It’s March 29th. The season doesn’t even start for another six days. However, in this lull before the start of the season, there isn’t all that much to talk about. I’m sure you’re all incredibly tired of talking about Joba/Hughes (though I doubt we’ve heard the last of that situation, including from me), so I thought I’d go a little more whimsy with my post for this Monday and give some very early picks for the awards. The guys over at Mystique and Aura recently did the same, so go check their predictions out, too.
Let’s start at the top with the MVP Awards. Three of the last five years, the NL installment has gone to Albert Pujols, but this year, I think it’ll go to someone who probably would’ve had one by now, if not for Mr. Pujols: Chase Utley. This isn’t to say that Pujols won’t have an MVP caliber season, but I think Utley will finally get his recognition. As more and more people pay attention to defense, they’ll hopefully see what a total package Utley is and give him his due.
As for the American League, like Steve H at Mystique and Aura, I’m gonna go A-Rod. He finished 10th in the voting last year despite missing a month and, with a full season, he could put up monster numbers again. His numbers likely won’t be quite as epic as his 2007 MVP campaign but with the addition of Nick Johnson (along with Tex and Jeter), Rodriguez will easily knock in 100. Voters still love HRs and RBI and A-Rod gets these in big bunches. In 2010, A-Rod will finally win an MVP in an even numbered year.
The Cy Young Award is a wide open race like it is every single year. Tim Lincecum’s won it two years in a row in the NL and I predict the award will stay in California this year. However, it won’t be in San Francisco; it’ll be in Los Angeles. in my NL West post, I said to watch for Clayton Kershaw and I think he could win the award this year. He’ll need to bring the walks down below 4.8 but with the way he misses bats, Kershaw could be the NL’s best this year.
For the AL, I’m gonna guess a previous winner: Cliff Lee. He’s a fly ball type pitcher in a big ballpark with some incredible defense in the outfield. There are some health issues, though, so he could miss time. If he does, his teammate Felix Hernandez could win the award. I think the top three of the CY this year will be some combination of Lee, Hernandez, and our very own CC Sabathia.
Alright, that takes care of the major ones, so let’s move on to the other ones, without much explanation.
SILVER SLUGGERS (AL/NL):
C: Joe Mauer/Brian McCann
1B: Mark Teixeira/Albert Pujols
2B: Robinson Cano/Chase Utley
3B: Alex Rodriguez/Pablo Sandoval
SS: Derek Jeter/Troy Tulowitzki
LF: Carl Crawford/Matt Holliday
CF: Grady Sizemore/Matt Kemp
RF: J.D Drew/Jayson Werth
GOLD GLOVES (AL/NL, not necessarily pos. spec. for each OF spot):
C: Joe Mauer/Yadier Molina
1B: Kevin Youkilis/Albert Pujols
2B: Dustin Pedroia/Chase Utley
3B: Evan Longoria/Ryan Zimmerman
SS: Elvis Andrus/Troy Tulowitzki
OF: Brett Gardner, Franklin Gutierrez, Ichiro Suzuki/Jayson Werth, Nyjer Morgan, Colby Rasmus
RELIEF MAN OF THE YEAR (AL/NL):
Mariano Rivera/Jonathan Broxton
MANAGER OF THE YEAR (AL/NL):
Don Wakamatsu/Jim Tracy (The CoRox may just win the WC or NLW)
So, there you have it. On March 29th, I’ve made my official award season predictions for 2010. When the season’s over, we’ll look back on these and either laugh, cry, or marvel in my all knowing-glory. Either way, I’m excited for the season to start in less than a week. We need real baseball in the worst way.