Faceoff…MLB preseason awards

Joseph Pugliese/ Justin Franiak, Sports Editor

Justin’s Take

With the MLB right around the corner, predictions will start to fly on who will be this year’s top performers.

This year’s competitions for MVP, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Manager of the year will be close no different from past years.

The easiest one to predict in the NL will be rookie of the year.

No one will be surprised when the Washington Nationals bring up the phenom Bryce Harper.

Harper will most likely be in the majors after the All-Star break but could be in Nationals red as early as May.

I predict Harper to put up solid numbers, but the hype around him could propel him to be voted as Rookie of the Year.

This year’s Cy Young will contribute to a very interesting race.

Almost all of the Phillie’s pitchers will be considered for this award, but I see Cliff Lee pulling ahead as the front runner.

I would not be surprised if Madison Bumgarner or Tim Lincecum give Lee a push.

Even Lee’s teammates Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels will give Lee a little trouble.

But I foresee Lee winning the award on a team where Halladay is considered the head guy.

Clayton Kershaw will be in the mix also. A year after achieving the triple crown, the young gun will again put his name in the hat for the award.

My sleeper pick in Gio Gonzalez.

In arguably one of the best moves in the offseason, the Nationals picked up a guy who could potentially win multiple Cy Youngs, this just isn’t his year though.

Manager of the Year will also be a tough race.

If Ozzie Guillen can guide the new look Marlins to a playoff spot, he is a shoe-in for the spot.

Davey Johnson could also make a push for the award. If the Nationals nab a wildcard spot, expect Johnson to be accepting the trophy.

My MVP pick was pretty hard to make.

I do not see a pitcher winning it in the NL this year, unlike the rare occurence in the AL last year.

I do,however, see Justin Upton taking the award.

He’s on a young Diamondbacks team which is young and not a joke. Arizona will continues its momentum from last year, make the playoffs and take a run. Upton will lead them to a nice playoff showing.

Joe’s take

Baseball will soon be in full swing. Bats will crack, popcorn will pop, and hot dogs will getboiled.

Along with all the nostalgia, the critics will begin their predictions.

The MLB awards are always interesting, especially with a pitcher taking the MVP and Cy Young award last year.

My AL MLB award picks were actually pretty hard to predict.

My rookie of the year will be Yu Darvish.

Some may criticize me for it, but this kid has a lot of upside.

Although the history of Japanese pitchers in the bigs isn’t too good, I have a good feeling about Darvish.

I love Matt Moore from the Rays. This year he will actually reach rookie status and could make a run for the rookie of the year award.

Yoenis Cespedes of the A’s had a good two opening games, and has a huge upside, but I see Darvish taking it.

My Cy Young pick is Jered Weaver.

Based on last year’s performance, Weaver should be the favorite and only has room to improve.

I believe with the addition of C.J. Wilson and Dan Haren on the staff, Weaver will push himself to the limit and capture the award.

In turn, Weaver will lead the Angels to a deep playoff run.

The usual suspects like Sabbathia and Verlander will give Weaver a run, but I think the Angels ace will excel.

My pick for Manager of the Year is Bobby Valentine.

Being a Mets fan, I love Bobby Valentine; he’s my hero.

I believe his no funny business attitude and hard working mentality will take the Red Sox far in the playoffs.

If Valentine can control that locker room, he is a shoe-in for the award.

My MVP for the AL is Robinson Cano. Yankees fans will love me becuase Cano will finally win.

The second baseman will finally get the appreciation he deserves.

Albert Pujols made the jump to the AL this year, but I do not think he will win the award.

I would also not be surprised to see the Ray’s Evan Longoria in the running for the honor.

Miguel Cabrera’s move to third may affect his chances for the award, but if he keeps his hitting to the usual, he can definitely make a push to take most valuable player.

Baseball gets into full swing Thursday, and I cannot be more excited. Hoepfully the Mets will surprise me this year. Hopefully.