For my awards prediction article, I have decided to add a few of my own categories as well as include the real awards that will be handed out later this fall.
First the awards handed out by Major League Baseball.
AL MVP: Justin Morneau, 1B, Minnesota Twins
Morneau has turned into the best hitting first baseman in the league the past couple of seasons and should be well on his way to his second MVP award with one of the best supporting casts that he has had in years.
Other Possibilities: Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, BJ Upton, Dustin Pedroia, Vladimir Guerrero
Sleeper Picks: Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz
NL MVP: Alfonso Soriano, OF, Chicago Cubs
No matter what position Soriano has played, he does not let it effect his hitting and speed numbers, as he is a legit threat for the 40-40 club every season. Affected by injury last season, expect Soriano to bounce back and lead the Cubs to the playoffs again.
Other Possibilities: David Wright, Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley
Sleeper Picks: Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Reyes
AL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
The best pitcher in baseball has battled injuries every season of his career and still puts up fantastic numbers. If not for the injuries baseball would be considering re-naming the award after him at the end of his career.
Other Possibilities: C.C. Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Daisuke Matsuzaka
Sleeper Picks: Chien- Ming Wang, Any Oakland Starter, Francisco Liriano
NL Cy Young: Carlos Zambrano, SP, Chicago Cubs
The Big Z has excellent stuff and now has the added motivation of securing his job as the ace of Chicago’s staff with Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly both winning 17 games last season. I think he will grow the pair he has lacked and dominate the NL Central.
Other Possibilities: Johann Santana, Jake Peavy, Tim Lincecum, Brandon Webb
Sleeper Picks: Chris Carpenter, Derek Lowe, Hiroki Kuroda
AL Rolaids Relief Award: Mariano Rivera, RP, New York Yankees
Mo has wanted to pitch in the new stadium since construction began and now that he is there, and has a better starting staff to help bridge the gap, he will get more opportunities to prove how nasty he still is and shut the door on opponents.
Other Possibilities: Jonathon Papelbon, Joe Nathan, Bobby Jenks, Joakim Soria
Sleeper Picks: Troy Percival, Brandon Morrow, Brian Fuentes
NL Rolaids Relief Award: Fransisco Rodriguez, RP, New York Mets
K-Rod may have lost his fastball but as he proved last year, he can still be very effective. With the Mets strong lineup he will get plenty of opportunities to show the NL the havoc he caused in the AL all of these years.
Other Possibilities: Brad Lidge, Jose Valverde, Kevin Gregg, Jonathon Broxton
Sleeper Picks: Trevor Hoffman, Heath Bell, Mike Gonzalez
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Troy Percival, RP, Tampa Bay Rays
Percival was on his way to a fabulous comeback season last year before injuries sidelined him for the stretch run and playoffs. If he stays healthy he should have a shot at it.
Other Possibilities: Chien-Ming Wang, Jorge Posada, David Ortiz, Paul Konerko
Sleeper Picks: Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra, B.J. Ryan
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Ivan Rodriguez, C, Houston Astros
Pudge Rodriguez has many accolades and will retire one of the greatest catchers of all-time however not one team would sign him until Spring Training began. That motivation should be enough for a veteran like Rodriguez to bounce back with a strong year.
Other Possibilities: Randy Johnson, Trevor Hoffman, J.J. Putz, Todd Helton
Sleeper Picks: Chris Carpenter, Aaron Harang, Pedro Martinez*
*If Pedro ever plays again, and if he goes to the American League put him up one paragraph.
Now, that we did the customary awards that will be given out after the World Series is completed, it is time for the awards I have created. Do not fear, I will also add in explanations in case they are not obvious.
AL Manny Ramirez of the Year: Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees
(Award given to the player who causes distraction to his team on the field by the way he acts.)
He has already gotten a head start, this year taking up most of Spring Training with steroid allegations and his hip injury. Also, expect his ex-wife Cynthia to get more involved as the season goes on.
Other Possibilities: Ichiro Suzuki, B.J. Upton, Jose Guillen, Miguel Cabrera
Sleeper Picks: Delmon Young, Jermaine Dye, Michael Young
NL Manny Ramirez of the Year: Elijah Dukes, OF, Washington Nationals
The very talented, very dumb player has to battle for playing time this year and I really do not see him responding well. But would anyone?
Other Possibilities: Carlos Delgado, Manny Ramirez, Milton Bradley, Gary Sheffield
Sleeper Picks: Lance Berkman, Edgar Renteria, Pedro Martinez*
*The statement above about Pedro, applies here too.
AL Carl Pavano Award: A.J. Burnett, SP, New York Yankees
(Award given to the player who signs a big contract and then fails to perform up to expectations.)
It would be unfair to put C.C. here before Burnett gets a chance to take the mound. Plus, with Burnett’s injury tendency he has a better shot of ending up here.
Other Possibilities: C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Kerry Wood
Sleeper Picks: Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, Brian Fuentes
NL Carl Pavano Award: Manny Ramirez, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
Manny being Manny is enough to make anyone wonder how much of the contract Ramirez would actually earn. There is very little doubt in my mind that he will act more like the player in Boston, than the one who was traded to the Dodgers last season.
Other Possibilities: Francisco Rodriguez, Ryan Dempster, Rafael Furcal, Trevor Hoffman
Sleeper Picks: Raul Ibanez, Randy Johnson, Adam Dunn
AL Dan Wilson Award: Tim Wakefield, P, Boston Red Sox
(Award given to the player who everyone forgets about, but is starting with the same major league team for the 1,233rd season.)
The one guy in the major leagues who has had success with the knuckle ball the past two decades as he enters his 16th season, and 14th with the Red Sox. Whether, he is a starter, long reliever, or set-up guy, he is always in the middle of the Sox success.
Other Possibilities: Zach Greinke, Mike Redmond, Eric Chavez, Vernon Wells
Sleeper Picks: Dan Wheeler, Jason Giambi, Ken Griffey Jr. (all of which have left and came back to their original teams, I guarantee someone forgets all about the middle ground and the many years they spent elsewhere).
NL Dan Wilson Award: Jack Wilson, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates
Other Possibilities: Todd Helton, Aaron Cook, Nick Johnson (just because he is the only National to play in Montréal)
Sleeper Picks: Ryan Madson, Chris Carpenter