On Thursday, we marked the one-third point of the MLB season -- at which two months of the season are down and there are two more two-month stretches to go -- by looking at where each team stood moving forward and whether you should buy, sell or hold a theoretical (and mythical!) stock of each team. So now that we've discussed the teams from the first third of the season, let's look at the players. Here's where the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year Award races in each league might be headed.
Note that this is not a look at where they stand right now. Mike Trout would win the AL MVP Award right now, but he (probably) won't be after he misses eight weeks or so. This is a look at the future, using information from the first two months of the season. These are educated, or semi-educated, predictions.
Manager of the Year
1. A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros
2. Joe Girardi, New York Yankees
3. Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays
A lot here depends on whether you think Minnesota and Baltimore are for real. If you think the Twins and Orioles are still going to be hanging in by the end of the season, or even might make the playoffs, then obviously Paul Molitor and Buck Showalter would be on this list. (And would deserve to be.) But I still see a big falling back to earth for both teams. The Astros are on a 114-win pace right now. Even if that falls to, say, 105 wins, sheesh, how do you not give Hinch the AL Manager of the Year Award? Remember when the Diamondbacks fired Hinch and laughed at him on the way out the door?
Rookie of the Year
1. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
2. Andrew Benintendi, Boston Red Sox
3. Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox
This is the easiest call on the board. The only way Judge won't win this is if he suffers a Kyle Schwarber-in-2016 type injury. Even if he missed eight weeks like Trout, he'd still be far, far ahead. Moncada will get called up soon, and he might make a late Gary Sanchez-esque run for second place.
1. Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
2. Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros
3. Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians
Sale has finished in the top six of AL Cy Young Award voting every year since 2012, but he has never made it higher than third. This has to be the year, right? He's going to lead the planet in strikeouts, the Red Sox are going to get hot enough to maybe win him 20 games and there's an overwhelming sense that he is having his "moment." Keuchel is probably ahead of Sale right now, but only barely. This will be a tight race all season, one suspects.
1. Judge, New York Yankees
2. Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
3. Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Judge has to slow down at some point -- right? But he's got such a lead over his nearest competitors that, thanks to Trout's injury, he's got a legitimate chance to become the first player to win both the Rookie of the Year and MVP Awards since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001. Altuve is the star on the best team in baseball, so he's in position to take advantage if Judge falters. And hey, if Trout is back shortly after the All-Star break, the best-case scenario … would you put it past him to just go out and win another AL MVP Award anyway?
Manager of the Year
1. Torey Lovullo, Arizona Diamondbacks
2. Dusty Baker, Washington Nationals
3. Bud Black, Colorado Rockies
Much of this depends on which of the upstart teams you think is going to stick around in the NL Wild Card race; Milwaukee's Craig Counsell could be in consideration here, too. Arizona looks like the best team of those three (including Colorado), and Lovullo has shown to be strategically inventive as well. Considering the chaos that organization was in just a few months ago, it's pretty amazing how quickly he has gotten the train back on track.
Rookie of the Year
1. Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Koda Glover, Washington Nationals
3. Amed Rosario, New York Mets
Bellinger is the obvious pick here, and he would be the Dodgers' second NL Rookie of the Year Award winner in a row. Right now, you could make arguments for Colorado's two rookie starters, Antonio Senzatela and Kyle Freeland, but expecting those guys to keep that up for the next four months at Coors seems … optimistic.
1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
3. Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks
The NL leader in pitching WAR right now remains Mike Leake, but at this point, I'd put more money on teammate Carlos Martinez breaking into this list than Leake. It's nice to see Greinke back, by the way.
1. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
2. Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
3. Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
Yeah, Harper's back to being the second-best player on the planet again. The only way he won't win this is if so many jerks throw at him that one of them eventually breaks one of his hands.
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