Predictions for 2013 MLB postseason awards

Clayton KershawThe end of Daylight Saving Time, colder weather, and the conclusion of another World Series make early November a sad time for many baseball fans. Thankfully, the sport gives us one last treat by recognizing the game’s top players during the 11th month.

Announcements won’t begin until Veterans Day, so let’s take time to offer predictions on the likely winners versus who I believe should win, which is often a major chasm.


American League Rookie of the Year

My winner/Likely winner: Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays

Thankfully we begin with a straightforward choice. Though I watched Wil Myers blossom in Omaha during the 2012 campaign, I was still impressed to see the 22-year-old outfielder tear through American League pitching following his June 18 promotion. A top prospect since Kansas City drafted him in 2009, Myers launched a grand slam off C.C. Sabathia at Yankee Stadium a few days later, and despite just playing 88 games, the North Carolinian led AL rookies in on-base percentage, slugging and Wins Above Replacement.

National League Rookie of the Year

My winner: Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins

Though there are many good candidates in the Senior Circuit, this right-hander stands out.

Amazingly an “unexpected addition” to the Marlins’ roster out of spring training, Fernandez dazzled from his first start, finishing with the lowest ERA (2.19) for a 20-year-old in more than a century, and as just the fourth rookie ever with a sub 2.20 ERA (only Clayton Kershaw was better in that category, while only Kershaw and Matt Harvey boasted a lower WHIP). The Cuban, who finished second in the National League with 9.75 strikeouts per nine innings, permitted a measly 5.8 hits per nine innings this season. Only three pitchers with 170 or more innings pitched have done that since 1969.

Likely Winner: Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers

This is where the media gets predictable, since they’ve hyped Fernandez’s countryman all season for various reasons.

That the Dodgers began their remarkable 2013 run once Puig was called up from Chattanooga in early June will influence most voters greatly. However, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Hanley Ramirez and others were just as important. The massive L.A. market also plays a factor in bias, as very few people watch Marlins games by comparison.

With many sloppy throws, poor base running and an arrogant attitude hurting the Dodgers during the regular season and playoffs, Puig also hit just .236 with runners in scoring position. In arguably the best rookie class since 2006, the Dodger outfielder was quite good, but Fernandez was better.

Unfortunately the media rarely let facts get in the way of agenda, but maybe they’ll surprise us this year.


American League Manager of the Year

My Winner: Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians

The former Boston skipper took a 94-loss team, that had posted one of the worst final two months in Cleveland’s long, futile history and brought it to 92 wins. The Tribe leapfrogged four teams in the final month of the season to capture an unexpected wild card berth, finishing just one game from the division title. No one saw that coming.

Those accomplishments were achieved despite one of the lowest payrolls in the American League, an influx of questionable free agent signings, a dreadful closer, no reliable power hitters, no fan support and the loss of the team’s best pitcher down the stretch. The 2013 Indians were remarkable, making Francona a no-brainer recipient to me, but unlikely to receive support from a large segment of the media that doesn’t watch Cleveland games.

Likely winner: John Farrell, Boston Red Sox

Postseasons are not factored into voting, yet I’d be surprised if the former Cleveland pitcher didn’t capture the award. He took a 69-win Boston team to 97 triumphs and eventually their third World Series title in the past decade.

But the Red Sox had one of MLB’s highest payrolls, stellar offseason (and in-season) acquisitions and great support from fans and management. The 2012 season was an aberration due to a horrid manager/silly man, considering Boston averaged well over 90 wins the past decade. Leading the Red Sox is nearly the opposite of managing in northern Ohio, and Farrell probably knows it. Cleveland baseball writers are cognizant too, because they follow the team.

National League Manager of the Year

My winner/Likely winner: Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates

Not a hard choice. The pieces finally fit in the Steel City this season, as the Pirates — with the NL’s second lowest payroll — exorcised 21 years of demons, made the playoffs and earned fans’ admiration.

There really are no other choices. Other managers either underachieved or accomplished what they should have with massive payrolls. And one subpar skipper finally got what he deserved, a few days after I opined.


American League Most Valuable Player

My winner/Likely winner: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

There is again a lot of talk about Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout deserving this award, and as you’ll see with my next choice, I’m not opposed to rewarding men from losing teams. But, when you look at Detroit’s batting order, you realize no one is more valuable than Miggy. Even Trout graciously agrees.

Cabrera topped the Angels’ sophomore in average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Detroit’s offense sputtered when their third baseman was gimpy toward the end of the season and into October. And though Trout’s overall body of work was amazing for the most disappointing team in baseball (again), Cabrera posted .348/44/137 in just 144 games. Yes, those are better offensive stats than his 2012 Triple Crown season!

National League Most Valuable Player

My winner: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona

Goldschmidt led the entire National League in five different major categories: home runs (36), runs batted in (125), slugging percentage (.551), OPS (.952) and total bases (332). For good measure, the Texan also led in intentional walks (19), and hit .302 with an on-base percentage of .401 (fourth in the NL).

To top it off, the big man stole 15 bases, scored 103 runs and only missed two games for a team in the wild card race until the final few weeks of the season. Few outside of Phoenix can name anyone else in Arizona’s starting lineup.

The 26-year-old also won NL offensive player of the year and a gold glove last week. Goldschmidt is the definition of an MVP and team leader.

Likely winner: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh

Few people outside of Pittsburgh are bigger fans of “Cutch” than I am. I watched the Florida native in person for two years in Indianapolis, I met the guy twice and consider him an upstanding man who will lead his team and Major League Baseball toward great things for years to come.

But Andrew McCutchen is not the 2013 NL MVP. It seems like the media wanted to give the award to him last season, but the Pirates fell apart down the stretch. Interestingly, McCutchen’s 2012 statistics were superior to 2013, and it’s not even close.

Pittsburgh is not a big market, but as the best story in baseball this season, the Pirates received a ton of publicity. The narrative of McCutchen as the best player on that Bucs team will resonate with emotional folks. I hope voters they partake in a modicum of research instead.


American League Cy Young

My winner/Likely winner: Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers

Sabermetric types who are paid a lot of money to spit out stats may disagree, but that doesn’t sway me. I was very supportive of Felix Hernandez taking the 2010 award despite a 13-12 record, because the evidence was overwhelming.

Scherzer’s 21 wins and near 90 percent winning rate notwithstanding, the right-hander struck out 10.08 hitters per nine innings and 240 total. That was good for second-best in the AL, while his 0.97 WHIP led the Junior Circuit. His 2.90 ERA — perhaps his only “weakness” — was in the top five.

As a Cleveland fan, I dislike the Tigers, but the 29-year-old Missourian earned the honor in 2013 from day one.

National League Cy Young

My winner/likely winner: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

Sorry to close on a anticlimactic note, but perhaps we saved the best for last.

I penned a piece in late August musing about Kershaw as a potential MVP candidate — in addition to his second Cy Young award in three seasons — and his place in history. Ultimately September was the lefty’s “worst” month of the campaign (he had a 2.53 ERA, though a startling 1.59 for the entire second half), but the 25-year-old still topped the NL in ERA (1.83), WHIP (0.92) and strikeouts (232).

Kershaw’s 1.83 ERA was the lowest for a starting pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2005. Despite his youth, the Texan is also just a darn good human being, which matters most in the end, doesn’t it?

Let’s see how his contract negotiations go, I suppose.


About AJ Kaufman

A former schoolteacher and military historian, A.J. now works in public relations. As an MSF columnist since 2009, he supports anything baseball-related. Raised in San Diego, A.J. has since resided in numerous parts of America, including Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and Washington State. After departing the coasts in 2005, he's traveled the back roads of all 50 states and prefers the Heartland. Married to Maria, A.J. is the author of three books and enjoys reading presidential biographies.


  1. Propaganda rules!

  2. Mark Elwood says:

    Gotta agree with these solid choices.

  3. One thing you forgot: McCutchen was in the top ten of almost every offensive statistic AND he was a gold glove finalist. Also, you’re undervaluing the aspect of being on a winning team. That’s why McCutchen didn’t win last year and that’s why Goldschmit won’t win this year

    • AJ Kaufman says:

      You are likely correct in who will win, as I noted, Josh. But Goldschmidt led the ENTIRE National League in FIVE different major categories and also won a gold glove. Pretty darn impressive and MVP-worthy in my view.

      Can’t think of anyone more valuable to an individual team. Arizona may lose 95 games without him. Pittsburgh probably still finishes well above .500 without McCutchen due to stellar pitching and 2-3 more solid hitters.

  4. Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.
    Is it very hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure
    things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about setting
    up my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any ideas or suggestions?
    With thanks

  5. If some one desires to be updated with newest technologies then he must be go
    to see this website and be up to date everyday.

  6. I do not know if it’s just me or if everyone else experiencing problems with your blog.
    It appears as though some of the text in your
    posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well?
    This might be a problem with my web browser because
    I’ve had this happen previously. Appreciate it

  7. Yes! Finally someone writes about home based businesses.

  8. Good day! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog.
    Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but
    I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about setting up my own but
    I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any points
    or suggestions? With thanks

  9. It’s nearly impossible to find educated people on this topic, however,
    you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

  10. I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check
    again here frequently. I’m quite sure I will learn many new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  11. It’s going to be finish of mine day, except before
    ending I am reading this fantastic article
    to increase my knowledge.

  12. Appreciation to my father who told me concerning this website, this blog is actually amazing.

  13. Nice weblog here! Additionally your site a lot up very fast!
    What host are you using? Can I am getting your associate hyperlink
    to your host? I want my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  14. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was
    great. I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going
    to a famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!

  15. Its such as you read my thoughts! You seem to know a lot
    about this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something.

    I think that you just could do with some % to drive the message
    home a little bit, but instead of that, that is excellent blog.

    A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  16. I have read so many articles or reviews concerning the blogger lovers but
    this paragraph is really a good piece of writing, keep it up.

  17. This design is steller! You obviously know how to keep a reader
    amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my
    own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really loved what you had to
    say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  18. hello there and thank you for your information –
    I’ve certainly picked up something new from right here.
    I did however expertise several technical points using this website, as
    I experienced to reload the site a lot of times previous to I could
    get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your hosting
    is OK? Not that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times will often affect your placement
    in google and can damage your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords.
    Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my email and could look out for
    a lot more of your respective interesting content.
    Make sure you update this again very soon.

  19. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this website.

    I really hope to view the same high-grade blog posts
    from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing
    abilities has encouraged me to get my own website now ;)

  20. Nice weblog here! Additionally your site lots up fast!
    What host are you the usage of? Can I am getting your affiliate link to your host?

    I want my web site loaded up as fast as yours

  21. Good info. Lucky me I found your website by accident (stumbleupon).
    I’ve book marked it for later!

  22. Hi there all, here every one is sharing these experience,
    thus it’s pleasant to read this website, and I used to pay a visit this website daily.

  23. Hello to every single one, it’s genuinely a fastidious for
    me to pay a quick visit this web site, it includes
    precious Information.

  24. I think this is one of the most significant info for me. And i am glad reading your article.
    But should remark on few general things, The site style is perfect,
    the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  25. I got this site from my pal who informed me on the topic of this site and at the moment this time I am browsing this
    web page and reading very informative content at this time.

  26. Awesome post.

  27. Just a quick note to express my appreciation. Take care

  28. What’s up, I desire to subscribe for this blog to get most up-to-date updates, so
    where can i do it please help.

  29. It’s very straightforward to find out any matter on web as compared to textbooks, as I found this piece of writing at this web site.


  1. […] White Coat InvestorHomepageLittle White Dove ~ Feathering My NestMidwest Sports Fans – Sports Blog .spu-button { margin-left:15px; margin-left: 15px; display: inline-table; margin-top: 12px; […]

Speak Your Mind