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MLB: Who should win the National League awards?

Another regular season is in the books. Like every other year, there is coveted hardware to claim. Both the American and National Leagues hold awards in need of ownership for 2018. Several players have made rock solid cases to win the accolades. But as the old saying goes, “There can be only one.”

Let’s start with the National League.

NL Awards: Hank Aaron

The Hank Aaron Award is bestowed on the greatest batter of the league: The four big nominees are…

1. Christian Yelich: Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich has been flying high this season (AP Photo/Aaron Gash).

The surging 26-year old is having arguably the biggest breakout season in the National League. Christian Yelich currently leads the NL in batting average. He also has recorded career highs in home runs (36) and RBIs (110). September, it seems, has been very good for no. 22. During then, Yelich has cashed in 11 home runs and 38 RBI’s, along with a .368 batting average. This 30-day surge has also pulled him to the top of the NL MVP voting board.

2. Nolan Arenado: Colorado Rockies

No doubt the best third baseman of the 2010’s, Nolan Arenado can do it all. Arenado stands as the NL’s home run leader for 2018. He may not have recorded career highs, but he has gone through four straight seasons with >35 home runs, >100 RBIs, and a >.285 batting average. One of the most consistent players in the game, Arenado has given Rockies fans plenty to cheer for.

3. Javier Baez: Chicago Cubs

Yelich holds the highest batting average and Arenado has gone yard more than anyone in the NL. But no one has driven in more runs than Javier Baez. Baez, in a breakthrough season of his own, has 111 RBIs this season. He also has 34 home runs and a .290 batting average, both of which are career highs for him. Chicago will have plenty of weapons on board for October, but Baez will most like be the biggest one moving forward.

4. Trevor Story: Colorado Rockies

Colorado has another bruising bat in its ranks, and his name is Trevor Story. Story has tallied 36 home runs, and 107 RBIs, along with a .290 batting average. Not to mention these are all career highs for no. 27. Story has been a major help for the Rockies as they return to the playoffs. He and Arenado formed one of the biggest one-two punches in baseball this season. Story will have to keep swinging as Colorado looks to exceed a Wild Card appearance.

NL Awards: Cy Young

The Cy Young Award, one of the more popular awards in baseball, is every pitcher’s goal for their trophy cases. The nominees are…

1. Max Scherzer: Washington Nationals
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

The Washington Nationals may be facing an uncertain future ahead. But one thing for sure is Max Scherzer’s dominance from the mound. In 2018, “Mad Max” boasted an 18-7 record and a 2.53 ERA, the latter being the third best in the NL. He also has allowed the lowest batting average in the NL, with .188. Scherzer also holds three Cy Young Awards in his trophy case, two from the last two seasons. The 34-year old has shown he can still throw major heat and shut down the best of them, despite his age.

2. Aaron Nola: Philadelphia Phillies

Aaron Nola has made big waves this season. He holds a 17-6 record and an ERA of 2.37, second best in the NL. The 24-year old ace can become a solid foundation for Philadelphia to build on for the future. Though he went 2-3 and had an ERA of >3.30 in his last seven starts, there’s no mistake that Nola is one of the next elite arms of the game.

3. Miles Mikolas: St. Louis Cardinals

This season, the St. Louis Cardinals just narrowly missed the playoffs. Luckily, they have plenty of weapons for 2019, like 30-year old Miles Mikolas. The 2018 season was a phenomenal year for Mikolas, to say the least. Mikolas has posted an 18-4 record from the mound, along with a 2.83 ERA. Yes, he does have a higher ERA and higher batting average allowed than most elite aces do. But Cards fans will be eager to see what Mikolas can do next season.

4. Kyle Freeland: Colorado Rockies

Kyle Freeland may be a lesser known in the Cy Young Award conversation. But he is turning into a terror on the mound. This season, Freeland has a 17-7 record from the mound, along with a 2.85 ERA. Plus, he went 6-0 in his last seven starts. The 25-year old has no doubt improved from last season, where he went 11-11 and had a 4.10 ERA. He still needs a few more adjustments to enter the ranks of the elite aces. Keep in mind, he’s close.

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Todd Boss October 2, 2018 at 11:44 am

You’re kidding right? No Jacob deGrom for your “Cy Young” and no Anthony Rendon for the Aaron award?

deGrom leads both fangraphs and WAR metrics for NL pitchers, as well as a slew of other statistical measures. Rendon was 2nd in the NL in fWAR for non-pitchers, well ahead of others on your nominee list, and finished 4th in wRC+, behind only Yelich, Goldschmidt and Nimmo.

Manuel Finale October 2, 2018 at 12:04 pm

I see your point with Jacob DeGrom. But the Mets hurt his chances with the lack of run support. If DeGrom was on any other team, he would have destroyed the Cy Young Award competition

Manuel Finale October 2, 2018 at 2:22 pm

For those who are wondering why I didn’t include Jacob DeGrom from the New York Mets on my Cy Young watch list, allow me to explain. DeGrom is an animal of a pitcher, no doubt. He leads the MLB in ERA and tied the record for most consecutive starts in a season allowing 3 runs or less with 25.

But for me, he had no help on offense while he was on the mound. He had to carry the team in a similar NFL QB, Philip Rivers, had to carry the Los Angeles Chargers, in recent seasons.

There are other ways a player can be great. Sometimes greatness can come from what you have to work with, and how you can pounce on those opportunities to make winning a certainty. That’s why Miles Mikolas and Kyle Freeland are on my list. They were able to do their parts, so wins kept coming for their squads as a result.


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