Regan's Rumblings: Hardware Time

Regan's Rumblings: Hardware Time

This article is part of our Regan's Rumblings series.

As we approach the end of another great season of baseball, many are reflecting on the Hall-of-Fame career of David Ortiz, but for me personally having grown up in the beach town of Ventura, CA (about an hour from Dodger Stadium), I'm reflecting on the unprecedented career of one Vin Scully. Like many, I grew up listening to Vin through a transistor radio, and I can truly say that Vin was the voice of my childhood. It's amazing to think that his career has spanned Jackie Robinson, Koufax's perfect game, Bill Buckner, "The Catch", Kirk Gibson, and so much more. Of course the game will go on, but for me, it won't be quite the same once he leaves the booth at the end of this year.

Anyway, enough of that. Let's hand out some hardware, both fantasy and "real life".

The "real life" awards

AL MVP:Mike Trout (OF-LAA) – This is a two-man race between Trout and Mookie Betts, but for me it's Trout given the massive difference between the two in OBP(.438 vs. .358). Both have had solid defensive seasons, are great baserunners, have outside chances at a 30/30 season, and both should finish with 100 runs and 100 RBI. They should also be top-two fantasy picks next season, but that OBP difference clinches it in my book.

NL MVP:Kris Bryant (3B-CHC) – As a Dodgers fan, I would love to put Corey Seager here, but Bryant gets it by a hair. Bryant has

As we approach the end of another great season of baseball, many are reflecting on the Hall-of-Fame career of David Ortiz, but for me personally having grown up in the beach town of Ventura, CA (about an hour from Dodger Stadium), I'm reflecting on the unprecedented career of one Vin Scully. Like many, I grew up listening to Vin through a transistor radio, and I can truly say that Vin was the voice of my childhood. It's amazing to think that his career has spanned Jackie Robinson, Koufax's perfect game, Bill Buckner, "The Catch", Kirk Gibson, and so much more. Of course the game will go on, but for me, it won't be quite the same once he leaves the booth at the end of this year.

Anyway, enough of that. Let's hand out some hardware, both fantasy and "real life".

The "real life" awards

AL MVP:Mike Trout (OF-LAA) – This is a two-man race between Trout and Mookie Betts, but for me it's Trout given the massive difference between the two in OBP(.438 vs. .358). Both have had solid defensive seasons, are great baserunners, have outside chances at a 30/30 season, and both should finish with 100 runs and 100 RBI. They should also be top-two fantasy picks next season, but that OBP difference clinches it in my book.

NL MVP:Kris Bryant (3B-CHC) – As a Dodgers fan, I would love to put Corey Seager here, but Bryant gets it by a hair. Bryant has Seager by 14 points of OBP and 36 of SLG via a 12 home-run advantage (37 to 25). Hitting second in a lineup that isn't close to the level of the Cubs' has limited Seager to 69 RBI, so that will also hurt his chances. Both have played elite defense at their respective positions, with Seager's obviously being more valuable, but Bryant gets this trophy.

AL Cy Young:Chris Sale (CHW) – Sale gets this one almost by default, as there is no clear-cut choice in the AL this year. Guys like Rick Porcello, Corey Kluber, and even Zach Britton (45 saves, 0.59 ERA) will get votes, but I'll give it to Sale. He's second in the AL with a 3.03 ERA, averages seven innings a start, is third with a 1.03 WHIP, and ranks fourth with 215 strikeouts. I do see the arguments for Porcello and his wins, Kluber and his 6.4 WAR (ESPN), and even Justin Verlander's "comeback" season.

NL Cy Young:Max Scherzer (WAS) – This one was tough as well. Clayton Kershaw has made just 19 starts this year, but he could wind up leading the league in WAR, which is pretty amazing. Still, he's thrown 75 fewer innings than Scherzer, so he's out. Jose Fernandez is second in the league in strikeouts (behind Scherzer) and leads in K/9, but he's averaging 6.3 innings per start versus 6.8 for Scherzer, and over the course of a season, that adds up. Noah Syndergaard (2.65 ERA, 10.6 K/9, 2.2 BB/9) has been great, but Scherzer has logged 34 more innings. Scherzer get this one in a close vote.

AL Rookie of the Year: Michael Fullmer (SP-DET) – Gary Sanchez is making this one interesting, but Fulmer has been there all year and will finish with 26 starts and perhaps a sub-3.00 ERA (it's 3.03 now). With his stuff, I'd expect gradual improvement in his 7.3 K/9. Nomar Mazara, Chris Devenski, and Tyler Naquin would round out my top five.

NL Rookie of the Year:Corey Seager (SS-LAD) – Let's be real. If this isn't unanimous, someone should lose their voting privileges. Trevor Story hit 27 home runs in 97 games before getting hurt and may have given Seager a run for the award if not for the injury. Aledmys Diaz, Kenta Maeda, and Trea Turner would round out my top five.

Fantasy Hitter of the Year:Jose Altuve (2B-HOU) – Altuve has lit up the stat sheet from the second base position this year, swatting 24 homers, batting .336, notching 27 steals, driving in 94 runs, and scoring 101. He's a true five-category roto stud and has been doing so from a relatively scarce position.

Fantasy Pitcher of the Year: Max Scherzer (WAS) – Not surprising to see him here I'm guessing. Strikeouts are king in fantasy, and Scherzer leads baseball with 259 of them. Mix in a 2.79 ERA and 17 wins, and he's provided a nice return.

Best value (hitter) Brian Dozier (2B-MIN) – it's safe to say Dozier has outperformed his 73 ADP with 41 homers and 16 stolen bases. We can't expect the three-year home run trend (23 to 28 to 41) to continue, but even if he regresses to 30-35 home runs, he's still potentially worth a second-round pick in 2017.

Best value (starting pitcher)Kyle Hendricks (CHC) – Hendricks pitched to a 3.95 ERA (but a 3.42 FIP last year), ut we certainly couldn't foresee a 2.06 ERA. Given his 3.33 FIP and 87.8 mph average fastball, expecting anywhere near this next year is unlikely, but fantasy owners this year aren't complaining.

Best value (relief pitcher)Sam Dyson (TEX) – From undrafted to 35 saves, Dyson has been a huge boost to fantasy owners who didn't aggressively draft saves. Dyson should have a line on the 2017 closer job, but his so-so 7.0 K/9 is a bit concerning.

The All-September No-Name Team

Let's do a something a little different here. When we do projections, we rightfully put more weight on recent performance than not-so-recent, with the hope that maybe the player "figured things out" or is "getting more comfortable". It makes sense to an extent, though as with any projection, you have to take the entire picture into context. Anyway, here are a bunch of non-superstar types having a big month. Whether that translates to a full season of relatively similar production in 2017 remains to be seen.

Catcher:Gary Sanchez (NYY) – With a nifty 39.5% HR/FB rate, Sanchez has hit 17 home runs and 11 doubles in just 183 plate appearances, garnering significant support for AL ROY despite playing in just one game (May 13) prior to the month of August. So the two questions: 1: How could we have seen this coming? We couldn't. 2. What does this mean for 2017? That's a tough one. Sanchez hit 18 homers in 93 minor league games last year, so we know he has power, but THIS sort of power? As for this year in Triple-A, how does a 28.4 AB/HR rate there lead into a 9.5 mark against big league pitching? Sanchez has been on the radar for several years, but he's still just 23 and perhaps he's simply developed to the point where he's a 30-homer guy instead of the 15-20 guy we may have projected prior to this outburst. Edit: I know he now has more than 17 home runs after Wednesday night's game, but I just can't keep up.

1B:Josh Bell (PIT) – Bell is batting .298/.404/.425 over his last 30 days, though the ISO is reflective of the fact he's hit just one homer during that time. Bell has hit just two home runs in 93 big league at-bats, but overall he's improved from seven homers last year to 16 in 2016. What's really impressive however is his plate discipline – 10:18 K:BB specifically. Bell should eventually settle in as a 20-25 homer guy with an excellent OBP.

2B:Starlin Castro (NYY) – Castro has hit a solid .273 with a career-high 21 home runs, but on the flip side is a .304 OBP and four stolen bases. Considering he had a .347 OBP as a rookie and has stolen as many as 25 bases, the results have been mixed at best, but at least the power is still there and the average isn't bad.

SS: Trea Turner (WAS) – Turner has flashed 25/50 upside in posting a .345/.366/.572 slash line, though the minute spread between his BA and OBP is reflected in a concerning 3.3% BB%. Turner did have a 10% mark in Triple-A, and you can't argue too much with a .366 OBP, so we won't worry for now. He could return third-round fantasy value next year.

3B:Ryon Healy (OAK) – At .365/.411/.615, Healy has been baseball's top third baseman outside of Adrian Beltre over the last 30 days. Overall between three levels this year, Healy has 25 homers and 94 RBI and has done all this after posting a .765 OPS in Double-A last year. After homering once every 50.7 at-bats last year, it's tough to explain the power spike, but he's shown he can at least be a 20-homer guy next year.

OF:Randal Grichuk (STL) – Over his last 30 days, Grichuk has hit a solid .301/.333/.621 and for the year has 29 home runs (23 in the big leagues). An overall lack of plate discipline (6% BB%, 28.3% K%) led to a mid-season demotion to Triple-A, but the power at least continues to be impressive. The power is real certainly, but there's also nothing to suggest (poor minor league BB% as well) that Grichuk is much more than a .250/.290/.480 guy long-term.

OF:Kevin Kiermaier (TB) – Kiermaier will again easily rate a "1" defensively in Strat-o-Matic, but his offensive production lately has been impressive as well. Overall, Kiermaier is batting .243/.330/.419 with 12 homers and 20 stolen bases. Over his last 30 days, he's at .284/.355/.477 with five homers and eight steals. Encouragingly, the lefty swinger has a .788 OPS versus southpaws, so combined with his elite glove, he's going to play pretty much every day. He may never be an offensive force, but he can run, hit with some
power, and his 0.57 BB/K is solid enough.

OF:Carlos Gomez (TEX) – Gomez is doing his best to salvage his free agent year by batting .276/.370/.529 over the last 30 days. He's still struck out 30% of the time during that span, but he's also walked in 12% of his PA's versus an overall mark of 7.8%. Maybe he was just pressing in Houston, but either way, this at least shows his career as a starter is not over.

SP:Kevin Gausman (BAL) – Gausman is 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA over his last six starts, including an 8.5 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. That line even factors in his last start in which he allowed five runs over 6.1 innings against the Red Sox, so he was on quite a roll before that one. Gausma has now seen his K/9 improve from 7.0 to 8.3 to 9.0 the last couple years, and at 25, he could be poised for a major breakout in 2017 given his overall stuff, progress this year, and pedigree as a top prospect.

SP:Ivan Nova (PIT) – I've written about Nova before, but it bears repeating. In nine NL starts, Nova is 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA after putting up a 4.90 ERA with the Yankees. It's hard to know what to expect from him in 2017 given he's an impending free agent, but staying in Pittsburgh is probably best for his fantasy value given that's where guru pitching coach Ray Searage will likely still be.

SP:Rich Hill (LAD) – I guess the good news is that Hill has been healthy enough to toss 105.1 innings this year. The bad news is that since 2007, his previous MLB high is 57.2. Another piece of good news of course is that when he's performed like an elite starter with a 2.05 ERA, 10.7 K/9, and 2.7 BB/9. Over his last 29.1 innings, Hill has a 1.53 ERA and 35:4 K:BB, putting him in line for a career payday in free agency this winter in a historically-thin free agent class. He's going to be tough to forecast for 2017, but if say he remains in LA and makes 25 starts and pitches 140 innings, I'd probably forecast a 2.50 ERA and 140 strikeouts.

RP:Addison Reed (NYM) – Jeurys Familia has locked down the closer job for the foreseeable future, but Familia is in the midst of his third consecutive 70+ innings season, you wonder how long it can continue. Reed is under team control for one more year and 2016 has been by far his best season. His 1.73 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, and 1.5 BB/9 are all career-bests, and he's allowed just two runs in his last 19 innings with a 21:3 K:BB.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Regan
David Regan is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner, including the 2015 Baseball Article of the Year and the 2010 Baseball Writer of the Year.
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