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With spring training underway and live baseball action just a few days away, here’s an early look at who could take home some of baseball’s biggest awards at the end of the season.
Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees
After an atrocious season, which resulted in Sanchez hitting below .200 while appearing in just 89 games a year ago, I expect the Yankee catcher to bounce back in a big way. The power numbers will always be there for Sanchez, so I look for manager Aaron Boone to start the season dropping Sanchez in the lineup as far down as the 6th spot. This will allow for Sachez to gain confidence after a rough 2018 and get off to a hot start before moving him into the meat of the lineup come summer time. In order for the Yankees to take the crown from their rivals, and World Series champion Boston Red Sox, they will need every ounce of Sanchez’s production so look for the catcher to put up monster numbers in the 2019 campaign.
Others in the mix: Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Carlos Correa
AL Cy Young
Trevor Bauer, SP, Cleveland Indians
After winning his salary arbitration against the Cleveland Indians, Bauer will have to prove he is worth the $13 million he will be paid following his breakout year in 2018. What better way to do that than win the Cy Young. A year ago there was an argument to be made for Bauer’s Cy Young campaign after posting a 12-6 record, 2.21 ERA and 221 strikeouts in just 175.1 innings pitched. After an offseason of twitter beef with fellow players and fans alike, Bauer better come with his A-game if he wants to be a respected player in the league for years to come. With teammates Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco showing their inconsistencies in the past couple of seasons, I will look for Bauer to assert his dominance and become not only the ace on his own team, but one of the best pitchers the game has to offer.
Others in the mix: Blake Snell, Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Luis Severino
Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
The NL MVP race could be a deep one this year. The thing that will pull Arenado away from the pack in my mind will be the fact he has been so close as of late with three top-five finishes in the past three years. Over those past three years, he has been a .300 hitter along with an average of 39 homers and 124 runs driven in. As Arenado enters his age 28 season, arguably the beginning of a player’s prime, he looks to have a monster season in one of baseball’s most hitter-friendly parks. While it will be hard to fight off players like Christian Yelich, Kris Bryant, and Paul Goldschmidt, I finally think 2019 is the year Arenado wins the MVP, and maybe even a triple crown.
Others in the mix: Christian Yelich, Freddie Freeman, Kris Bryant, Paul Goldschmidt
NL Cy Young
Max Scherzer, SP, Washington Nationals
Of the four awards predicted, this one seemed to be the easiest. The National League seems to have a lot of good pitchers but very few great pitchers, which all but narrowed it down for me to Scherzer and Mets’ pitcher Jacob deGrom. After winning it in 2018, I don’t think deGrom will be able to blow away the voters and make up for the fact that the Mets, yet again, will not be very good. Scherzer is one of the most fierce competitors on the mound and the fact that his team is a legitimate playoff contender, despite more than likely losing Bryce Harper, will only add to his resume. 2019 seems to be the year Scherzer will win his 4th Cy Young.
Others in the mix: Jake Arrieta, Aaron Nola, Jacob deGrom