MLB’s biggest individual award nearly landed in Cleveland for the first time since Al Rosen in 1953. Instead, White Sox star José Abreu got some long overdue recognition and José Ramírez was runner-up with his teammate Shane Bieber tagging along in fourth.
Ramírez finished the season leading all position players in fWAR (3.4), thanks to his balanced approach of beating the snot out of the ball and playing good defense at third. Abreu had a narrow offensive edge by wRC+’s measurements — and he hit for slightly more power — but overall Ramírez was the pretty clearly better overall player. Still, it’s not a travesty that the wrong José took home honors — they were both pretty great and awards are, for better or worse, more than simply sorting a leaderboard by WAR and giving the top guy a trophy.
What’s most impressive is Bieber’s fourth place finish. He was 201 points away from being voted as the first pitcher to win MVP since Clayton Kershaw in 2014, but he still beat stand-out offensive talents like Nelson Cruz, Tim Anderson, Anthony Rendon, and some guy named Mike Fishman (or something). Bieber got his own hardware last night by taking home the Cy Young Award, the third for the Indians in seven years.
The only thing left to do is run it back and do it again next year over (hopefully) a full 162.