Seager, Roberts, Maeda finalists for top MLB awards
By Jon Weisman
Corey Seager is a finalist for both the National League Rookie of the Year Award and the NL Most Valuable Player Award, MLB and the Baseball Writers Association of America have announced.
Kenta Maeda is also one of the three NL Rookie of the Year finalists, while Dave Roberts is in the final countdown for NL Manager of the Year.
With Max Scherzer of the Nationals and Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester of the Cubs announced as finalists for the NL Cy Young, Clayton Kershaw’s streak of five consecutive top-three finishes has ended — though Kershaw still led NL pitchers in WAR despite being limited to 149 innings.
The winner of the NL Rookie of the Year Award will be announced November 14, followed by NL Manager of the Year on November 15, NL Cy Young on November 16 and NL MVP on November 17.
This is the first time since the creation in 1947 of the Rookie of the Year Award (won by its namesake, Jackie Robinson) that the Dodgers have had two of the top three votegetters. The last time the Dodgers had two players finish in the top four for Rookie of the Year was 2013, with Yasiel Puig (second) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (fourth).
Todd Hollandsworth (1996) was the Dodgers’ most recent Rookie of the Year. Puig is the only Dodger to finish in the top three since.
Seager, who had a .365 on-base percentage and .512 slugging percentage in 157 games this season, is widely expected to become the Dodgers’ 17th Rookie of the Year, tops among MLB teams, with the lingering question being whether he will be a unanimous selection. The other two finalists are Maeda and Washington’s Trea Turner.
According to Fangraphs, the 22-year-old Seager finished 2016 with 7.5 wins above replacement, more than twice as many as the next-closest position player, Turner (3.3). Turner had a higher weighted runs created (wRC+) than Seager, but played in only 73 games.
Maeda led NL pitchers who had at least 162 innings in ERA (3.48) and fielding-independent ERA (3.58), though he trailed Colorado’s Jon Gray in WAR, 3.7 to 3.3.
Seager also emerged as an MVP candidate this summer, though he trails Chicago’s Kris Bryant in most major categories, including WAR. Bryant finished the year at 8.4.
Kershaw won the NL MVP award in 2014, the first for a Dodger since Kirk Gibson in 1988. The Dodgers’ most recent runner-up in the MVP voting was Matt Kemp in 2011.
Roberts is aiming to become the Dodgers’ first Manager of the Year since Tommy Lasorda in 1988. (Lasorda also won the award in 1983, the first year it became an official BBWAA-MLB prize.) The other two finalists for the award are the NL’s other two division champions, Dusty Baker of Washington and Joe Maddon of Chicago.
Though Roberts had the third-most wins among this group, he is believed to have a legitimate shot at winning the honor, based in no small part on the number of injuries the Dodgers had, including the loss of Kershaw for 2 1/2 months and players such as Andre Ethier and Hyun-Jin Ryu for virtually all of the regular season.