Jose Ramirez, AL MVP Finalist
He strolls around the diamond invincibly. His patented strut is readily recognizable, yet maligned by some opponents, the likes of Mauer and Molitor. Exuding confidence to the point of cockiness, possibly, Jose Ramirez is baseball.
2015 was a nightmare for Jose – tough luck, poor plate appearances, and a fixture for fans to rip apart on a team that underachieved. His 2016 coming out party was fun, but there were still questions about his staying power. That’s why 2017 was pivotal. With a contract extension in hand, he proved he was no fluke.
The third and second baseman vaulted himself into MVP discussions, slashing .318/.374/.583. In the American League, only Aaron Judge, Jose Altuve, and Mike Trout surpassed his 6.6 wins above replacement. Ram belted seven more doubles than anyone else in baseball and nearly tripled his home run output from 2016.
On Tuesday, it was announced that he was one of the three American League MVP finalists, along with Aaron Judge and Jose Altuve. Now, Jose doesn’t really have a prayer of winning the award, but just to be in the conversation is a major upset within itself. Barring injury, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where he isn’t in the conversation for the same award in 2018.
WFNY’s Unofficially Official Most Valuable Player Prediction: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
The winner of the 2017 American League Most Valuable Player award will be announced Thursday, November 16th at 6:45 EST on MLB Network.
Corey Kluber, AL Cy Young Finalist
Your 2014 American League Cy Young award winner is a finalist again in 2017. Corey Kluber joins Chris Sale and Luis Severino as the trio of finalists. Severino is listed mostly as a courtesy to acknowledge his breakout campaign, as this year’s award is a two horse race between Kluber and Sale.
After a third-place finish in voting for the 2016 American League Cy Young, Corey Kluber seems to have a stranglehold on this year’s award. His 2.25 earned run average dwarfed Sale’s 2.90 mark in the same category. Peripherals like FIP and xFIP are split pretty evenly. Recency bias should play a role, as well, as Kluber’s numbers after returning from the disabled list on June 1st are laughably dominant, while Sale faltered down the stretch.
WFNY’s Unofficially Official Cy Young Prediction: Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians
The winner of the 2017 American League Cy Young award will be announced Wednesday, November 15th at 6:15 EST on MLB Network.
Terry Francona, AL Manager of the Year Finalist
Terry Francona, A.J. Hinch, and Paul Molitor make up the contestants for the American League Manager of the Year award in 2017. Francona, a two-time winner of the award, looks to become the first back-to-back winner of the American League version in the history of the award, which dates back to 1983. Francona also won in 2013 and is one of only thirteen managers to have multiple trophies.
The odds are not great for Francona this year, though. A.J. Hinch’s Houston Astros rebounded from a meager 84 win total in 2016 to 101 wins and a World Series title in 2017, the latter being largely irrelevant because votes are cast prior to the postseason beginning.
The Twins’ Paul Molitor is probably the frontrunner and for good reason. The Twins transformed from a 100 loss team to a wildcard team, which is about all that needs to be said. For an award that has absolutely no criteria, win total leaps from the previous year seems like an obvious starting point based on previous selections.
WFNY’s Unofficially Official Manager of the Year Prediction: Paul Molitor, Minnesota Twins
The winner of the 2017 American League Manager of the Year award will be announced Tuesday, November 14th at 6:43 EST on MLB Network.