Tuesday was my NL award predictions blog and today is my AL one. If you read my Tuesday blog (all 2 of you) then you already know that I won’t be saying who I think will win every single award just the big 3, MVP, Cy Young, and rookie of the year.
Starting with the MVP of course and my favorite to win it is the Tigers, Miguel Cabrera. Even with his injury plagued 2015 he still managed to win another batting title by hitting .338. He missed a lot of time with a calf injury that landed him on the DL for the first time in his career. Because of that injury Miggy lost a lot of the power he usually has. Even with the injury he still managed to hit a whooping .338 and obviously lead the league. So if he’s healthy I see the power coming back with the high average obviously makes an MVP season. My player to watch in the AL this year might be interesting to some, it’s the Mariners, Robinson Cano. For the people that still think an MVP season means your team makes the playoffs. No it doesn’t, it just means you have to be valuable to your team (hence the name most valuable player award) preferably a player helps his team to the playoffs but it’s not a necessity. So no I don’t see the Mariners making the playoffs but that doesn’t mean Cano can’t win the MVP. Just like McCutchen in my NL blog on Tuesday, Robinson Cano got off to a dreadful start but he finished super strong. Also like McCutchen, Cano is tearing the cover off the ball in spring training. Had a 3 homer game the other day. A strong finish to the ’15 season coupled with a strong spring training could mean Cano’s looking at a big 2016.
My pick for Cy Young is also a Mariner, it’s the King Felix Hernandez. Last year he had an “off” year, for his standards at least, but he still went 18-9 with almost 200 strikeouts. His Cy Young year a few years back I believe he only won around 13 games nor do I think the Mariners made the playoffs that year. With his track record it’d be foolish to count him out, he got hit around last year but I can guarantee he has made some sort of adjustment to make sure it doesn’t happen again. My pitcher to watch is the Tampa bay Rays ace, Chris Archer. After the breakout season, where Archer had a 3.23 ERA while striking out 252 batters, I think he can improve on it. This kid understands pitching he has a good head on his shoulders and I know for a fact he’s not satisfied with just one good year. I’m sure the Cubs aren’t exactly thrilled they traded away this kid (I know the Cubs are fine now but before Theo came to town the GM gave up some serious talent) if they just waited for this late bloomer they could’ve gotten the reward of a true ace. Chris Archer bloomed a little late but with the stuff he possesses he’s just going to get better.
My winner and my player to watch for rookie of the year are both on the Minnesota Twins. I think Byron Buxton is the obvious choice to win the ROY, the tools he has are just electrifying. His defense in center field is already top notch, which is impressive because he’s so young, and his speed is on full display every time he’s on the field. His problem isn’t if he can play it’s always been whether or not he can stay healthy an entire season. I’m not completely sold on Buxton winning it for that reason but because of his tools you have to think he will. If he figures it out at the major league level and can stay healthy watch out for Byron Buxton. Tool set is similar to Mike Trout’s back when he won ROY. My other Twin to watch is Jose Berrios. The 21 year old pitcher should’ve debuted last year after leading the minor leagues in strikeouts. He’s not the biggest guy out there or the nastiest but he has plus stuff across the board and he’s a hard worker. Those can both translate to majors and can make Berrios a dark horse to win the ROY. If the Twins are going to compete they’ll need help from these two young studs.