The Major League season will finally begin tomorrow night with the Cubs squaring off with the Cardinals. Though there are 162 regular season games to be played and post-season play before the award winners are announced it is time to outlook who will win the awards before the season.
This article will look to predict the 2015 winners for the following awards: AL & NL MVP, AL & NL Cy Young, AL & NL Rookie of the Year; and AL & NL Manager of the Year.
Most Valuable Player
Mike Trout finally won the MVP award in the American League after posting his worst season, statistically. Though Victor Martinez and Michael Brantley would post excellent numbers, the voting was a landslide in Trout’s favor. In the National League it was Clayton Kershaw beating out Giancarlo Stanton for the award. Kershaw was the first National League pitcher to win the award since 1992. He would also win the Cy Young award, being the first pitcher to sweep the award since Bob Gibson.
American League MVP:
Mike Trout – Trout will once again hoist the MVP award after coming off a .287/.377/.561 with 36 home runs, 111 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. Trout also plays excellent defense in centerfield, which is highly valued when it comes to the Wins Above Replacement statistic. Trout gets on base, scores runs and hits home runs. However, his stolen base numbers are dwindling and his strikeout numbers are sky-rocketing.
- Josh Donaldson – Playing in Oakland isn’t the best prescription for offensive players. Donaldson put up a .255/.342/.456 slash line but muscled 29 home runs. Donaldson got shipped to Toronto where the ball flies much easier than Oakland and he is surrounded by good hitters in Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
- Miguel Cabrera – It seems we have forgotten about him and the dominant hitter he still is. He isn’t far removed from a triple crown and back-to-back MVPs. He was playing with an injury last season and still managed to put up a .313/.371/.524 slash line, hitting 25 home runs, 109 RBIs and led the league with 52 doubles.
National League MVP:
Giancarlo Stanton – He might have been the winner had he not been hit in the face to prematurely end his season. Stanton was an offensive force in 2014 to the tune of .288/.395/.555, launching 37 home runs with 105 RBIs. His defensive metrics improved. He will only be 25 years old this season and the Marlins got better offensively around him.
- Yasiel Puig – Puig has been given the keys to focus on playing in right field. He slumped with his power, especially in the second half last season but is primed to improve.
- Andrew McCutchen – McCutchen is ready to lead the Pirates to an NL Central Division title and last season he managed to hit 25 home runs. The Pirates are better this year and he won’t receive the rough treatment he did last season.
Clayton Kershaw ran away with the Cy Young after dominating the 2014 season. Jhonny Cueto and Adam Wainwright put up remarkable seasons, but Kershaw did too much in the 27 games he pitched to win the award. In the American League it was a tight race between Corey Kluber and Felix Hernandez. Both teams did not make the playoffs but their individual seasons were fantastic.
AL Cy Young:
Chris Sale – Sale only pitched in 26 games last season and it hurt his chances to win the award, though he finished 3rd in the voting. Sale struck out 208 batters in 174 innings pitched, though he will begin the year on the disabled list, he will come back with dominate stuff.
- Felix Hernandez – He came very close to winning the award last season after a 2.14 ERA and 248 strikeout season with the Mariners. He will compete again for the award and push for the Mariners to make the playoffs.
- David Price – He knows he will be in Detroit for all of the 2015 season and it should make it easier to pitch. He will be asked to lead the team as the ace in the competitive AL Central. He struck out 271 batters in 248 innings pitched and he should have enough offense to notch wins.
NL Cy Young:
Clayton Kershaw – After sweeping both awards last season, Kershaw will yet again win the award in 2015. There will not any voter fatigue. He has won the award three times in four seasons and will look for his third in a row. His 21-3 record, 1.77 ERA, .857 WHIP, 239 strikeouts in 198 innings pitched carried the Dodgers to the NL West title.
- Max Scherzer – Switching over to the NL from the AL should only improve his numbers of a 3.15 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, 252 strikeouts in 220 innings pitched. Scherzer earned a massive contract and will need to go out and prove he is worth all of that money. He will.
- Michael Wacha – Adam Wainwright is still the ace of the staff and yes, Wacha had a rare injury in 2014. But, he is competitive and fierce in his worth ethic. Wacha will breakout in 2015 and become the leader of the Cardinals rotation.
Rookie of the Year
Last year the Rookie of the Year Award talks were dominated by the American League with Jose Abreu and Masahiro Tanaka battling it out. Tanaka had an arm injury, leaving Abreu to run away with the award posting one of the best rookie seasons of all time. His slash line of .317/.383/.581, combined with 36 home runs and 107 RBIs made him one of the most exciting players in the game.
In the National League Billy Hamilton was the pre-season favorite and Kolton Wong was not far behind him. However, it was the Mets that boasted Jacob deGrom as the winner. Listed as the 19th best prospect…in the Mets system, deGrom shined to a 9-6, 2.69 ERA , 1.140 WHIP, 22 Quality Starts in 22 games started.
American League RoY:
Rusney Castillo – Though he will begin the year in the Minors, Castillo will make an impact on the 2015 season. The Red Sox have a crowded outfield with Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Shane Victorino, Allen Craig and Daniel Nava all available to play. Once they clear some space and give Castillo more time to develop he will be their everyday centerfielder. His impact will not be as big as Jose Abreu, but he will hit for high average and find a way to get on base.
- Carlos Rodon – He will not start the year in the rotation with the White Sox, but neither did deGrom last season. His stuff will be on display.
- Daniel Norris – Playing in Toronto and their hitter-friendly park will not do him justice, but his numbers will be good.
National League RoY
Kris Bryant – There has been a lot of discussion surrounding young Cubs phenom, Kris Bryant. He was launching home runs in the spring and his agent, Scott Boras has made it known Bryant should be playing in the MLB to begin the season. Though he will have to start the year in the Minors, he will come and make an impact for the Cubbies in either leftfield or 3rd base.
- Joc Pederson – He will finally get his chance to start full-time for the Dodgers in 2015. The race for RoY should be very close between Bryant and Pederson.
- Yasmany Tomas – While it is undecided if he can play 3rd base, he will have plenty of opportunities to display his hitting playing for the rebuilding-mode Diamondbacks.
Manager of the Year
Buck Showalter led the Orioles to a division title in 2014 and the ALCS. Showalter had to deal with injuries to Manny Machado, Matt Wieters and the suspension of Chris Davis to still win the American League East. Matt Williams was a first year manager and won the National League East, winning 96 games.
AL Manager of the Year:
Lloyd McClendon – He will be looking to take this Mariners team to the playoffs and has finally been given the tools to do so. McClendon will have to get by in the AL West, but has an excellent pitching staff and more offense to pair with Robinson Cano.
- Robin Ventura – Ventura will be given the task of trying to win this season after his front office made several moves. The AL Central will be tough between the Royals, Indians, Tigers and White Sox and the Central Champion will certainly have earned it.
NL Manager of the Year:
Mike Redmond – The Marlins are improved and will be battling for Wild Card contention. Redmond will lead a much improved offense with a new spirit in Miami.
- Mike Matheny – The Cardinals will be playing in one the of toughest divisions in baseball. This season, Matheny will have a much better rightfielder and more pop off the bench. How he will manage his rotation and the aging players in Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina will be important.