OK not this one. Don't even bother. The Nats may have as strong a 1-7 as anyone, but it's balanced. Werth might be the best hitter but he's only played 53 games. Ian is arguably the most complete player this year but he's only played 105 games. Zimm is the face, is also complete, but he spent months slumping so he'd need a moster September to get the numbers he needs. LaRoche has played the most with good hitting but it still hasn't been great, he's had his shares of slumps, and most people would rank him the 4th or 5th most important offensive player on this team right now.
It's McCutheon's to lose, assuming the Pirates stay in the playoff hunt. .345, 24 HRs, 93 RBIs. If they crash then it's wide open but still no Nats. I'd bet on Posey then
Recently this award has opened up to be more than "who had the most wins" but it hasn't opened up that much. Wins are still important, with ERA, Ks, IP and let's say WHIP as a generic stat of general dominance, factored in. When Felix pulled off his Cy Young year with 13 wins, he led the league in ERA and IP and was second in Ks (by 1) and WHIP. Plus no one else was right behind Felix in all these but with substantially more wins.
This means ZNN is out. He has only 9 wins and he's really not in the Top 10 in any list except ERA and BB/9. Detwiler and Jackson are non starters. Here are the current challengers, including Gio and Stras, with W/L record and ERA, K, IP, and WHIP rank (Yes I know K and IP will go together but voters aren't going to go down to K/9, which favors Stras and Gio, unless they are really stuck on who to vote for)
Cueto : 17-7, 1st, >10th, 4th, 9th
Dickey : 18-4, 2nd, 2nd(t), 2nd, 2nd,
Gio : 18-7, 7th, 3rd, >10th, 6th,
Strasburg : 15-6, 6th, 2nd(t), >10th, 7th,
Cain : 13-5, 8th, 9th, 6th, 3rd,
Lohse : 14-2, 4th, >10th, 8th, 5th
Kershaw : 12-8, 3rd, 1st, 1st, 1st
I'm thinking Dickey. Strasburg has been very good but is just one of this pack and will drop in some of these with the loss of those last starts. I don't think Lohse or Cain have a Felix type case going on. Kershaw might, but Dickey is basically right behind him and has 6 more wins. Cueto has the WAR fans (thanks to pitching in a much less pitching friendly home park) but anyone that compares Dickey and Cueto and does the first level dig down that I did would have to go with Dickey. Gio has an outside shot but he'll need to finish strong and hope for Dickey to fall back because right now R.A. is beating Gio across the board.
Bryce almost played himself right out of the award talk, but with his recent hot streak (.333 with 7 homers, 4 doubles and a triple in the last 18 games) he is right back in it, though still probably in 3rd place. Leading the pack is probably Todd Frazier. His line of .289 / .347 / .531 18HR 62 RBI beats Bryce's line .259 / .330 / .449 17 HR 47 RBI stat for stat. You could argue that Bryce smokes Frazier on the basepaths (13 steals to 3) and in the field*, but I'm not sure voters will see it that way. Frazier has also been seen as more integral to his teams' success that Bryce.
The other possibility is Wade Miley. 14-9, with a 2.90 ERA. 164 IP, 117 K and only 30 BB. (WHIP 1.123). He's good but he isn't THAT good that voters feel they have to vote for him. I do believe that he can make that case though. He'll never get the Ks he needs but with a couple good starts and some luck he could be top 3 in ERA, top 5 in WHIP, and have 17 wins by seasons end. That's hard to ignore.
What Bryce does have though is that he's Bryce. The media is obsessed with him and every little thing he does. If he's close I think he'll win by sheer force of personality. I'd still rank him third right now, but maybe even just one more hot week will close the gap enough. If in 10 days Frazier is hitting .285 with 19 homers and 65 RBI and Miley is 15-9 with a 2.95 ERA and Bryce is hitting .268 with 20 homers and 55 RBI? I think that's enough to make it a toss-up.
Manager of the Year
People don't think alot about this but Davey has as good a case as anyone. The Nats are the best team in the league and were 80-81 last year. Who else has a shot? Dusty Baker has the Reds fighting for that top NL spot and they were a middling 79-83 last year. Thing is he was also the manager in 2010 when they were 91-71 so do you give the guy an award because his team is much better this year under him, if just last year they were disappointing under him? I don't think so. No, Dusty only comes in if the Reds get hot and the Nats go cold. Otherwise the competition is Clint Hurdle. The Pirates were 72-90 last year and are close to being in the playoffs this year. If they do it, I think he wins it. If they fall well short - like 5 games out - I think it's Davey's. Something inbetween? A last week knockout? Tough to call but I think the Pirates continuing terribleness will give Hurdle the edge.
*We've talked about this once or twice but fielding stats are best used as a guide looking over multiple years. Looking at one year of fielding stats is kind of like looking at 50 games of hitting. So is Bryce a "great" fielder? Don't know yet. Won't be sure for a couple years. We do know he's fast and has a fantastic arm, so he could be one. But we also know he's not the best reading balls off the bat. It's kind of a funny thing here. A lot of baseball fans love to say "The preponderance of stats lie! My eyes tell me how a guy fields!" but with Bryce it's the opposite "My eyes tell me he's not super-great but if this smattering of stats tell me otherwise, I'll believe it!" Really it goes to show you that this isn't about belief in stats, it's about backing up what one wants to believe.