clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

SB Nation MLB Awards: Who is the hitter of the year?

New, 22 comments

The SB Nation MLB Awards are back! (/waves tiny flag)

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

It's that time of year again! No, not the time where you make your Black Friday shopping plans. Each year, SB Nation's MLB crew forces asks us to participate in their league-wide votes for various awards from the baseball season prior. You may (not) remember last year's awards, which had nothing to do with anything. This year, we're voting on the same things that the BBWAA does, with a couple other fun ideas along the way.

In previous years, selecting a "hitter of the year" would have been simple. Open post. Create poll with Miguel Cabrera's name in it. Collect check (ooh, $3 this time!).

This year, it's not so simple. Miguel Cabrera was good, but he wasn't Miguel Cabrera thanks to a September swoon. Still, he finished the season with a 165 wRC+, fourth in the major leagues. J.D. Martinez hit a lot of dingers, but other players hit more. Victor Martinez's left knee just said "nope." So we need to look elsewhere.

Thankfully, we have options. Bryce Harper, "Immature" Outfielder turned into Bryce Harper, Destroyer of Worlds. He hit .330/.460/.649 with 42 home runs and 99 RBI, and fell just shy of the 200 wRC+ plateau. He walked 19 percent of the time and was worth 9.5 WAR.

How impressive was Harper's wRC+? The next best hitter was Mike Trout, with a 172 wRC+, or 25 percent worse. Trout hit .299/.402/.590 with 41 home runs, and was worth 9.0 WAR. He hasn't run as much in the past two seasons, though, and only stole 11 bases in 2015.

Next on the wRC+ leaderboards is Joey Votto, who hit .314/.459/.541 in 695 plate appearances. His 29 home runs were his best total since 2011, yet somewhere, Cincinnati sportswriters are probably upset that he isn't hitting for more power. He was worth 7.4 WAR, a career-high.

The final two players on this somewhat arbitrary list are Paul Goldschmit and Josh Donaldson, the odds-on favorite to win the American League MVP award. Goldschmidt finished just behind Cabrera with a 164 wRC+, hitting .321/.435/.570 with 33 home runs and 110 RBI. He also stole 21 bases, which, amazingly, isn't out of the ordinary for him.

Donaldson's offensive numbers weren't quite as impressive as the others on this list, but he did hit 41 home runs and drive in 123 RBI. He also played stellar defense, and was worth 8.7 WAR by season's end. He may not win this vote, but he should have some new hardware sitting on his mantle soon.