-game edge for their respective division title.
With the Tribe finished 17 games atop their division and the ‘Stros finishing 21 games up, Sale was the one of the trio that pitched under the most pressure, really. This is odd as we took away Kluber’s 2014 AL Cy, too, while giving it to him last year. The voters just can’t it right, can they?
Anyway, Sale led the AL in IP (214 1/3), Ks (308), and K:BB ratio (12.9) while also posting a 17-8 record, a 2.90 ERA, and a 0.970 WHIP. He was really good. This was his first season with the Red Sox after spending the first 7 seasons of his MLB career with the Chicago White Sox. So much for the bleach …
2017 NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer (original), Zack Greinke (revised)
This is another weird situation, as three of the top four pitchers in the senior circuit all tossed their innings for the same team: the Washington Nationals. That means vote winner Max Scherzer (7.2 WAR) and his rotation pals Gio González (6.5) and Stephen Strasburg (6.3) aren’t going to make the cut here. Who is left? Arizona Diamondbacks veteran Zack Greinke (5.7).
The D’backs clinched the top wild-card slot, too, so that makes this a lot easier. This is his second Cy nod from us, the other being the AL hardware in 2009. To earn this one, Greinke posted a 17-7 record with a 3.20 ERA and a 1.072 WHIP, while adding 215 Ks in just 202 1/3 IP. This is the third time we’ve taken away the Cy from Scherzer, although we did give it to him once, too (2014).
2017 AL ROTY: Aaron Judge (original, confirmed)
This is a done deal, as he obviously won the AL MVP nod above, too. What else to say? He did lead the league with 208 strikeouts, but Judge still hit .284 overall. At 25, he was a little bit older than most rookies might usually be, but it’s a rare case of a late bloomer playing so very well.
2017 NL ROTY: Cody Bellinger (original), Paul DeJong (revised)
Los Angeles Dodgers utility player Cody Bellinger (3.9 WAR) won the vote over a pair of Rockies pitchers, German Márquez and Kyle Freeland, both at 3.5 WAR. With the Dodgers winning the NL West, it’s easy for us to confirm this award for Bellinger and his stat line—but we cannot, since his glove (-0.4 dWAR) was painful. We’re going to have to dig deep(er) here.
St. Louis Cardinals infielder Paul DeJong (2.7) gets our nod, as the Cards finished above .500 and just a few games out of the playoff hunt. That’s all it takes this time around, as DeJong contributed 25 HRs, 65 RBI, and an .857 OPS to the St. Louis cause, while also playing above-average defense, too. Shocker that Bellinger was not the winner, but our rules are our rules.