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MLB Awards Aren’t Very Legitimate This 60 Game Season

The AL and NL MVP races are heating up and the Cy Young race is as hot as ever. All of these debates about these MLB awards are as interesting as they get. These awards are definitely important to get right, as I think snubs are blackeyes on the credibility of MLB and their writers. That being said, whoever wins MVP doesn’t deserve any form of a huge boost to their legacy or standing in positional rankings, as in a 60 game sprint, the inconsistency of this small sample size should be barely regarded. Yes, these are prestigious awards, but these MLB Awards aren’t as legitimate.

60 Game Sample Sizes Are Wildly Inconsistent

What if I told you that last year after about the first 60 games, both JT Realmuto and Nick Castellanos were sub-100 in wRC+? Meaning they were below average hitters in that span. How about the potential best pitcher in baseball Jacob deGrom having only the 23rd best fWAR out of starters and having a 3.49 ERA? The best pitcher in the AL in that time span was Tigers lefty Matt Boyd, the same guy who’s notorious for giving up dingers and walks galore.

He was on a similar pace to guys like Shane Bieber this very season. How are we going to hold any credibility to a 60 game season when there is such little time to get your season back on track?

Slow Starts Are Hard To Rub Off

Christian Yelich was so bad in his first 6 games of the season that even putting up a .397 OBP and .497 SLG (139 wRC+) still left him with a 115 wRC+. It’s hard to scrub off any slow starts or bad stretches, and it’s not even hitters who experienced this. How about Zack Greinke not being able to work out a bad stretch of baseball lately after a start that had him with a sub-2.00 ERA and FIP? This season is relentless and is all luck driven in the sense that you better hope that you get all the lucky bounces offensively or your defense better be on point if you’re a pitcher or you could lose out on an award.

MLB awards have left behind players with cold starts
Gary Sanchez has been struggling a ton this year despite him winning MLB awards like silver slugger.

Luck Is The Name Of The Game For These MLB Awards

BABIP is a stat that measures your batting average on balls in play, and a sustainable one is .250-.350, anything above or below can be chalked up to luck. Isn’t it maybe lucky then that Tim Anderson has an above .400 BABIP? Or Jose Abreu’s BABIP suddenly spiking to .364 despite it being below .330 before this year? Does this make those two bad? No, however, the validity of these awards to rank players today or all time is very lackluster. This season is quite literally a giant fluke, with no regard for the full seasons’ ability to silence bats or make fastballs look more hittable.

How Much Should These Awards Matter?

This years’ awards should be respected, just not held to the same regard as others. We have to be able to respect something while understanding the context behind it. If Jose Abreu wins AL MVP, he’s still not a top 5 1B in baseball. Jacob deGrom is still better than whoever wins the NL Cy Young. Baseball is a 162 game sport, and MLB awards from a 60 game season cannot be the reason why major changes are made to a player’s rankings. Many stats like xwOBACON-wOBACON show a sign of batted ball luck or unluckiness. Skill Interactive Earned Run Average show evidence to suggest pitching luck.

While the discussions are fun and valid and I congratulate whoever wins an award this year, please take these MLB awards with a grain of salt.

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