On the eve of the new season here’s my pick for each division, award and World Series champion.
AL MVP: Jose Abreu
I already wrote that I expect a baseball renaissance in Chicago and let’s start with this reason. Jose Abreu has not slowed down from last year as he tore up Spring Training in Arizona. He will continue to do so in the majors this year. It helps with the White Sox signing Adam LaRoche, Abreu will not have to play the field every day. The extra rest will help avoid injury and with a full season, no AL hitter will be able to match Abreu.
NL MVP: Yasiel Puig
This is somewhat of a controversial prediction as Puig rubs some people the wrong way with his “enthusiasm” towards the game. Voters will not be able to ignore his numbers for a very good Dodger team this season.
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
I expect King Felix to make his first postseason and be a big reason his team did so. An 18+ W season will convince the voters.
NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer
I’m a big fan whenever an AL pitcher moves to the NL. When a Cy Young winner does it (see Sabathia, Halladay) they are usually very successful. I expect a few Nationals to make the finalists for the award, but this is Scherzer’s year.
AL Rookie of the Year: Carlos Rodon
I may be showing some bias here but there aren’t many impact rookies that will spend the majority of the year with their big league club this season. Rodon should be called up in April and fill in a White Sox rotation that has at least one glaring hole. Rodon will be a big reason the White Sox have a surprising season.
NL Rookie of the Year: Kris Bryant
Bryant is also starting the season in the minor leagues but should be called up very soon. It’s a season sweep for Chicago in the ROY awards.
AL Manager of Year: Bob Melvin
The Athletics went for it all last year for the first time in the Beane administration. It didn’t go as well due to some strange luck. Over the offseason, Beane sold all of his bought parts and then immediately rebuilt with a very competitive team. Melvin will have a lot of options with a deep bench and an even deeper rotation. He will mold them all into the American League’s best record.
NL Manager of Year: Matt Williams
The Nationals will win 100 games or come very close. Since this hasn’t happened since 2011, Williams will be an easy vote for those with ballots.
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Prince Fielder
Prince will bounce back from the neck surgery that kept him out for the season last year. He won’t lead the Rangers very far but a 40 home run season is in the cards for the big bopper.
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Matt Harvey
I came very close to putting Harvey as my surprise Cy Young award winner but I think he may be on a bit of an innings limit. He also isn’t playing for a very good team so W’s will be scarce, which voters tend to lean on. However, Harvey will put together a great season coming back from Tommy John.
Division and Season result predictions:
Division Winners: Oakland, Boston, Chicago – Oakland has the AL’s best record and Detroit’s Central dominance ends.
Wildcards: Cleveland, Seattle – Seattle wins one game playoff – Felix Hernandez defeats Corey Kluber in a very low-scoring game.
ALDS: Oakland defeats Seattle, Chicago defeats Boston – Oakland scrappy enough to defeat Felix at least once, Chicago uses their pitching strength to pass Boston.
ALCS: Oakland defeats Chicago – Oakland makes some big moves again this offseason as Beane wants to continue to go with it, it finally begins to payoff.
Division Winners: Washington, Los Angeles, St. Louis – Washington wins 101 to clinch the NL’s best record.
Wildcards: Pittsburgh, Chicago – Pittsburgh wins one game playoff – The NL may have the three best teams in the major leagues but doesn’t match the AL’s depth. I think the Cubs may still be one year away from contending but couldn’t find another team to take this spot.
NLDS: Washington defeats Pittsburgh, Los Angeles defeats St. Louis – This pits the NLCS we are all desiring; for that reason, it won’t happen.
NLCS: Los Angeles defeats Washington – If we get it, it’s going 7 and we’d get Kershaw vs Scherzer or Kershaw vs Strasburg, or Kershaw vs Zimmerman…we may even get all three in the same game. Dodgers still get it done.
Los Angeles defeats Oakland – An all California World Series yet no SF Giants (#OddYear). Dodgers would win in 4 or 5.