Our staff continued by releasing our predictions for some of MLB’s major award winners, including the Cy Young Award in each league, as well as the Rookie of the Year Awards.
We’ll wrap our predictions today by releasing our picks for the front-runners for American and National League Most Valuable Player, as well as our pick for the first manager to be fired this season in Major League Baseball.
A year ago, Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals finally stayed healthy for a full season.
The result was what has been anticipated since he was a teenager. Harper produced a .330/.460/.649 slash line, bashing 42 homers, driving in 99 runs, and scoring 118 times to become the unanimous National League Most Valuable Player.
Arizona Diamondbacks 1st baseman Paul Goldschmidt had a tremendous season of his own, one that would normally have seen him take the honors, or at least finish close in the voting. Instead, Goldy had to settle for a clear but distant runner-up finish.
A host of strong contenders also received solid support following those two in the 2015 NL MVP balloting, including 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds, 2013 NL MVPAndrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and a trio of Chicago Cubs in Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta and young sluggers Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.
In our staff voting here at TBOH for the 2016 NL Most Valuable Player, there was no clear favorite.
Harper was the only player to receive two votes, but it’s hard to call that a consensus. He is akin to Trout over the American League: if he stays healthy, he will be a perennial contender for the honors.
Goldschmidt received one of our staffers vote. Both Bryant and Rizzo from the Cubs, as well as their new teammate, outfielder Jason Heyward, each received a vote as our NL MVP. San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, the 2012 NL MVP, received a vote.
The final vote was a fairly obvious hometown choice, something that staff writer Alexis Girardo fully admitted when she cast her ballot for 3rd baseman Maikel Franco of the Phillies.
The 2016 National League Most Valuable Player race is probably Harper’s to lose. He has the ability, again, if healthy, to carry the Washington Nationals on his back to a postseason berth and on deep into October.
Unlike Trout, he has a strong supporting cast around him, and that very well could be the scenario that plays out this year.