With only one day until the first pitch in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2020 season, the Philly Sports Network Phillies’ team wanted to see how right- or wrong- we could be with the division winners, MLB awards, and the playoffs. Make sure to check out the Phillies’ page to see the rest of the staff’s picks heading into this season.
NL East standings:
The top three in the standings are tough. The Braves, in my opinion, should be the overwhelming favorite to win the division. With this said, the controversy comes when talking about the Nationals and Phillies. The reigning World Series champions deserve plenty of credit in my eyes. Their championship run was not a fluke, but the didn’t start off too hot either.
After 60 games last season, they went 27-33, which shows that they just got hot and never looked back. In a shortened season, there is no room for this to happen. For a team like the Phillies, who have thrived early in the season the past couple of years, they need to make things happen fast. Bryce Harper and Aaron Nola both have considerably better numbers while playing in the heat as well, which they’ll be walking into to start the season.
We can’t forget about the Mets, who improved this offseason as well and will stay close to the 2-3-4 spot in the division, but it’s tough to trust them without seeing more consistency out of that team, who lost one of their better pitchers to a division rival anyhow.
AL MVP: Mike Trout
It’s hard to ever doubt Mike Trout. The South Jersey native may have broken the hearts of many Phillies’ fans have by signing his mega-contract to stay with the Angels, but that doesn’t take away from the fact he is one of the greatest to ever do it. He and his wife are expecting their first child in August, so assuming he does not miss much, if any, playing time I’ll count on the best player in the world continues to be the best player in the world until proven otherwise.
NL MVP: Bryce Harper
The NL MVP was a bit harder to pick here. The names Ronald Acuna and Mookie Betts definitely may be stronger preseason candidates to win this award, but I have to roll with Bryce Harper. For his career, Harper has hit .276 in the months of July, August, September, and October. Last season, he hit 17 home runs in the two closing months of the Phillies’ season, which was his personal best. I think Bryce will have something to prove coming into this shortened season, and he will prove it.
AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole
This is a painful one to admit for me. As a personal fan of Mike Cleavinger and Justin Verlander, my heart tells me to pick one of them. However, Gerrit Cole is a beast when on the mound. Now that he is pitching in front of one of the strongest lineups in baseball (that doesn’t cheat), and in one of the deepest rotations, he can just relax. He’ll feel more comfortable to make mistakes, but those will come minimally anyways.
NL Cy Young: Walker Buehler
Now, this is a pick I can get behind. In my opinion, Buehler has been slept on for a couple of seasons now, and I think this is the year he gets more recognition. Last season, he boosted his strikeout rate and tightened up already remarkable control, while showing he could handle a full-season workload suggest to me that he could make his way into the top names of the MLB.
AL Rookie of the Year: Luis Robert
I had to do some research for this one, and Robert’s name stood out above the rest for one reason: consistent playing time. He’s had a strong summer camp, and he’ll be planning on playing 60 games for the White Sox. He hit over 900 feet of home runs in a single game on back-to-back shots and is ready to display his fielding ability as the everyday center fielder for Chicago.
NL Rookie of the Year: Carter Kieboom
Again, what sticks out for Kieboom is that he expects to play a lot, and that he already has a decent amount of experience. Nationals’ manager Dave Martinez mentioned that Kieboom should be the everyday starter at the hot corner, even though Asdrubel Cabrera has started in a couple of the exhibition games. Given his experience and likelihood to play a lot in this 60 game season, Kieboom has my vote for ROY.
Continued on the page below.