Home runs being hit at a record pace, Chris Sale reaching a historic strikeout mark an the reigning American League Champion Indians getting hot at just the right time. These were highlights from the 2017 MLB regular season.
The American League seems to be dominated by two teams – the Astros and Indians. Both have clinched their divisions and hold the top-two seeds as of right now. Boston will hold off the young Yankees for the AL East title, and Judge, Gary Sanchez and company will end up hosting the Twins in the AL Wild Card game. By the time you read this the Dodgers will have locked up the AL West crown, beating out Arizona and Colorado. Washington has clinched their division, and the Cubs will win the Central. Rockies and Diamondbacks, led by Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, will face off in the NL Wild Card game.
If first half Aaron Judge (.329 BA, 1.139 OPS, 30 home runs and 66 RBIs) had showed up the second half, he would be the easy lock for AL MVP. He’s still the Rookie of the Year. But the award will be hard to take away from Jose Altuve. He’s got the stats (.346 BA, 104 runs and 24 home runs) and team success. When it comes to AL Cy Young, it comes down to whether you want someone who’s been consistently great all year and has recently gotten hot. The first AL pitcher since 1999 to reach 300 strikeouts in Chris Sale? Or someone who has been even better for the last four months in Corey Kluber? I’ll give the nod to Sale for consistency.
Clayton Kershaw will edge Max Scherzer in the NL Cy Young race. NL MVP is tough however. Should Stanton, who has is nearing 60 home runs; win despite the Marlins struggles? Or should it go to other worthy candidates playing for playoff contenders like Zimmerman, Goldschmidt and Arenado? I’m going with Goldschmidt.
With Cleveland surging and coming together at just the right time – fresh off an AL record 22-game win streak – I don’t see anyone from the AL beating them this October. But Cleveland, will be heartbroken for the second straight October, as Kershaw, Bellinger, Yu Darvish and company will bring the title to Los Angeles.