With the completion of Game No. 163 in the American League, the 2013 regular season is officially over. The Tampa Bay Rays' 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers closed the book on another uneventful season for the team covered by this site, but not necessarily for the league as a whole.
The AL Wild Card race obviously went down to the wire, and it took a while before the NL playoff picture was settled as well. While our beloved Colorado Rockies weren't involved, and barely had the opportunity to play spoiler, it was a fun ride regardless.
Even our purple-clad heroes had some bright spots, some of which should be recognized league-wide for their efforts. Elsewhere, the same MVP debate that took the AL by storm last year repeated itself this year while a whole bunch of rookies made their mark in the NL.
Let's take a look at my 2013 MLB award winners, and let me know in the comments if you agree, disagree, or agree to disagree.
Comeback Player of the Year: Scott Kazmir, Cleveland Indians
Kazmir's teammate, Ubaldo Jimenez, also would have been a safe pick for this award, but Kazmir hadn't pitched a full season in the big league since 2010 and even then, he wasn't very good. Still only 29 years old, he struck out better than a batter per inning while posting an ERA barely north of 4.00. Not bad for a guy who was well below replacement-level with the Angels three years ago.
Rookie of the Year: Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays
The AL didn't have the best crop of rookies in 2013, but Wil Myers' performance would have stood out in either league. The 22-year-old outfielder appeared in only 88 games, but mashed 13 home runs while posting a .293/.354/.478 line, good for a 131 wRC+.
Cy Young: Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers
I feel like people within the sabermetrics community try too hard at times to find a way to discredit pitchers who rack up a ton of wins. Sometimes that's warranted, but it isn't with Scherzer, who struck out more than 10 batters per nine innings and posted a 2.90 ERA/2.74 FIP en route to his 21-win season.
Most Valuable Player: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
As silly as the logic behind RBI is, it was hard for me to pick against Miguel Cabrera in last year's MVP voting. I mean, the guy won the Triple Crown. Does that mean what it meant 50 years ago? No. But, he was an absolute beast for the best team in the AL, WAR be damned.
This year, I'm not making the same mistake.
Trout shouldn't be penalized for the Angels' inability to put together a decent pitching staff or for them doling out huge contracts to aging players. The guy just had his second 10-plus-fWAR season while hitting .323/.432/.557 and coming a few homers shy of back-to-back 30-30 seasons.
Honorable Mention: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers; Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles; Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics; Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
Comeback Player of the Year: Jhoulys Chacin, Colorado Rockies
Honestly, three Rockies players could win this award and I don't think you'd hear too many complaints. Chacin, though, was the best of the bunch in terms of his season last year weighed with his expectations for 2013. At just 24 years of age, Chacin made just 14 starts due to injury and posted a 4.43 ERA/5.10 FIP. After a solid end to the season, Chacin carried his progress over to this year, accumulating 4.2 fWAR while owning a 3.47 ERA/3.47 FIP while anchoring Colorado's vastly improved pitching staff.
Honorable Mention: Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates; Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies; Jorge De La Rosa, Colorado Rockies; Marlon Byrd, Pittsburgh Pirates
Rookie of the Year: Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
At the age of 20, Fernandez posted a 2.19 ERA, struck out almost 10 batters per nine innings and accumulated 4.2 fWAR in his debut season. He also pissed off the Braves, which I fully back.
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
This vote shouldn't be close. There are some good pitchers in the NL, but none hold a candle to Kershaw. I remember when he was coming up, scouts and analysts alike frequently threw around the name Sandy Koufax as Kershaw's best comp. I thought they were crazy then. I certainly don't now.
Most Valuable Player: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates posted their first winning record in 21 years, and their toolsy star outfielder was a huge reason for doing so. McCutchen walks a lot, doesn't strike out a ton, plays excellent defense, hits for power, steals bases ... I could go on and on. He led the NL with 8.2 fWAR and hit .317/.404/.508 while primarily playing in a pitcher's haven. And, after having several terrific seasons that were hampered by Pirates collapses, it's about time he's recognized for the type of player he is.