(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Now here are my picks for the Individual Awards for the 2016 season. (I cover these picks in the April 3, 2016 podcast you can hear by clicking HERE or scrolling down to the bottom of this page.)
NL MVP – Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates.
He seems poised for a monster year and one where he gets more plate appearances in the number two hole. Healthy, motivated and with a solid team around him, look for McCutchen to inch past Bryce Harper, Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton.
AL MVP – Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Angels probably will not contend, which will bring votes to Carlos Correa, Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson no doubt. But until further notice, Mike Trout is the best player in baseball and deserves another one.
NL Cy Young Award – Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Like my Mike Trout pick, I am playing it safe here. Madison Bumgarner has no Cy Young Award and could win one with a big year. But Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game and I will lean on him.
AL Cy Young Award – Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays
There are several terrific starters in the AL, including Dallas Keuchel, David Price and Felix Hernandez. But Archer should stay healthy and lead the Rays young rotation back to the post season and do so with a sense of the dramatic and building up his reputation as one of the most likable players in the game.
NL Rookie of the Year – Trea Turner, Washington Nationals
Yeah he is starting the season in the minors. So did Kris Bryant last year. Eventually Turner will take over the Nationals shortstop position and not let go.
AL Rookie of the Year – Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
Minnesota looks like they are getting a major influx of potential star talent on their team in 2016. Buxton will tower above them all and set up an All Star career at Target Field.
NL Manager of the Year – Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates
After not seeing a winning season for two decades, Hurdle will lead the Pirates to their fourth straight post season appearance and should do so with juggling a revamped pitching staff and a Sabermetrics friendly lineup.
AL Manager of the Year – Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals
Yost may drive the analysts bonkers, but he has the Royals in line for their third straight playoff appearance with a chance to become the first team since Joe Torre’s Yankees to win three straight pennants. He has never won the award.
First NL Manager Fired -Bryan Price, Cincinnati Reds
The Reds stinking won’t be his fault, but fault has nothing to do with it. Someone will need to take the fall for the Reds going from contender to rebuilding in just a few years. They will have traded away everyone NOT named Votto. Might as well fire Price as well!
First AL Manager Fired – John Farrell, Boston Red Sox
If the Red Sox stumble out of the gate, there will be an announcement from the team. Farrell will be given a new title like Vice President of Beans and Franks or Franks and Beans. But don’t be fooled. Dave Dombrowski wants his own manager and will find a way to relieve a cancer survivor of his duties.