1) Who is your AL Rookie of the Year? Considering it’s a fair guess this will be a unanimous choice… who is your first runner up in the AL? Why?
My runner-up, and if Judge wasn’t in the running, my vote would go with Andrew Benintendi of Boston. He hit 20 home runs, stole 20 bases and drove in 90 runs posting a 2.8 WAR and a .352 on-base percentage. He only trails Aaron Judge on OBP. He had an excellent season helping take the Red Sox to the playoffs and winners of their division.
Joe: He surpassed Mark McGwire’s rookie record for homers (49) by hitting 52; led the league in home runs, walks (127); runs scored (128) and WAR (8.8). Second in RBIs, OBP, OPS…the numbers go on and on. He could be the MVP, by my count he is. Aaron Judge is a no-brainer choice for AL Rookie of the Year.
Runner up? Probably Andrew Benintendi of Boston. Hell of a left fielder, with 20 HRs and 90 RBIs.
Yeah, Judge is going to run away with it, I guess if I had to pick someone else, I guess you go with Andrew Benintendi of Boston. He has had a fine year for Boston, and became a fan favorite for Boston. He has not had quite the fanfare as Judge, which is a shame because any other year, he would be a shoo-in for ROY.
2) Who is your NL Rookie of the Year? Why?
Dan: I think, like in the American League, this Rookie of the Year race is pretty one-sided in that Cody Bellinger will have it. He was competing with Judge for the home run title among rookies, until Judge took off. Bellinger had the next highest home run total at 39. My runner-up is Josh Bell of Pittsburgh. Second highest OBP in the National League and posted a 3.6 WAR, which is second highest among all rookies. Had more walks and less strikeouts than Bellinger but with more at-bats and posted 26 home runs and 90 RBI.
Josh Bell hit 26 home runs and drove in 90 runs.
Any other year Bell wins this awards… just not this year. Bellinger in a landslide, if not unanimous, decision.
Steve: Well isn’t this going to be unanimous as well? It has to be Cody Bellinger. This kid hit 39 HR this season for the Dodgers. Not since Mike Piazza in 1993, did a player in the National League accomplish this feat. Piazza won the Rookie of the Year that year, and I have no doubt that Bellinger takes it this year, and it will probably be unanimous by the voters.
3) Which two teams advance to the ALCS to determine the AL entrant into the World Series? Why?
The Indians have an amazing pitching staff with hitting to match. They’re my favorite to the win the World Series and I think they’ll beat the Yankees easily.
The Astros will have a little tougher time with Boston, but I believe their pitching and incredible offense will take them over the top in Boston and both benefit from the short distance in left field. So, Houston will know how to play that as well; love it on offense.
And, I think Houston takes Boston in four.
Yanks vs Astros in the ALCS.
Steve: We got a little preview of the Boston vs Houston series to close out the season, and Houston basically dominated the Red Sox and they were not even using their full strength, to be fair, Boston may not have been either. I think Houston’s pitching, with adding Verlander, along with a very scary offense takes Boston in four games.
On the other side of the coin, you can’t pick against Cleveland. This team is gelling on all cylinders right now, coming off a franchise record 22 straight games, and they didn’t take their foot off the pedal after it was stopped by Kansas City.
I like Houston vs Cleveland in the ALCS.
4) Which two teams advance to the NLCS to determine the NL entrant into the World Series? Why?
I really like the Dodgers and I believe they’ll be able to get through to face the Cubs.
The Cubs have a tough opponent in the Washington Nationals, and I believe that the Cubs will be able to squeak by with the main determining factor of experience behind them, especially in very tight games. Both teams are very good with incredible offensives. The one major advantage the Nationals have, though, are their three top pitchers in the rotation who are all in the Cy Young Award race. I think Chicago will be able to beat them in low-scoring games even though their pitching has been so good.
Cubs pitching is not as good as people think it is and neither are their hitters. Washington has three pitchers who will get legitimate Cy Young consideration. Nats in four.
D’backs vs Nats in the NLCS
Steve: I could be eating my words here after this posts, but I am going with Arizona to defeat the LA Dodgers. The Diamondbacks have been playing lights out baseball, and have owned the Dodgers in their last six meetings, sweeping them in Arizona as well as in Los Angeles. Sure, LA is playing better now, but Arizona is playing to win at this point and they have nothing to lose, that is a scary thing. It will go the distance, but Greinke will outlast Kershaw in Game 5 in a very low scoring game to advance.
I also like Chicago to advance in 5 games over Washington. On paper, Washington is probably the better team, but the Cubs are the defending World Champions, and have the second best record behind Cleveland after the All Star Break. The Nats are still roughed up a bit, as Bryce Harper, and Max Scherzer are question marks. Strasburg has never really been playoff tested, so it will be interesting to see what he does.
I like Chicago vs Arizona in the NLCS though, both series go the distance.
5) What are the chances the new Miami Marlins owners will deal Giancarlo Stanton? And, regardless if they do try to trade him or not, if you were the owners would you trade or keep Stanton? Why?
Dan: I think there’s a 1/100 chance of him getting moved. They should build around him. He almost hit 60 home runs this season, he’s an incredible superstar, and he’s someone that should be kept as a center piece. As the foundation. There’s no reason to trade him. You have other pieces around. You need to take after the Brewers and the Cubs and build from minor trades and from the ground up. If I’m the owner, I’m not moving him at all. He’s my main part that I need to rebound around, and within the next 2-3 years. Stanton will be around for awhile. I wouldn’t have signed him to that huge contract if I didn’t want him still with the team.
Joe: The Marlins won’t give Stanton away but they will trade him and will probably take somewhat less than market value for him due to his salary and length of contract… 2018: $25 million, 2019: $26 million, 2020: $26 million, 2021: $29 million, 2022: $29 million, 2023: $32 million, 2024: $32 million, 2025: $32 million, 2026: $29 million, 2027: $25 million, 2028: $25 million option ($10 million buyout).
Still, don’t be surprised if some team steps up and offers a neat little package of mid level to high prospects plus a couple of “everyday players ” to sweeten the deal. It only takes one and if some other team was lying in wait to scoop up Stanton then, guess what, they could turn it into a bidding war. Remember this dude appeared to be healthy all year long and just hit 59 HRs and is still just 27-years old.
No one thought Justin Verlander at $28 mil could be traded and he was. I give the odds of Stanton being a Marlin in 2018 a 30% chance.
Steve: If, you want to keep your fan base then you better, but I can tell you right now, that no new owner is going to buy a team just to spend 300 million dollars. I think the Marlins go back to rebuild mode, and trade Stanton and also eat a boat load of his contract. It’s all about the bottom dollar, the Marlins were not successful in reaching the playoffs with Stanton, so they are not going to keep paying him this ridiculous salary to keep him.
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