2011 MLB Awards: Predicting the Potential Winners
After one of the wildest season finishes in baseball's illustrious history, the regular season is done and all the statistics have been tallied. As always, some teams have exceeded expectations and other teams have fallen far short of what we all expected.
2011 was one of the finest pitching seasons in years, but batting statistics were not necessarily down either. Here is my list of potential winners for MVP, Cy Young, ROY, and Manager of the Year in both the American League and National Leagues.
NL Cy Young- Clayton Kershaw
For years we have been hearing about Clayton Kershaw's potential and the rare ability he possesses. This season he finally put it all together and should be the Cy Young Winner.
Kershaw posted a 21-5 record with a 2.28 era and 248 strikeouts, all of this while pitching on a poor team that gave him little run support.
Kershaw led the NL in all three major pitching categories. I give him the slight edge over Roy Halladay because of that fact. Halladay could be given the award for the simple fact that he is on a team that had over 100 wins.
I give the edge to Kershaw and even if he doesn't win the award this season, you can be sure he will sooner rather than later.
AL Cy Young- Justin Verlander
This one is painfully obvious, right?
A few weeks ago I was harping about Verlander possibly winning the MVP and Cy Young award, but after a poor final start of the season, I no longer believe that will happen.
However, he is a virtual lock for the Cy Young Award. JV posted a 24-5 record with a 2.40 era and 250 strikeouts. Every time he took the mound there was the potential of a no-hitter being thrown (he did throw one in August).
Like Kershaw, he led the AL in all three major pitching categories and his WHIP was .92 which was considerably lower than any other pitcher. Verlander will win this award, hands down. C.C Sabathia is my runner up.
NL MVP- Matt Kemp
I know what your thinking. Two Dodgers?
Yes, the Dodgers were a poor team this year, but it was not the fault of the team's star hitter Matt Kemp who put up the finest all around season in the NL this year.
Kemp hit .324 with 39 home runs and 126 RBI's while stealing 40 bases and scoring a 115 runs. Until the last few games of the season Kemp was flirting with the Triple Crown. He ended up finishing third in average.
Kemp flew under the radar much of the season because the Dodgers were done from the start. He deserves this award, but it could go to someone like Ryan Braun who put up less impressive numbers, but played on a team with a postseason birth.
AL MVP- Miguel Cabrera
I realize there is not a ton of diversity on this list. As I have both major award winners in the AL and NL playing for the same team. The AL MVP is wide open and it's hard to predict who will take the award home this season.
Until the last week of the year I had my money on someone like Curtis Granderson, but then Miguel Cabrera got hot. In the last week of the season he raised his batting average 10 pts and hit four home runs. Cabby hit .344 with 30 home runs and 105 RBI's while hitting 48 doubles and scoring 111 runs. The only major category he led the league in is average, but did so by a fairly wide margin.
Miguel is the most valuable player on a contending team, without him the Tigers would have missed the playoffs. Granderson is my runner up. His power numbers are great, but it's hard to give the award to someone who is hitting only .262.
AL Rookie of the Year- Ivan Nova
Coming into the 2011 season there were many questions about the state of the Yankees rotation. Ivan Nova answered many of these questions.
While big name players like AJ Burnett and Phil Hughes struggled this season, Nova literally came out of nowhere and helped pitch New York into the postseason. He posted a 16-4 record with a 3.40 era and 98 strikeouts.
The award could go to Jeremy Hellickson who has an era of 2.95, but I vote Nova because he has three more wins.
NL Rookie of the Year- Freddie Freeman
Freddie Freeman was a highly touted prospect who appears to have lived up to "the hype" in his rookie season.
Freeman hit .282 with 21 home runs and 76 RBI's while hitting 32 doubles. With his strong season he solidified his spot in the Braves lineup for many years to come.
Although, he was unable to come up big in his final at bat of the season to propel the Braves to a game 163, I predict he will win an MVP award someday. My runner up is Danny Espinosa who hit 21 home runs with the Nationals.
AL Manager of the Year- Joe Madden
All you need to do is look at what he and his team did in the final few weeks of the season to justify him winning this award. Tampa overcame a 9 game Boston lead with just a few weeks left. Joe Maddon did so without a tremendously talented offense and relied heavily on young pitching.
No matter what they do in the playoffs no one can take away what they did at the end of the regular season. Jim Leyland is my runner up.
NL Manager of the Year- Kirk Gibson
Did anyone honestly pick the Diamondbacks to win the NL West?
I expected the Giants to run away with this division. However, Kirk Gibson was able to bring the same passion and intensity that he had when he played for the Detroit Tigers and put it into his managerial duties.
This race wasn't really all that close. Arizona won 94 games this season compared to 65 last season. They did so through good young pitching and timely hitting. My runner up is Tony LaRussa.
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