ARCHIE: There is one reason and one reason only why he WILL NOT win the MVP, his team failed to make the playoffs.
STEPHAN: I have two reasons why Paul Goldschmidt should not win the NL MVP. 1) He failed to lead his team to the playoffs. I think that an MVP has to at least be close enough to the playoffs that they are in contention in September. The Diamondbacks were in contention much of the year before the Dodgers took off, but they have not been contenders for the better part of the second half of the season. 2) His name is not Andrew McCutchen. Let’s face it; A-Mac has to be the favorite to win the MVP this season. He came up short last year as the Pirates faltered in second half, and has done everything right both offensively and defensively to help the Bucs to the playoffs.
JOSEPH: Clayton Kershaw, The Pittsburgh Pirates (aka Andrew McCutcheon) and he’s not on a playoff bound team.
2. Going into the last few games of the season Atlanta has the best team ERA of any team. However, do they have enough to see them through the playoffs?ARCHIE: Both Medlen and Teheran have been pretty darn good of late in each of their last 3 outings. Minor has struggled a wee bit but his starts have been what you would consider quality starts, so yes.
STEPHAN: I think the Braves have as good of a chance as anyone in the National League. I think their pitching will hold true to form, but they are going to have to hit on a more consistent basis if they want to compete for the National League Championship.
JOSEPH: Yes and no. They do but the true test will be whether the relatively young and inexperienced pitching can meet the pressure of playoff baseball. And, for that reason I will say they might get by the first round but will fail to make it to the World Series and the Dodgers will make it, instead.
3. Out of the current “already in” teams and the remaining teams battling for a playoff spot, which team would you like to be “skipper” for the playoffs this year?
ARCHIE: Everyone knows I am a Braves homer, but I just bet you the atmosphere in the Pirates dugout this playoff season is going to be electric. I can see where Clint Hurdle will appear with a large grin on his face every game. I would love that experience.
STEPHAN: This is tough because in today’s era, managers are held to a high standard when it comes to the playoffs. I have always been a fan of Fredi Gonzales, but I am not convinced that if the Braves do not do anything this post- season, his job is safe. I don’t think he will be fired, but you never know. Same thing with Don Mattingly, do the Dodgers need to have a successful run in the playoffs for him to have safety when it comes to his job? I think that Clint Hurdle, manager of the Pirates has to be my choice here. Like in Colorado, they really had no expectations of doing anything, and just getting to the playoffs was probably enough to ease the fans minds. In Pittsburgh they have not smelled post season since 1992, so I think since Hurdle has led this team to a post-season berth, his job is safe, and he has everything to gain, and nothing to lose.
JOSEPH: Pittsburgh. For one reason and one reason only; they have not been relevant in years, plus in many ways they were the face of what was wrong with MLB’s revenue sharing plan. And I want to be the guy who makes the moves that gets them to the top of the heap in 2013; and then watch the pandemonium break loose.
4. Just to change the face of MLB, which team would you like to see make the playoffs NEXT year?
ARCHIE: It would have to be the Cubs. They are probably the most loved losers in all of MLB. Even being a Braves super-fan, I would love to see the Cubbies make the playoffs next year.
STEPHAN: I would love to say the Toronto Blue Jays as they have not made the playoffs since 1993, so in sense it would be another Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014. However, since the Jays went for broke and tried to buy their way into the post season, I would have to eliminate them from consideration (as they blew it). My choice: The Kansas City Royals. The Royals have not made the playoffs since I was in my early years as a child, 1985 to be exact, and have not even come close to the playoffs since 1989 where they won 92 games. This season, you could say that the Royals had a magical kind of year. No one really gave them much of a shot, and they have utilized team baseball to win baseball games. I love to see teams like this succeed, and I would love to see them in the post season next year, as time fell just short for them this year.
JOSEPH: As long as my team makes it to the playoffs (Yankees) I don’t care who else makes it into the MLB tournament. However, if new blood has to be added to the playoff landscape then I would like to see Seattle make it in the AL and Colorado make it in the NL. Doubt it will occur but both would make decent stories.
5. Who wins your vote for Rookie of the Year in each League?
ARCHIE: NL hands down, Jose Fernandez. What a great job this rookie has done this year for a team so adapt at losing.
While it is difficult enough adjusting to full time play at the Major League level, it is even more so when you are traded in mid season. Jose Iglesias has filled in nicely in Detroit for the suspended Jhonny Peralta. In a rookie class that seems to be lacking the luster it has had the past few years, he gets my vote for ROY in the AL.
STEPHAN: Despite playing for a crappy team, I say Jose Fernandez of the Marlins. He went 12-6 with an outstanding 2.19 ERA. He has been shut down for the season to preserve him for next season. This kid is going to be a phenom in MLB, and has all the tools to be a top tier pitcher in baseball.
In the American League there are four or five players that could end up winning the award. My vote goes to Wil Myers of the Tampa Bay Rays. Myers is hitting .300 and has 13 HR with 49 RBI’s. Myers started off strong hitting .331 in July with 7 HR, he did have a slump in August where he hit close to .200, but he is finishing off the season on a hot streak hitting .355 in September, and seemingly poised to help the Rays back to the playoffs.
JOSEPH: In the NL I got Jose Fernandez (Miami) in a walk over Yasiel Puig (LAD). Yep, that 2.19 ERA , 3.2 to 1 K/BB rate and 12-6 record trumps Puig’s numbers in my book. Puig started off hot but has since cooled off which just adds to why I vote for Fernandez.
In the AL I keep bouncing back and forth between Chris Archer (Tampa) and Wil Myers (Tampa) but I think Myers comes out slightly ahead because he has been just a bit more steadier and consistent during his time in the majors than Archer.
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