National League Postseason Award Predictions
National League Awards: the five who should win
Now that the 2012 MLB regular season is over we can start looking forward not only to the playoffs but also to who will win the major postseason honors in both leagues. Although there are a great number of awards (nine Gold Gloves in each league, eg, and a number of smaller ones to boot) there are five fairly big ones. The Most Valuable Player and the Cy Young are the ones which probably garner the most attention and prestige, and rightly so, but of great note as well are the Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year.
There is excellent and lively debate about the recipients of these awards almost every year and this one is no exception. Though the attention will focus on the American League, the senior circuit is not be be ignored. The MVP award is very much up for grabs notably between Buster Posey and last year's winner Ryan Braun.
There's another attempt at a repeat in the Cy Young race as well. Clayton Kershaw has put up excellent numbers this year, but he is up against a pair of twenty game winners in Gio Gonzalez and RA Dickey. The National League Rookie of the Year and Manager of the year are also both a lot more closely run then their American League counterparts.
Like in the American League, there will no doubt be a lot written before and after the awards are given out about who will win and whether the right man won. This, however, is how I would give the awards:
Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw
Kershaw won the award last year and ought to do so again this year. He won rather fewer games than some others, but that should not matter; what does is that he lead the National League in ERA, WHIP, WPA (amongst starters), situational wins saved and Base-Out wins saved. There are a few other pitchers who led in other categories, but Kershaw is the best across the board.
MVP - Buster Posey
It's a very tough call between Posey and Braun, but Posey leads in WAR and leads qualifiers in batting average and on-base per cent. Braun tends to lead in the more slugging categories (he lead the league in home runs, amongst other things), but Posey actually comes out on top in Adjusted OPS+ and Adjusted Batting Wins. Over all the categories he had the better season and although it is close, he wins the award.
Rookie of the Year - Wilin Rosario
No rookie in the national League had the kind of sensational year that Mike Trout had in the American League. But there are a few who had some very good years and Wilin Rosario had the best of the lot for the Colorado Rockies. Although a lot will be said about Bryce Harper and Todd Frazier, the fact is that Rosario had the better season. He lead all NL rookies in home runs, RBIs and OPS and had a respectable .270 average (the same as Harper) to boot.
Comeback Player of the Year - Buster Posey
Look at all the numbers on the MVP slide and then remember that Posey missed almost all of the 2011 season after suffering a horrific injury during a home-plate collision early in the year. Not only did no one in the National League have a better season, no one even came close to having the kind of comeback that Posey did.
Manager of the Year - Bud Black
Another one where there is no standout performer, though Davey Johnson of the Washington Nationals might be one. Still, there is no need to get into a long subjective debate. As was mentioned in the AL slideshow the definitive stat is, or at least should be, wins per dollar of payroll. And although Johnson does not fare poorly, the winner here is San Diego Padres skipper Bud Black. Black took a team with fewer stars and a smaller payroll than the Houston Astros and led them into a respectable mid-table position which was better than most expected.