New Jersey baseball players had a terrific year in 2016 as they took home several major awards and a couple of championship rings.
The 2016 MLB season was a great one for many New Jersey baseball players born in the Garden State. The same state that produced Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Derek Jeter reemerged as a commonwealth full of talent. This was thanks to the performance of some of its MLB sons in 2016.
New Jersey was well-represented in the American League MVP race. It has become a common occurrence thanks to Mike Trout of Millville, New Jersey. The “Millville Meteor,” as he is known in some parts, won his second MVP Award. Some numbers did fall short of his career highs, but Trout still had an astonishing 10.6 WAR to go along with 29 home runs and 100 RBI. His league leading 116 walks helped him also top the league with a .441 OBP.
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Trout, again, finished with a terrific OPS+ at 174. It was the second straight season he led the league in this category and the third time in his career.
We can expect Trout to regularly put up similar numbers each season. The New Jersey representative is a favorite in the Garden State among baseball fans. Even if he plays across the country for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Trout remains close to New Jersey natives’ hearts.
Trout was not the only big award winner from New Jersey in 2016. The American League Cy Young Award also went to someone from the great Kevin Smith state. Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello of Morristown, New Jersey was voted as the best pitcher in the league. His 22-4 record certainly helped his case as did the career best 3.15 ERA.
The performance from Porcello was a very pleasant surprise for New Jersey loyalists. In his first year with the Red Sox in 2015, he was knocked around regularly. Many assumed he would never win a Cy Young Award. Against the odds, he did. And New Jersey couldn’t be prouder.
Trout and Porcello were not alone as a New Jersey natives who had a pleasant 2016 season. Relief pitcher Brad Bach of Freehold, New Jersey was an All-Star representative of the Baltimore Orioles. Also from Freehold, Cincinnati Reds’ pitcher Anthony DeSclafani pitched very well, too. Rookie Alex Reyes of Elizabeth, New Jersey made his much anticipated MLB debut and was terrific for the St. Louis Cardinals. He posted a 1.57 ERA in 46 innings as a starter and reliever.
Also worth mentioning are New Jersey natives Todd Frazier, Tommy La Stella, and Jason Heyward. While none of them had particularly great years, they do have something to celebrate. Frazier smashed a career-high 40 home runs in an otherwise uneventful year. La Stella had a fine year as a bench player with Heyward seeing more time beside him than he would have liked. Anything wrong with their 2016 season is immediately erased by the fact that La Stella and Heyward each took home a World Series ring with the Chicago Cubs.