As short-season leagues get close to opening up and we approach mid-season, lets talk MVP, Most Improved, and Cy Young.I know it's only been (when this is published) a week and a half since Carlos Correa has been called up, but I'm going to disqualify him for sole purpose of discussion. He's obviously the MVP.Joe Musgrove could be both Most Improved and Cy Young. So, if he is that for you, please come up with alternative, again for the sake of discussion.
No conflict for me, because Jacob Nottingham is the most improved. Musgrove went from good in short-season to great in A-ball, but Nottingham came out of nowhere. This kid posted an OPS below .700 in rookie ball last year, and now he's leading the Midwest League in OPS, all while continuing to learn how to catch. This is a 20-year-old catcher posting a 172 wRC+. One. Seventy. Two. He's not just the Astros' most improved player; he's probably the most improved player in all of the minors.
But yes, Musgrove is your Cy Young. Two walks in almost three months now. I don't even know what that is. Those are video game numbers. Literally, for real, I have only seen a performance like that in video games. He posted a 2.40 ERA in Lancaster and his FIP was lower. You want to know how you go into one of the five most devilish hitter's havens on the face of the planet and an posted a 2.40 ERA despite a .371 BAbip? You walk no one and you strike everyone out. 34.5 strikes outs per walk, as of this writing. From henceforth, I suggest we rename the award and yearly discuss which minor leaguer should win that year's Joe Musgrove award.
MVP? What the heck; how about Tony Kemp? He hasn't struggled at all, unlike some guys who have been up-and-down, or who started out slow (like A.J. Reed). He's done nothing but hit and hit and hit all year. .358/.457/.420 down in Corpus, and now .364/.462/.409 so far in Fresno. Did you know that he has more walks than strike outs? Did you know that he has more walks than strike outs on his career? What would Corpus' record look like without him getting on-base for them 45% if the time for the first 2.5 months of the season? Probably not nearly as good.
Dang. J-Naughty was my guy.
I'll pick another guy.
The Sheriff has definitely been most improved with Musgrove being the Cy Young. MVP could be Kemp or possibly Fisher, I feel like Fisher help carry QC through a great stretch when they had the best record in baseball.
I have to echo the sentiments of Joe Musgrove for Cy Young. It's not often that we have seen a player get promoted twice before June. That's a testament of just how masterful Joe has been at each level. I know the statistics show that, but he's obviously mastering the coaching points and things the Astros want him working on.
I think I have a sneaky guy for most improved, Lance McCullers. I know he's currently in the MLB, but this guy went from an A+ ball pitcher in 2014 that many, including myself, had already relegated to the bullpen because of walk rate issues. He came out in AA and destroyed his competition at Correa'an levels. He then makes the jump to the show and appears to be a potential top of the rotation starter. I would have never dreamed that LMJ would be a contributor on a playoff hunting team in mid June, but here we are.
This is not going to be a popular selection, but for MVP, I have to choose Domingo Santana. He's got a 176 wRC+ in AAA ball and he is still just 22 years old. I love Tony Kemp, but he is older than Domingo still. I think we let his awful streak of plate appearances in the MLB last year affect our value of Domingo as a prospect too much. He is dominating, and showing pretty drastic improvement in in his contact rates. I also know people will point out his obscenely high BABIP, and sure, he's due some regression. However, his career BABIP, is .387 in the minors, for what it's worth. He's also improved his walk rate by a very large amount.
I agree with most of the crew on Musgrove and Nottingham, but I'm going to mix it up for the sake of diversity.For Cy Young, I'm going to go with Akeem Bostick. Part of the Carlos Corporan trade, Bostick was a second-round pick by the Rangers in 2013. He's just 20 years old, and he is absolutely mutilating the Midwest League. In 37 innings, he's struck out 30 and walked just two. Two. For a two-sport guy who was considered very raw coming into the season, what he's accomplishing right now is really special. The fact that he's limiting free passes so well, even while he's still a work in progress is really encouraging.For Most Improved, I'm going to go with Domingo Santana. The big man collected his first major league hit on the day I'm writing this, which is improvement enough after going 0-for-his-career leading into the 2015 season. After a really, really nice 2014 campaign in the minors, he still managed to improve his wRC+ by over fifty points. Sure, he did it with an inflated BABIP. But he also reduced his strikeout rate and increased his walk rate - two things that were among the most-detrimental to his value. And I don't care if you're playing in the PCL or on the moon, an ISO over .250 is awfully impressive.MVP I'm going to throw at Fisher. The Astros' first-round pick in 2014 has backed up his draft position (and continues to keep the 2014 draft from being a complete disaster) not just with a 158 wRC+ in Lancaster, but also with 15 stolen bases between Lancaster and Quad Cities.