Tagged: Albert Pujols

2009 Award Predictions

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Continuing
with my craze of 2009 picks, I’ll brake down my predictions for the winners
(and two runner-ups) of all the major awards for the upcoming season.  Some awards are flawed like MVP, where some
voters pick the player who had the best overall season and some voters vote
literally for the player most valuable to a (usually successful) team.  I usually sway toward the player with the
best overall season so here it goes:

 

AL MVP

1) Mark Teixeira

            — It almost seems too easy to pick Teixeira as MVP, when
he is the bright new star on the team everyone is picking to go the
distance.  The New Yankee Stadium’s
short porch, identical to its predecessor, will make Teixeira an even more
dangerous power hitter.  If can have a
.632 SLG in the cavern of Turner Field, I can only guess that next season will
be one his greatest.

teixeira.jpg

2) B.J. Upton

            — No one knows for sure how much Upton’s shoulder
affected his power in 2008, but judging from his past slugging numbers, it did
a woozy.  I expect B.J. Upton to bounce
back and have his power explode onto the scene.  I’m guessing a 30/40 season in the works.  If only he was as good of a autograph signer
as he was a baseball player…

3) Grady Sizemore

            — As you may have already known, I’ve tabbed the Indians
as next year’s World Champions, and I fully believe Sizemore will be one of the
main reasons they are going to be so successful.  He could wind up having an identical line as B.J. Upton, but I
think Upton could rack more stolen bases and a better OBP.  But if the Indians go all the way, Sizemore
will without a doubt by vying for MVP.


NL MVP

1) Albert Pujols


Anyone want to argue with me?

pujols.jpg

2) David Wright

            — As of
now, with all of their players healthy, the Mets are better than Philly.  Wright probably will be challenged by Carlos
Beltran and Jose Reyes for votes, but most likely will overcome.  The only question is whether Citi Field will
be better suited for right-handed or left-handed hitters.  Given some smaller, lefty-friendly confines,
Beltran could reach 40 home runs and Reyes could reach 20.

3) Hanley Ramirez

            — I had the
first pick in my fantasy draft this year and I chose Hanley.  Going from leading off to hitting third can
only help his numbers as long as Cameron Maybin can do a good job of getting on
base in the leadoff spot.  The Marlins
are poised to make a run for the NL Wild Card, but even if they falter this
year, Ramirez is almost a lock to have another great season.


AL Cy Young

1) Roy Halladay

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— Besides run support, Halladay has everything in
place to repeat his dominant 2008 performance. 
It really is impressive how effective he’s has been considering he
pitches in the best offensive division in baseball for the for the worst
hitting team in that division.

halladay.jpg

2) Cliff Lee

            — Has
anyone figured yet why Cliff Lee had such a great year?  I don’t think so.  Well, then I have no reason to think Lee can’t repeat his pure
brilliance of 2008.  But of course, the
chances that he actually does recapture his sudden outstanding brilliance of
last season are not that great.  If I
were a betting man, I’d still go with Halladay.

3) John Danks

            — There are
a slew of young pitchers who I predict will take it to the next level in 2009
like Ervin Santana, Zack Greinke, and Jon Lester.  But I think Danks will be the one who really pitches himself into
the elite class of American League pitchers. 
He was rushed into the majors in his rookie season but I have a gut
feeling 2008 is only a little of what Danks can accomplish.

           

NL Cy Young

1) Tim Lincecum


I
didn’t think
Lincecum should have won the Cy Young last year, but I do
think he’ll deserve it this season. 
With Santana having health issues, Webb moving slightly back to normal,
and Sabathia moving to the AL, Lincecum is by far the top favorite for the 09
NL Cy, and I don’t see a reason why he can’t get even better in his second full
season.

lincecum.jpg

2) Cole Hamels

— Everybody knows how good Hamels already is
already but he’s still getting better each season.  I predict 238 innings and a 2.85 ERA for Hamels with a WHIP below
1 (he was only .08 above last year).

3) Chad Billingsley

— You saw what I predicted for Hamels and
Billingsley won’t be far behind if at all. 
Like Hamels, the 24-year old has been getting more effective every
season.  The big difference between
Billingsley and Hamels is that Hamels is entering his fourth season of starting
full-time in the bigs.  Billingsley is
just entering just his second.


AL Rookie of the Year

1) Matt Wieters

— I’m well aware of the possibility that Wieters
has only played half a season in Double A and might spend the first month or so
in Norfolk.  However it’s a sure thing
that Wieters will be in Baltimore by June if he stays healthy.  And if he stays healthy…[whistle]

My
Prediction: .377 OBP, 26 HR, 78 RBI,

wieters.jpg

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2)
Travis Snider

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— Unlike Matt Wieters and
David Price, Snider has the pleasure of knowing he has a spot in the lineup
come Opening Day.  I’m slightly worried
about how fast the Jays moved Snider through the minors in 2008, but his
numbers held up so I’m excited to see how well Snider can hit.  And needless to say, he needs to swing the
bat well to stay with Toronto since he really can’t do anything else.

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Prediction: .347 OBP,
19 HR, 71 RBI, 1 SB

3) David Price

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— It would seem David Price winning the 2009 AL
Rookie of the Year would be oh so fitting after he burst onto the scene down
the stretch and dominated in the playoffs last season.  But then reality sets in and a reasonable
fan realizes Price might spend a good chunk of time in Durham next year due to
the presence of Jeff Niemann.  Plus,
Price was having all of that playoff success as a reliever not a starter, where
he would have to spread all of his strength and energy into six or seven
innings, not one or two.  However, I’ve
obviously seen the first overall pick’s filthy stuff, so a full effective year
in the bigs definitely isn’t out of the question; just not very probable unless
someone in the Rays rotation gets injured.

My
Prediction: 21 GS, 3.60 ERA, 9 W, 4 L


NL Rookie of the Year

1) David Freese

freese.jpg

— Other than Freese, I would like to know the last
time a player completely skipped Double-A and still had an amazing year at the
next level.  Oh wait, I know: Albert Pujols!  Anyway, the 25-year-old Freese had a great
year in Class A Advanced Lakeland before being traded over to St. Louis for Jim
Edmonds (nice going Kevin Towers) and had an even better offensive season in
the PCL.  Troy Glaus will be recovered
from his injury by June at the latest, so Freese may end up either making the
Cards trade away Glaus or get traded away himself.  No matter what happens with Glaus though, I doubt Freese will be
forced back to AAA again.

My
Prediction: .356 OBP 26 HR, 89 RBI, 4 SB

2) Chris Dickerson

— Unless the horrific Reds front office for some
reason doesn’t let Dickerson play everyday, he’ll become the next young Reds
position player to break out.  Imagine a
prototypical athletic outfielder…that can actually hit.

            My Prediction: .362 OBP 15 HR, 69 RBI, 34 SB

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3) Gaby Sanchez

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— Sanchez is a risky pick here because unlike
other ROY candidates like Travis Ishikawa, Colby Rasmus, or Elvis Andrus, he
really needs to have a great spring to secure a major league roster spot.  However, I predict he will not only win the
Marlins first-base job but have a very good rookie year.  The only problem with Gaby Sanchez winning a
spot is that Dallas McPherson or Jorge Cantu will unfairly be sent down or put
on the bench.

                                                    Prediction: .343 OBP, 20 HR, 67 RBI, 5 SB

A TTP (Theoretical Trade Proposal)

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TB trades Andy Sonnanstine to NYM; NYM trades SS Reese Havens and CF
Ezequiel Carrera to SF; SF trades Randy Winn, RHP Keiichi Yabu, and LHP Geno
Espineli to TB

 

Got that? 
So this is a three-team deal. 
And yes, the Rays trade away one of their starters in the playoffs Andy
Sonnanstine
.  Still, this trade
makes sense for every team involved. 

randywinn.jpg

The Rays predictably will use their starting pitcher depth to acquire a
bona-fide starter in right field.  In
this case it would be Randy Winn. 


It’s true, the Rays have a lot of players
who play right field.  Eric Hinske, Gabe Gross, Ben Zobrist, Fernando Perez,
and Justin
Ruggiano
all are capable.  But
Hinske and Gross are not exactly the type of guys you want starting every day
on a team that is expected to compete for the championship again next
year.  Zobrist and Perez are bright,
young players but at least at this point are most valuable being on the bench
because of Perez’s ability to play every OF position, and his blazing
speed.  Zobrist also is very versatile
and is a valuable guy off the bench.  He
might even have a reasonable chance to overtake Iwamura
as the Rays starting second baseman.  Ruggiano
has done everything you could ask from him in AAA.  Yet he just can’t seem to bring the same game to the majors.   He had a .911 OPS in 66 AAA games versus
.576 with the Rays.  So, with Winn
coming up, in it can put all of the right field questions to rest while adding
a veteran presence that can fill the #2 spot in the Rays order.  That way Iwamura can move down in the order
where he should be. If Crawford
continues to struggle, Iwamura could easily come back to the top instead of a
guy like Upton having to be taken out of the heart of the order.

Although Winn will obviously make a huge mark on
the Rays, I think Andy Sonnanstine is the biggest impact player involved in
this deal.  Simply put, to have a
Sonnanstine in the Mets rotation would be fantastic for them.  Even if, at his best, Sonnanstine is only as
good as a #3 starter, his ability to eat up innings without eating payroll is a
quality invaluable to the Mets at this point. 
This way the Mets can afford not resigning Oliver Perez.  In my opinion, Jon Niese is
ready to be the Mets’ 5th starter next year.  However, if the Mets do re-sign Perez their
rotation would be dynamite.  Whether or
not Perez comes back, the Mets would have, for the first time in a while, a
young rotation that can last a long time. 
To have a rotation where every pitcher in under control until 2012 is a
huge advantage over the other NL East clubs. 

AndySonnanstine.jpg


Of course since Sonnanstine is that
valuable, New York will have to give up a lot. 
The big sacrifice that the Mets will have to make is their second pick
of the 2008 draft, slugging infielder Reese Havens.   

havens.jpg

Havens (left) was drafted 22nd overall
as a shortstop but is expected to wind up as third or second baseman by the
time he gets to the majors.  Ezequiel
Carrera
, a High-A outfielder, didn’t put up great numbers this year but if
you start thinking about his age (21) and the fact that he completely skipped
A-ball, his .344 OBP, 28 steals, and seven dingers are pretty impressive.  The Giants have a fair amount of outfielders
like Fred Lewis,
Aaron Rowand,
and Nate
Schierholtz
and some nice prospects like Antoan
Richardson
, Ben Copeland,
and Eddy
Martinez-Esteve
.  And yet, with the
decent chance that Rowand and Lewis could get traded in the near future,
Copeland’s and Richardson’s non-overwhelmingness, and Martinez-Esteve’s and
Schierholtz’s sudden lack of power, there is a reason to why the Giants might
want to add another outfield prospect.


espineli.jpg

Now when you think about it, Tampa Bay would be
trading Sonnanstine straight up for Winn, and that obviously wouldn’t favor
them.  But if you add Yabu and Espineli to
the deal, it evens out.  Those two will
add depth to the bullpen.  And although
Espineli (right) probably will find himself spending some time in Durham, he provides a
lefty arm and the credentials of 2.66 in Triple-A last year in the hitter-friendly
Pacific Coast League.  Yabu (below) is pretty old but if he can be effective when he’s 40 (3.57 ERA), how much much worse can he be at 41? 

yabu.jpg

SO, when it’s all said and done, here’s how it
would work out for each team:

 

Rays


Receive                      Give Up

Randy Winn             Andy Sonnanstine

Keiichi Yabu

Geno Espineli

 

Giants

 

Receive                      Give Up

Reese Havens          Randy Winn

Ezequiel Carrera      Keiichi
Yabu

                                    Geno Espineli

 

Mets

 

Receive                      Give Up

Andy Sonnanstine  Reese
Havens

                                    Ezequiel Carrera


So, what do you think?  Fair all around?


I guess since Monday marks the beginning of
baseball’s hardware week, I  will give you my picks for each major award (with the
runner-up in parentheses):

 

Again, these are my picks for who deserves each
award, not my predictions for who will win:

 

Rookie of the Year

AL – Evan Longoria — (Jose Arredondo)

NL – Geovany Soto — (Joey Votto)

 

Cy Young

AL – Cliff Lee — (Roy Halladay)

NL – Johan Santana — (CC Sabathia)

 

MVP

AL – Kevin Youkilis (Mark Teixeira)

NL – Wily Mo Pe, I
mean, Albert Pujols —
(Manny
Ramirez)

 

Manager of the Year

AL – Joe Maddon — (Ron Gardenhire)

NL – Cecil Cooper(Charlie Manuel)