MLB Lester Awards & Playoff Predictions

Oct 1, 2008
The 2008 MLB season is finished, and oh what a finish it was.  It’s time to hand out the hardware before the playoffs get underway.  If you’re interested here are my preseason predictions and midseason winners.

AL MVP:  Dustin Pedroia
Dustin did everything the Red Sox asked of him including hitting Cleanup.  He was second in the AL with a .326 average, tied for first with Ichiro with 213 Hits, tops with 118 runs and 54 Doubles, and had 83 RBI and 20 SBs.  Justin Morneau didn’t deliver the big hits against the Royals that would have wrapped the division up for the Twins.  Carlos Quentin got hurt.  Tampa doesn’t have anybody jump out.  If Anaheim was in a closer race I would consider K-Rod, but do you think they would have missed the playoffs without him?  I don’t.
Preseason Prediction:  A-Rod

AL Cy Young:  Cliff Lee
Sure, Cleveland missed the playoffs, but what Cliff Lee did was amazing.  22-3 with a 2.54 ERA (both tops in the AL).  He was even ninth in Strikeouts with 170.  I considered Roy Halladay (losing team also), Dice-K (Lester was their best pitcher), Lester (Wins & ERA didn’t cut it) and K-Rod (consistent, but was he more dominating than Rivera and Nathan?).  In the end I went with the guy who was the best pitcher for pretty much the entire season.
Preseason Prediction:  Josh Beckett

AL Rookie of the Year:  Evan Longoria
He lived up to the hype with 27 HRs and 85 RBI for the first-place Rays.  Brad Ziegler (3-0, 1.06 ERA, 11 Saves) quietly gave him a run, but in the end Evan was too good.
Preseason Prediction:  Evan Longoria

AL Manager of the YearJoe Maddon 
Tampa Bay was baseball’s best story this year.
Preseason Prediction:  Terry Francona

AL Comeback Player of the YearCliff Lee 
From a Minor League stint to All-Star Starter to the Cy Young Award (presumably).
Preseason Prediction:  Travis Hafner

AL Batting Crown
:  Joe Mauer
Preseason Prediction:  Ichiro Suzuki

AL Home Run Title
Miguel Cabrera
Preseason Prediction:  A-Rod

AL RBI Title
Josh Hamilton
Preseason Prediction:  A-Rod

NL MVP:  Ryan Howard
Yeah, I’d like my MVP to hit a little better than .251, but he finished with 48 HRs and 146 RBI, which was head and shoulders above his competition.  Howard hit .352 with 11 HRs and 32 RBI (all season highs) in September as the Phillies were wrapping up the NL East.
Preseason Prediction:  Ryan Howard 

NL Cy Young:  Johan Santana
Now, here me out.  Brandon Webb may have won more games (22 to 16), but his ERA was nearly a full run higher.  Tim Lincecum had a couple more Wins, a similar ERA, and a mess more Strikeouts, but he wasn’t playing meaningful games down the stretch.  In typical Johan form he went 8-0 with a 2.17 ERA after the All-Star break.  I don’t want to even count the number of blown saves his bullpen had.  His crowning moment was a Complete Game three-hit Shutout with 10 Ks on three days rest when the Mets’ playoffs hopes were still alive.  Had C.C. been on the Brewers the whole year, I would probably choose him.  He didn’t and I won’t.
Preseason Prediction:  Johan Santana

NL Rookie of the Year:  Geovany Soto
His numbers were virtually identical to Joey Votto’s, but from the Catcher position for the best team in the NL.  His .285 Average, 23 HRs, and 85 RBIs were impressive for any Catcher, but especially for a first-year guy.
Preseason Prediction:  Joey Votto

NL Manager of the Year:  Ron Gardenhire
No, I’m not nuts.  I’m stealing the NL’s Award since nobody truly jumps out, and I’m handing it over to Ron Gardenhire for the job he did with the Twins.
Preseason Prediction:  Willie Randolph (Yikes)

NL Comeback Player of the YearKerry Wood
I can’t think of a player that I feel happier for than Wood.   Brad Lidge won the award, but Wood had to overcome much more.
Preseason Prediction:  Randy Johnson

NL Batting Crown
Chipper Jones
Preseason Prediction:  Chase Utley

NL Home Run Title
Ryan Howard
Preseason Prediction:  Ryan Howard

NL RBI Title
Ryan Howard
Preseason Prediction:  Ryan Howard

American League
AL East: Tampa Bay
Preseason Prediction: 
AL Central:  Chicago White Sox
Preseason Prediction:  Detroit
AL West: Anaheim
AL Wildcard: Boston Red Sox
Preseason Prediction:  New York Yankees (I did have Boston making the Playoffs)

National League
NL East: Philadelphia 
Preseason Prediction:  New York Mets
NL Central: Chicago Cubs
Preseason Prediction:  Chicago Cubs
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers
Preseason Prediction:  Arizona
NL Wildcard: Milwaukee
Preseason Prediction:  Philadelphia (at least I had them going to the Playoffs)

Preseason Playoff Predictions
Boston Red Sox over Anaheim. 
Detroit over New York. 

Mets over Cubs. 
Mets over Arizona. 

Preseason World Series Prediction
Boston Red Sox over the New York Mets.

New Playoff Predictions:
Boston over Anaheim
Chicago White Sox over Tampa

Philly over Milwaukee
Chicago Cubs over L.A.

League Championship Predictions:
Boston over Chicago White Sox
Chicago Cubs over Philly

World Series:
Chicago Cubs over Boston

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10 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. LEV
    October 1st, 2008 at 9:26 am #

    Very well done… i can’t argue with most of the picks. I think Pedroia deserves the MVP, I hope his diminutive stature doesn’t hurt him. Although, I do think Lincecum deserves the NL Cy Young. He played on an awful team and always gave them a shot to win with his dominant pitching. I think Joe Torre in his first year as Dodgers manager would get my vote for NL Manager of the Year (I am a little biased with him).

  2. Chuck
    October 1st, 2008 at 9:26 am #

    What a tough loss yesterday for the Twins. I’d like to say Morneau deserved the MVP, but you may be right.

  3. LestersLegends
    October 1st, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    LEV – Lincecum is right there in the mix, and will probably win it. If Johan didn’t have such a terrible bullpen though he’d have a half dozen more wins probably. Torre could take it, but they didn’t really click until Manny showed up.

  4. LestersLegends
    October 1st, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    Chuck – That was a tough loss.

  5. Steve
    October 1st, 2008 at 9:35 am #

    If A-Rod hadn’t been injured, your AL HR and RBI predictions would have been correct also.

  6. LestersLegends
    October 1st, 2008 at 9:38 am #

    Steve – HRs for sure. RBIs, maybe. Of course injuries are part of the game.

  7. David Funk
    October 1st, 2008 at 11:20 am #

    Nice picks, and you really weren’t so bad off with the season went with surprises all over the place.

    The NL Manager of the Year intrigues me, too. I don’t really know who’ll win it.

    BTW, I sure hope you’re right about my Cubs winning it all!

  8. LestersLegends
    October 1st, 2008 at 11:23 am #

    I wouldn’t mind being half right about it. The Sox and Cubs make it, with a Sox repeat.

  9. wassup471
    October 1st, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    Very well done on the year’s picks, and for your preseason predictions! I bet you were closer than most of the experts out there!

    As for the playoffs, I have Angels over Boston, Tampa over Chicago (two best home teams have home field advantage), Philadelphia over Milwaukee, Chicago over LAD

    Philadelphia over Chicago (only because I feel something collapses. Chicago is much better on paper) in 6

    LAA over Tampa in 6

    Angels over Phillies in 5

  10. LestersLegends
    October 1st, 2008 at 1:34 pm #

    These playoffs are wide open. I could see a ton of different scenarios making sense.

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