It is that time of year again: prediction season. If there is one thing that we can learn from making predictions each year is that many times, we are wrong. It is truly amazing how much players and expected performance can change from March to September; it happens before our eyes every single year. With all that being said, it is still a fun exercise and ticket to say "I told you so" at the end of the season.
Demetrius, Partick, Ian, Dan and I looked at the three major awards and gave our gut feelings on how each would shape out. Below the chart is some commentary on why we felt certain ways.
|National League||American League|
"In the NL, I think that Andrew McCutchen is about to go on a run similar to what Cabrera went on in the AL as long he keeps up his level of play. Puig will get MVP consideration because there's no way a good and charismatic player in a city like LA playing on what figures to be the best team in the league won't at least get a decent amount of votes. Also, I am very bullish on Jose Fernandez. He definitely won't get help from the rest of the Marlins, but he'll put up gaudy enough numbers in his starts that voters will give him the Felix Hernandez treatment and say "Hey, your team sucks but you're awesome so here's the trophy." - Demetrius
"Billy Hamilton not only wins the Rookie of the Year Award by a landslide, but becomes one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball. Any slow roller in the infield will be a hit for this speedster and he can lay down some pretty bunts as well. Matt Cain will surprise lots this year with an ERA under 3.00 and have at least one no-hitter. Braun runs away with NL MVP voting as the best hitter in the NL is back. Freeman for the Braves will be a close second in MVP voting, as he continues his superb hitting with runners in scoring position. He will hit for a .320 mark and draw plenty of walks too." - Patrick
"Awards are difficult to forecast, but hey, I'll do my best. I think Andrew McCutchen is the best all-around player in the Major Leagues not named Mike Trout right now, so I think he'll repeat as National League MVP (and possibly even improve on his 2013 campaign by increasing his power numbers). I expect José Fernandez to continue to improve after his sensational rookie debut season (hard to believe) and knock Kershaw from the top spot in Cy Young voting. Determining who'll win the NL ROY Award in 2014 feels like a complete shot in the dark, considering how few impact prospects are assured playing time (at least initially). I went with three (relatively) safe names who should receive regular playing time as my top three, and chose D-backs pitcher Archie Bradley as my winner due to his outstanding strikeout potential and the lack of interesting candidates." - Ian
"In the National League, the MVP race is *wide* open. I love Andrew McCutchen, and wouldn't be surprised if he won it, but I'll take arguably the National League's best hitter here in Goldschmidt. I think the beginning of Freeman's stint as face of the franchise will garner him quite a bit of MVP love, especially if the Braves win the division this year. Clayton Kershaw is the easy pick for Cy Young, and, let's be honest, he's the best pitcher on the planet right now. But picking chalk is boring! If anyone can dethrone the Dodgers ace lefty, it'll be Jose Fernandez. The kid is simply filthy and has the obscene strikeout numbers and pinpoint command to back it up. You only worry about the Marlins being able to win him enough games (wins shouldn't be a factor for deciding Cy Youngs, but we all know they are, sadly). As for the NL Rookie of the Year, I'll take talented Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco. I'd like to take Oscar Taveras, but his recent injuries have me worried about his ability to make the team/play a full 162-game schedule. Look for Pirates pitcher and ace-of-the-future-part-two Jameson Taillon to come up midseason and form a killer 1-2 punch with Gerritt Cole. I'm not a believer at all in Billy Hamilton. He has crazy speed, but I don't think the bat will play at all. You can't steal first, as they say." - Dan
"I think Hanley will carry over his tremendous 2013 into a dominant 2014 as well." - Ben
"I'm such a sucker for the talents of Bryce Harper. Maybe it's a bit of a stretch considering he'll be playing all of this season at age 21, but I think if he can stay healthy, the sky is the limit. For the CY race, I believe Fernandez has the ability to match Kershaw, but it will be very hard for a pitcher on the worst team in the league to dethrone the best pitcher on the best team in the league (because pitcher wins and all that good stuff). ROY is always the hardest race to predict. Rookies are always the biggest unknown in the transition to the major league level. Also, many rookies start the first few months in the minors before being called up, making it nearly impossible to forecast playing time throughout the year. With that said, I think D-backs top prospect Archie Bradley makes a huge impact in the rotation this year. The 21-year-old has a legit number one ceiling and may see a solid amount of major league innings in 2014. I honestly don't know what to make of Hamilton's total offensive package at this point, but I think there is enough of a "wow" factor speed and stolen base wise to finish in the top 3." - Andrew
"Mike Trout's been playing at an amazing level for the past two seasons. The Angels should finally return to the playoffs and since winning plays a pretty big part in MVP voting, that'll be the key to Trout finally getting the nod over Miguel Cabrera." - Demetrius
"This is the year that Evan Longoria completely breaks out. Longoria will lead the AL in RBI's and will hit for a .330 average with 35 or more home runs to help the Rays win the division. With Cano in the lineup he and Hernandez will back each other to bring King Felix his second Cy Young. He will put up similar numbers to what Kershaw did last year in the National League." - Patrick
"I won't even waste time explaining my AL MVP vote. I expect Chris Sale to become the White Sox's first Cy Young winner since Jack McDowell in 1993. Sale has been an excellent pitcher for a couple of years now, and I think he'll take home the award in 2014, although you could make a case for quite a few guys here. Although I expect José Abreu to produce great power numbers and Masahiro Tanaka to put together a solid season in the Bronx, I'm taking a non-import, Xander Bogaerts, as my ROTY. He's the total package, offensively and defensively, and I think he'll be a stud at shortstop for Boston in 2014 and post slightly more impressive numbers than Abreu and Tanaka." - Ian
"Mike Trout finally has to win an MVP soon, right? Baseball's brightest star has broken double digits in fWAR twice already, and has no MVP hardware to show for it. I love Miguel Cabrera's bat, but I think this is the year Trout finally gets the trophy in the AL. For the AL Cy, my money is on another guy in the Scherzer mold stepping forward. Darvish posted a K/9 that was a mind-blowing 11.89 last year. Scherzer's 10.08 was the only other starter's mark in double figures. Look for Darvish to build on that and collect the hardware. Give me the Red Sox's new slugging shortstop for Rookie of the Year. I still don't trust Tanaka yet." - Dan
"Mike Trout is the best player in the game and is going to be right there with Miggy at the end of the year." - Ben
"Mike Trout finally wins the AL MVP." - Andrew
Who from the Braves do you think has the best chance of winning a major award? Feel fee to share any of your thoughts and predictions in the comment section.
Tomorrow we'll take a look at the division winners and playoff picture, thus inciting another Braves/Nationals NL East debate.