MLB awards: Some Hank Aaron Award selections miss their mark

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim waves to the stadium fans after being named the team's 2018 MVP during a ceremony prior to the MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium on September 28, 2018 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Athletics 8-5. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim waves to the stadium fans after being named the team's 2018 MVP during a ceremony prior to the MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium on September 28, 2018 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Athletics 8-5. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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MLB awards
KANSAS CITY, MO – SEPTEMBER 27: Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Indians hits a sacrifice fly in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on September 27, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

American League Central

Chicago White Sox
Hank Aaron Award nominee: Jose Abreu (553 PA, 114 wRC+)
Best hitter by wRC+: Jose Abreu (553 PA, 114 wRC+)

Another solid choice for Hank Aaron Award nominee is Jose Abreu. He wasn’t quite as good as catcher Omar Narvaez (322 PA, 122 wRC+), but Narvaez didn’t have the admittedly arbitrary cut off of 350 plate appearances, so Abreu is the guy. Even though he was the best hitter on the White Sox this year, it was Abreu’s worst year in the big leagues. Not only was he limited to a career-low 128 games because of an injury that no man wants to contemplate, he also had the lowest wRC+ of his career.

Cleveland Indians
Hank Aaron Award nominee: Jose Ramirez (698 PA, 147 wRC+)
Best hitter by wRC+: Jose Ramirez (698 PA, 147 wRC+)

Jose Ramirez had some competition from Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley, but in the end it wasn’t all that close. Ramirez filled the stat sheet with 110 runs scored, 39 homers, 106 RBI, and 34 steals. He also hit a very impressive .272/.388/.555. He should get a top-five finish in AL MVP voting.

Detroit Tigers
Hank Aaron Award nominee: Nicholas Castellanos (678 PA, 130 wRC+)
Best hitter by wRC+: Nicholas Castellanos (678 PA, 130 wRC+)

This was an easy choice because there were no other legitimate options on a Detroit team that struggled mightily on offense this year. Castellanos was one of just two hitters with 300 or more plate appearances who was better than average with the bat. The other was Niko Goodrum (492 PA, 103 wRC+).

Kansas City Royals
Hank Aaron Award nominee: Whit Merrifield (707 PA, 120 wRC+)
Best hitter by wRC+: Whit Merrifield (707 PA, 120 wRC+)

Merrifield was another easy pick. He hit .304/.367/.438 and led the Royals in runs scored and stolen bases. In fact, he led the American League in hits and steals, making it two years in a row in which Merrifield led the AL in stolen bases.  The only other Royal with more than 300 plate appearances who was above average offensively was Mike Moustakas and Moose was traded to the Brewers during the season.

Minnesota Twins
Hank Aaron Award nominee: Eddie Rosario (592 PA, 113 wRC+)
Best hitter by wRC+: Eddie Rosario (592 PA, 113 wRC+)

The Twins, who are re-assigning former manager Paul Molitor to another position in the organization, had a half dozen hitters who were above average, but Rosario is the logical choice. He led the team in runs scored, home runs and RBI. His 113 wRC+ wasn’t as good as Eduardo Escobar (408 PA, 124 wRC+), but Escobar finished his season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, so Rosario is the pick here.