With the final stretch of the 2017 MLB season just around the corner, it’s time for voters to get serious about their selections for the individual awards that will be handed out at the end of the year. While there is still time for some things to change, we should have a pretty good idea of what to expect in terms of award voting at this time in the season. Here is a look at the National League award projections for this season.
National League Rookie of the Year
Projection: Cody Bellinger – Los Angeles Dodgers
As is the case with Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees in the American League, Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers can take the remainder of the season off and still win NL Rookie of the Year honors. Bellinger has hit .264 with 32 home runs and 75 RBI so far this season, adding another element to one of the deepest and most talented teams of the decade. The Dodgers are the obvious favorites to win a World Series this season and Bellinger’s emergence is a big part of that.
The Dodgers are the best team in baseball right now and it doesn’t look like anything will change between now and the end of the season. They are the first team in Major League Baseball with 80 wins and have won eight of their last 10 games.
National League Manager of the Year
Projection: Dave Roberts – Los Angeles Dodgers
Bobby Cox is the only manager to win this award in back-to-back years. However, it seems obvious that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts should join him as the second manager to win this award in consecutive seasons. Los Angeles has the best record in baseball with 79 wins through 111 games, which is eight more than the Houston Astros. Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker is in the conversation while Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black is a quality dark horse pick. However, Roberts is still the obvious favorite to win NL Manager of the Year this season.
National League Cy Young Award
Projection: Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals
The debate on who is better between Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and Nationals No. 1 Max Scherzer was unfolding in the form of an NL Cy Young award race before an injury to Kershaw ended it. Kershaw could make a quick recovery and reignite the debate but right now it’s Scherzer who is the favorite to win the honor. Scherzer has registered a 2.23 ERA thanks in large part to an incredible 0.85 WHIP while recording 12 wins so far this season. While some believe that Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is in the mix, it’s hard to imagine that type of scenario considering Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles didn’t even come close when he posted a historic season in 2016.
The Dodgers are – of course – having a banner year but it’s not as if the Nationals are struggling. They have 67 wins so far and hold a 14-game lead in the National League East. They have the second-most wins in the National League. With Kershaw missing a significant chunk of the season, it makes sense for Scherzer to take home this award unless he falls off in the final months of the season.
National League MVP Award
Projection: Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
The most interesting award race is for the NL MVP, with five legitimate contenders in addition to Scherzer. Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, Anthony Rendon and Justin Turner are all in the mix as legitimate contenders for the award. While the debate will include advanced analytical breakdowns, pie charts and graphs, it seems as though Harper and Goldschmidt are the two most likely contenders at this point. Harper has the slight edge in home runs and batting average while Goldschmidt has more RBI and stolen bases. Team records could factor in to the decision as well. With less than two months remaining in the regular season, there is a good chance the National League Most Valuable Player award race goes down to the wire in the 2017 season.
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