We’ve got one month until Opening Day. That means it’s officially prediction season.
Let’s start with predicting the players and managers who will be taking home some hardware at the end of the season. Last year I went 3-for-8, correctly predicting the NL Cy Young, NL Rookie Of the Year, and NL Manager Of the Year. In other words, most of the picks below will likely be incorrect. But guess what? That’s the beauty of predictions. No one is wrong until November.
Here are my MLB award picks for the 2017 season:
AL MVP: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
If you’re looking for crazy, bold predictions, read a different article. Picking someone other than Mike Trout wouldn’t make much sense. He’s the best player in baseball bar none. It helps that the Angels might actually be somewhat competitive this year. Trout should win his third MVP award in 2017.
NL MVP: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
My love for Nolan Arenado is well-documented on this website. He does it all. Arenado’s biggest area of improvement in 2016 was his plate discipline. The slugger and world-class defensive third baseman finished fifth in MVP voting despite playing for the sub-.500 Rockies. Colorado could surprise people in 2017, though, which places the spotlight on Arenado and greatly increases his MVP odds.
AL CY Young: Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
Darvish is set to return to his pre-Tommy John self in 2017. Health is an obvious concern, but if he stays injury-free all season you better believe he’ll be in the Cy Young conversation. He’s too good not to be. People forget he was the Cy Young runner-up in 2013. Expect a huge 2017 for Darvish as he finally gets himself 100 percent back on track.
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Similar to everything I said above about Mike Trout. Not picking Kershaw is stupid. As long as he’s healthy, he’s the best pitcher in the game by a significant margin. All of these predictions assume the players will be injury-free throughout the season. Kershaw would’ve won the Cy Young handily last year if not for his nagging back injury. He’s the obvious choice to win the award in 2017.
AL Rookie Of the Year: Andrew Benintendi, Boston Red Sox
Another obvious one. Baseball’s No. 1 prospect will get the perfect opportunity to break out and win the ROtY award this season. Expect Benintendi to be one of the bigger contributors for Boston throughout the year.
NL Rookie Of the Year: Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves
Dansby Swanson was just ONE game away from exceeding his rookie limits last season, which is ridiculous. Nonetheless, he’ll be classified as a rookie in 2017 and get plenty of playing time on a Braves team that won’t be anything to write home about. He does have some competition, though. Pittsburgh’s Tyler Glasnow is no slouch.
AL Manager Of the Year: Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners
As of today, I’m strongly considering picking Seattle to win the AL West. If that ends up being the case, Servais should win the AL Manager Of the Year award easily. The Mariners have failed to live up to expectations for years now, so Servais finally leading them to a division title would undoubtedly turn heads and give him plenty of votes.
NL Manager Of the Year: Bud Black, Colorado Rockies
Similar to what I just said about Servais and the Mariners, Bud Black is set to lead Colorado to their best season in some time. The lineup is stacked from top to bottom and believe it or not that pitching staff is sneakily improving as well. I’m not saying the Rockies will win the division, but don’t rule them out of a Wild Card spot. Even that would be enough to seriously consider Black for NL MOtY.