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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • A preseason look at MLB's postseason awards

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  • Well, Opening Day is finally here. The L.A. Dodgers and the San Diego Padres will officially open the Major League Baseball season here in the United States on Sunday night.
    The next day, Monday, the Cardinals’ will open their season with a six game road trip starting with three games in Cincinnati followed by three more in Pittsburgh. The Redbirds will then return home to host the Reds in the Cardinals’ home opener on April 7 with a 3:15 p.m. first pitch.
    With the season now here, I though it wuld be fun to take a  pre-season look at the possible award winners.
    CY Young Award
    Clayton Kershaw was amazing last year, but so was Adam Wainwright. The Cardinals’ ace issued only one more walk (35) than he had games started (34). Look for Wainwright to continue to dominate the National League and finally take home his first NL Cy Young Award.
    Two years into his MLB pitching career and the Texas Rangers have made a very sound investment oi Yu Darvish. With the adjustments the Japanese import made from year one to year two, I fully expect him to contend for the AL Cy Young this year, beating perennial contenders Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez.
    MVP
    There is no better player in the American League than ... Miguel Cabrera. That’s right, Cabrera will take home his third straight AL MVP Award in 2014. He will contend for the Triple Crown again and Mike Trout will once again be a bridesmaid.
    The National League will be a little tougher. Andrew McCutchen is the reining MVP and Paul Goldschmidt got some help down in the desert. Past MVP’s Buster Posey  and Joey Votto are still dangerous. Then there is Yadier Molina. Will this be the year where the voters finally recognize what he does at the plate as much as what he does behind the plate? Unfortunately, I don’t think so. This year’s NL MVP will go to Goldschmidt.
    Rookie of the Year
    Will another Cuban win the league’s top rookie prize or will it go to a Japanese import? Jose Fernandez became the third Cuba born player to take home the trophy when he won for the Marlins last year. Now, Jose Abreu could become the fourth if he can do even half of what is expected for the White Sox. But it will be a tough fight against Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees, who hopes to become the fourth Japanese player to win the award. My money is on Tanaka.
    As for the National League, Billy Hamilton is a good choice, but he has to show he can hit. He will not win it as a late inning pinch runner, stolen base extraordinaire type of guy. Maybe Chris Owings of the Diamondbacks will lay claim to the award. He is a player to watch for sure.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Cardinals have two players that could battle for the NL ROY, Carlos Martinez and Oscar Taveras. Martinez is a safer bet, as Tavares has been sent down to start the season, but as long as Martinez  is not in the rotation and not closing out games, it will be tough to stand apart from others.
    It’s gonna be a tough year for NL rookies. Unless Martinez moves to the rotation at an early point in the season, I am giving this award to Owings.
    Manager of the Year
    This one is a tough one to predict as it is based on what the manager does with his team and what obstacles they overcome or a major turnaround by a previously bad team.
    The National League has three new managers this year, Matt Williams (Nationals), Rick Renteria (Cubs), and Bryan Price (Reds). Of those three, the Nationals are heavy favorites to win their division, that can only help Williams. As for Price, the Reds are slated behind the Cardinals and Pirates. An NL Central title could win it for him. But it won’t happen. I’ll give it to Phialdelphia’s Ryne Sandberg for the turnaround job he is going to do with the Phillies.
    If Detroit can win the American League Central, the Tigers’ new skipper, Brad Assmus might just get the award. If the A’s win the AL West again, it could go to Bob Melvin.One year after winning the World Series, John Farrell could get it if the Red Sox win the AL East.
    But, to quote Richard Pryor in “Brewster’s Million” it will be “none of the above”. This year it is going to go to Ned Yost as he gets the Royals back to the playoffs for the first time in nearly 30 years. The Royals last playoff apperance was their 1985 World Series championship season.

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