Our staff at the Fansided blog “That Ball’s Outta Here” (TBOH) has just released our predictions for the final standings in each division, as well as our postseason predictions, including the 2016 World Series winner.
I released my own predictions for the Phillies in the coming season as well.
Our staff continued by releasing our predictions for some of MLB’s major award winners, including the Cy Young Award in each league, as well as the Rookie of the Year Awards.
We’ll wrap our predictions today by releasing our picks for the front-runners for American and National League Most Valuable Player, as well as our pick for the first manager to be fired this season in Major League Baseball.
A year ago, there was a definite tiered status to the AL MVP voting. The winner was Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays. The 3rd baseman had an outstanding .297/.371/.568 slash line with 41 homers, 123 RBI and 122 runs scored.
Donaldson was followed in the voting by the 2014 AL MVP, Mike Trout, who finished as the runner-up for the third time in his four full big league seasons.
Behind Trout was outfielder Lorenzo Cain of the world champion Kansas City Royals, who had the breakout campaign that many had been predicting. Cain was followed by young Baltimore Orioles 3rd baseman Manny Machado.
Each of those top four finishers from a year ago is likely to be a perennial contender over the next few seasons as well.
In TBOH staff voting, we went with Trout as our consensus favorite. The Millville, New Jersey native was named the favorite on half of our eight ballots.
Others receiving a vote were phenomenal young Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, 5-tool Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, slugging veteran Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, and the man known simply as ‘Big Papi’, David Ortiz, who is beginning his final season as the Boston Red Sox designated hitter and team leader.
As long as he remains healthy, it is always going to be easy to vote for Trout as a Most Valuable Player candidate.
He is one of the most talented players to step on to a baseball diamond in decades, a Griffey or Bonds-like talent so obvious as to be impossible to ignore.
The problem for him may become the team surrounding him. It can become tough to actually win if your team is struggling, especially when there are outstanding candidates helping carry other teams to postseason berths.
Trout is going to have to find a way to elevate the performances of those around him if he wants to keep putting MVP trophies on his mantle piece, and not simply finishing among the voting leaders.