2017 MLB award predictor model

Note: This post was published in early August. There will be an update with final totals and predictions in November leading into the awards being presented.

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 07:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals follows his fourth inning solo home run against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on August 7, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — The contenders are separating themselves from the pack, the pennant races are starting to take shape, and the New York Mets are a stunt car on fire, careening off a rock face to the desert hellscape below. That means it must be August, so it’s a good time to check in on the two major awards races in each league to see how things stand with just under two months to play. For those unfamiliar with the system, the model combines player rankings in a number of statistics, both old and new school, that voters tend to value when deciding the Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards. The model went 4-for-4 in 2015, but wasn’t quite as accurate last year. It picked Justin Verlander, who secured the most first-place votes, but didn’t actually win the award. It also picked Mookie Betts, who lost a close vote to Mike Trout. So, no, it isn’t perfect. But it should give you a pretty good idea of where the races stand. All numbers through the games Sunday, August 6. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Rob Carr)
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 1: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning at Fenway Park on August 1, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
American League Cy Young   1. Chris Sale — 99 2. Corey Kluber — 58 3. Luis Severino — 58 4. James Paxton — 51 5. Chris Archer — 44 This one isn’t even close. In perhaps the most dominant display since we started doing this thing in 2015, Chris Sale is blowing away the field in the AL. He leads the league in nearly every measurable category, and is all but assured the award if he can stay healthy. While many praised the Chicago White Sox for what they got in return for Sale last offseason, this kind of powerhouse performance shows why the move was worth it for Boston. There’s an interesting story in the race for second place, as we’ve seen a number of good, young starters emerge in the junior circuit this year. Luis Severino has been a revelation for the Yankees, while James Paxton may the main reason the Mariners have any reason to cling to postseason hopes. Meanwhile, you could argue that Corey Kluber is actually posting better numbers (higher K/9 IP, lower WHIP, better ERA+) than he did in his 2014 Cy Young campaign and likely has absolutely no chance to win. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Maddie Meyer)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06:  Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees hits a three run home run in the seventh inning  off of Mike Clevinger #52 of the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on August 6, 2017 in Cleveland,  Ohio.   (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
American League MVP   1. Aaron Judge — 61 2. Jose Altuve — 56 3. George Springer — 35 4. Jonathan Schoop — 30 5. Jose Ramirez — 29 This race is a doozy, and its outcome may end up serving as something of a referendum for what the baseball voting world values in 2017. The top two contenders could not be more different — one is a minute middle infielder with speed and a great glove who could win the batting title, while the other is a gargantuan, dinger-smashing machine redefining the limits of how far a human can hit a baseball. While other factors may come into play — Astros splitting the vote, the rookie factor hurting Judge, if some decide a ROY shouldn’t be MVP — but the race seems destined to come down to Jose Altuve and Aaron Judge. Two other fascinating names who could factor into the top five: Jonathan Schoop and Justin Smoak. Schoop flashed some power, but slashed just .267/.298/.454 last year in his first full season as the Orioles’ second baseman. In 2017, the 25 year-old is on pace to hit .300 as part of a 35 home run campaign that netted him his first All-Star appearance. The same goes for Smoak, a former top prospect who had posted a pedestrian career over six big league seasons to date. Now 30, he has blossomed in Toronto and is among the league’s top power threats. (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images) (Getty Images/David Maxwell)
MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 01:  Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals pitches during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 1, 2017 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
National League Cy Young   1. Max Scherzer — 91 2. Clayton Kershaw — 85 3. Zack Greinke — 60 4. Jacob deGrom — 49 5. Gio Gonzalez — 38 This award is, by all accounts, Max Scherzer’s to lose. The defending NL Cy Young winner already has a slight edge on Clayton Kershaw, who isn’t expected back from the DL anytime soon. Scherzer ranks first or second in eight of the 10 categories the model leans on, and figures to lead the league in strikeouts, which should compensate for any lack of pitcher wins (which, yes, some voters still care about). The model also recognizes the strength of Gio Gonzalez’s season, his best since 2012, despite a head-scratchingly high FIP (4.06). (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Mike Ehrmann)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 4: Paul Goldschmidt #44 of the Arizona Diamondbacks sonnets for a single during the second inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 4, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)
National League MVP   1. Paul Goldschmidt — 57 2. Bryce Harper — 49 3. Joey Votto — 41 4. Giancarlo Stanton — 39 5. Nolan Arenado — 37 It’s a bit surprising not to see Anthony Rendon on this list, but other than his WAR, he only shows up in the top 10 in on-base percentage (sixth) and slugging percentage (10th). Voters rarely hand out high marks excellent defense unless it is also complemented by superior offense. For those wondering how Ryan Zimmerman isn’t on here, well, here are his slash lines by month: April: .420/.458/.886 May: .319/.363/.543 June: .283/.323/.467 July: .234/.282/.455 August: .125/.222/.188 It should surprise nobody that Paul Goldschmidt and Bryce Harper own the top two spots, as both are putting together superlative campaigns. Each will get a bump (in the model and, probably, real life) if their teams reach the postseason, as will Nolan Arenado and a few outside the top five. It will be interesting to see if Justin Turner moves up the list as his counting stats start to catch up, assuming he continues to produce at his current level. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Stephen Lam)
(1/5)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 07:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals follows his fourth inning solo home run against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on August 7, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 1: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning at Fenway Park on August 1, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06:  Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees hits a three run home run in the seventh inning  off of Mike Clevinger #52 of the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on August 6, 2017 in Cleveland,  Ohio.   (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 01:  Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals pitches during a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 1, 2017 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 4: Paul Goldschmidt #44 of the Arizona Diamondbacks sonnets for a single during the second inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 4, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)


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