2008 Major Awards Predictions
Everybody knows what is going on here, no need for an extensive introduction. One caveat: I will be predicting who I think will win the award, not necessarily who I believe will deserve the award. Also, I will be adding in dark-horse picks; players who aren’t the usual suspects in this discussion, but who I feel will finish much higher than people expect.
Prediction: David Ortiz
Dark Horse: Nick Swisher
I can’t imagine A-Rod winning this award again. An expected regression combined with a possible Joe DiMaggio syndrome (“Ho-hum, he’s putting up great stats again. Let’s give it to someone else”) clinches that fact for me. Still, it’s hard to pin-point one person who will take this award. I picked David Ortiz for two reasons: I expect him to continue to put up monster stats, and I think the voters are just itching to give him one.
Full Disclosure: Nick Swisher is my favourite player. I just love the guy. Still I don’t think that makes this choice any less valid. Swisher is a very powerful hitter going from one of the best pitchers’ parks in the majors to one of the best hitter’s parks. He will almost certainly put up an OBP approaching .400. Also, while the White Sox don’t exactly have a Murderer’s Row line-up, being surrounded by Paul Konerko, Jim Thome and the criminally underrated Joe Crede will juice up those ‘run production’ stats the voters love.
Prediction: Prince Fielder
Dark Horse: Kosuke Fukudome
Prince is set up to put up an absolutely gaudy season. With perhaps the best power of any player in the game, surrounded by Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Bill Hall and others, Prince needs only a little lucky fluctuation in batting average to contend for the triple crown. What voter could pass that up?
I think Fukudome, who doesn’t have a single regular season major league at-bat, is about as much of a dark horse as you can be. I have the utmost faith in him. He has a great track record in Japan, and he is going in to a beautiful situation. He will be hitting in one of the best hitter’s parks and will be set up either in front of or behind Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, not to mention the possibility of Brian Roberts. He could very well hit .300/.400/.500 with 100 of both R and RBI, which would guarantee him a top 10 MVP spot, possibly top 5.
AL Cy Young
Prediction: CC Sabathia
Dark Horse: Francisco Liriano
Sabathia is what I would call a safe pick. He’s young, should pitch a lot of innings, plays for a great team, and is coming off of a season with both tremendous production stats (3.21 ERA) and tremendous peripherals (21.4 K%, 3.8 BB%). Hell, he won the award last season, does it get any safer than that?
Liriano is what I would call the opposite of a safe pick. If he were healthy, he would be my outright choice by a large margin. I’d put money on it. A lot of money - but we can discuss my gambling addiction some other time. The problem is that he is not healthy. As you may have heard 117 times, Liriano is recovering from serious ligament replacement surgery. It just seems too likely that his first 100 innings will make me look like a genius, but he’ll only pitch 12 more of 17.9 ERA ball the rest of the year before being shut down.
NL Cy Young
Prediction: Jake Peavy
Dark Horse: John Smoltz
Peavy… see: Sabathia. Pitchers are risky enough without me going out on a limb with these predictions. Tremendous pitcher, best pitcher’s park in the majors. He’s my security blanket.
John Smoltz is good. John Smoltz is old. Can John Smoltz continue to be good despite being old? John Smoltz thinks so. I think so too. PECOTA’s prediction of over 200 IP may be a tad high, but I still think he’s good for a lot of innings of excellent, excellent baseball.
AL Rookie of the Year
Prediction: Daric Barton
I just love Daric Barton. I have for two years. From his first at bat out of high school to today, he has had one of the best batting eyes in professional baseball. He already has good gap power, so whether or not he ever hits 30 home runs just doesn’t make that big of a difference to me. The only question I have is whether he hits .300/.400/.500 this year or next year. After Longoria’s demotion and Joba‘s move to the bullpen, the AL crop of rookies isn’t that strong. I could make at least as strong of an argument for Joba, Kennedy or Buchholz, but I don’t want to.
NL Rookie of the Year
Prediction: Kosuke Fukudome
I’ve already talked about this guy. Maybe one of the ‘pitching wins championships’ gurus will put in a vote for Kuroda or fall in love with Soto and ruin Kosuke’s clean sweep, but I think I can safely say it will not be the nail biter of a year ago.