Wednesday, July 17, 2013

National League Predictions Revisited: All-Star Break Edition

Yesterday, I revisited some preseason predictions that I made regarding the American League award winners.  It was amazing.  You can find it here.  As I explained yesterday, I have no issues with changing my predictions.  If someone wants to call me out on it, I'm right here.  I'm not going anywhere.  Bring it on.  Step up to the streets.  If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong.  If I'm right, I believe I get added to Mount Rushmore.  I'll have to check on that. 

NL Breakout Player

Preseason Pick - Wilson Ramos

Who has earned it so far? - Matt Carpenter

As has been all too common in Ramos' young career, he suffered an early injury and missed a whole mess of games.  He has posted a 132 OPS+ in the games he has played, but cannot be considered a true breakout player yet.  Next year, perhaps.  Carpenter has played 89 games and leads the NL in runs scored and doubles.  His .321/.394/.497 triple slash is great, but even greater as a second baseman.  If all goes well in the second half, Carpenter could quadruple or possibly quintuple his WAR from 2012.  What a breakout!  This would be the first instance of any player ever exceeding expectations for the Cardinals. 

NL Rookie of the Year

Preseason Pick - Jedd Gyorko

Who has earned it so far? - Shelby Miller

Who will win? - Jose Fernandez

Gyorko's been good.  His 120 OPS+ would confirm that.  However, two starting pitchers have emerged as the front-runners for this award.  Fernandez has been slightly better than Shelby Miller, according to rWAR (2.6 to 2.5).  Miller is the leader right now, as he more wins, more strikeouts and fewer walks.  He has also pitched more innings.  Both have been great, but I give the nod going forward to Fernandez because he is a more impressive pitcher.  Not to say Miller isn't impressive, but Fernandez is 20 and shoving.  I have caught nearly all of his starts and they are a delight. 

Special Yasiel Puig note:  I think Puig is great and this last month or so has been really fun to watch.  However, he came up late and he's been a bit gimpy lately, so I'll stick with Fernandez.  Fernandez is a sensation of his own, just hidden within that hideously colorful stadium in Miami. 

NL Cy Young Award

Preseason Pick - Stephen Strasburg

Who has earned it so far? - Clayton Kershaw

Who will win? - Clayton Kershaw

Strasburg has been excellent this season.  Ignore his 5-7 record and his last start.  His 127 ERA+ is nice but he hasn't been the crazy strikeout pitcher he was last year.  Too bad.  Adam Wainwright has been sparkling.  12 wins, ERA under 2.5, Radke-level walks.  However, Kershaw has been better.  His sub-2 ERA is impressive, as are his WHIP, strikeout and walk rates, hit rates, smile, facial hair, ability to fill out his uniform and other intangibles.  Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball right now and he'll win this award. 


Preseason Pick - Bryce Harper

Who has earned it so far? - Carlos Gomez

Who will win? - Andrew McCutchen

Three things:
  • 1.  I thought Harper would steal more bases.  A 40-40 season seemed possible and that type of season wins MVP awards.
  • 2.  I didn't know Harper was unable to see walls.
  • 3.  I forgot about Harper's hair.
So, clearly I was off on this prediction.  However, I still think Harper will win an MVP within the next three seasons.  This year, it is nearly impossible to ignore what Carlos Gomez is doing.  He's actually hitting the ball and showing great power as well.  He's a fantastic centerfielder and he runs the bases very well.  I have zero confidence that he can keep up this level of play, and really, he's been tapering off a bit of late.  However, you have to admit that he has been the best player in the NL to this point.

Since I don't think Gomez will maintain, I need a different MVP.  What about Andrew McCutchen?  He's having another great season.  He's third in the NL in rWAR.  He has his batting average over .300.  He's got a 139 OPS+.  His defense is finally ranking in metrics the way I see him play it.  Plus, the Pirates are going to make the postseason for the first time in 20 years and we need someone to champion for that effort.  I choose McCutchen, both because he is awesome and because I like him.  I'm pretty sure that's how most of the writers vote anyway.

NL Champion

Preseason Pick - Washington Nationals

Who has earned it so far? - St. Louis Cardinals

Who will win? - St. Louis Cardinals

Every time I think the Cardinals are going to be less than Championship-caliber, they put together a crazy good stretch of baseball and make me look foolish.  Of course, I never really share these feelings, so no one knows that I am a fool.  No longer!  I am on record as a fool.  Perhaps a foolio?  The Cardinals have the best record in the NL and are going to get Chris Carpenter back very soon.  Carpenter might be the toughest person on the planet, so the Cardinals will get even better.  With Carpenter, Shelby Miller and Wainwright, I can't imagine a scenario where any other team has an advantage in a short series.  Thus...

World Series Champion

Preseason Pick - Washington Nationals

Who has earned it so far? - St. Louis Cardinals

Who will win? - St. Louis Cardinals

They haven't won it in like 2 years, so they're due.  They have four starters with an OPS+ over 140 - Yadier Molina, Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran.  They also have Matt Adams just waiting for a chance to play regularly and flex his 151 OPS+ every day.  Matt Holliday is always good for an awkwardly hot stretch and they'll un-Freese David Freese come October.  In case you were wondering, yes, their bullpen is crazy good too.

Good hitting + good defense + good pitching + good bullpen = success. 

There you have it.  I changed everything.  Why not?  When ESPN discusses my new predictions, I'm sure I'll get some flack, but I stand by my waffling.  Why wouldn't I use more information if it's available?  I love information.  Plus, if some of my original predictions end up being right, I can have it both ways.  Hooray for me!

No comments:

Post a Comment