The 2015 MLB Regular Season has officially come to an end, and it was as good of one as we’ve seen in years. It’s time to give recognition to the best in both Leagues. Yesterday we looked at the NL, now we’ll see the AL.
Manager of the Year: John Gibbons- Toronto Blue Jays
It’s tough, I wanted all season to give this title to AJ Hinch at season’s end, but due to Houston’s September plummet that saw them fall from first in the West to the Wild Card, I unfortunately cannot. But aside from Hinch, Ned Yost of Kansas City is also a more than worthy candidate, helping the Royals prove that they are indeed back and that last year was no fluke. Through all that, however, the man who takes it is John Gibbons, who’s savvy management north of the border helped pull the Blue Jays out of the wasteland and back into the spotlight after 22 years without a playoff appearance. This year the AL East was supposed to be between Boston and the Yankees (as funny as that now seems in Boston’s case), but Gibbons’ squad fired up and earned themselves a 93-69 record, winning their first AL East title since 1993 (their last World Series championship as well). It is Toronto’s best record since ’93 as well. It’s hard not to support an underdog team that makes good, so Gibbons is a no brainer. (Runner Up: AJ Hinch)
Comeback Player of the Year: Prince Fielder- 1B, Texas Rangers
Prince Fielder has been the model of consistency throughout his whole career. In 2014 Fielder’s number took an unprecedented drop. It was later revealed that neck injuries had been plaguing him and he eventually had to forgo his season to surgically correct them. Many thought it might take the 31-year-old big man a bit to bounce back, it didn’t at all. This season, Fielder batted .305 with 96 RBI and was named an All-Star once again. He was the core part of Texas’ last season push to the AL West title, and will surely continue to be a force for them down the road. (Runner Up: Kendrys Morales)
Rookie of the Year: Francisco Lindor- SS, Cleveland Indians
Carlos Correa was undoubtedly the most talked about rookie in the AL this season. But taking the ROY honors is actually Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor, who also had a fine first season but did so without the spotlight. Lindor finished the season with a .317 AVG and 51 RBI. He also boasted a very impressive .974 Fielding % at shortstop, committing only 10 errors on 388 total chances. It wasn’t a terrific year in the AL for rookies, especially after last season when Mashario Tanaka and Jose Abreu tore things apart. But there’s nothing wrong with a solid, consistent season. And that’s exactly what Lindor did. He can only improve. (Runner Up: Carlos Correa)
Cy Young Award: Dallas Keuchel- LHP, Houston Astros
The question still hasn’t been answered, where did Dallas Keuchel come from? The best answer one could give is probably “out of nowhere”. Because he really did. In 2014 the lefty had a good season at 12-9 with a 2.93, but nobody knew who he was. This year he turned the volume up to 10 and became a League sensation. Keuchel finishes 2015 at 20-8 (1st) with a 2.48 ERA (2nd), 216 Ks (5th), a .217 BAA (2nd) and a 1.02 WHIP (1st). His consistency all season earned him the honor of starting the Mid-Summer Classic, and he was the biggest piece of the Astros’ breakout season that saw them make the playoffs for the first time since 2005. He was the most consistent pitcher in the AL in 2015, ergo, he wins the Cy Young Award. (Runner Up: David Price)
American League MVP: Josh Donaldson- 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
At mid-season, Mike Trout had this award gift wrapped for himself for the second straight year. However, the new face of the MLB went stone cold in the second half and eliminated himself from contention. Before the season began, Toronto acquiring Josh Donaldson from Oakland was the first inkling that the Jays meant business coming into 2015. Donaldson did not disappoint, as a matter of fact he came nowhere close to that. In his first season in Canada, Donaldson batted .298 with 41 HRs, 123 RBI, and a .571 Slugging %, better than his 2014 season in almost every way. This earned the third baseman the most All-Star votes of any player this year and the honor of starting in it. He was at the core of Toronto’s surge to the American League East crown, and helped bring life back into the Rogers Centre. In other words, this was the best move the Jays have made in a long time, it paid its dividends immediately. Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2015 AL MVP: Josh Donaldson. (Runner Up: Chris Davis)
Congrats to all these guys, they had phenomenal years.