Dan's Dugout: Here's Where 2015 Awards Should Go • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Here’s Where 2015 Awards Should Go

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Except for the Wild, Wild West in the American League, the playoff berths and venues are ready to roll. And so are the votes for the individual honors.

As a long-term member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, I take my ballot seriously — even though my picks are often controversial.

This year, however, the IBWAA and the beat writers in the Baseball Writers Association of America figure to agree on who deserves what.

Josh Donaldson has a lock on AL MVP honors

Josh Donaldson has a lock on AL MVP honors

For example, I’d be surprised if the Most Valuable Players are Toronto’s Josh Donaldson in the American League and Washington’s Bryce Harper in the National.

MVP votes often go to contending clubs and the Blue Jays certainly qualify. In fact, my four top choices after Donaldson include Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, two other Toronto terrors, in second and fourth place, respectively. Seattle DH Nelson Cruz, who topped 40 homers for the second straight year, landed third, with Yankees catcher Brian McCann — also a candidate for Comeback of the Year — fifth.

In the National League, Yoenis Cespedes was so responsible for the turnaround of the New York Mets that I placed him second to Harper, who led the league in everything except dugout bouts with Jonathan Papelbon.

Nolan Arenado, an unsung slugger who made Rockies games interesting, placed third, with Anthony Rizzo

Bryce Harper is about to add MVP hardware

Bryce Harper is about to add MVP hardware

of the Cubs fourth and Buster Posey of the Giants fifth. Somebody out there is going to insist Jake Arrieta deserves MVP consideration too — especially in the wake of his historic second half — but that’s what the Cy Young is for.

He’s the choice over Zack Grienke (Dodgers) and 2014 World Series hero Madison Bumgarner (Giants), with Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) a very close fourth.

In the American League, the pendulum can’t swing past Toronto. David Price, perhaps the best midseason pickup of all, ranks first for the Cy Young, ahead of Seattle’s Felix Hernandez and Chris Sale, who just set a White Sox strikeout record for a single season.

Since the IBWAA rewards relievers, my choices were Mark Melancon (Pirates) in the National League, followed by Trevor Rosenthal (Cardinals) and Craig Kimbrel (Padres). Sorry, no Aroldis Chapman (Reds) this time around.

The best American League closer, surprisingly, turned out to be Andrew Miller, an erstwhile set-up man acquired by the Yankees to fill the void created by the offseason departure of David Robertson. Right behind him were Greg Holland, brilliant again for the Royals before late-season Tommy John surgery, and Baltimore’s Zach Britton.

Carlos Correa could be AL Rookie of the Year

Carlos Correa could be AL Rookie of the Year

Picking a National League Rookie of the Year was tougher, especially since the Chicago Cubs seemed to keep producing new candidates. Third baseman Kris Bryant, because of his timely and prodigious power, got the nod, followed by San Francisco’s Matt Duffy, who plays the same position. Midseason favorite Joc Pederson, who dropped off the radar after showing power plus defense as the Dodgers centerfielder, still wound up third.

Across league lines, both Chris Correa (Astros) and Chris Sano (Twins) were late to the party but so solid once arriving that the choice is a toss-up. I went with Sano, followed by Correa and Yankees first baseman Greg Bird, a remarkable fill-in for injured veteran Mark Teixeira late in the season.

Speaking of late to the party, Terry Collins (Mets) managed for 10 years without reaching the playoffs. He’s the NL Manager of the Year for catching the favored Nationals and leaving them in the dust while handling his young rotation with kid gloves. Mike Matheny (Cardinals) coped with a plethora of injuries without blinking, so he ranks just ahead of Cubs miracle man Joe Maddon on my ballot.

In the American League, John Gibbons reinvented the Blue Jays after the trading deadline, bringing

Joe Girardi will get strong consideration for AL Manager of the Year

Joe Girardi will get strong consideration for AL Manager of the Year

them home with the league’s best record even after Troy Tulowitzki was lost for three weeks. Right behind him are Joe Girardi (Yankees), who finally find youth to compensate for a fragile and aging team, and Jeff Banister, rookie manager of the Texas Rangers — another team that made a midseason turnaround after visiting the trade market.

Argue if you must but let’s wait and see how the print writers vote when their awards are announced after the World Series. They also must submit their votes the day the regular season ends.

Elsewhere in baseball:

The Yankees would be a lot more confident in their wild-card chances if lefty reliever Chasen Shreve, victim of a shaky September, would have more confidence in himself . . .

The Yankees need Brian McCann to start hitting again in the playoffs Image Credit: Bill Menzel

The Yankees need Brian McCann to start hitting again in the playoffs
Image Credit: Bill Menzel

A revival by Brian McCann would help too; the catcher had a good year until September, when he hit a not-too-robust .177 . . .

Although the Giants hope to keep 38-year-old outfielder Marlon Byrd, a midseason pickup, they’re thrilled with the play of rookie rightfielder Jarrett Parker . . .

Atlanta’s rotation will get a huge boost if lefty Mike Minor, out all of 2015, finds his former form next season . . .

The Red Sox think southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez, a 2015 rookie, has a bright future . . .

San Diego has the inside track to sign Washington shortstop Ian Desmond, a probable free agent . . .

Another National on the move, starting pitcher Doug Fister, could wind up in Toronto . . .

Among Baltimore’s eight free agents are catcher Matt Wieters and first baseman Chris Davis, both

Chris Davis: lots of Ks but plenty of power on the free agent market

Chris Davis: lots of Ks but plenty of power on the free agent market

certain to command much attention this winter . . .

Coco Crisp — the player, not the cereal, will play left field for Oakland in 2016 . . .

New Seattle GM Jerry DiPoto wants to keep Hisashi Iwakuma, a 35-year-old starter who not only threw a no-hitter this year but formed a fine 1-2 punch with Felix Hernandez . . .

Bartolo Colon, pushing 43, will seek a new home after winning 14 games for the Mets . . .

Josh Johnson, unable to pitch for San Diego, is heading for his third Tommy John surgery . . .

Three-time Gold Glove shortstop J.J. Hardy (Orioles) is a devoted tennis player . . .

The Dodgers and Rockies used a record 58 players, including 24 pitchers, in a 16-inning game Sept. 15th that the Rox won, 5-4 . . .

Ryan Madson, injured last year, will play an important set-role for the Royals now that Greg Holland is sidelined with elbow issues . . .

If Jake Arrieta (Cubs) didn’t have the best second-half in baseball history, he came pretty darn close . . .

Jose Abreu joins Albert Pujols in exclusive club

Jose Abreu joins Albert Pujols in exclusive club

White Sox slugger Jose Abreu and Angels first baseman Albert Pujols are the only men in baseball history to start their careers with successive 30-homer, 100-RBI campaigns . . .

Had closer Glen Perkins stayed healthy, the Minnesota Twins would be playing for the AL wild-card . . .

Welcome back: Troy Tulowitzki singled and doubled in his first game for the Jays after three weeks on the DL . . .

Slugging second baseman Robinson Cano will have surgery for a sports hernia but may have a new home if the Mariners would be willing to eat some of his $24 million-a-year contract . . .

Goodbye, Matt Williams. It was fun.

 

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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