There are just 45 games left in the MLB season for the Tigers and once again, they have a few players that will be in the mix for some post season, individual accolades.
Dave Dombrowski recently traded for the front runner for the AL Rookie of the Year in Jose Iglesias, which would be interesting if he wins, but since he didn’t come up with the Tigers nor spend the majority of the season with the Tigers, it isn’t too exciting.
However, yet again, Miguel Cabrera is at the top of the AL MVP race and this season, Max Scherzer is perhaps the front runner for the AL Cy Young award.
Just like last year, though, sabermetrics will play a large part in deciding who could win, and again, the advanced stats aren’t on the side of the Tigers players. Max Scherzer’s best argument for winning the award is his incredible 17-1 record. The problem is that this is an individual award and a pitchers record is team dependent.
Felix Hernandez has been more effective in more innings than Scherzer, has a few more strike outs, a lower FIP (expected ERA with the same defenses) and a higher batting average on balls in play against (meaning he has been far less lucky than Scherzer), but for a much worse team and that could cost him the award.
Despite most writers (not all) acknowledging that a pitchers win-loss record isn’t that indicative of their performance, a record like Scherzer’s will be like Cabrera winning the Triple Crown last year, nearly impossible for the voters to ignore, favoring a traditional stat in their voting instead of more predictive, less luck based numbers.
Scherzer has also received some of the highest run support in baseball this year and that is obviously a major reason that his record is as ridiculous as it is, but as long as he continues to win down the stretch, it is almost a foregone conclusion that he will win the Cy Young award this year.
For Miguel Cabrera, the argument over WAR this year is much closer with Mike Trout than it was last year and with so many writers enamored with Cabrera’s Triple Crown last year, it seems hard to believe those same writers wouldn’t vote for him again this year as he is putting up even better traditional numbers, even if he doesn’t win a Triple Crown.
Cabrera currently has an OPS of 1.151, over 150 points higher than Trout and is on pace to set career highs in On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage by a wide margin. But the thing that, like Scherzer, works strongly in his favor, is that Cabrera is the best player on the best team in the AL right now while his main competition is on a losing team.
The Tigers are almost assured of a playoff spot again this season, while Mike Trout toils away on a disappointing Angels team and Felix Hernandez continues to waste his career in Seattle, which voters seem to care about the success of the team of the players they vote for, costing them votes in what will be a tight race.
The voting is done at the end of the regular season with the announcement coming in November on who wins these awards, most likely bringing another CY Young and MVP award back to Detroit, which will hopefully be the icing on a World Championship season.