MLB

Bleacher Report's Complete 2014 MLB Awards Predictions With 1 Month To Go

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2014

Bleacher Report's Complete 2014 MLB Awards Predictions With 1 Month To Go

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Few things stir up more debate during the course of each MLB season than who should take home the major awards, and as we enter the final month of the season, those races are heating up around the league.

    The following are full predictions as to how the voting will shake out for each of the five major awards:

    • Manager of the Year (top 3)
    • Comeback Player of the Year (top 5)
    • Rookie of the Year (top 10)
    • Cy Young (top 10)
    • Most Valuable Player (top 10)

    The predicted results are not necessarily a reflection of who is most deserving, but instead simply a best guess as to how the voting will play out once the season wraps up.

    I've also included a look at how I would vote if the season ended today and I had a ballot for each of the major awards as a way to separate my personal opinion from my predictions.

AL Manager of the Year

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Predicted Top 3 in Voting

    NameLast Year's Finish
    1. Lloyd McClendon, SEAN/A
    2. Mike Scioscia, LAA N/A
    3. Buck Showalter, BAL T-7th

     

    Candidate Overview

    Lloyd McClendon has the Seattle Mariners in position to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2001, and if he can pull it off, he looks like the favorite to take home AL Manager of the Year honors.

    His only previous managerial experience was a five-year stint at the helm of the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he went a combined 336-446 and never finished higher than fourth place in the division.

    Mike Scioscia has the Los Angeles Angels playing to the best record in all of baseball, Buck Showalter has the Baltimore Orioles holding the biggest division lead in either league and the likes of Bob Melvin (OAK), Ned Yost (KC) and Brad Ausmus (DET) could receive some consideration as well.

     

    My Ballot

    1. Lloyd McClendon (SEA), 2. Buck Showalter (BAL), 3. Ned Yost (KC)

NL Manager of the Year

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    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Predicted Top 3 in Voting

    NameLast Year's Finish
    1. Matt Williams, WASN/A
    2. Don Mattingly, LAD2nd
    3. Bruce Bochy, SFN/A

     

    Candidate Overview

    Another first-year manager, Matt Williams inherited a very good Nationals team from the retiring Davey Johnson, and heading into the final month of the season they look like the most complete team in baseball.

    They have dealt with their fair share of injuries, but are firing on all cylinders now, and Williams has brought a steadying hand to the reins in Washington.

    The Dodgers and Giants look set to battle it out for NL West supremacy, and their respective managers should benefit greatly from a heated stretch run.

    Clint Hurdle (PIT), Ron Roenicke (MIL) and Mike Matheny (STL) have all done a nice job, while first-year Cubs manager Rick Renteria may also get some credit for helping the team take a big step forward in the rebuilding process.

     

    My Ballot

    1. Matt Williams (WAS), 2. Ron Roenicke (MIL), 3. Rick Renteria (CHC)

AL Comeback Player of the Year

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    Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

    Predicted Top 5 in Voting

    Name2014 Stats
    1. Albert Pujols, LAA 134 G, .276/.332/.469, 32 2B, 24 HR, 83 RBI, 74 R
    2. Melky Cabrera, TOR135 G, .305/.355/.464, 34 2B, 16 HR, 72 RBI, 80 R
    3. Phil Hughes, MIN28 GS, 15-9, 3.54 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 157 K, 180.2 IP
    4. Chris Young, SEA26 GS, 12-7, 3.46 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 94 K, 151 IP
    5. Derek Jeter, NYY 121 G, .261/.308/.312, 14 2B, 3 HR, 36 RBI, 39 R

     

    Candidate Overview

    Whether it's fair or not, the Comeback Player of the Year award tends to go to a former superstar who bounces back from an injury-plagued season. Albert Pujols certainly fits that profile, as he's back to putting up solid run-production numbers in the middle of the league's best offense.

    Melky Cabrera has rebounded nicely from a rough first season in Toronto that saw him post a .682 OPS and minus-0.3 WAR, as he's been a consistent producer for the Blue Jays this season.

    As far as the story behind the comeback, Chris Young is this year's Scott Kazmir, as he didn't see the majors at all in 2013 and hadn't topped 20 starts since 2007 with the San Diego Padres.

    Phil Hughes was a great signing for the Minnesota Twins on a three-year, $24 million deal after going 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA last year, while Derek Jeter should see some support on name value alone, as he's been healthy after playing a grand total of 17 games a year ago.

     

    My Ballot

    1. Phil Hughes (MIN), 2. Chris Young (SEA), 3. Joe Beimel (SEA)

NL Comeback Player of the Year

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Predicted Top 5 in Voting

    Name2014 Stats
    1. Johnny Cueto, CIN29 GS, 16-8, 2.26 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 205 K, 207 IP
    2. Starlin Castro, CHC133 G, .290/.338/.436, 33 2B, 14 HR, 65 RBI, 57 R
    3. Casey McGehee, MIA134 G, .296/.366/.371, 28 2B, 3 HR, 64 RBI, 48 R
    4. Tim Hudson, SF27 GS, 9-9, 3.08 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 111 K, 172.2 IP
    5. Matt Kemp, LAD127 G, .281/.346/.475, 31 2B, 17 HR, 66 RBI, 58 R

     

    Candidate Overview

    A lat injury last season limited Johnny Cueto to just 11 starts, and while he pitched well with a 5-2 record and 2.82 ERA when he was on the field, that time missed is still enough to qualify him for Comeback Player of the Year honors. On top of that, he's a legitimate Cy Young candidate.

    Cueto is having the better season, but Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has enjoyed the bigger turnaround, as he hit just .245/.284/.347 with a minus-0.6 WAR a year ago and has returned to All-Star form here in 2014.

    Casey McGehee is probably the best comeback story in either league, as he spent last season playing in Japan and wound up settling for a one-year, $1.1 million deal this past offseason. He's hitting just .245/.320/.327 with two home runs and 11 RBI since the All-Star break, though, which has likely hurt his candidacy.

    Tim Hudson has bounced back really well from offseason ankle surgery, but the fact that he made 21 starts before being injured last season probably takes him out of consideration. Matt Kemp is still not the dynamic player he once was, but he's at least been a productive everyday guy for the Dodgers after playing just 73 games last year.

     

    My Ballot

    1. Starlin Castro (CHC), 2. Casey McGehee (MIA), 3. Brandon League (LAD)

AL Rookie of the Year

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Predicted Top 10 in Voting

    Name2014 Stats
    1. Jose Abreu, CWS 122 G, .320/.381/.602, 32 2B, 33 HR, 99 RBI, 71 R
    2. Matt Shoemaker, LAA 17 GS, 14-4, 3.14 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 115 K, 117.2 IP
    3. Yordano Ventura, KC25 GS, 11-9, 3.38 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 132 K, 152 IP
    4. Dellin Betances, NYY 60 G, 5-0, 1.46 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 120 K, 80 IP
    5. Masahiro Tanaka, NYY 18 GS, 12-4, 2.51 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 135 K, 129.1 IP
    6. Jake Odorizzi, TB27 GS, 10-11, 4.03 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 163 K, 147.1 IP
    7. Brock Holt, BOS 102 G, .287/.338/.382, 22 2B, 3 HR, 27 RBI, 66 R
    8. George Springer, HOU 78 G, .231/.336/.468, 8 2B, 20 HR, 51 RBI, 45 R
    9. Collin McHugh, HOU 21 GS, 7-9, 2.99 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 132 K, 126.1 IP
    10. Danny Santana, MIN79 G, .312/.350/.470, 17 2B, 7 HR, 36 RBI, 52 R

     

    Candidate Overview

    Even if Masahiro Tanaka had stayed healthy, Jose Abreu may still be the overwhelming favorite for AL Rookie of the Year honors, as he's been nothing short of phenomenal in his first season stateside.

    Tanaka should still see some votes fall his way, but he's been passed by fellow starters Matt Shoemaker and Yordano Ventura and All-Star reliever Dellin Betances at this point. Shoemaker in particular has stepped up big since Garrett Richards went down, and he's 9-2 with a 1.98 ERA over his last 11 games (nine starts).

    Jake Odorizzi has held his own stepping into the Rays rotation, while Collin McHugh has been one of the biggest out-of-nowhere contributors of the year after being claimed off waivers from the Colorado Rockies in the offseason.

    The versatility of Brock Holt and Danny Santana has been invaluable for their respective teams, while slugger George Springer flashed tremendous power before being shelved with a quad injury, and he has likely only scratched the surface of what should be a fantastic career.

     

    My Ballot

    1. Jose Abreu (CWS), 2. Matt Shoemaker (LAA), 3. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY)

NL Rookie of the Year

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    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Predicted Top 10 in Voting

    Name2014 Stats
    1. Jacob deGrom, NYM 18 GS, 7-6, 2.94 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 106 K, 113.1 IP
    2. Billy Hamilton, CIN 131 G, .267/.302/.382, 25 2B, 6 HR, 46 RBI, 70 R
    3. Kolten Wong, STL 93 G, .252/.293/.404, 12 2B, 11 HR, 37 RBI, 43 R
    4. Jeurys Familia, NYM 65 G, 2-4, 2.13 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 57 K, 67.2 IP
    5. Kyle Hendricks, CHC 9 GS, 5-1, 1.91 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 34 K, 56.2 IP
    6. Jesse Hahn, SD12 GS, 7-3, 3.00 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 68 K, 72 IP
    7. David Peralta, ARI76 G, .289/.325/.460, 12 2B, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 37 R
    8. Joe Panik, SF50 G, .310/.357/.386, 6 2B, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 21 R
    9. Neil Ramirez, CHC 42 G, 2-1, 0.99 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 47 K, 36.1 IP
    10. Chase Anderson, ARI18 GS, 8-6, 3.75 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 89 K, 98.1 IP

     

    Candidate Overview

    After last year saw a loaded NL rookie class, headlined by Jose Fernandez, Yasiel Puig, Shelby Miller, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Julio Teheran, this year's field is decidedly thinner.

    Billy Hamilton, Kolten Wong and Chris Owings were the only rookie position players to open the year with an everyday job, but none of them have turned in the runaway season needed to be a front-runner for the award.

    Instead, the stud rookie at this point looks to be Jacob deGrom, who has been lights out since working his way into the Mets rotation. Behind him, there are a handful of rookie pitchers who entered the year without much fan fare who have impressed in Jesse Hahn, Kyle Hendricks and Chase Anderson.

    Joe Panik could be a dark horse, as he's been raking for the last month, helping solve the second base issue for a Giants team that has been surging of late.

     

    My Ballot

    1. SP Jacob deGrom (NYM), 2. Billy Hamilton (CIN), 3. Kyle Hendricks (CHC)

AL Cy Young

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Predicted Top 10 in Voting

    Name2014 Stats
    1. Felix Hernandez, SEA28 GS, 13-5, 2.23 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 205 K, 198 IP
    2. Chris Sale, CWS 22 GS, 11-3, 2.11 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 178 K, 149 IP
    3. Corey Kluber, CLE 29 GS, 13-9, 2.72 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 215 K, 195.1 IP
    4. Jon Lester, BOS/OAK27 GS, 13-9, 2.55 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 186 K, 183.2 IP
    5. Greg Holland, KC58 G, 41/43 SV, 1.63 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 78 K, 55.1 IP
    6. Hisashi Iwakuma, SEA23 GS, 13-6, 2.90 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 127 K, 155.1 IP
    7. Max Scherzer, DET 28 GS, 15-5, 3.26 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 220 K, 187.2 IP
    8. David Price, TB/DET29 GS, 13-10, 3.25 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 232 K, 210.1 IP
    9. Rick Porcello, DET 26 GS, 15-9, 3.10 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 109 K, 180 IP
    10. Garrett Richards, LAA 26 GS, 13-4, 2.61 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 164 K, 168.2 IP

     

    Candidate Overview

    Felix Hernandez and Chris Sale have been in a league of their own among AL starters this season, and King Felix gets the nod for the top spot thanks to an extra six starts and 49 innings of work on the year.

    Not far behind is Corey Kluber, who has built off of a breakout 2013 season to become one of the game's bona fide aces, but he looks to be competing for third place in the voting at this point.

    It will be interesting to see how the votes land in Detroit, where Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and newcomer David Price could all wind up finishing in the top 10. The same goes for the arms in Oakland, though at this point, Jon Lester looks like the only clear-cut top-10 option.

    Hisashi Iwakuma has once again been a stud No. 2 behind Hernandez, Garrett Richards is still very much deserving of some back-end votes for what he did prior to injuring his knee and Royals closer Greg Holland has been lights out once again and is the best candidate from a potential playoff team.

     

    My Ballot

    1. Felix Hernandez (SEA), 2. Corey Kluber (CLE), 3. Chris Sale (CWS), 4. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA), 5. Jon Lester (BOS/OAK)

NL Cy Young

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Predicted Top 10 in Voting

    Name2014 Stats
    1. Clayton Kershaw, LAD22 GS, 16-3, 1.73 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 194 K, 161.1 IP
    2. Johnny Cueto, CIN 29 GS, 16-8, 2.26 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 205 K, 207 IP
    3. Adam Wainwright, STL 27 GS, 15-9, 2.59 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 150 K, 188 IP
    4. Madison Bumgarner, SF29 GS, 16-9, 2.97 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 199 K, 191 IP
    5. Zack Greinke, LAD27 GS, 13-8, 2.72 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 182 K, 172.1 IP
    6. Craig Kimbrel, ATL 55 G, 41/45 SV, 1.67 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 85 K, 54 IP
    7. Cole Hamels, PHI25 GS, 8-6, 2.50 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 165 K, 169.1 IP
    8. Jordan Zimmermann, WAS27 GS, 10-5, 2.93 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 148 K, 165.2 IP
    9. Tyson Ross, SD29 GS, 13-12, 2.60 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 184 K, 187 IP
    10. Julio Teheran, ATL 29 GS, 13-10, 2.90 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 163 K, 195.2 IP

     

    Candidate Overview

    No disrespect to Johnny Cueto, who is having a terrific season, but Clayton Kershaw could probably not throw another pitch in 2014 and still walk away with his third NL Cy Young award in the past four years.

    If not for a start back on May 17 when he allowed seven earned runs in 1.2 innings of work, Kershaw would have an even more impressive stat line, as he is 16-2 with a 1.35 ERA in his other 21 starts on the season.

    Adam Wainwright had a 1.83 ERA in 19 first-half starts, but he's slipped to a distant third thanks to a 4.68 ERA in eight starts since the break. Cole Hamels has impressive peripheral numbers, but his 7-6 record and some time missed early could work against him.

    Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann and Craig Kimbrel all finished in the top 10 in voting a year ago and look to be deserving again. Julio Teheran and Tyson Ross have taken the next step after strong second-half performances last year, emerging as the aces of their respective staffs.

     

    My Ballot

    1. Clayton Kershaw (LAD), 2. Johnny Cueto (CIN), 3. Madison Bumgarner (SF), 4. Adam Wainwright (STL), 5. Craig Kimbrel (ATL)

AL MVP

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Predicted Top 10 in Voting

    Name2014 Stats
    1. Mike Trout, LAA 132 G, .290/.374/.560, 35 2B, 31 HR, 97 RBI, 92 R
    2. Jose Abreu, CWS 122 G, .320/.381/.602, 32 2B, 33 HR, 99 RBI, 71 R
    3. Felix Hernandez, SEA28 GS, 13-5, 2.23 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 205 K, 198 IP
    4. Victor Martinez, DET 126 G, .329/.400/.563, 27 2B, 28 HR, 90 RBI, 74 R
    5. Robinson Cano, SEA131 G, .322/.389/.462, 30 2B, 12 HR, 71 RBI, 70 R
    6. Miguel Cabrera, DET 134 G, .304/.367/.501, 42 2B, 19 HR, 94 RBI, 86 R
    7. Josh Donaldson, OAK133 G, .259/.348/.471, 26 2B, 26 HR, 89 RBI, 81 R
    8. Jose Bautista, TOR130 G, .283/.398/.521, 24 2B, 29 HR, 83 RBI, 79 R
    9. Nelson Cruz, BAL 134 G, .254/.323/.513, 24 2B, 36 HR, 90 RBI, 75 R
    10. Jose Altuve, HOU 134 G, .336/.374/.441, 37 2B, 6 HR, 45 RBI, 73 R

     

    Candidate Overview

    Is this finally the year Mike Trout takes home AL MVP honors? As the best player on the best team in baseball, and with a terrific all-around stat line once again, he's the deserving choice at this point.

    On production alone, Jose Abreu is probably the best choice, but just like Paul Goldschmidt last year, he takes a hit due to the fact that he doesn't play for a contender.

    Tigers sluggers Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera could wind up splitting votes, and the same goes with Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez, who have helped lead a big turnaround in Seattle.

    Josh Donaldson leads all of baseball with a 7.1 WAR thanks in large part to his stellar defense at the hot corner. Jose Bautista, Nelson Cruz and Jose Altuve round out the list here, just ahead of Michael Brantley and Alex Gordon, who should both also see significant support.

     

    My Ballot

    1. Mike Trout (LAA), 2. Victor Martinez (DET), 3. Jose Abreu (CWS), 4. Alex Gordon (KC), 5. Josh Donaldson (OAK), 6. Jose Bautista (TOR), 7. Michael Brantley (CLE), 8. Miguel Cabrera (DET), 9. Robinson Cano (SEA), 10. Nelson Cruz (BAL)

NL MVP

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Predicted Top 10 in Voting

    Name2014 Stats
    1. Clayton Kershaw, LAD22 GS, 16-3, 1.73 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 194 K, 161.1 IP
    2. Andrew McCutchen, PIT121 G, .308/.401/.539, 33 2B, 21 HR, 72 RBI, 72 R
    3. Giancarlo Stanton, MIA136 G, .292/.401/.554, 28 2B, 34 HR, 99 RBI, 84 R
    4. Jonathan Lucroy, MIL128 G, .298/.363/.478, 46 2B, 13 HR, 60 RBI, 67 R
    5. Anthony Rendon, WAS132 G, .280/.338/.469, 35 2B, 18 HR, 73 RBI, 97 R
    6. Justin Upton, ATL 132 G, .286/.358/.516, 30 2B, 26 HR, 91 RBI, 70 R
    7. Hunter Pence, SF138 G, .295/.347/.483, 29 2B, 19 HR, 68 RBI, 98 R
    8. Josh Harrison, PIT121 G, .311/.345/.511, 31 2B, 13 HR, 46 RBI, 65 R
    9. Carlos Gomez, MIL127 G, .282/.348/.479, 29 2B, 21 HR, 65 RBI, 85 R
    10. Anthony Rizzo, CHC 129 G, .278/.375/.514, 23 2B, 30 HR, 71 RBI, 81 R

     

    Candidate Overview

    The NL MVP is by far the most wide open of any of the major award races this year, and it will hinge largely on the last month of the season and who finds their way into the postseason.

    Clayton Kershaw finished seventh in NL MVP voting last season, and he's putting up the best numbers of his career here in 2014. If no one steps forward as a clear front-runner among position players, he could wind up taking home the award.

    The candidacy of Andrew McCutchen and Jonathan Lucroy depends heavily on whether or not their respective teams make the playoffs, while Anthony Rendon, Justin Upton and Hunter Pence look like the best candidates from their respective teams but come up a bit short of being a serious contender to win the award.

    Giancarlo Stanton falls in the same category as Paul Goldschmidt a year ago and Jose Abreu on the AL side of things this year, as he has the best all-around numbers but won't be a playoff participant. Anthony Rizzo rounds out the top 10 here, as he's bounced back nicely with a breakout 2014.

     

    My Ballot

    1. Andrew McCutchen (PIT), 2. Jonathan Lucroy (MIL), 3. Clayton Kershaw (LAD), 4. Giancarlo Stanton (MIA), 5. Anthony Rendon (WAS), 6. Hunter Pence (SF), 7. Justin Upton (ATL), 8. Josh Harrison (PIT), 9. Anthony Rizzo (CHC), 10. Yasiel Puig (LAD)

     

    *All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference and accurate through Monday, Sept. 1.

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