Hello, baseball fans. Today, I’m going to look at the players I expect to take home some prized hardware in the National League. Last year, I aced my NL picks, as Andrew McCutchen was MVP and Clayton Kershaw was once again the Cy Young winner. We won’t know for a while if my prognosticating is still on that level, but I’m hoping it will be.
In my opinion, the winners in the National League are going to be more difficult to accurately predict this year. There are many young stars on the verge of massive breakouts which would garner them these prestigious awards, which makes my job more difficult. Regardless, let’s give it a shot!
NL Cy Young- Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
Jose, Jose, Jose. Fernandez is already somewhat of a cult hero. He escaped from Cuba after several attempts, went to high school in Tampa, and, soon after being drafted in the first round, won the NL ROY and finished 3rd in Cy Young voting last year.The 21-year old Fernandez managed a 2.19 ERA, a .979 WHIP, and (perhaps most impressively on a team as bad as the Marlins were last year) a 12-6 record in his first year in the majors. Not bad for a debut, but I expect Fernandez will deliver an even better encore performance.His plus-velocity fastball and biting curve will continue to confound hitters around the league. Much like a fellow NL East ace (Doc Gooden), Fernandez will follow up his rookie display with an even better showing, taking home a well-deserved Cy Young. (NOTE: Please disregard if Clayton Kershaw wins Cy Young– at this point, picking him is just boring).
NL MVP- Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Harper has long been projected to be the savior of the Nationals franchise, a workhorse with outstanding power. Harper was busy proving those predictions accurate last year, performing better at the plate than he had during his still-outstanding rookie season. Unfortunately, injuries derailed his (and the Nats’) 2013 campaign. This year, if Harper can stay on the field, he will put up big numbers. Plainly put, he can hit the cowhide off the ball. If he can lead this Nationals team to a playoff berth with his uncanny prowess at the plate, it will be hard to give the award to another NL player. If my predictions prove to be correct, he and Mike Trout will both be the MVP’s of their leagues, as they were both ROY’s in 2012. Like Trout, I don’t expect the 2014 MVP award to be Harper’s last.
NL ROY- Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds
This is the pick I spent the most time agonizing over. There’s no overwhelming favorite among the rookies of the NL to take home this award, unlike in the AL, where Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts is favored. That being said, Hamilton does have a good shot to bring home the NL ROY award this fall. After piling up 395 steals in 5 minor league seasons, Hamilton burst onto the big league scene explosively/ He stole 13 bases and was only caught stealing once in 13 games at the major league level. It’s been said many times about Hamilton, but if he gets on base more often, he’ll be a very dangerous weapon for the Reds. So far this spring, he has a good .410 OBP and, of course, 9 stolen bases. With that sort of OBP, Hamilton can wreak havoc on the basepaths, which should be enough to garner him this award.