-- Let's have one final awards watch. As always, we start with Dan Szymborski's odds, based on historical stats of previous winners. The thing that jumps out: David Ortiz has climbed to a close second on the MVP board:
Some quick thoughts on each award:
AL MVP: The Red Sox's clinching pf the AL East is a boost to both Betts and Ortiz, with Altuve's chances hurt by the Astros' playoff odds dropping to near zero. Betts has a big edge in Ortiz in WAR -- 9.4 to 4.9, thanks in part to 100 more plate appearances and obvious advantages on defense and baserunning -- but Ortiz fares well in the odds chart because he's the league's best hitter on a playoff team and ranks second in RBIs. Historically, RBI guys fare well in the voting. That said, voters have never rewarded a full-time DH. Don Baylor played 65 games at DH in 1979 when he won, the only guy comes close to classifying as a DH ( Frank Thomas was still a full-time first baseman the two years he won). Also, a player with a sub-6.0 WAR hasn't won an MVP Award since 2006, when Justin Morneau (4.3) won in the AL and Ryan Howard (5.2) won in the NL. They weren't designated hitters, but they were, like Ortiz, RBI guys.
Betts, however, has 31 home runs and 112 RBIs and has scored 41 more runs than Ortiz, so it's not he's suffering all that much in an offensive comparison. It's been an amazing final year for Big Papi, but I think it shapes as Betts versus Trout (10.5 WAR) in the end, with Betts pulling it out in a close vote. Altuve finishes third and Ortiz fourth.
AL Cy Young: I have to agree with Dan's odds, as it looks like Porcello has comfortably pulled ahead of everyone else. He leads the league with 22 wins, is just eight innings behind Price for the league lead, his 3.11 ERA is just behind the 3.06 of Michael Fulmer and Sanchez, and he's first in WHIP and ninth in strikeouts. The argument against him is he's fifth in WAR at 5.1, well behind Kluber's 6.5 and Verlander's 6.3, but he's arguably pitched in the tougher division (although didn't have to face the Boston offense). I just don't see the voters turning down a pitcher who is 22-4 with solid peripherals across the board in lieu of another candidate with a superior ERA. Britton? Interesting case but voters haven't supported closers much in recent seasons. I think it goes Porcello-Kluber-Britton.
NL MVP: Bryant has the lead in WAR while ranking high in home runs (second), RBIs (sixth), runs (first) and OPS (fourth). Freeman (6.8), with his monster finish, and Arenado (6.3) rank second and third in WAR, but their teams are non-factors. If Murphy hadn't missed so much time in September he may have given Bryant a run based on his .347/.391/.596 batting line with 104 RBIs, but I think he's fallen off a bit. I think the top five goes Bryant-Rizzo-Murphy-Seager-Arenado.
NL Cy Young This is almost as fun as last year's NL Cy Young race that featured Arrieta, Zack Greinke and Kershaw (although those three had a higher level of performance). There are nine NL pitchers between 5.0 and 6.6 WAR, including Kershaw, who still ranks tied for third with 5.5 WAR even though he's made just 20 starts. Does he have a chance? Probably not given his innings, but consider Scherzer has pitched 81 2/3 more innings but allowed 53 more earned runs. That's a 5.87 ERA over those additional innings. Lester has pitched 55 2/3 more innings and allowed 24 more earned runs, a 3.88 ERA over his additional innings. That's why Hendricks, with his 1.99 ERA, still has a shot. I think all four will receive first-place votes and it goes Lester-Hendricks-Scherzer in a very tight three-way race.