Sunday, March 24, 2013

National League Award Predictions

Predictions are fun.  In March and April, anyone worth their weight in stubby pencils and blog ink will make preseason predictions.  The beauty is that no one really remembers predictions by the time awards and championships are won.  Therefore, anybody with a forum to "predict" is able to say whatever they want, without any accountability.  I like that.  Here are my predictions.

Breakout Player - Wilson Ramos

B-B-B-B-Bonus-s-s-s-s-s prediction!  Wilson Ramos has had an eventful career.  He has been traded, injured and even kidnapped.  Thankfully, he is safe and healthy now.  I think 2013 will be a breakout year for Ramos.  I actually like Kurt Suzuki and I understand why Washington likes him as well.  However, Ramos's talent is too hard to keep on the bench.  He may never post an OBP over .350, but I'd be willing to bet that he slugs .500 one day.  This could happen very soon.  I expect Ramos to be in the lineup more often than not. I also predict you will read a lot about the Nationals in the next few minutes. 

Rookie of the Year - Jedd Gyorko

It seems that for every Buster Posey, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper Rookie of the Year, there's a Jedd Gyorko, Chris Coghlan, Andrew Bailey Rookie of the Year.  While Gyorko is a legitimate prospect, he certainly is not a household name.  However, he has a starting job on Opening Day, and that is a huge advantage over the bigger names who will be called upon later in the season.  He is also a good hitter and will provide good defense for a team that might be surprisingly good. 

I would have picked Adam Eaton for this award, had he not injured his elbow.  Unfortunately, he is likely to miss two months.  I think Eaton is going to be a scrappy overachiever who "plays the right way" and exceeds expectations.  He would have been a lock for NL ROY and still might eek it out.

My apologies to Eaton, Tyler SkaggsOscar Taveras, and Gerrit Cole.

Cy Young Award - Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg is not the best pitcher in baseball, but he might have the best stuff.  He's going to get the chance to show what he can do over a full season, and I am guessing he will be extremely impressive.  Strasburg has name appeal as well.  I also expect Washington to have huge team success, which will certainly raise his stock and profile during award season.  He'll lead the league in strikeouts and could push 20 wins.  Plus, he throws so dern hard.

My apologies to Clayton Kershaw, Matt Cain and Cole Hamels.

MVP - Bryce Harper

Harper is my real NL breakout player.  I foresee big to huge things from Harper in 2013.  I actually think he goes 40-40.  I know, crazy, right!  I'm clearly just saying that to get attention.  Of course, no one knows my blog exists except a few members of my family and they already give me attention.  I truly believe that Harper provides baseball fans with a second consecutive season where we all get to enjoy a 20-year-old superstar. 

He has a ton of natural talent and he plays extremely hard.  He is basically a mash-up of Nick Punto and Mickey Mantle.  Right?  Regardless, Harper will be a monster and the Nationals will probably push 100 wins.  It just adds up.  A WAR in the 8-10 range seems about right.  (Obligatory WAR reference/WAR-hater-bait completed).

My apologies to Jason Heyward, Buster Posey and Joey Votto.

NL Champion - Washington Nationals

The Nationals seem to be a consensus pick to win a lot of games in 2013.  I haven't seen many people predict against them.  The Denard Span trade was extremely savvy; the Washington outfield is going to be tremendous.  Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez and Dan Haren has to be one of the best 1-4 starter combinations in baseball.  Their infield is stacked, with Anthony Rendon ready to help if needed.  I already proclaimed my undying love for Bryce Harper.  What more can I say?

My apologies to the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.

World Series Champion - Washington Nationals

I guess I can say that I think Washington wins a title in 2013.  I love this team as much as I love pizza.  I love pizza.  Should I make some pizza analogies?  I'll save those.  But seriously, this team looks loaded.  Like toppings on a pizza, right?  Their starters are excellent, their bullpen is excellent, their offense is excellent, their defense is excellent, and their manager is excellent.  Perhaps I am overstating their excellence, but it's hard to find a hole on this team. 

The D.C. area hasn't enjoyed a lot of sporting success in the past couple decades, so this makes me happy.  I always like to see new teams enjoy big success and nothing is bigger than a World Series title.  Nothing.

If you want to read my American League predictions, please click here.  That way, you can see who I think Washington will beat in the World Series.  Fun!

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