The MLB season starts tomorrow. The MLB season starts tomorrow. Did I mention that the 2018 MLB season starts tomorrow? Anyway, I’m excited as all hell to get right into the action but first, predictions MUST be made.
Predictions typically backfire on people because no one can tell the future, especially when it comes to sports. But I am going to give it my best shot and predict the award winners for the 2018 MLB season that, as I mentioned, starts tomorrow.
American League MVP: Mike Trout OF, Los Angeles Angels
There is no way you can pick anybody other than Trout. Every since his rookie season in 2012, he has been straight dynamite. Last year Trout missed 48 games and still managed to finish fourth in MVP voting. That was the first time in his career that he had not finished second or first; just think about that.
National League MVP: Nolan Arenado 3B, Colorado Rockies
It is time Arenado gets some respect on his name. Over the last three seasons, Arenado has averaged 40 homers, 131 RBI’s, .297 average, .930 OPS, all the while playing a Gold Glove third base.
He has been in the MVP conversation over those last three years so I think 2018 is the season that Arenado busts through and finally gets his hardware.
American League Cy Young: Chris Sale P, Boston Red Sox
Similar to Arenado’s situation with MVP, Sale has never gotten the Cy Young award. Last year it seemed like he had it in the bag but then he slowed up. In 2017 Sale’s August ERA was at 4.38 while his September ERA was around 3.70. Those aren’t Cy Young numbers.
Sale has had a problem with fading down the stretch during his career, but I have faith he can change that this season. As an elite competitor I think Sale is gunning for award this season.
National League Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw P, Los Angeles Dodgers
After winning three of four CY Young’s from 2011 to 2014, Kershaw hasn’t won in the past three seasons. Injuries could be to blame but if healthy, no one can match Kershaw. I mean, since 2009 the man hasn’t had an ERA above 3.00!
Kershaw is a pretty safe pick to go with but, his dominance over the past decade gives me no choice.
American League Rookie of the Year: Austin Hays OF, Baltimore Orioles
Not the coolest pick. Everyone is clamoring to already hand the award to Shohei Ohtani but in my last article, I wrote how he may have hard time to start the season.
This may be strange but my AL Rookie of the Year didn’t even make the team out of Spring Training.
Austin Hays (number 23 prospect in baseball according to MLB.Com) got sent down to Triple-A but he won’t stay there for long. In his minor league career, 166 games, Hays has hit .330, with 36 homers and 116 RBI’s. He also shown pretty good plate discipline by only striking out 117 times in 663 at bats.
The Orioles outfield right now is made up of Trey Mancini in left, Adam Jones in center, and a Colby Rasmus Mark Trumbo combination in right.
Hays could surely unseat any of them. Jones is a free agent after this year so the O’s may try and deal him to make a path for Hays to come up. When it comes to left and right field, Hays’ potential is too superior to give Rasmus and co. a very long leash so look for Hays to be up in the big leagues sooner rather than later.
National League Rookie of the Year: Ronald Acuna OF, Atlanta Braves
Another guy who is starting in the minors. Acuna is the consensus number one prospect in baseball and for good reason. He is a 5-tool player that strutted his stuff for the Atlanta Braves this Spring by hitting .432 with 4 homers in 44 at-bats. Not bad at all.
The only reason Acuna is starting in the minors and that is because of service time issues. If Acuna were to start with the big club, Atlanta would lose a year of contractual control over Acuna.
After April 13th, the Braves can call up Acuna with no repercussions, so expect Acuna to start his ROY campaign as soon as the calendar April 14th.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)