In the 4th installment of the Venom Strikes staff predictions we’ll look at the NL award show.
In 2011 the D-Backs had decent representation in the voting results for the MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year, however no Diamondbacks actually won any of those awards. Ian Kennedy came in 4th in Cy Young voting and likewise, Justin Upton finished 4th in MVP voting. Additionally, Josh Collmenter finished 5th in the Rookie of the Year voting. Unfortunately for the D-Backs, their best would-be Rookie of the Year candidate in 2012–Paul Goldschmidt–barely lost his rookie elligibility in 2011 and doesn’t qualify for the 2012 award. Upton is among the favorites for the NL MVP award in 2012 and if Kennedy can repeat his 2011 success, he’ll again be right up there in Cy Young voting.
Here’s how we see the awards shaking out in the National League in 2012:
NL Cy Young
Levi and Thomas both think that we’ll have a repeat in this award. They both feel that Clayton Kershaw will be the 4th repeat winner for the award in the last 20 years in the National League. Tyler goes with a return to the award for Roy Halladay of the Phillies. Despite being 34, Halladay has shown no sign what-so-ever of slowing down and seems to be a safe choice to win the award for a 3rd time. I went out on a ledge on the pick and opted to go with Josh Johnson of the Marlins. Johnson has had serious health issues in the past, but has been remarkable when he has pitched. I’m guessing this is the year he finally puts a full season in.
In an obvious blatant attempt to appeal to D-Back fans, the rest of the staff except me picked Justin Upton to win the MVP in the National League. Honestly, Levi, Thomas and Tyler all have an excellent candidate in Upton. He rightfully got a ton of consideration for the award in 2011 and seems like a solid pick to win the award in 2012 with the addition of Jason Kubel and full time contributions from Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt in the D-Backs lineup. Expect a huge season from Upton in 2012. I, however, expect hate mail after going with Matt Kemp of the rival Dodgers to win the award in 2012. Kemp barely lost out to Ryan Braun in 2011 voting and is developing into one of the most dynamic players in baseball. He also just missed out on joining the 40/40 club in 2011 when he finished with 40 stolen bases and 39 home runs.
NL Rookie of the Year
With out a clear cut favorite–and despite his demotion to Triple-A–Tyler, Thomas and I all bought into the Bryce Harper-hype and picked him to win the 2012 award. The Nationals have a young outfield and lack depth so it appears that he’ll get an opportunity sooner than later. And unfortunately we feel that the national hype-machine will be on overdrive after Harper succeeds at majors. Levi likes the Reds to rebound from a disappointing 2011. The Reds have a talented roster and rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco–whom Levi picks for the award–appears to be a big piece to the puzzle in Cincinnati. Technically, Mesoraco hasn’t yet been announced starter over Ryan Hanigan, but he’ll at a minimum split time as the Reds backstop and will get plenty of chances to prove himself.
Next up is the Venom Strikes World Series predictions for 2012.
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