|Rosenthal makes award predictions|
Written by Bjoern Hartig (Contact & Archive) on April 01, 2009
Foxsport's Ken Rosenthal hands out his preseason hardware, and he comes up with a few "original" picks:
American League MVP - Grady Sizemore, Indians
Only three center fielders have won this award in the past 25 years — Willie McGee in 1985, Robin Yount in 1989 and Ken Griffey Jr. in 1997. [...] Sizemore, by approximating his '08 numbers — 39 doubles, 33 homers, 90 RBIs, 38 stolen bases — would emerge as a favorite for the award.
Granted, the AL MVP race is much more difficult to predict than the NL MVP, but Sizemore seems to be an odd candidate. Not because he is not good enough - on the contrary - but with voters looking at RBIs, team performance and home runs first, lead-off man Sizemore faces an uphill battle. As much as center field is a premium defensive position, as a middle infielders he would probably get much more support.
National League Cy Young - Yovani Gallardo, Brewers
Yeah, it's a wacky pick, but hear me out. Several of the league's top starters worked harder last season than they ever had before. Those pitchers might not be as strong in 2009, creating the potential for a darkhorse to emerge. [...] Gallardo made a strong debut in 2007, then missed most of last season with a knee injury. The Marlins' Ricky Nolasco or Josh Johnson probably would be a better choice; the Brewers need Gallardo to be an ace at 23, and their bullpen is a mess. Whatever, he's my Cliff Lee.
Basically, Rosenthal picks Gallardo because all other candiates may regress. Hm. I'm not saying Gallardo is a bad pitcher - he probably is not (admittingly, I can not recall having seen him pitch) - but there are too many other more likely choices who also play on teams that should give them more wins, which is still important to voters.
National League Manager - Charlie Manuel, Phillies
Manuel, the runner-up to the Cubs' Lou Piniella last season, would have won the award if the votes were collected at the end of the postseason instead of the end of the regular season. [...] The Phillies [...] should be headed to their third straight postseason appearance under Charlie Manuel. If it happens, the vote might not even be close.
No, not going to happen. Why? Because the manager of the year award usually goes to the manager of the team that surprises most. And how are the Phillies going to surprise? They won it all last year, it will be difficult to top that in the regular season for which the award is given. The Phillies have to win 100 games and outclass every other team in the NL, very, very unlikely.