Awards and Playoff Predictions: 2018

When a game heads to extra innings, it is commonly referred to as “bonus baseball.”  What we were lucky enough to experience today – the first two-tiebreaker day in MLB history – was truly “bonus baseball.”

On a day that we were supposed to be able to make our predictions, turned into a game of “wait and see” as the National League’s West and Central divisions sorted themselves out.  Now that we know where every team will open the playoffs, here’s a look at our predictions for the 2018 postseason, as well as, the major awards.

NL Wild Card
Cubs over Rockies

AL Wild Card
Yankees over A’s

NL Division Series’
Cubs over Brewers
Braves over Dodgers

AL Division Series’
Red Sox over Yankees
Astros over Indians

NL Championship Series
Cubs over Braves

AL Championship Series
Astros over Red Sox

World Series
Cubs over Astros

As much as I don’t like the direction the Cubs are going right now, they have two distinct advantages in the WC game: 1.) they haven’t had to travel for these games, and 2.) Jon Lester. That said, as good as the Brewers have been playing, it’s hard to discount the Cubs in the postseason, so they get the edge in the Division Series.

Each year it seems that a “surprise team” – if you can call any team in the playoffs a surprise – comes up and opens some eyes. This year you could consider the Brewers, Braves or A’s as one of those teams. I’m taking the Braves in that spot.

Just as in the preseason predictions – Cubs over Astros in the World Series.

The Awards
NL MVP: 1st – Christian Yelich; 2nd – Paul Goldschmidt; 3rd – Javier Baez
AL MVP: 1st – Mookie Betts; 2nd – Mike Trout; 3rd – Alex Bregman

NL Cy Young: 1st – Jacob deGrom; 2nd – Max Scherzer; 3rd – Aaron Nola
AL Cy Young: 1st – Justin Verlander; 2nd – Blake Snell; 3rd – Chris Sale

NL ROY: 1st – Ronald Acuna; 2nd – Juan Soto; 3rd – Walker Buehler
AL ROY: 1st – Shohei Ohtani; 2nd – Miguel Andujar; 3rd – Gleyber Torres

NL Manager: 1st – Brian Snitker; 2nd – Craig Counsell; 3rd – Bud Black
AL Manager: 1st – Alex Cora; 2nd – Bob Melvin; 3rd – AJ Hinch

The awards are predictions of winners rather than who I think should win the award and you could not believe how many times I flip flopped Betts and Trout to win (same can be said for Bregman and JD Martinez for 3rd).  Both Sabermetric darlings, I think the tiebreaker is Betts’ defense, but he could also easily split votes with his teammate, JD Martinez, causing Trout to claim the top spot.

Offensively, Baez was near the bottom of the top 10, but he had a huge swell of support so I could see him being in the top 3 of voting.  With the voting body getting more advanced-metric heavy each year, it also would not surprise me to see deGrom end up second or third for MVP, as well.

I predicted Scherzer to be second and Nola to place third in the preseason piece, and it looks to be accurate, although, Patrick Corbin may actually have a better case for third.  AL Cy Young is a tough call but Verlander actually grades out better in most spots when you look beyond ERA.  Despite missing significant time, Sale sneaks into the 3 spot ahead of Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino and a trio of Indians’ starters.

What Ohtani did on both sides of the ball should put him ahead of Andujar (hell, he out hit him, anyway).  The third spot should go to Brad Keller or Joey Wendle, but their small markets may hurt their cases so Torres is the pick who no doubt had a deserving season.

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