Friday, March 23, 2018

TGP 2018 Predictions: Comeback Players of the Year

The Comeback Player of the Year Award is generally given to a player who has not only a great season but has a great story behind their great season. For example, if a player misses a bulk of the previous season or seasons due to injury they are generally a candidate for the award if they come back the next season and have a strong season. Remember when Bartolo Colon basically came out of retirement for the New York Yankees only to shock the baseball world by showing that he could not only still pitch, but still pitch effectively at the Major League level? Or remember last season when Greg Holland returned from missing the 2016 season with Tommy John surgery to lead the National League for a chunk of the seasons in saves in 2017? Those are the kind of stories that win you a Comeback Player of the Year Award, and here are my 2018 stories.

I know I am reaching way out in left field on this one, but you almost have to with any of these sorts of predictions at this stage in the year. No one knows who is going to come back healthy, and nobody knows who is going to be the “next big thing” in Major League Baseball. So why not go bold? Why not predict that Tim Lincecum will not only make the Major League roster at some point in the 2017 season with the pitching-starved Texas Rangers, but why not predict that he will do well for the team in whatever role they use him in? It could happen, and according to my predictions it will happen. The Freak is back, likely as a reliever, and he wants some more hardware for his shelves at home.

The National League version was a little harder to come up with, so I decided to go bold once again in predicting that David Wright finally makes his way back onto the field with the New York Mets. At this point Wright doesn’t even have to be all that effective to earn to award, the story in itself of him working his way back to the Major League level would be story enough. Wright is currently working on trying to get back to the Mets after undergoing shoulder surgery in September of 2017 and an additional surgery on his lower back in October of 2017. Currently at the time of this writing Wright has been shut down from baseball activities for at least eight weeks, but if the Mets former third baseman can make it back by June or July he would easily be the story of the second half around Major League Baseball.

TGP 2018 Predictions: Managers of the Year

So far, we have predicted the New York Yankees winning their division en route to a World Series victory while the Washington Nationals will come up just a little short in Bryce Harper’s last hurrah. We have predicted a couple movements in the power rankings with strong showings this season by the Seattle Mariners and the Philadelphia Phillies, and we even predicted who would win the prestigious Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman Awards for the best relief pitcher in both of their respective leagues. None of that could be possible for any of these players or any of these teams though without a good manager, which is why the next award we will be predicting is the Manager of the Year Awards for the 2018 season.  

So, you would think since I specifically mentioned the Seattle Mariners and the Philadelphia Phillies not only in my previous paragraph but in my standings prediction as well that I would automatically go to that well again here for my managers prediction, right? Wrong! I like to shake things up a bit, and I don’t like to be predictable with my predictions, so keep reading.

Once again, in my opinion, the New York Yankees have everything working against them here with another major award. Sure, the team has a new manager in Aaron Boone and sure, the team has a young nucleus of players that could get younger with the call ups of Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, but the team is almost too good for their own good if you know what I mean. If the Yankees don’t win the World Series in 2018 it will be a huge disappointment to many, but if they do I can see many fans, writers and voters coming out with a feeling that they almost expected it. Like the Yankees are once again supposed to win every game, you know? So, sorry Aaron. I can’t see you winning the AL Manager of the Year Award, even if you should. Instead, that award will go to the Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost who will keep his team in the hunt for a playoff spot until the final week of the regular season, all without a major part of his core and his team that all left to free agency this winter.

In the National League I have to go with the manager of the San Francisco Giants, Bruce Bochy. Bochy is nearing the end of his managerial career in my opinion and this may be Boche’s last true shot at not only this award, but at a World Series championship as well. Last season the Giants were horrible finishing with a 64-98 record, which was good for dead last in the National League West Division. I don’t feel like with just the additions of Evan Longoria, Andrew McCutchen and Austin Jackson that the team will be strides better than they were in 2017, but I also don’t believe that the likes of Jeff Samardzija, Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and others can be as bad as they were in 2017 either. I think it will be a team effort and a collective effort that will not only bring the team back to the postseason, but it will also bring Boche an NL Manager of the Year Award as well.