Column: Cy Young and MVP award predictions

    With the end of the season approaching, the only thing some players have to look forward to is the end of the year awards and a long offseason.  Nearly all professional players would trade any amount of individual hardware for a chance in the postseason.These are my picks for Major League Baseball’s individual awards of 2012.

    The Anaheim Angels of Anaheim’s Mike Trout is one of the favorites for AL MVP contention as a rookie. Photo courtesy MCT.

    AL MVP
    There has been great debate brewing over the past month over who deserves this award more, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers or Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

    Cabrera is making a run at the first American League Triple Crown in 45 years, and as of Monday, leads in all Triple Crown categories a .329 batting average, 44 home runs, and 137 runs batted in.  But is the MVP only on the offensive side of the ball?

    Trout himself is having a season for the ages, all in his rookie year.  Not only does he lead the American League in runs scored with 128 and 48 stolen bases in 52 attempts, he also managed to bat .325 in the leadoff spot.

    Trout is also the youngest player to reach 30 home runs and 40 steals in a single season.  His defense in center field is ranked best in the majors, including over-the-wall highlight reel catches that robbed multiple home runs throughout the season.

    Cabrera may win the Triple Crown, but he came around at a time when one rookie is putting up numbers that put hall of famers to shame.  If this had been last season or any other year, Cabrera would be the hands down winner, unfortunately baseball writers and America have caught Trout fever.

    Winner: Mike Trout, OF

    NL MVP
    Ryan Braun has proved naysayers wrong when they claimed he “robbed” the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp of the MVP award last season because he immediately failed a drug test afterward not only by winning its appeal immediately afterward, but by also putting up similar statistics to last season.

    Batting without the protection of Prince Fielder behind him, Braun is on pace to hit 10 more home runs than last season.  Braun’s season clearly shows last year was no fluke.

    The NL MVP was seemingly all but wrapped up and delivered to the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen weeks ago but was rudely snatched from his grasp when he and his team stumbled on the way to the finish line.  Having a below .500 record doesn’t help sway voters in his direction.

    Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants is Braun’s biggest competition, not McCutchen.  Playing catcher and coming back from a gruesome injury he suffered last season, he caught over a hundred games to lead the NL in batting average, something no one envisioned.

    Playing a position that requires him to crouch behind the plate over 125 times a night and catch from perhaps one of the top pitching staffs in the NL, Posey is the more valuable player to his team compared to Braun. Hitting nearly .400 since the All-Star break doesn’t hurt his chances either.

    Braun’s appealed positive test from last season weighs heavy on all the voters.  Ultimately, that is what dooms Braun’s chances.

    Winner: Buster Posey, C

    AL Cy Young
    Last year, the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander won not just the Cy Young, but became one of a select group of elite pitchers to win both the Cy Young and the MVP in the same season.  While this year has been that of the same caliber, he faces stiffer competition for the award with the Angels’ Jered Weaver and the Tampa Bay’s David Price.

    This is probably the second closest race in the majors besides the AL MVP, with three pitchers in their prime holding a combined 55 wins on the season.

    Verlander doesn’t deserve the award because has the least amount of wins, but the most innings pitched and strikeouts.  Price has the lowest ERA and tied for first in wins. Weaver has least innings pitched due to injury, least strikeouts, but tied for first in wins and lowest WHIP (Walks and hits per inning pitched).

    The Cy Young needs to go to someone who is the overall best pitcher, not someone who leads in certain categories but is in consistently in the top of all of them.

    Winner: Jered Weaver

    NL Cy Young
    Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals and R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets have had this battle all season long.  The voters need to decide if Dickey is to be the first knuckleballer to earn a Cy Young award along with being a New York Times bestseller in the same year.

    Along with Stephen Strasburg, Gonzalez has helped lead a revival in Washington and leads the league in wins with 21. He’s also top five in most other categories but has not been as dominant as Dickey.

    Dickey is second in the league with 20 victories, leads in innings pitched and strikeouts, and ranks third in WHIP.  To say he has had a dominating season on an especially underperforming team is an understatement.

    Winner: R.A. Dickey

    Who wins these awards will remain to be seen, but one thing for sure is only one of my “winners” will be playing in the postseason. Even if Posey doesn’t receive the award from the MLB writers, he will playing for what every professional wants, a World Series ring.