Friday, April 3, 2015

MLB Postseason Award Predictions

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict there will be no repeat winners in either league for any postseason awards.  That doesn't mean last year's winners won't have another great season; they will.

But voters like to reward the players who maybe came up a little bit short in previous years.  And there are some good candidates that could go all the way this year.

Let's review last year's results:

Clayton Kershaw - last year's NL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner - will still finish in the top ten in the MVP voting and will likely finish second in the CYA voting.

Mike Trout - last year's AL Most Valuable Player - will probably finish second this time around.

Corey Kluber - last year's AL Cy Young Award winner - will finish in the top ten this time around.

Buck Showalter - last year's AL Manager of the Year - will finish in the top five this time around.

Matt Williams - last year's NL Manager of the Year - will likewise finish in the top five this time.

...and the winners will be:

NL MVP goes to Giancarlo Stanton.  The Miami Marlin's right fielder was on an MVP pace in 2014 before a mid-September beaning abruptly ended his season.  Still, in 145 games played, Stanton (.288/.395/.555) hit 37 home runs with 105 RBI, while posting a 6.5 WAR.  He finished second to Kershaw (21-3 - 1.77 ERA), who ironically, had an injury-marred season as well (just 27 games started), but still posted an impressive 8.0 WAR (tops in the NL).  Stanton should have his best season ever in '15 - and that's scary for the rest of the league.

AL MVP goes to Michael Brantley.  Last season, the Cleveland Indians left fielder (.327/.385/.506) hit 20 home runs among his 200 hits, with 97 RBI.  He finished third in the voting last year, but his 7.0 WAR wasn't far behind Trout (7.9) who had another amazing season (.287/.377/.561) with 37 home runs and 111 RBI.  Playing for a team possibly heading for a division title, look for Brantley to lead the charge into the postseason.

NL Cy Young Award goes to Madison Bumgarner.  The San Francisco Giant's ace was nearly flawless in the postseason, and appears likely to continue that trend in the upcoming regular season.  This could be the year he becomes the best left-handed starter in either league.

AL Cy Young Award goes to Chris Sale.  The Chicago White Sox ace (12-4 - 2.17 ERA) had his season curtailed by injury (just 26 games started), but still finished third in the voting last year, posting a 6.6 WAR with a league-best 178 ERA+.  If he can avoid the DL in 2015, he should rise to the top.

NL Rookie of the Year Award goes to Kris Bryant.  The Chicago Cubs power-hitting third base prospect seems to have a perfect swing.  Although he'll start the year in the minor leagues for financial reasons, he'll be called up soon enough to finish with 30 home runs.  His biggest weakness seems to be fielding his position, where he may match that 30 HR total with 30 errors.  Still, the future looks bright for this guy; and postseason play may be a possibility for the Cubs in the next year or so.

AL Rookie of the Year Award goes to Rusney Castillo.  The Boston Red Sox outfield prospect seems to have the best chance of making a splash this season, while other higher-rated prospects from other organizations will likely spend most of the season in the minors.  Castillo could hit .300 with some power potential; maybe hit 20 home runs.

NL Manager of the Year Award goes to Bud Black, who should be the beneficiary of the newly revamped San Diego Padres roster.  This could very well be a postseason team, making Black a very strong candidate to win the award again (he won it in 2010).

AL Manager of the Year Award goes to Terry Francona, who won it in 2013 after guiding the Cinderella Cleveland Indians to a wild card slot.  This year could very well bring a division title to Cleveland, as they appear poised to supplant the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.

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