Based on the performances of everyone in Major League Baseball, here are our predictions for the major end-of-season awards.
MVP: Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox
There's a lot of tough competition just inside the AL East division. Curtis Granderson is having a remarkable season, and could end the year with 30 steals and 40 homers, and has already passed 1oo RBI. But the Yankees also have Mark Teixeira, who will probably join Granderson with over 100 RBI by the end of August and will eclipse 40 home runs as well. While Gonzalez also has Jacoby Ellsbury in his lineup every day, he could lead the AL in RBI and batting average, and his on-base percentage is more than .030 more than Granderson. Sleeper candidates Jose Bautista and Miguel Cabrera are having great seasons, but Bautista's doing it on a losing team and Cabrera loses headlines to the Tigers' best starting pitcher.
Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
Jared Weaver, CC Sabathia and Felix Hernandez are having great seasons, but Verlander is starting to be considered an MVP candidate. When the season ends, Verlander will likely have the best numbers from a starting pitcher in over a decade. Right now, his WHIP is a ridiculous 0.88, his ERA (2.24) is almost a full run better than Sabathia, and he leads the majors in strikeouts (212 in 209.2 innings pitched through Aug. 25).
Rookie of the Year: Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Very, very quietly, Trumbo is leading all major league rookies with 23 home runs and 69 RBI. This year's crop of rookies in the AL isn't very strong, and Trumbo is cleary the best of the group. Also worthy of mention is Seattle starting pitcher Michael Pineda, who was an All-Star.
MVP: Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
A better case could be made for other players, but Fielder is a big name who happens to be headed onto the free agent market this winter. He leads the NL in RBI and is only three home runs behind Albert Pujols, but Fielder's Brewers are running away with the Central Division. The darkhorse candidate is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers, who could pull off the improbable Andre Dawson MVP from a last place team. He will hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases (with one more homer) while ranking in the NL's top ten in batting average, OPS, RBI and runs. But, unfortunately for Kemp, last place teams rarely have the league's MVP on their roster. Fielder's team is winning, and so will he.
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
He has a better WHIP and ERA than Philadelphia's Roy Halladay, and is tied with Arizona's Ian Kennedy for the NL lead with 16 wins. He also leads the NL with 207 strikeouts in only 189.2 innings pitched. Cliff Lee might have more shutouts (five) than Kershaw (two), but Kershaw's 20 quality starts are as many as Halladay and one more than Lee. Considering the team playing around Kershaw (and the disgusting ownership situation in LA), Kershaw should get the hardware this year.
Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
Honestly, the only two players that will be considered for the top rookie honor in the NL will be from Atlanta. First baseman Freddie Freeman leads all NL rookies with 18 home runs and leads all major league rookies with 59 runs to date. He also has the best OPS among all major league rookies, and has a very respectable .293 average. But those numbers aren't as impressive Kimbrel's job as the closer in Atlanta this year. He leads the majors - rookies and veterans - with 40 saves, which already tied the all-time record for rookie. His WHIP and ERA are among the best in baseball, and his 103 strikeouts in 62.3 innings is almost laughable. He has been the key for Atlanta running away with the NL Wild Card this season.