By C.J. Gardner
With the baseball regular season coming to a close soon, baseball fans are wondering two things: which teams will make the playoffs and which players will win the end of season awards? The three big player awards the MLB gives out are the rookie of the year, the Cy Young award and the most valuable player award. There is an American League and National League recipient for each award.
In the AL, it seems to be a two horse race for the MVP award, and it might come down to who can lead their team to the playoffs. The two players that lead the race for the AL MVP are Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera. In what has been a disappointing season for the Los Angeles Angels, Mike Trout has undoubtedly been their shining star. Trout has had the AL Rookie of the Year award wrapped up since early August with his outstanding season. The three things that might hurt Trout’s chance of winning both the ROTY and MVP are that he has slowed down after getting off to a fast start, it looks like his team will miss the playoffs and he is a rookie. As for Miguel Cabrera, he is in contention for the AL Triple Crown and has been the hot bat around the MLB. These contenders for the AL MVP would be worthy choices for the award and the thing that might set one of them apart is if they are able to lead their team to playoff baseball. If they are unable to do that, you might see Adrian Beltre sneak up on them as he has been on a tear for the past month and lead the Rangers to the playoffs.
The AL Cy Young race is more open than the MVP race. There are four or five candidates that you could point to that have had Cy Young worthy seasons. The debate for AL Cy Young has to start with the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner, Justin Verlander. While Verlander has not been as dominate this year as he was last year, he still has had a great year. With an ERA below three and over 200 strikeouts, he could win the award back-to-back years. David Price and Jered Weaver are options for the Cy Young as Price currently leads the AL in ERA and wins. One thing that hurts their chances is that they have been injured, but when they have been healthy, they have pitched very well. In the end, any of those three would be good options for the AL Cy Young, along with Felix Hernandez and Chris Sale.
As for the NL, in the MVP race, it seems that Buster Posey is the favorite as his Giants head to the playoff. His offensive output as a catcher is great and he also provides good defense behind the plate. Ryan Braun and Andrew McCutchen are also candidates for the NL MVP, but I think the fact that Posey will be in the playoffs, while the other two will not, set him apart. For the Cy Young in the NL, there are many options, but I think the feel good story of R.A. Dickey is the favorite. Clayton Kershaw, Gio Gonzalez and Johnny Cueto are also pitchers that have put up big numbers and capable of getting the award. In the NL Rookie of the Year race, it seems like it is Wade Miley’s to lose. Mike Fiers and Todd Frazier have also put up good numbers for rookies, but Miley has set himself apart in the NL ROTY race.
My Predictions: AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera
NL MVP: Buster Posey
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
NL Cy Young: R.A. Dickey
AL Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout
NL Rookie of the Year: Wade Miley