No pitchers for MVP
We'll start by throwing pitchers out of the MVP talk — deserving or not, they get overlooked by voters for what are, realistically, hitters-only awards.
In a tight American League MVP race, we'll guess the three Red Sox contenders — Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez — steal enough votes from one another to eliminate them all. Jose Bautista has had a better season than Curtis Granderson by most measures, but Granderson gets the nod because he's on a playoff team.
Halladay in tight race
The Morning Call
Revoke voting privileges for anyone who doesn't have the Tigers' Justin Verlander as American League Cy Young. The three NL candidates are the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and the Phillies' Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Kershaw pitches in a large ballpark, the other two in a bandbox. Kershaw is pitching for third place in the NL West; Halladay and Lee are pitching for the World Series. Kershaw and Halladay have been steady all season. Lee has had 21/2 great months. Kershaw's numbers are slightly better. Winner: Halladay.
Milwaukee's Ryan Braun is the NL MVP. He's a complete player not working for a new contract (see Prince Fielder and Matt Kemp). In the AL, a slight edge goes to Curtis Granderson over Adrian Gonzalez.
Go with Granderson
Justin Verlander has put his name all over the MVP race. He's certain to get a lot of attention and could win the award if the big hitters split the vote. But I'm going to go with Curtis Granderson to win the MVP over Verlander, the Red Sox's Adrian Gonzalez and the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista. Granderson's all-around game sets him apart.
The NL MVP race is almost as tough to forecast. My pick is the Brewers' Ryan Braun for similar reasons to Granderson. He's a speed-and-power, all-around good player. But Roy Halladay could enter the picture. Wouldn't it be funny if he was the one who benefited most from the Verlander discussion?
As for the Cy Youngs, Verlander gets the call over Jered Weaver, and Halladay (by an eyelash) over Clayton Kershaw.
Kemp doing it all
I'm going to start with the conviction that Matt Kemp is the Most Valuable Player in the National League. Kemp ranks among the top four in the NL in the Triple Crown categories, in stolen bases and in OPS, and he plays a premium defensive position too. Kemp deserves the edge over Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder of the Brewers, Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks, Lance Berkman of the Cardinals and Joey Votto of the Reds.
If I take Kemp, then I have to take Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays as American League MVP. Justin Verlander, who is 21-0 when the Tigers score at least three runs, is an easy pick for the AL Cy Young. The Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw wins the NL Cy Young in a photo finish ahead of the Phillies' Roy Halladay.