2010 AL MVP: Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay
The easy choice here would be Joe Mauer, given that he won last year, and I think he also should have won in 2008, and had a pretty good case in 2006. Other candidates include Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, the two best players for the best team, as well as Grady Sizemore, Dustin Pedroia, and Miguel Cabrera. But Longoria stands out because he had great seasons at ages 22 and 23 and there’s nothing to suggest he’s going to do anything but get better. He’s a terrific third baseman, in the middle of a good lineup, and on a team that will win a lot of games. He’s going to pile up the two things that MVP voters love: RBI and wins. And for voters who look past these numbers, he plays excellent defense at a premium position, is always on base, and pounds the crap out of the ball. Add all that to the contract he’s signed to:
Evan Longoria 3b
- 6 years/17.5M (2008-13), plus 2014-16 club options
- 08:$0.5M, 09:$0.55M, 10:$0.95M, 11:$2M, 12:$4.5M, 13:$6M, 14:$7.5M club option ($3M buyout), 15:$11M club option, 16:$11.5M club option
…and he’s the most valuable player in the game to his team based on return on investment, and is my choice to be the American League MVP in 2010.
2010 NL MVP: Hanley Ramirez, SS, Florida
Like the American League, the easy choice is to say Albert Pujols and call it a day. He’s won three, finished 4th or better in 8 of his 9 years, and would have a few more if not for a guy named Bonds. Other candidates include Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Ryan Howard, Troy Tulowitzki, and David Wright. My heart says choose Chase Utley, who’s been the second best player in the National League for the last five seasons and no one has noticed. But Utley didn’t get started in the major leagues full-time until he was 26; entering 2010 at age 31, I fear we may have seen the best Utley has to offer. On the other hand, Ramirez mashes at a premium defensive position and is no longer the butcher he used to be at shortstop. He’s a career 0.316 hitter, he gets on base almost 39 percent of the time, and he’s never missed more than 11 games in a season. At age 26, he’s entering the prime of his career; what might determine whether or not he gets full consideration is how many games his team wins, which isn’t fair to one of the best five players in baseball.
2010 AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Seattle
Other contenders include CC Sabathia, Jon Lester, Justin Verlander, and Zack Greinke, but King Felix reduced his walks and home runs last year while striking out more hitters. He turns 24 on Thursday and has proven very durable to this point in his young career.
2010 NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia
Tim Lincecum, Dan Haren, Adam Wainwright, Ubaldo Jiminez, and Josh Johnson are contenders, but I think Halladay, despite knowing that his jump to the NL won’t help too much, doesn’t need that much help to win. Lincecum is probably the better pitcher, but his offense limits his chances to win games, and voters are hesitant to give Cy Youngs to guys who can’t put up close to 20 wins (although this trend has slowed of late).
2010 AL Rookie of the Year: Wade Davis, SP, Tampa Bay
2010 NL Rookie of the Year: Jason Heyward, RF, Atlanta
These predictions are always a crap-shoot, but Heyward is going to get every chance to prove he can do the job and Davis has earned spot in a deep rotation on a good team.
AL Playoffs: Yankees over Twins, Red Sox over Angels, Yankees over Red Sox
NL Playoffs: Rockies over Phillies, Cardinals over Braves, Cardinals over Rockies
World Series: Yankees over Cardinals
While anti-climactic, the Yankees are best team, but with the core aging, the current window might be beginning to close just a bit. It won’t stay shut for long though, given the deep pockets from which Brian Cashman gets to draw.