- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
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As we began the second half, it's a fun time to revisit some predictions. I polled the SweetSpot network bloggers before the season on their award predictions. Obviously, not everything has happened as we thought it would. (Tim Lincecum for Cy Young? I think not.) Here are some revised picks, and your chance to vote on who you think will win the MVP and Cy Young awards.
My pick: Cano. Working in Trout's favor is that he's new and exciting, which makes for headlines. But Cano is having his best year, and could hit 35 home runs and approach 50 doubles, amazing production for a second baseman. If he matches his first half, I believe Trout can win, but even a little slide opens the door for Cano, Hamilton or Cabrera.
My pick: Votto. Right now it looks like we have two clear favorites in Votto and McCutchen. If both perform close to what they did in the first half, the deciding factor is likely: Which team makes the playoffs? I'll go with Votto, since the Reds are probably the better bet to make the postseason. Under that thinking, don't count out Carlos Beltran. He leads the NL in RBIs, and MVP voters still love themselves some ribbies; if the Cardinals overtake the Reds and Pirates, Beltran becomes a viable candidate.
My pick: Verlander. Price was my preseason pick, and at 11-4, 2.82, he's still a strong candidate. But I think this might come down to Verlander (9-5, 2.58) and Weaver (10-1, 1.96). Verlander's big edge is that he's pitched 36 more innings than Weaver, due to Weaver's stint on the DL. But if the Angels' ace finishes 21-3 or so with an ERA in the low 2s, he could sneak in.
My pick: Dickey. In what appears to be the most wide-open category, this could go in any direction. It wouldn't surprise me to see Kershaw (6-5, 2.91) have a huge second half and get in the running for his second straight Cy Young. Dickey is 12-1, 2.40, he's got the innings (two-third of an inning behind league leader Kershaw) and strikeouts (five behind league leader Strasburg). Dickey's story could help push him over the top in a toss-up vote.
1. Mike Trout (16 votes)
My pick: Trout. Moore and Darvish picked up 31 of the 37 first-place votes in our preseason voting, and Trout finished fourth in the balloting. He did pick up one first-place vote; unfortunately, I didn't keep the ballots, so I can't call out the one blogger who voted for Trout. Whoever you are, take a bow.
My pick: Harper. As our Reds blogger Chad Dotson wrote to me, "Harper will win, although he isn't out-hitting fellow rookie Todd Frazier." It will be interesting to see what the voters will do if Miley -- 9-5, 3.04 -- ends up with 16 or 17 wins and ERA in the low 3s. But assuming Harper doesn't fall apart in the second half, he should win. Mesoraco, the preseason favorite, is hitting just .214 with five home runs in a part-time role.
American League playoff picks
AL East: Yankees (15 votes)
AL Central: White Sox (7 votes), Tigers (7 votes), Indians (1 vote)
AL West: Rangers (14 votes), Angels (1 vote)
Wild cards: Angels (14 votes), Rays (6 votes), Red Sox (5 votes), White Sox (3 votes), Rangers (1 vote), Orioles (1 vote)
My picks: Yankees, Tigers, Rangers (division winners); Angels, Red Sox (wild cards). I wasn't as high on the Tigers before the season as most, but the way I see the AL Central: The White Sox got big first halves from A.J. Pierzynski, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Chris Sale and Jake Peavy -- and they're still only 3.5 up on the Tigers. I was surprised only one blogger picked the Angels to win the AL West even though they're only 4 games behind the Rangers. I, too, will go with Texas. And nobody picks the A's to make the playoffs? They're only 2.5 out of the wild card!
National League playoff picks
NL East: Nationals (13 votes), Braves (2 votes)
NL Central: Reds (8 votes), Cardinals (6 votes), Pirates (1 vote)
NL West: Giants (9 votes), Dodgers (5 votes), Diamondbacks (1 vote)
Wild cards: Braves (9 votes), Pirates (7 votes), Cardinals (5 votes), Reds (4 votes), Giants (3 votes), Nationals (2 votes)
My picks: Nationals, Cardinals, Giants (division winners); Reds, Diamondbacks (wild cards). Who knows what will happen in the National League. I think we'll end up with a five-way tie for the two wild cards. What are the rules for that? Anyway, there is a lot of belief in the Pirates -- or maybe believing with hearts instead of minds.
As we began the second half, it's a fun time to revisit some predictions. I polled the SweetSpot network bloggers before the season on their award predictions.