|I Predict Van Art|
National League MVP: Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati. He's healthy, in the prime of his career, the prime run-producer on a team that's going to win their division without a teammate to draw big attention, and finally has a leadoff hitter that should, well, hit leadoff. Not a sexy pick, but I'm looking for right, more than sexy, and Votto's second in three years. Runner-up: Buster Posey, C, San Francisco.
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles. He'd be a repeat winner if it weren't for R.A. Dickey, and the possible injury issues of Zach Greinke is going to keep his numbers far and above a teammate, which tends to help things out as well. He's also efficient enough to get wins, which still matters to a lot of the voters. Runner-up: Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington.
NL Fireman: Not that people really pay too much attention to relievers any more, but the best will be Craig Kimbrel of Atlanta, with Aroldis Chapman of the Reds as the runner up. The pure stuff of both men make even the fungible nature of this role seem real.
NL Rookie of the Year: Matt Harvey, SP, New York. I hate this category now, because teams jerk around their fan base to keep arbitration clocks down. It's just nauseating; the tickets still cost money, so stop ripping us off and play your best talent. This kind of thing just makes the blood boil. Anyway, since I can't be certain that OF Oscar Taveras will come up in time to get the big counting numbers, give me the best full season guy, who will be Harvey. He's going to be really good, and almost make this year worth watching for Mets fans. Runner-up: Taveras and/or Jedd Gyorko, 3B/2B, San Diego.
Manager of the Year: Fredi Gonzalez, Atlanta. Putting the names that he has at his disposal makes this seem like a push button job, but Gonzalez is going to have to navigate some SP issues and keep the Uptons on an even keel, which isn't going to come without effort or notice. I think he'll get the nod. Runner-up: Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh.
Division winners: Atlanta, Cincinnati, San Francisco
Wild cards: St. Louis, Los Angeles
Wild card winner: Los Angeles
NLDS: Atlanta over Los Angeles, Cincinnati over San Francisco
NLCS: Cincinnati over Atlanta
American League MVP: Jose Reyes, SS, Toronto. It should be OF Mike Trout of Los Angeles, but Reyes will take advantage of East Coast bias and a surprisingly weak AL East pitching situation to put up 120+ runs scored and 40+ steals while playing a key defensive position. Unlike Trout, Reyes won't have anyone at shortstop or on his team to take away support, either. Runner-up: Trout.
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle. His team will be mediocre, which is all that King Felix needs to rack up serious notice for a team that everyone thinks will still be horrible. Any start he makes against the Astros has no-hitter potential written all over it, too. Runner-up: Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit.
AL Fireman: Mariano Rivera, New York. The injury was a fluke, the rebab was flawless, he gets every close call and his team is going to need every possible save. Prepare for a six month love in. Runner-up: Fernando Rodney, Tampa.
AL Rookie of the Year: Aaron Hicks, Minnesota. He's got first-round pedigree, world-class defensive skills, and 162 games of counting stats ahead of him as a leadoff hitter. Assuming he can keep the batting average over .270, this will be his over the half-season efforts of more lauded and valuable long-term prospects. Runner-up: Dylan Bundy, SP, Baltimore.
AL Manager of the Year: Jim Leyland, Detroit. It's just more fun to give it to a cranky old dude than a cranky middle-aged dude (that'd be Mike Scoscia of the Angels), and Leyland will earn it just from enduring the madness that appears to be his bullpen and defense. Luckily, his division is a cakewalk. Runner-up: Scoscia.
Wild cards: Oakland, Toronto
Wild card winner: Oakland
ALDS: Detroit over Oakland, Los Angeles over Tampa
ALCS: Los Angeles over Detroit
WS: Los Angeles over Cincinnati
Bet accordingly! (Or let's just forget this ever happened.)