2018 MLB Award Predictions

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It is MLB’s Oscars season, best director candidates such as Alex Cora and Craig Counsell, best actor candidates featuring perennial candidate Mike Trout and first timer Javier Baez. I am officially all out of Oscars metaphors to use so let’s get to the analysis.

AL Manager of the year: Alex Cora deserves recognition leading the Red Sox to a franchise record in wins, but he will not win this award because the voters do not take playoffs into consideration where Alex Cora could do no wrong. Kevin Cash took a subpar team with low expectations and made them a playoff contender. I do wonder how much of the bullpen game strategy can be attributed to him and how much can be considered to the analytics department. He is a great in game manager but not really standout. I think Bob Melvin wins this award, he took a subpar team into the playoffs despite multiple pitching injuries. An offense that didn’t seem like anything impressive before the season was able to produce runs and hit home runs. They were fighting with the Astros down the stretch for first place something that the Rays weren’t doing.             1. Melvin 2. Cora 3. Cash

NL Manager of the Year: Craig Counsell lead the Brewers to an NL central title over the heavy favorite, reigning division winners, the Chicago Cubs. Another team lead by a strong bullpen and a dominant offense. The additions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich (more coming on him) helped this team reach that next level. Bud Black took the Rockies to the playoffs in back to back seasons, despite losing the division in game 163 they took a wildcard spot. Playing in a tough environment for pitchers and a favorable one for hitters the Rockies were a team that beat out teams that were more favored to make the playoffs. What Brian Snitker did with the Braves however, locks up this award for him in my opinion. He turned a young Braves team that was viewed as being a couple years away from serious contention into NL east champions. They were able to dethrone the virtual locks to win the division again, the Washington Nationals. They were able to revive Anibal Sanchez’s career while bringing young pitchers to the next step, they were led by Freddie Freeman, rookie Ronald Acuna Jr, sophomore Ozzie Albies and a reborn Nick Markakis.                                                                                                            1. Snitker 2. Counsell 3. Black

AL Rookie of the Year: The Yankees youth movement continues as rookies Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar showed up big for the Yankees this year. Then “the Japanese Babe Ruth” in Anaheim, Shohei Ohtani, showed why he was such a highly touted free agent. The two favorites are Andujar and Ohtani. Torres was solid most of the year, but time missed from injuries and then slumps when he came back from those injuries settles him in third place. Ohtani was a solid pitcher when he pitched and a good hitter when he hit. If he had the same amount of plate appearances as Andujar he would’ve put up the same or better numbers in just about every category. While pitching well in limited action. Andujar’s downfall will be his lack of defense. He was not a good fielder this year and being so one dimensional this year will cause his downfall.                              1. Ohtani 2. Andujar 3. Torres

NL Rookie of the Year: The race for NL Rookie of the Year is just as close as its AL counterpart. Walker Buehler was a phenomenal rookie pitcher for the Dodgers but is a comfortable pick for third place, he pitched in big games for the Dodgers and delivered with a good fastball and solid breaking pitches and if he can adapt to teams that know how he pitches and still be good he can have a great career. Juan Soto and Ronald Acuna are the top to in this race. To be as young as Acuna and Soto and hit as well as they did is incredible, and they are both special talents. This means that their offensive numbers just about cancel each other’s out. Acuna was more of a threat on the base path and a better fielder, so I think that’ll give Acuna the edge.                                                                   1. Acuna 2. Soto 3. Buehler

NL Cy Young: Every award is a tight race, but this may be one of the more obvious ones. While Aaron Nola put together a big season for the Phillies as they contended for a good portion of the season the other two guys were so good that they established themselves as the two real contenders. Max Scherzer put up a 300-strikeout season for only the third time this century, the other two belonging to Chris Sale last year and Clayton Kershaw in 2015. He also led the NL in innings pitched and won 18 games even though that’s a very flawed measure of pitcher success. It’s a flawed measure because of Jacob DeGrom’s season, my clear-cut winner. He didn’t have double digit wins because the Mets were terrible and failed to score him more than 1-2 runs for most of his starts, and in some of them he even had to plate the runs for himself. He led the world ERA with a minuscule 1.70, the lowest among qualified starters since Zack Greinke’s 1.66 in 2015. He displayed pure dominance all season and deserves this award.                                                                 1. DeGrom 2. Scherzer 3. Nola

AL Cy Young: Corey Kluber had another solid year but hit a sizable slump in the middle of it with knee problems that basically takes him out of contention for first place. Justin Verlander continued his regained dominance since going to Houston last season. Leading the AL in strikeouts for a record setting Houston pitching staff. Then out of nowhere came the dominant season of Blake Snell. In a division full of stadiums that inflate offensive stats and home to two juggernauts of the AL, the Yankees and Red Sox, Snell put up a phenomenal season. Leading the AL in ERA, as one of they only mainstays in a fluid Tampa Bay pitching rotation. He dominated Boston, New York and just about any great offense he faced all year and has earned this award.                                                       1. Snell 2. Verlander 3. Kluber

NL Most Valuable Player: A Rawlings platinum glove award winner and a guy who hit .298 with 38 homers will probably finish 3rd for this award, sorry Arenado. Despite phenomenal play at third base and being one of the only consistent/healthy hitters for the Rockies this year some other guys put up monster numbers. Another defensive wizard and finalist by the name of Javy Baez really busted out this year. Facing criticism for his approach at the plate, he changed nothing and came back this year and put up a monster season. Hitting .290 with 34 homers for a Cubs team who also had injuries and inconsistent offensive performance, Baez also played phenomenal defense all over the field and stole 21 bases. But oh my goodness, did Christian Yelich set the NL on fire. While he was known as a good hitter and fielder in Miami, but he became an all-around force in Milwaukee. He won the NL batting title while hitting 36 homers and stealing 22 bases while playing above average defense at all three outfield spots for the NL Central champion Brewers. He also hit for 2 cycles this year.                                                                 1. Yelich 2. Baez 3. Arenado

AL Most Valuable Player: Why Jose Ramirez will finish third is beyond me. He had a great year with 39 homers and 34 stolen bases for the AL Central champion Indians but had a really rough September and most of August. I would have given Bregman third place for carrying an injury riddled Houston offense for a good chunk of the season but that’s just me. Then there is Mike Trout. The guy is a one in a lifetime talent and is establishing himself as one of the all-time greats already but a season with some injuries and inflated on base percentage related numbers will be his downfall, despite hitting .312 with 39 homers and 24 stolen bases. The problem is that on a team as bad as the Angels Mike Trout can get intentionally walked and it won’t hurt the other team most of the time. The hitters around him aren’t good enough or consistent enough to be able to be consistently relied on so team will take their chances with that hitter and Mike trout on base rather than nobody on base and Mike Trout batting that’s why some of his numbers are inflated. Mookie Betts set the Al on fire after a somewhat subpar 2017 season. Alex Cora stuck with his plan to keep Mookie hitting leadoff, unlike John Farrell, and it payed dividends for Mookie and the Sox. He’s an elite defender in arguably the hardest right field to play in the league. He won the AL batting title hitting .346 with 32 homers and 30 stolen bases, the first Red Sox 30-30 season since Ellsbury in 2011 and, along with Jose Ramirez, the first one in the AL since 2012, Mike Trout’s first full season. 1. Betts 2. Trout 3. Ramirez

 

Author: Joseph_Quatromoni

Just a college student with a passion for the 2018 world champion Boston Red Sox, the C's and the Pats

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