By Travis Jaudon, Staff Writer
The 2014 MLB Playoffs are in full swing, but before we completely move on to the postseason, let’s take a look back at the regular season and hand out the awards for the National and American Leagues.
The MVP awards go to Clayton Kershaw in the NL and Mike Trout for the AL. Kershaw, the Los Angeles Dodgers ace, had one of the greatest seasons for a pitcher in the history of baseball. His 21-3 record and 1.77 earned-run average are eye-popping stats, but they don’t do the lanky lefty justice. Kershaw struck out 239 batters this season while walking only 31. Averaging 10.1 strikeouts per 9 innings, Kershaw is undoubtedly the league’s Most Valuable Player.
My pick for the American League’s MVP is Mike Trout. Trout’s average (.287) was below what he usually hits, but he more than made up for the lack of average by blasting 36 home runs and driving in 111 runs. Trout’s timely hitting was key for the AL West champion Angels as he was the catalyst in front of sluggers Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. He was an all-star (again) not only because of his hitting, but because of his incredible range in the outfield and speed on the base paths. Mike Trout is your 2014 AL MVP.
My Cy Young pick for the National League is obviously Kershaw as I have him for my MVP, but the American League pick wasn’t so easy. Many baseball writers will take the time to explain how they believe Cleveland’s Corey Kluber deserves the award, but I say it belongs in Seattle, with the Mariners Felix Hernandez. Hernandez had a 2.14 ERA for the year while playing in the American League, a league that allows a DH. Kluber had a solid year, but Hernandez was better. King Felix struck out 248 batters in only 236 innings while allowing just 46 walks. The King is the pitcher of the year in the AL.
For Rookie of the Year (ROY) honors in the American League and National League I have Jose Abreu and Jacob DeGrom respectively. Abreu, the White Sox power hitting Cuban sensation was a godsend in his first year in the bigs. He hit .317 while banging 36 home runs and knocking in 107 runs. DeGrom, on the other hand, was the best pitcher in the Mets organization as a rookie. Although he went only 9-6 as a starter, he posted a 2.69 ERA and struck out 144 batters in just over 140 innings making him the NL’s ROY for 2014.
Finally, the managers of the year. First, in the American League, I say Buck Showalter deserves the honors. Showalter led his Baltimore Orioles to the playoffs after running away with the (supposedly) competitive AL East division. His band of nobodies handled the Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays with relative ease even after losing starting catcher Matt Wieters for the year.
Much like Showalter, the NL coach of the year, St. Louis’ Mike Matheny, dealt with losing his starting catcher Yadier Molina. Even after the loss of Molina, Matheny led St. Louis to yet another NL Central division crown. He deserves credit this, his most impressive job as a manager.