These are not just mere prediction but whom I believe should win the said awards.
Manager of the Year
The Oakland Athletics are in the playoffs as the second Wild Card in the American League, after posting a record of 97-65. Quick name as many A’s as you can. Having a hard time? You are not alone. Other than Khris Davis the major league’s home run leader, the Athletics roster is largely anonymous. When the season began, Oakland again using the Money Ball method had the major’s lowest payroll at $66 million. In the second half, the Athletics were one of the best teams in baseball surging past the Mariners into the second Wild Card with a 35-17 record in July and August. While Alex Cora deserves some consideration for winning 108 games with the Red Sox, the fact that Bob Melvin won 97 games with his roster is the stuff of miracles.
Comeback Player of the Year
Boston Red Sox
The 2017 season was a year to forget for David Price, who struggled with injuries all season in the second year of a seven-year contract with the Boston Red Sox. As the season came to a close, Price was relegated to the bullpen, posting a record of 6-3, while making just 16 starts while feuding with Dennis Eckersley. Price got off to a slow start again in 2018, as he missed a start after playing too much Fortnight, but ended the year as one of Boston’s most reliable starters. When the year was over it was the old David Price again, as he back near his career averages with a 17-9 record and a 3.58 ERA with 177 strikeouts. Price’s stiffest competition for the Comeback Player of the Year is his own teammate Rick Porcello, who was more like the pitcher that won the Cy Young in 2016, as he won 17 games after losing 17 in 2017, but his ERA was still a bit hefty at 4.28.
Rookie of the Year
New York Yankees
Every now and then comes an award debate that infuriates me as a baseball traditionalist. The Rookie of the Year debate is one of those that really grinds my gears. Shohei Ohtani has a solid rookie season and missed a great deal of time trying to be the Japanese Babe Ruth by pitching for the Angels. It ended with him need Tommy John surgery, and despite that, he had a solid .285 average with 22 home runs and 97 RBI. However, the Yankees without Miguel Andujar would have not made the playoffs, as Aaron Judge was hurt it was Andujar who picked up the slack; leading all rookies in home runs 27, RBI 92 while breaking Joe DiMaggio’s team record with 47 doubles. Any rookie that breaks a record held by Joe DiMaggio is the league’s top rookie.
Mariano Rivera Award
There is only one player to consider when choosing the top reliever in the American League and that is Edwin Diaz of the Seattle Mariners. Diaz played a major role, Seattle’s strong start as he was on pace most of the season for 60 saves. At one point, he recorded 27-straight saves and became the youngest pitcher to save 50 games in a season at the age of 24. While the Mariners tailed off in the second half, Edwin Diaz had fewer save chances. However, he did record 57 saves, tying the old record held by Bobby Thigpen, the second most in baseball history.
Hank Aaron Award
Boston Red Sox
The Hank Aaron Award and American League MVP will be a battle of Boston Red Sox teammates. You could almost flip a coin for the Hank Aaron Award, but to me, I think it should go to Designated Hitter J.D. Martinez, who ended up being the most important acquisition in the off-season as he plugged the hole left by David Ortiz’s retirement. Martinez led the team in homers with 43, the majors in with 130 RBI and hit .330 giving a boost to everyone else in the lineup. Mookie Betts stats were on a par and could win this award, but to me, I will give him the grand prize, and let J.D. Martinez take the less known but criminally underrated Aaron Award.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Cy Young was in the back pocket of Chris Sale, for most of the season. However, the Red Sox ace spent much of the last two months of the season on the disabled list with a sore shoulder. Before the injury Sale, had a chance at the pitching Triple Crown instead faded in all three categories. Instead, Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays came out of the shadows and had a second half for the ages. In helping his team quietly win 90 games, Snell had the lowest ERA in the majors at 1.89, while leading the majors with 21 wins. The 1.89 ERA is the third lowest since the DH was introduced in the American League, if not for playing in Tampa he would be a lock for the award. It was shameful when Snell was nearly subbed for the All-Star game don’t make the same mistake twice.
Boston Red Sox
As previously mentioned the MVP and Hank Awards are going to be decided by a pair of Red Sox. J.D. Martinez had the best power numbers overall in baseball, finishing second in home runs, with 43, and leading all of baseball with 130 RBI. However, Mookie Betts was nearly as strong, and added a batting crown into the mix, with a .346 average, which has become nearly unheard of in this day of advanced metrics. Mookie Betts hit 31 homers and had 80 RBI at the top of the lineup, scoring 129 runs for Boston. Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez had similar OPS numbers, with Betts finishing at 1.078 to 1.031 for Martinez. However, what clinches the MVP for Mookie Betts over J.D. Martinez is the fact that he is a complete player who not only plays in the field excels in the field with gold glove type defense.