The Yearly Reader
Leaders and Honors, 2017
Our list of baseball’s top 10 hitters and pitchers in both the American League and National League for the 2017 baseball season, as well as the awards and honors given to the game’s top achievers of the year.
The National League’s Top 10 Hitters, 2017
Bold type in brick red indicates league leader.
1. Charlie Blackmon, Colorado
Key Numbers: .331 average, 644 at-bats, 137 runs, 213 hits, 35 doubles, 14 triples, 37 home runs, 104 RBIs, 10 hit-by-pitches, 14 stolen bases.
A tablesetter and clean-up man all at once, Blackmon set major league records for RBIs and total bases from the leadoff spot. So how did he do in the NL MVP vote? He finished fifth. Why? Because, Coors Field (where he hit .391).
2. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami
Key Numbers: .281 average, 123 runs, 32 doubles, 59 home runs, 132 RBIs, 85 walks, .631 slugging percentage.
Before moving on to the Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton gave Miami fans one last mash-fest and showed what he could do when healthy for an entire season.
3. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona
Key Numbers: .297 average, 117 runs, 34 doubles, 36 home runs, 120 RBIs, 94 walks, 18 stolen bases.
The Diamondbacks’ Mister Automatic could have made a tight NL MVP race even tighter, but he tailed off badly in September—likely costing him votes.
4. Joey Votto, Cincinnati
Key Numbers: 162 games, .320 average, 106 runs, 179 hits, 34 doubles, 36 home runs, 100 RBIs, 134 walks, 20 intentional walks, .454 on-base percentage.
And just how tight was the NL MVP race? Votto lost out to Giancarlo Stanton by a 302-300 margin in a duel between players from two below-.500 teams.
5. Nolan Arenado, Colorado
Key Numbers: .309 average, 100 runs, 187 hits, 43 doubles, 7 triples, 37 home runs, 130 RBIs, 21 grounded into double plays.
Another excellent year for Arenado included a three-homer game and the first cycle by a player who completed it with a walk-off, come-from-behind home run, June 18 against the Giants at Colorado.
6. Bryce Harper, Washington
Key Numbers: 111 games, .319 average, 95 runs, 27 doubles, 29 home runs, 87 RBIs, 68 walks.
The prodigy came back strong after suffering through a strange 2016 campaign during which he remained mum on exactly what was bugging him; he missed a big chunk of the home stretch after a painful-looking slip and tumble on a wet first-base bag at Nationals Park on August 12.
7. Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles
Key Numbers: 132 games, .267 average, 87 runs, 26 doubles, 39 home runs, 97 RBIs, 10 stolen bases.
The 21-year-old with a sweet upper-cut swing broke the NL rookie home run season record despite not making his debut until the end of April; he also became the first Dodgers rookie to hit for the cycle.
8. Marcell Ozuna, Miami
Key Numbers: .312 average, 93 runs, 191 hits, 30 doubles, 37 home runs, 124 RBIs.
Lost in teammate Giancarlo Stanton’s massive numbers were some pretty good ones by Ozuna, who busted out to stardom before he, too, was sent away (to St. Louis) by the Marlins’ new payroll-slashing owners.
9. Kris Bryant, Chicago
Key Numbers: .295 average, 111 runs, 38 doubles, 29 home runs, 73 RBIs, 95 walks, 15 hit-by-pitches.
Though he had ‘clean-up hitter’ written all over him, the potent Bryant was nevertheless asked to bat second in the order for much of the year, part of the reason he scored far more runs than he knocked in.
10. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago
Key Numbers: .273 average, 99 runs, 32 doubles, 32 home runs, 109 RBIs, 91 walks, 24 hit-by-pitches, 10 stolen bases, 21 grounded into double plays.
Rizzo occasionally did one better than Bryant and batted leadoff in a number of games, part of a growing trend of bona fide sluggers being thrust into the #1 spot.
The American League’s Top 10 Hitters, 2017
1. Aaron Judge, New York
Key Numbers: .284 average, 128 runs, 52 home runs, 114 RBIs, 127 walks, 208 strikeouts.
With over 50 homers, 100-plus RBIs, runs and walks each and over 200 strikeouts, super-rookie Judge put up numbers more in common with Strat-o-Matic than the majors.
2. Jose Altuve, Houston
Key Numbers: .346 average, 112 runs, 204 hits, 39 doubles, 24 home runs, 81 RBIs, 32 stolen bases.
Altuve (165 pounds) was practically half the man of Judge (290) but all but matched him on offensive efficiency.
3. Jose Ramirez, Cleveland
Key Numbers: .318 average, 107 runs, 186 hits, 56 doubles, 6 triples, 29 home runs, 83 RBIs, 17 stolen bases.
Ramirez’s league-leading 91 extra-base hits included an unprecedented 14 over a seven-game span.
4. Justin Upton, Detroit-Los Angeles
Key Numbers: .273 average, 100 runs, 44 doubles, 35 home runs, 109 RBIs, 14 stolen bases.
The Angels became Upton’s fifth team in a six-year period as he was ushered out of Detroit along with Justin Verlander as part of a major late-summer payroll purge; overall, it was arguably his most productive season.
5. Mike Trout, Los Angeles
Key Numbers: 114 games, .306 average, 92 runs, 25 doubles, 33 home runs, 72 RBIs, 94 walks, 15 intentional walks, 22 stolen bases, .442 on-base percentage, .629 slugging percentage.
If Trout didn’t miss 44 days from a thumb injury suffered at the end of May, the extra numbers he might have accrued could have gotten him enough additional MVP votes to grant him another award.
6. Nelson Cruz, Seattle
Key Numbers: .288 average, 91 runs, 28 doubles, 39 home runs, 119 RBIs, 12 hit-by-pitches.
Cruz came within a single home run of reaching 40 for the fourth straight year; one of the 39 he did hit was a 482-foot smash that was the longest in Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg) history.
7. Jose Abreu, Chicago
Key Numbers: .304 average, 95 runs, 189 hits, 43 doubles, 6 triples, 33 home runs, 102 RBIs, 15 hit-by-pitches, 21 grounded into double plays.
The White Sox’ reigning slugger became only the third player, after Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols, to collect at least 25 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first four seasons.
8. Eric Hosmer, Kansas City
Key Numbers: 162 games, .318 average, 98 runs, 192 hits, 31 doubles, 25 home runs, 94 RBIs, 20 grounded into double plays.
The veteran first baseman’s most complete year at the plate was well-timed, leveraging his effort to a big new contract with San Diego.
9. Joey Gallo, Texas
Key Numbers: .209 average, 85 runs, 41 home runs, 80 RBIs, 75 walks, 196 strikeouts.
Forget the .209 average; the 24-year-old slugger placed 15th in the AL on OPS (on-base plus slugging percentages). Gallo harnessed enough power to become the first major leaguer to belt over 40 homers on less than 100 hits.
10. Mookie Betts, Boston
Key Numbers: .264 average, 101 runs, 46 doubles, 24 home runs, 102 RBIs, 77 walks, 26 stolen bases.
Forget the .264 average; Betts remained a major threat, combining power, patience and speed.
The National League’s Top 10 Pitchers, 2017
1. Max Scherzer, Washington
Key Numbers: 2.51 ERA, 16 wins, 6 losses, .727 win percentage, 31 starts, 2 complete games, 200.2 innings, 268 strikeouts, 11 hit-by-pitches.
Clayton Kershaw had more wins and a lower ERA than Scherzer, but the Nationals’ ace picked up the Cy Young Award for more metric-oriented figures such as opposing batting average and WHIP (walks/hits allowed per inning).
2. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
Key Numbers: 2.31 ERA, 18 wins, 4 losses, .818 win percentage, 27 starts, 175 innings, 30 walks.
The Dodgers’ ace went four months without a loss, winning 12 during that stretch; from 2011-17, he won 118 games and lost just 41 with five ERA titles.
3. Stephen Strasburg, Washington
Key Numbers: 2.52 ERA, 15 wins, 4 losses, .789 win percentage, 28 starts, 175.1 innings.
Strasburg’s finest year yet included a 36-inning scoreless streak, best in Nationals/Expos history.
4. Alex Wood, Los Angeles
Key Numbers: 2.72 ERA, 16 wins, 3 losses, .842 win percentage, 25 starts, 152.1 innings, 38 walks.
The fragile Wood won his first 11 games to set a Dodgers record, not losing until late July.
5. Gio Gonzalez, Washington
Key Numbers: 2.96 ERA, 15 wins, 9 losses, 32 starts, 201 innings, 79 walks.
While Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg continue to snare all the glory in the Nationals’ rotation, Gonzalez arguably remained its most sturdy component—and even came closest to a no-hitter between the three, taking it into the ninth inning at Miami on July 31 before a leadoff single broke it up.
6. Zack Greinke, Arizona
Key Numbers: 3.20 ERA, 17 wins, 7 losses, .708 win percentage, 32 starts, 202.1 innings, 45 walks, 12 wild pitches.
After a rough first year at Arizona—perhaps feeling the pressure of a humungous six-year, $206 million pact with the Diamondbacks—Greinke settled in and produced more home wins (13, against just one loss) than any other pitcher.
7. Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles
Key Numbers: 1.32 ERA, 5 wins, 0 losses, 41 saves, 1 blown save, 65 appearances, 68.1 innings, 7 walks, 11 stolen bases allowed.
The veteran closer struck out 51 batters before allowing his first walk on June 25—the most K’s ever accumulated without a pass to start a season.
8. Robbie Ray, Arizona
Key Numbers: 2.89 ERA, 15 wins, 5 losses, .750 win percentage, 28 starts, 162 innings.
Ray epitomized the Diamondbacks’ sudden turnaround, going from 8-15 to 15-5 while lowering his ERA by two runs.
9. Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee
Key Numbers: 3.49 ERA, 12 wins, 6 losses, 29 starts, 175.1 innings, 18 stolen bases allowed, 21 grounded into double plays.
A terrific year for the Oregon native came to an abrupt halt (as did his career) when he jammed his shoulder diving back to base; he would only appear in 10 games over the next three seasons.
10. Wade Davis, Chicago
Key Numbers: 2.30 ERA, 4 wins, 2 losses, 32 saves, 1 blown save, 59 appearances, 58.2 innings.
Enjoying a one-year tenure with the Cubs, the former Kansas City (and future Colorado) closer ran up a streak of 38 consecutive successful save opps before suffering his lone blown save of the season at Milwaukee on September 23.
The American League’s Top 10 Pitchers, 2017
1. Corey Kluber, Cleveland
Key Numbers: 2.25 ERA, 18 wins, 4 losses, .818 win percentage, 29 starts, 5 complete games, 3 shutouts, 203.2 innings, 36 walks.
In garnering his second Cy, Kluber led a superb Cleveland staff that averaged a hair under 10 strikeouts per nine innings.
2. Chris Sale, Boston
Key Numbers: 2.90 ERA, 17 wins, 8 losses, .680 win percentage, 32 starts, 214.1 innings, 43 walks, 308 strikeouts.
The strong southpaw thrived in his first year at Boston and picked up the slack for Rick Porcello, struggling through a post-Cy hangover.
3. Luis Severino, New York
Key Numbers: 2.98 ERA, 14 wins, 6 losses, .700 win percentage, 31 starts, 193.1 innings.
One of the few bright lights in an otherwise dim, underachieving Yankee rotation, Severino enjoyed a first full season as starter—allowing one or none earned runs in 17 of his 31 starts.
4. Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland
Key Numbers: 3.29 ERA, 18 wins, 6 losses, .750 win percentage, 32 starts, 200 innings, 46 walks, 226 strikeouts, 10 wild pitches, 10 hit-by-pitches.
Along with Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, Carrasco became part of the first trio of Cleveland pitchers to each win at least 17 games since 1956.
5. Craig Kimbrel, Boston
Key Numbers: 1.43 ERA, 5 wins, 0 losses, 35 saves, 4 blown saves, 67 appearances, 69 innings, 4 stolen bases allowed, 7 caught stealing/picked off.
Kimbrel channeled his early, highly effective years in Atlanta after a few off-years by his standards; right-handed hitters went 0-for-51 to start the year against him.
6. Michael Fulmer, Detroit
Key Numbers: 3.83 ERA, 10 wins, 12 losses, 25 starts, 164.2 innings, 40 walks, 20 grounded into double plays.
The record and ERA make Fulmer look ordinary, but he was on target for a good-looking year before going 0-6 over his last seven starts—in part because relievers inheriting his runners couldn’t keep them from scoring.
7. Dallas Keuchel, Houston
Key Numbers: 2.90 ERA, 14 wins, 5 losses, .737 win percentage, 23 starts, 145.2 innings, 23 grounded into double plays.
The crafty southpaw started the year with a 9-0 record and 1.67 ERA before being forced to sit nearly two months with neck issues.
8. Alex Colome, Tampa Bay
Key Numbers: 3.24 ERA, 2 wins, 3 losses, 47 saves, 6 blown saves, 65 appearances, 66.2 innings, 7 intentional walks, 6 grounded into double plays.
The 29-year-old Dominican more successfully followed in the steps of nephew Jesus Colome, who pitched for Tampa Bay from 2001-06.
9. Drew Pomeranz, Boston
Key Numbers: 3.32 ERA, 17 wins, 6 losses, .739 win percentage, 32 starts, 173.2 innings, 23 grounded into double plays.
On the theme of heritage, the well-traveled lefty who finally put together a solid campaign was the great-grandson of 1920s pitcher Garland Buckeye.
10. Marcus Stroman, Toronto
Key Numbers: 3.09 ERA, 13 wins, 9 losses, 33 starts, 201 innings, 34 grounded into double plays.
The outspoken Stroman parlayed an excellent, MVP effort in Team USA’s victorious World Baseball Classic quest to a strong campaign for the Blue Jays.