Ahh. The sun shining, the clean cut grass, the Big League chew, sunflower seeds and chewing tobacco… Oh baseball, how we’ve missed you.
2014 is among us and some big headlines have entered the fold. For one, Derek Jeter, “The Captain”, retiring and rookie sensation Masahiro Tanaka.
Who will be the surprise accolade winners?
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Let’s start with the American League.
American League MVP
Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays – In 2012, he had an injury riddled season after tearing a hamstring vs. the Seattle Mariners, and last year he finished 6th in the MVP voting. The popular choices are Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera, and rightfully so. But if you look at it, the award name – “Most Valuable Player”, Longoria should win it. Without him, the Rays would not be what they are. But, we all know numbers win awards. He finished with 32 HR’s last year with 88 RBI’s and a .269 batting average. This year he’ll surpass 100 RBI’s and .280 average. The Rays are going to progress this year, and Longoria will be a HUGE part of it and on his way to an MVP award.
Predicitions: 32 HR’s, 102 RBI’s, 4 SB’s, .283 AVG.
American League Rookie of the Year
Masahiro Tanka, SP, New York Yankees – He is the popular choice, but also the smartest choice. Will he be more like Yu Darvish or Daisuke Matsuzaka? I’ll say Darvish. He’s on the Yankees, he’ll get the spotlight. I actually think he might be their most productive pitcher. CC Sabathia is declining. The Yankees are going to keep Tanaka fresh, so he’ll probably be at 180-185 innings. I think he’ll have a pretty high K/9 with double-digit wins. The Yankees success this year has a lot to do with Tanaka’s individual success.
Predictions: 13-5, 2.91 ERA, 189 K’s, 183.1 IP.
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American League Cy Young
Yu Darvish, SP, Texas Rangers – Japan reigns supreme this year in the AL! But how can you ignore this guy? He would’ve been last years Cy Young if not for Max Scherzer being nearly flawless. 277 strike outs in just over 209 innings?! Unreal. Scherzer won’t be his 2013 self, so Yu Darvish, congrats!
Predicitions: 16-8, 2.68 ERA, 268 K’s, 207.1 IP.
American League Manager of the Year
Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays – The favorite almost every year, Maddon will win it again! Headed by Longoria’s MVP season, the Rays will be serious World Series contenders.
Predictions: Tampa Bay Rays record 96-66.
Now on to the National League….
National League MVP
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks – This guy is a walking refrigerator. He’s a bad man. Finished second last year in the MVP race, but I think he should have won. Goldschmidt will do it this year.
Predicitions: 40 HRs, 130 RBI’s, 14 SB’s, .305 AVG.
National League Rookie of the Year
Archie Bradley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks – The D-Backs have their fair share of starters in Patrick Corbin, Wade Miley, Bronson Arroyo, Brandon McCarthy, Randall Delgado and Trevor Cahill, but I think Bradley is better than maybe all of them besides Corbin. I didn’t really understand the Arroyo signing, but it is what it is. Bradley should make the team as the 5th starter at least. Giving them a rotation of Corbin-Arroyo-Miley-Cahill-Bradley. He’s a David Price clone.
Predictions: 11-5, 3.15 ERA, 160 IP, 162 K’s.
National League Cy Young
Jose Fernandez, SP, Miami Marlins – The former rookie phenom will be at it again. The Marlins are lucky to have this guy. Last years Rookie of the Year winner and 3rd place in Cy Young voting, Fernandez will improve mightily from his rookie season. The Marlins are no where near playoff bound, but Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton are the faces of the franchise.
Predicitions: 15-6, 2.56 ERA, 200.1 IP, 214 K’s.
National League Manager of the Year
Matt Williams, Washington Nationals – The Nationals are poised for a big year headed by Harper and Strasburg. The former 3rd baseman now Manager Matt Williams will take the Nationals to the next step. Williams was the subject of a steroid allegation and was included in the Mitchell Report. The Nationals have too much talent to fall by the wayside again.
Predicitions: Washington Nationals record 91-71.