Monday I wrote about the five teams that I was going to follow closer than the rest of the teams, and, today I'm going to share with you my choices for the top three post season awards, along with a breakdown of the playoffs and world series winners.
The above trophy is what it is all about in baseball. Winning the World Series is the dream of every player from little league to the major leagues. It's what drives them to be the best and to do the impossible. Many, many players never get to experience the joy and exultation of winning this trophy.
There has not been a repeat World Series champion since the New York Yankees won three straight from 1998 - 2000. The Los Angeles Dodgers finally won it all last year, but they won't win it again this year. Who will? You will just have to wait to find out.
Let's first take a look at who I believe will win the top post season awards of Cy Young, MVP, and Rookie of the Year in both leagues. I think that they are pretty clear cut this year, except for the Cy Young which will depend on who doesn't get hurt, and how their team does. I'll start with the American League winners.
The Cy Young award will be a three man race between Gerrit Cole of the Yankees and Shane Bieber of the Indians, but the winner will be Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox. Giolito is becoming so steady and dependable that every time he goes out to the mound you expect him to pitch a gem. With the powerhouse line-up he has behind him, he will easily be a 20 game winner, and I expect his ERA to be around 2.35ish, which will be good enough for him to win this in a close race over Cole.
They should just rename the MVP award the Mike Trout trophy. Since 2012 he has won the MVP three times and finished second four times and honestly he was robbed at least two of those years. He will win again over the White Sox own, Tim Anderson. Both will have superb years and one of them will make the playoffs. Vlad Guerrero Jr. of Toronto will also get some votes this year.
They should have just handed Randy Arozarena the Rookie of the Year award in the playoffs last year. He had a breakout fall for Tampa Bay, hitting key home runs, and scoring some memorable runs, as a last minute roster addition. This one will be a runaway winner but Alex Kiriloff of the Twins, and Jared Kelenic of Seattle will get some votes too.
Meanwhile over in the senior circuit things will be a bit more interesting.
I think the Cy Young will be wide open with at least four or five guys having a legitimate chance to win this. My belief is that when all is said and done Jack Flaherty of St. Louis will edge out Jacob deGrom of the Mets, and Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs, to win this in the closest vote ever. I expect him to finish the year with 17 wins and an ERA around 2.50.
The NL MVP will be a race between three guys all under 23 years of age. Remarkable for sure. In the end, the San Diego Padres Fernando Tatis Jr. will beat out Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves and Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals for this award. There will be votes for at least two other players with better names and stronger pedigrees, but these guys are going to rise to the top.
Finally the Pittsburgh Pirates fans will have someone to cheer for in 2021 as their third baseman, Ke'Bryan Hayes, will win the Rookie of the Year award. He will continue the recent trend of kids of former players to make a name for themselves in baseball. He is the son of long time third baseman Charlie Hayes. Runners up will include Sixto Sanchez of Miami, Heliot Ramos of the Giants, and Adbert Alzolay of the Cubs.
Now it is time for me to share with you my fearless predictions for the 2021 season. Please remember this is only for entertainment purposes, so no wagering. My division standings at the end of the year will look like this.
East Central West
AL YANKEES WHITE SOX OAKLAND
TORONTO MINNESOTA HOUSTON
TAMPA BAY CLEVELAND LA ANGELS
BOSTON DETROIT SEATTLE
BALTIMORE KANSAS CITY TEXAS
NL ATLANTA ST. LOUIS LA DODGERS
WASHINGTON CUBS SAN DIEGO
PHILADELPHIA MILWAUKEE COLORADO
METS CINCINNATTI SAN FRANCISCO
MIAMI PITTSBURGH ARIZONA
AL Wild Card - Toronto defeats Houston
ALDS - Yankees defeat Toronto & White Sox defeat Oakland
ALCS - White Sox defeat Yankees
NL Wild Card - Padres defeat Washington
NLDS - Padres defeat Dodgers & Atlanta defeats St. Louis
NLCS - Padres defeat Atlanta
World Series - Padres defeat White Sox 4-2
I could make a case for five other scenarios, and they would seem possible also, but sometimes you just have a feeling about this stuff. It feels like this is the year for the Padres, and the White Sox feel like they will be back in 2022 and win it all.
No matter what, in less than 24 hours, the long grind will begin for thirty teams and standing at the end will be the young, talented, and exciting, San Diego Padres.