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Picking Every Team's Hank Aaron Award and Cy Young Award Winner

Updated: May 31

Picking Every Team’s Hank Aaron Award and act Young Award Winner

Written by: Nathan Middleton

It is mid-June and the best players are beginning to separate themselves from the rest, it's the time of year when the leaderboards become a bit more stable and we start thinking about who will be taking home the hardware at the end of the season.

I am going to do something to honor the best hitter and pitcher from every team because every team has a best hitter and pitcher regardless of how poorly the team has played. We already have a Hank Aaron Award for best hitter and a Cy Young Award for best pitcher in each league and I will expand this to each team.

*All stats are as of the end of play on June 11th

AL East

Baltimore Orioles

Hank Aaron Award- Austin Hays

This was a close race between him and Trey Mancini but I went with Hays because of his slightly superior power numbers (although they aren't gaudy because the Orioles decide to move their fences back 30 feet).

Cy Young Award- Jorge Lopez

A failed starter who was 3-14 with a 6.07 ERA last season has turned into one of the best closers in baseball as of late leading a surprisingly good Orioles bullpen (3.19 ERA). He has 8 saves in 29 innings where he has a 0.93 ERA.

Boston Red Sox

Hank Aaron Award- Rafael Devers

Devers is easily the best hitter on the Red Sox and is leading the league in hits and doubles. He is on pace for 221 hits (would be the most since 2014) and 62 doubles (would be the most since 1936 and tied for the fifth most all time.

Cy Young Award- Michael Wacha

An amazing comeback story for him. He recently had an ERA under 2.00 (although he is not qualified for the ERA title). He even threw a shutout earlier this month (one of five all season across MLB). I thought he was done but he has a shot at the All-Star team.

New York Yankees

Hank Aaron- Aaron Judge

The best hitter in baseball so far this year. He is leading the AL in runs, homers, slugging, OPS, OPS+, total bases and intentional walks. Is on pace for 66 home runs which would set the AL record (61 by Roger Maris).

Cy Young- Nestor Cortes

One of the breakout stars in baseball this year and is not just the Yankees Cy Young but an AL Cy Young candidate as he has an ERA of 1.96 with a 5-2 record and 71 strikeouts in 64.1 innings. He could be the All-Star starter as well.

Tampa Bay Rays

Hank Aaron- Randy Arozarena

Nowhere near his insane 2020 season but has still been an extremely solid player for the contending Rays. Hitting just .267 with a .312 OPB and a .439 slugging for a .751 OPS but an OPS+ of 123 makes his stat line look much more impressive.

Cy Young- Shane McClanahan

An outstanding start to his second season has him not just the Cy Young winner for the Rays as of now but in my opinion for the entire American League as he leads in wins and strikeouts and is just 0.06 behind Alek Manoah for the ERA lead.

Toronto Blue Jays

Hank Aaron- George Springer

The Blue Jay offense has been relatively disappointing overall despite being in playoff position. This was a close race as Alejandro Kirk was a very solid runner up as a catcher but I went with Springer due to his superior slugging percentage and more playing time (due to Kirk being a catcher). Springer has 12 HR and a .280/.351/.530 stat line which is an .881 OPS.

Cy Young- Alek Manoah

An excellent rookie season has turned into an insane second season for Manoah as the leads in wins, win percentage, ERA and ERA+. He is doing this despite pitching in Rogers Centre which is one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox

Hank Aaron- Tim Anderson

One of the few hitters who can consistently hit over .300 (.326 since 2019) does not have enough plate appearances to qualify but he would have the second highest average in the league (.003 behind Luis Arraez). He also has a .503 slugging percentage so he has some power.

Cy Young- Michael Kopech

He has been excellent in his first full season as a starter and had a ERA on 1.29 through the end of May punctuated by his dominating seven shutout innings against the Yankees where he allowed just one hit. Despite giving up 5 ER in 3 IP against Toronto he still has an ERA of 1.94 (which would be fourth in the league if he had enough innings to qualify).

Cleveland Guardians

Hank Aaron- Jose Ramirez

One of the best hitters in baseball for the past five or so seasons and he is having his best season this year. Is leading the league in triples and RBI with 56 (is on pace for 165 which would tie Manny Ramirez in '99 for the highest total since 1937). On pace for 47 homers as well (which would be another career high). He is the main reason the Guardians are in the playoff picture.

Cy Young- Shane Bieber

The 2020 AL Cy Young (and Triple Crown) winner is not quite at that level this year but has been outstanding with a 2.91 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 65 innings. He has also been a key reason the Guardians could be a surprise playoff team.

Detroit Tigers

Hank Aaron- Miguel Cabrera

Miguel Cabrera picked up his 3000th hit in April as expected but what wasn't expected is that he would be be far the best hitter in Detroit. This has been an atrocious Tigers offense (2.79 runs per game or 452 total runs) which would be the lowest runs scored total for a team in a 162 game season and the fewest runs per game for any team in a season of any length since 1909.

Cy Young- Tarik Skubal

Much improved in his third season as he is 5-2 (for one of the worst offenses ever) with a 2.33 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 65.2 innings and it seems sustainable (he has a 2.10 FIP). He should be heading for L.A. next month for his first All-Star Game.

Kansas City Royals

Hank Aaron- Andrew Benintendi

Having a solid offensive season and is still the best hitter on the Royals so far despite his insanely low power numbers (2 HR and a .402 slugging percentage). He is making up for it by hitting .308 with 66 hits so far this year.

Cy Young- Scott Barlow

Barlow is the clear Cy Young for the Royals so far as their best starter is Brad Keller who is 1-8 with a 4.78 ERA. Barlow is not a strikeout guy especially for a closer (23 in 25.1 IP) has just 6 saves for a poor Royals team but he does have a 1.78 ERA.

Minnesota Twins

Hank Aaron- Luis Arraez

Is not the prototype of a modern hitter (just 3 HR and 17 strikeouts) but has been successful due his .367 average, which would be the highest since Ichiro in 2004. He is leading the league in average and on base percentage (.449) which is actually higher than his slugging (.444).

Cy Young- Joe Ryan

It is rare that you think of the best pitcher on the team as a starter who is nowhere near qualifying for the ERA title but no one on the Twins is close to qualifying for the ERA title (Dylan Bundy leads with just 46 IP when he would have needed 61 to qualify). He has been very good as he has a 2.28 ERA and is averaging over 5.1 innings per start (which is about the league average).

AL West

Houston Astros

Hank Aaron- Yordan Alvarez

One of the best hitters in baseball ever since his 2019 debut, he just signed a well-deserved six year deal for 115 million dollars (a record for a DH). Is on pace for 47 homers and 107 RBI while having a .302/.397/.620 slash line.

Cy Young- Justin Verlander

His return from Tommy John could not have gone better as he is leading the league in wins and WHIP (0.837) which would be the second lowest in a 162 game season since Pedro Martinez had a 0.737 WHIP in 2000. The other one was Verlander himself in his last full season with a 0.083 WHIP in 2019.

Los Angeles Angels

Hank Aaron- Mike Trout

Trout is having his typical season on pace for over 40 HR (42) with an average near .300 (.294) and an on-base near .400 (.394) with a slugging percentage over .600 (.628). This looks like it will be his tenth top-five MVP finish in his eleven (non cup of coffee) seasons and his tenth All-Star Game out of ten opportunities for him (no All-Star Game in 2020). Taylor Ward would have won if he had played more as he has a .333/.443/.644 slash line in just 40 games.

Cy Young- Patrick Sandoval

Not a lot of innings (but not that far behind the leader Michael Lorenzen with 60.0) but by better inning for inning (Lorenzen has a 3.45 ERA). Sandoval has not allowed a home run all season which is insane through nine starts (even in pitcher-friendly Angels Stadium).

Oakland A's

Hank Aaron- Seth Brown

Not a lot of hitters to choose from because the teardown they do every few years has meant Matt Olson and others were traded while Coliseum and its ridiculous foul territory don't help with that. This is how a .211/.276/.417 slash line leads to an above-average 101 OPS+.

Cy Young- Paul Blackburn

Has been excellent this season after having a 5.74 ERA through his first five seasons. He has a 2.31 ERA with a 5-2 record. Doesn't strike out that many batters but he keeps the ball in the park (3 HR allowed) and has a 2.0 BB/9.

Seattle Mariners

Hank Aaron- Ty France

Has a lot of opportunities as he leads in plate appearances with 267 (on pace for 733) which he has earned through a .329 average and a .406 OBP. He also leads the league hit by pitches while having 77 hits (on pace for 211)

Cy Young- Logan Gilbert

Glbert has been much improved from his 2021 rookie season (4.68 ERA) and is having an excellent season with a 2.41 ERA, a 6-2 record and 70 strikeouts in 71 innings. He always keeps his team in the game (never allowed more than 4 ER in a start).

Texas Rangers

Hank Aaron- Nathaniel Lowe

Jonah Heim has very similar stats as a catcher but has played fewer games so the edge goes to Lowe. Lowe has a .279 average while averaging more than a hit per game played and hitting 7 home runs with a 118 OPS+.

Cy Young- Martin Perez

One of the best pitchers (and stories) in baseball he has one of just five shutouts in MLB and leads the league in HR/9 (0.2) and before allow 6 ER in 5 IP against the White Sox in his last start he had an ERA of 1.56 (which led the AL).

NL East

Atlanta Braves

Hank Aaron- Austin Riley

Not quite as good as his breakout 2021 campaign but he still is having an outstanding season and has increased his power so far (on pace for 43 HR). He also plays nearly every day (59/60 this year after 160/161 last year) Acuna is better on a rate basis but not enough games coming back from torn ACL.

Cy Young- Kyle Wright

This was awfully close as Max Fried has thrown 7.1 more innings and has only slightly worse rate stats. I gave it to Wright due to his edge in ERA (2.35 vs 2.64 for Fried). Wright has a 6-3 record with a 1.020 WHIP and 73 strikeouts in 67.2 innings.

Miami Marlins

Hank Aaron- Jazz Chisholm Jr.

One of the most exciting and engaging players in baseball has been excellent this season and he has 12 home runs and 40 RBI in just 47 games while leading the league in triples. He is slugging .556 and 23 of his 44 hits have gone for extra bases.

Cy Young- Sandy Alcantara

Pablo Lopez has been outstanding and would be the ace of both teams but Alcantara has been insane. He is another Triple Crown contender as he is 6-2 (one win behind a few pitchers) with a 1.61 ERA (0.11 behind Musgrove) and 77 K's (15 behind Burnes). He also is leading the league in complete games (has another performance where he threw 9 shutout innings), 83.2 IP (on pace for 238 IP (most by any pitcher since 2014), a 5.9 H/9 and 320 batters faced.

New York Mets

Hank Aaron- Pete Alonso

Another outstanding season for Pete Alonso who should be an All-Star (and looking to win his third straight Home Run Derby). He is leading the NL with 17 HR and 55 RBI and is even hitting .280 with 63 hits while playing 60 of 61 games for the first place Mets.

Cy Young- Carlos Carrasco

Max Scherzer has been by far the best starter on a rate basis but has thrown nearly twenty fewer innings than Carrasco. I also almost gave it to Edwin Diaz but I decided to give it to Carrasco because Diaz has just a 2.28 ERA and 11 saves in 23.2 innings. Not a great ERA but that is mostly due to one clunker where he allowed eight earned runs in 3.2 IP against St. Louis (would be 3.05 otherwise). Also leads the NL in wins with 7 and is one of just two Mets starters (Chris Bassitt) who has even thrown 50 innings.

Philadelphia Phillies

Hank Aaron- Bryce Harper

Is strictly a DH only due to an arm injury which may hurt his MVP cases but won't hurt him here as this is only about hitting. Is by far the best hitter on the Phillies both in terms of talent and production with a .322/.378/.639 slash line. He leads the league in slugging (.639), OPS (1.017), OPS+ (186) and total bases (133).

Cy Young- Zack Wheeler

Having another outstanding season despite the injury missing a couple starts from a shoulder injury he still has thrown enough innings to qualify for the ERA title though. He has a 2.84 ERA and he has even better peripherals with a league leading 2.13 FIP with by a league leading 0.3 HR/9.

Washington Nationals

Hank Aaron- Josh Bell

It is not Juan Soto but it was close but a .305 average (vs .228 for Soto) won the award for Bell. Has not shown as much power as in his 2019 breakout season but he has managed to hit .305 when the league as a whole has hit .243. He has a .376 OBP while having 36 RBI.

Cy Young- Paolo Espino

Yes I'm handing this award to someone with zero saves, just 26.2 innings and an ERA above 2.00 (just barely at 2.03). Honestly there is no one else to hand it to as no starter has an ERA below 4.33 and the closer Taylor Rainey has just 7 saves with a 3.38 ERA in 18.1 innings.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs

Hank Aaron- Willson Contreras

Contreras should be making his third All-Star appearance and recently hit his 100th career home run. He has 10 HR while scoring 35 runs with a .270/.398/.511 slash line with a .910 OPS which is fifth in the NL (and would be the highest for a catcher since Buster Posey in 2012).

Cy Young- David Robertson

Not a lot of candidates for a poor Cubs side but Robertson has been a bright spot with 7 saves (would be more if the Cubs were better), a 1.59 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 22.2 IP. He is still going strong at 37 years young.

Cincinnati Reds

Hank Aaron- Brandon Drury

Very solid season for him and he is on pace to set career highs in homers homers (career high was 16 and is on pace for 30), runs (career high was 59 and is on pace for 102), and RBI (career high was 63 and is on pace for 82). He has a slash line of .272/.335/.511 as well.

Cy Young- Alexis Diaz

Another middle reliever winning the award almost by default (although he is having a fantastic season. No Reds pitcher who has thrown 40 innings has an ERA below 5.07 and their closer has just 4 saves and a 5.89 ERA

Milwaukee Brewers

Hank Aaron- Rowdy Tellez

Just like last year no Brewer is having an outstanding offensive season but the majority (9 of 14 with at least 20 AB) are above a 100 OPS+. Overall, combining rate stats and playing time Tellez has been the best hitter in Milwaukee with 10 homers and 38 RBI.

Cy Young- Corbin Burnes

Hader has an ERA under 1.00 (0.96) with 18 saves but has thrown just 18.2 innings vs. Burnes 72.2. Burnes is awfully close to his Cy Young award winning season last year (but is nowhere near the front of the pack). He has a 2.48 ERA and leads the NL with 92 strikeouts in 72.2 innings.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Hank Aaron- Ke'Bryan Hayes

Bryan Reynolds was close but a significantly lower average and OBP meant that his advantage in slugging percentage was not enough. Hayes is not a power hitter but he has had 56 hits in 53 games while having a .367 OBP.

Cy Young- David Bednar

Jose Quintana has been very effective (3.19 ERA) in 53.2 IP vs 28.0 for Bednar but Bednar has had a much better ERA and even leads in bWAR 1.3-0.9. He also has gotten 10 saves for a poor Pirates team and has 38 K's in those 28.0 innings.

St. Louis Cardinals

Hank Aaron- Paul Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt is quickly becoming a Future Hall of Famer and is having one of his best seasons so far. He is leading the league in average at .327, OBP at .411, and hits with 72 (on pace for 194). His power stats have been very good as well with a .577 slugging, 12 HR and 47 RBI. All of this adds up to a .988 OPS and a 185 OPS+.

Cy Young- Miles Mikolas

Adam Wainwright has almost the exact same stat line as him with a 2.84 ERA a 5-4 record and 55 K's in 73.0 IP (vs 4-4, 2.93, 60 K's and 73.2 IP for Mikolas). I gave the award to Mikolas because his WHIP was significantly better at 1.059 vs 1.233 for Wainwright). Mikolas has also thrown a complete game (which there have been just 11 of in baseball this year).

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

Hank Aaron- Ketel Marte

Not as good as his breakout 2019 campaign where he hit .329 with 32 homers but he is still the best hitter on the D-Backs who are surprisingly still on the fringes of contention based on their pitching.

Cy Young- Merrill Kelly

Very good this season for Arizona and is a major reason why they are on the fringes of contention. He has a 3.32 ERA in 65 innings and this seems sustainable despite his relatively low 7.9 SO/9 rate as his FIP is 3.37.

Colorado Rockies

Hank Aaron- C.J. Cron

Cron has been the best hitter on the Rockies with a .291/.344/.532 slash line with 69 hits, 14 homers and 42 RBI while playing every game this season. Even with the Coors Effect added in his OPS+ is still 132 and could be heading for the All-Star Game.

Cy Young- Daniel Bard

I almost gave the award to Chad Kuhl because he has thrown 58.1 IP (vs 24.1 for Bard) but Kuhl has had only four starts at Coors this year (and only 22.1 IP there vs 14.0 for Bard) so the Coors Effect is not a major reason why his ERA is not as low as other #1 starters. This and the low run scoring across baseball is the reason his ERA+ is only 127 (vs 222 for Bard). Overall I feel Bard's 2.22 ERA in 24.1 IP with 12 saves carry the day.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Hank Aaron- Mookie Betts

Returning to his MVP form with a .278/.536/.536 slash line with 16 homers, 39 RBI, and 66 hits with a league leading 52 runs (on pace for 143 which would tie A-Rod in '07 for the most runs scored since Sammy Sosa scored 146 in '01)

Cy Young- Tyler Anderson

Julio Urias has a better ERA (2.78 vs 3.07) but has just 46 K's (vs. 55 for Anderson) and a 4.61 FIP (vs. 3.22 for Anderson) and of course Anderson is still unbeaten with a 7-0 record. His turnaround has been fantastic as well as he had a 4.53 ERA last season (and a 4.62 for his career before this).

San Diego Padres

Hank Aaron- Manny Machado

MVP candidate who leads the league with 73 hits and on pace for a career high 197 hits. He was hitting .368 as late as May 22nd and even after cooling off he has a .323/.394/.535 slash line with 10 HR and 37 RBI

Cy Young- Joe Musgrove

Truly outstanding season as he is leading the league in wins with 7, win percentage (a perfect 1.000), ERA at 1.50 and ERA+ at 259. He will definitely be heading to the All-Star Game this time (he could have gone last year) and may even start the game.

San Francisco Giants

Hank Aaron- Joc Pederson

Mike Yastrzemski was a close second but I felt Pederson's major edge in the power department should give him the award. He has 13 HR and a .560 slugging percentage and he still has a solid .267 average and .337 OBP.

Cy Young- Logan Webb

Carlos Rodon and Jakob Junis were contenders as they had better rate stats but an innings advantage for Webb (especially over Junis) made Webb the award winner. Webb has a 3.77 ERA in 71.2 innings, building off his fantastic season last year.

All stats from:

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