This is the second installment of my two-part series of predictions for MLB's annual awards.
In the first article, I argued for Felix Hernandez as Cy Young, Derek Jeter as MVP, Mike Scioscia as Manager of the Year, and Brett Anderson as rookie of the year.
I'm confident in three of those, because I know I made an unconventional argument for Jeter as MVP.
It looks to me like the St. Louis Cardinals have the inside track on two of the awards, MVP and Cy Young. Albert Pujols should easily win MVP. I doubt that St. Louis will lose the Cy Young simply because they have two strong candidates with Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter.
I think it's just a matter of preference for the voters. They might pick Wainwright because Carpenter has won before, or they might pick Carpenter for rebounding from his injuries.
After Wainwright and Carpenter, there really is not a viable candidate in the National League for Cy Young other than Los Angeles closer Jonathan Broxton.
Rookie of the Year
Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pittsburgh Pirates
I believe that McCutchen will be the NL Rookie of the Year because he stepped up to fill a big void for the Pirates after Pittsburgh traded All-Star Nate McLouth to the Braves, along with the overall Pittsburgh fire sale.
This is as opposed to Philadelphia's J.A. Happ, who has had the benefit of blending in with an otherwise strong rotation with Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Pedro Martinez, Jamie Moyer, and Joe Blanton, or Atlanta's Tommy Hanson, who has started behind other prominent names like Derek Lowe and Javier Vazquez.
Adam Wainwright, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
Wainwright has emerged as an ace for the Cardinals. At 19-8, with 212 strikeouts in 233 innings and an ERA under three, Wainwright should be a no-brainer.
The only thing I wonder about is whether voters will prefer Chris Carpenter's low number of losses at 17-4. However, Carpenter has had less playing time than Wainwright.
Nevertheless, I think Wainwright will win, because it's hard to argue that he benefited from St. Louis' prolific offense when his ERA is under three and his WHIP is under 1.3.
Most Valuable Player
Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
This is a no-brainer.
Pujols has all the stats that sabermetricians and traditional writers love.
Stats: Batting average .328; OBP .443; HR 47; RBI 135; OPS 1.103; 124 total runs; and Pujols has played 159 games.
Need I say more?
Manager of the Year
Jim Tracy, Colorado Rockies
This is a tough one. Joe Torre in Los Angeles held the Dodgers together in the fallout from the Manny Ramirez scandal.
Nevertheless, the Rockies underwent far more significant changes to their roster offensively and defensively and have earned a postseason berth after struggling mightily in the early part of the season.
The Rockies have made good use of two players, closer Huston Street and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, whom were acquired in the Matt Holliday trade.
Picking Tracy would in effect recognize the overall success of the Colorado pitching rotation, which like Tampa Bay in 2008 is good from top to bottom, but no one truly stands out.