Same tune, different song.
It's all guesswork, but like yesterday's playoff picks, it's fun for me to just have a horse in the race when it comes to picking what will happen 7 months from now when the award winners are announced.
(Editor's Note: Players will win actual valuable awards, not my fantasy baseball trophy, pictured at left.)
NL MVP: Ryan Howard. Seems like he had a down year last year, but he still hit more than 40 homers and led the league with 141 RBI. Maybe it was the .279 average that made it seem like a down year (still his highest in three years). Never mind. Not a down year at all. This year will be better.
AL MVP: Evan Longoria. 35 homers? 120+ RBI? Quite possible, as is this award making its first appearance in Tampa.
NL Cy Young: I'm taking my National League Cy Young winner from the same division as the last four NL Cy Youngs, and the same rotation as the last two winners (but I'm not picking Tim Lincecum to win a third straight). I've read that Matt Cain pushes himself against Lincecum as he prepares - who better to do that with than the best pitcher in the league the past few seasons? I think this is Cain's year.
AL Cy Young: If the Texas Rangers are going to be so good this year (according to me), and if they're going to be the American League representative in the World Series (according to me), then they have to have a solid season from Rich Harden. Actually, better than a solid season - a Cy Young-caliber season. So that's my pick.
NL Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward. Picking a rookie to perform well is always such a hard pick, but Heyward is getting the chance to open the season as the Braves' starting right fielder...might as well go with him.
AL Rookie of the Year: Could I name an American League rookie? No. Can I name the team most likely to play a lot of youngsters? Yes. Cleveland, Toronto, Baltimore - I'm going with the Orioles for the team with a Rookie of the Year. I think Brian Matusz qualifies. Let's say him.
NL Manager of the Year: A solid season from the Reds could make this a fourth Manager of the Year award for Dusty Baker.
AL Manager of the Year: Anytime you beat the Yankees or Red Sox, it merits recognition. So Joe Maddon, if he lives up to my expectations, merits this award.
I'm not going to give them a whole separate category, but I could easily see a comeback player of the year award in the National League going to either one of two Braves: Troy Glaus or Billy Wagner. (If I had to pick one, I'd say Wagner.) And in the American League, maybe one last productive season from Eric Chavez...any contribution from him would constitute a comeback.
Bring on the season already!!