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:
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.
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.
1) Albert Pujols
Anyone want to argue with me?
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
— 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.
2) Cliff Lee
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
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
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]
Prediction: .377 OBP, 26 HR, 78 RBI,
— 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.
Prediction: .347 OBP,
19 HR, 71 RBI, 1 SB
3) David Price
— 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.
Prediction: 21 GS, 3.60 ERA, 9 W, 4 L
NL Rookie of the Year
1) David Freese
— 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.
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
3) Gaby Sanchez
— 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
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Dayton, I mean Dayton
Moore, the GM of the Kansas City Royals.
And by “what were you thinking?”, I was referring to the trade of first
Jacobs for right-handed reliever Leo Nunez with
the Florida Marlins.
not really that Nunez is that much better than Jacobs. In fact, I’d rank their talent pretty much
even. However, Mike Jacobs just doesn’t
fit all with the Royals team. The
Royals are not a very good team, but the have one glaring strength: first-base
depth. The Royals are stacked with
hard-hitting first basemen like Billy Butler,
Royals simply didn’t need Jacobs. Although he
doesn’t deserve it, he will be the Royals starting first baseman next year. That’s the worst part of this whole
deal. This blocks Shealy, Butler, and
Ka’aihue from the major leagues or will at least force them into a reserve
role, which will be bad for their development.
had a great year in AAA, hitting 22 HR with a .376 OBP in only 400
at-bats. Billy Butler
struggled in the bigs this year but is extremely young (23), and more
importantly, has been extremely good in the minors. I still will continue to believe that Butler (below) will develop into one of the best pure hitters until he turns at least 25.
is the most intriguing player in the KC first-base glut. Kila (not to be confused with his brother Kala)
absolutely destroyed minor league pitching in both AA and AAA this past season,
and held his own in very limited at-bats with the Royals in September (21 at-bats,
.804 OPS). But it’s those minor league
numbers that have you really wondering why the Royals felt they needed Mike
Jacobs. Would you want a player
that had a .299 OBP in 2008 to be the reason that the guy who put up
the numbers below doesn’t get
(Yes, he does in fact hit with his eyes closed)
OBP HR RBI
91 .463 26
79 .624 1.086
.439 11 21 .640 1.079
.375 1 1 .429 .804
In case, you would like to visualize Kila better, here’s
the video of his first ML homer. He
almost has as sweet of a swing of Jacobs.
Almost. (If you watch the vid, notice that Billy Butler has fallen victim of the Bazooka Trick.)
is just one of those deals that
makes so little sense it actually makes you think that the Royals are in the
process of working on another trade that would include either Shealy, Ka’aihue
or Butler being dealt away. A example
of this type of deal is the Randy Wolf-for-Chad Reineke trade at last year’s
deadline. It made so little sense for
the Astros, I was convinced Houston was going to trade Wolf to another team
before the deadline ended. It didn’t
happen. Yet, it would not surprise me
to see Dayton Moore trade away at least one of the Royals remaining first
since the Royals made this deal with the Marlins, it’s obvious that they were
not giving up some overpaid veteran for Jacobs. No, the Royals had to sacrifice a bright, young, already
successful reliever in Leo Nunez. He
had a 2.98 ERA in 45 games (all in relief), and he’s just 25 years old. Nunez is a great pick-up for the Marlins,
and I agree that he was a guy they should have asked for from the Royals. Still, when I heard of the likely probability of Jacobs being dealt, I sort of envisioned more in return than just a guy like Nunez. If the Royals threw in a guy like
de la Vara I’d be a little more happy. I think I may be overvaluing Jacobs a little becuase of his sweet swing, but what’s pretty is pretty, and when he connects it just looks nice.
wise, this trade pretty much evens out for both clubs.
It made sense for the Marlins to trade Jacobs, but I felt they could have
gotten a little more. For the Royals though,
it was just completely unnecessary, and leads me to speculate Dayton Moore
is simultaneously working on another deal to trade away another first baseman
from his team.
Marlins – B
Royals – D+