Award Time!!

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It’s that time of year again – when teams without playoff hope go into despair, and put their attention on new managers and draft picks, and the contenders go into all-out win mode. Plus, the talk heats up about these small awards. So, without any further ado, my MLB award picks.

AL ROY:

Mike Trout: 29 Homers. .321 BA. 47 stolen bases. 79 RBI. Quite a few wall catches. Have I said enough?

NL ROY:

Bryce Harper: It’s not been a record batting average, but 21 homers, 95 runs and 58 RBIs(and counting) look pretty good for a teenager. This guy knows how to turn on a team’s excitement, energy, and play. Every game you watch him, he does something that you expect to be on SportsCenter’s top plays. If he’s 19 and doing this already – you have to give him the nod for Rookie of the Year.

AL MVP:

This is tough. But unless Miguel Cabrera can get the triple crown, I have to give this guy the nod. Don’t get me wrong, there is tons of competition that is being overlooked because of a 21 year old who is one home run away from being a member of the 30/30 club. Robinson Cano has a .301 average, 30 homers and 83 ribbies.  Josh Hamilton is the AL leader with 43 home runs and has 130 RBI. Adam Jones puts up a fight as well. But if you put together a for sure gold glover, member of the 30/30 club, a .321 BA, 47 stolen bases and 79 RBI, only one person is that well rounded and incredible, so you have to hand Mike Trout the AL MVP award.

NL MVP: Nobody noticed, and I’ll admit I didn’t notice them for a while either. But Ryan Braun, Buster Posey and Yadier Molina were all quietly having incredible seasons. However, the public’s loss of faith in Braun has brought the race down to these two. Which brings us to a question: Molina or Posey? So, with general play, attitude, team play and leadership, I had to go through the Moneyball approach. Who’s stats beat the others? They were both very close or the same in BA and Home runs. But the one category there was a real difference in – RBI. Posey is at 100, while Molina is 25 behind him at 75, and with every other category close, and adding on a NL West Division championship, I have to give the nod to Buster Posey as NL MVP. 

AL Cy Young: David Price has been quietly dominant with his 2.56 ERA speaking for itself, as well as a 19-5 record. So give the nod to him – because in all honesty – there isn’t much competition – and while Verlander could get the award for the second time, he only has 16 wins, so you have to give the nod to price.

Manager of the year NL:  You have to go with Davey Johnson. If you can bring a team from under .500 to the best record in baseball, especially in a division with the Braves and Phillies you have a vote in my book.

Manager of the year AL: Buck Showalter has basically done the same thing Davey Johnson has done, except without the Division Champs part, and only 45 minutes away, too! Just like Davey, he had to fight the competition in the division to do it too. In fact, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if there was a beltway battle for the world series.

NL Cy Young: This, by far is the hardest one for me. R.A Dickey’s E.R.A and knuckleball shine up in New York. Craig Kimbrel looks pretty good in Atlanta, and pretty unstoppable now that you mention it. Johnny Cueto, despite the no-hitter that wasn’t his looks pretty good at 19-9 with a 2.81 ERA. But none of them are both the ace and leading their team into the playoffs, which was the deciding factor for me in this. He stepped up big time when the limelight fell on him after number one was gone. He is the first, and so far the only pitcher with 21 wins, plus 207 strikeouts, and his 2.89 ERA seals the deal for me – so I give the nod to, you guessed it, Gio Gonzalez.

There are many other possibilities for all of these – and I’m not saying I should be right – but in my opinion, these guys deserve the awards.

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How did it happen: The Nationals on top

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It’s not weird when unexpected teams win anymore. But it’s always a bit of a surprise. Who would’ve called the Giants winning in 2010? Or the Cardinals in 2011? But this is unexpected. Most people put the Nationals as their wild card, or even not a playoff team at all. And until June, there was no worries about them. But with 10 as a magic number for the number one seed, the MLB wonders – how did it happen?

First, this isn’t new. This has been planned since 2007. The Nationals were failing as a win now team. They said goodbye to Alfonso Soriano, the center. And it became a draft and wait team. Strasburg, Harper, Storen, Espinosa, and more were drafted. They made little known trades to slowly but surely build up their system in the minors. And this winter, they added the final piece of the puzzle with 2 more starters in Gonzalez and Jackson. Even so, they went under the radar.

Late last September, I made a prediction. By September 2012,  the Nats would have a playoff spot. If they sweep the doubleheader tonight – they’ll have a playoff spot.

The Nationals have built their franchise around 3 players: Ryan Zimmerman, the veteran, Stephen Strasburg, the fireballer, and Bryce Harper, the prodigy. And when those three met this year, with great surrounding players, for us who have been paying attention it was no surprise.

But when it came towards the middle of April, there was a bit of a jump. The Nationals home opener had been filled, even on a day that the high was about 60 degrees. The city of DC took notice that they (for once) actually had a great team.

And Davey Johnson, a name and face you associated with 1995 is a frontrunner for NL manager of the year. Maybe the lack of the attention was what made them a little more comfortable.

But make no mistake – the nationals are here, and here to stay.