Following in last week’s theme, here are the top beginning-of-season contenders for National League awards:
MVP: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies (SS)
Tulowitzki is an MVP contender basically every year; between his power bat and elite defensive ability (has led the league in range factor in four of his five years in the big leagues, fielding percentage twice, and has averaged 1.8 dWAR/162 in his career). For the past 3 years, he has averaged .304/.376/.554 (still a 134 OPS+ at Coor’s) from the shortstop position with 30 home runs and 97 RBI’s. He’s off to a good start, homering in his season debut.
Runners-up: Kemp (LA), Votto (CIN)
Cy Young: Zack Greinke, Milwaukee Brewers
Zack Greinke makes his first start of the year later today, and there’s every reason to believe that this year he’ll bounce back to elite form (though it’s hard to see him matching his historic 2009 season). He posted a 12-3 record, with a 2.59 ERA and a .654 OPS-against after the all-star break last season – much closer to his actual abilities than what was seen in the first half, when he was recovering from a rib injury sustained during spring training. His ability to rack up strike-outs while avoiding walks – combined with the extra motivation of a contract year – could make this a year to remember for the 27-year old right-hander.
Or maybe, I’m just being a homer.
Runners-up: Halladay (duh) (PHI) and Lee (PHI)
Rookie of the Year: Yonder Alonso, San Diego Padres (1B)
Yonder Alonso got the gift he needed in the form of a trade out of Cincinnati, where he was blocked at first base by Joey Votto (who will be a Red forever). He tried left field, but it wasn’t a good fit, so he was traded in a several-player deal involving Mat Latos and Edison Volquez, and now he has a starting gig at the big leagues. The only problem? He’s playing at PetCo Park, which is notoriously unfriendly to batters. If he hits .275/.350/.430 for the Padres, with around 15-20 home runs and 30-40 doubles, that should be good enough to lock down the award.
Runners-up: Delgado (ATL), Cozart (CIN)