Earlier in the week I presented some of the favorites to win the American League Most Valuable Player as well as the favorites for the AL Cy Young. Today I shift my focus to the senior circuit where it could be anyone’s award to win in both categories.
Andrew McCutchen – 6/1 ‘Cutch’ will look to repeat as the NL MVP from last season. I believe he will face a taller challenge however because his second half protection from last year is no longer on the team. If the Pirates can’t find someone other than who they have in the line-up now then I believe McCutchen is in trouble because he just won’t see the pitches.
Joey Votto – 15/2 Votto has had a rough spring so far striking out 11 teams in 25 appearances but he’s had slow spring starts before. The question for Votto will be his health. Can he make it a full season in an effort to increase his stats? Like McCutcheon, he’ll need good bats in the line-up around him to have a shot.
Paul Goldschmidt – 9/1 The Arizona third-bagger put up really good stats last year that included 36 home runs and 125 RBIs. Can the D-Backs’ slugger put up similar numbers in 2014? He’s going to have to in order to give his team a shot in the National League West against the Dodgers.
Bryce Harper – 12/1 The 21-year old Harper isn’t having a great spring but some of that could be due to new Nationals’ manager Matt Williams moving him around a bit in the line-up. Harper is too good not to start putting up some numbers but will those huge numbers come this year?
Buster Posey – 12/1 Posey spent some time this offseason hitting the weights and has added muscle to his frame. Will that impact his smooth and sweet swing? I doubt it. Posey went for 15 home runs and 72 RBIs in 2013 and he’ll have to improve those numbers to win the MVP.
Long-Shots Clayton Kershaw 25/1, Jason Heyward 40/1, Starling Marte 50/1
THE PICK: Of the favorites, I like Votto if he can stay healthy but don’t rule out Kershaw.
National League Cy Young
Clayton Kershaw – 6/1 By the time you read this, Kershaw will have already made his first start of the 2014 season. The Dodgers and Diamondbacks begin their season down under in Australia. I expect Kershaw to have a great season especially with some added offense which will give him greater support.
Adam Wainwright – 8/1 Wainwright went 19-9 in 34 starts last season and is the true definition of a ‘workhorse.’ I have every expectation that his innings’ load will continue and I expect him to have another good season.
Stephen Strasburg – 8/1 With the addition of Doug Fister I expect a little less pressure on Strasburg this season and that could mean good things for him in terms of a postseason award. He’ll need to work on some command issues and holding runners on better but he has as good of a shot as anyone.
Jose Fernandez – 10/1 The 21-year old phenom has looked good so far in the spring and has given no reason to think he won’t build on last year’s great numbers. His biggest issue will be the weak team that’s around him. In order to win a postseason award he may have to do much of it alone.
Madison Bumgarner – 15/1 Bumgarner has pitched 10 scoreless innings so far in spring training and looks primed for a great 2014 for the Giants. To me, this is a make or break year for him. He has been pretty consistently around .500 for the last four years and a breakout season is needed to fulfill his position as one of the top pitchers in the National League.
Long-Shots: Gerrit Cole 25/1, Michael Wacha 25/1, Craig Kimbrel 40/1
THE PICK: I think Kershaw is destined for a big year.