Each league in 2012 is going to have quite a smattering of MVP and Cy Young candidates, and a few front runners for Rookie of the Year. I’ll tell you my choices here and give you a chance to make your own pick! Check it out:
*Note – these picks are solely those of Jeremy Dorn and do not reflect the general consensus of my Three Up, Three Down co-hosts!*
NL MVP – Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
Kemp fell ten hits or one home run shy (Triple Crown or 40/40, respectively) of a sure-fire unanimous MVP selection in 2011. Which makes it even more baffling that he finished 2nd to Ryan Braun. He’s used the snub as motivation and has publicly claimed to be chasing an unprecendented 50/50 season this year. The Dodgers look to be much improved on offense, and all the extra protection is going to boost Kemp’s numbers even more this season. I’d expect another solid average and at least 45 home runs and 45 steals. That should definitely get it done for Kemp.
NL Cy Young – Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
In all honesty, biases aside, my Dodgers should have swept these two last season. The voters didn’t screw up the pitching version of the MVP award last year, giving it to the young southpaw who won the pitching Triple Crown. Anyone who beats Tim Lincecum four times head-to-head in one season deserves the hardware. Kershaw is a year older, smarter and better in 2012 and will have better run support than last year. He’s got plenty of competition from the usual suspects (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Lincecum to name a few), but I think it’s his award to lose. Hello, repeat!
NL Rookie of the Year – Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Let me preface this – I don’t like Harper. I’m in love with his potential, but his attitude bothers me. A lot. Besides, how can you root for a guy who admits to being a fan of the Lakers, Yankees, Cowboys and Duke? That’s the most insane, front-runner crap I’ve ever heard. Anyway, you can’t deny the kid’s talent and he’s got more hype than a fistfight between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant would hold. I think he’ll have a good, not great season whenever he comes up (it’s when, not if, people…get used to it). But the name alone will carry him to this award. I’m thinking .275/15/65 will do it.
AL MVP – Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Recent reports out of Tiger camp tell me that Miggy has learned how to catch grounders with his glove. Whoever told him using his face was more effective is a cruel prankster. But Cabrera isn’t in the big leagues for his defense anyway. He’s prone to hit 40 homers any given season, and this year will be no different. I’m expecting, if healthy, Cabrera to absolutely mash in the middle of that stacked Detroit lineup. If he doesn’t hit over .300 with 30+ homers and at least 120 RBI, I will honestly be shocked. Add in the fact that the Tigers might have the Central clinched by June and he’s a sure-fire MVP.
AL Cy Young – C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees
A trendy pick every year, and for good reason. You have to like Sabathia’s consistent production in the Bronx. He seems to not be phased by the bright lights and drama surrounding the pinstripes, but it’s his play on the field that makes him the front runner for me. It won’t be easy; Justin Verlander will fiercely defend his crown, and you’re also looking at guys like Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Felix Hernandez as potential Cy Young winners. But with the always-dangerous offense backing him and a better, more complete team overall, I think Sabathia wins 21 or 22 with his normal low ERA and high strikeout total.
AL Rookie of the Year – Jesus Montero, Seattle Mariners
The kid the Yankees traded to get some pitching depth is going to make quite a splash in the Pacific Northwest (don’t worry Yankee fans, I still think getting Michael Pineda was the better end of the deal). He’s going to hit 25 home runs and drive in around 90 runs, even in an offensively-challenged environment. Montero seems to be the front-runner right now regardless of who you ask, and it’s understandable given his quick, powerful bat. Don’t forget about a guy like Matt Moore in Tampa, who could sneak right in and steal it from the young catcher.
– Jeremy Dorn (@jamblinman)