Before the playoffs begin on Tuesday night, there’s some unfinished business to take care of and it’s choices for the biggest of the individual awards. Here are TheSportsNotebook’s picks for the 2014 National League awards—MVP, Cy Young and Manager Of The Year.
MVP: Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh): There’s a lot of good choices in the National League this season and it’s not limited to position players. If Miami would have gotten to a winning season, I might have gone with Giancarlo Stanton. McCutchen carrying the Pirates into the playoffs gives me another player who had a great season and lifted a team beyond what they should have been.
Cy Young: Johnny Cueto (Cincinnati): I really have no patience for the Clayton Kershaw suck-up that the media is on. Cueto made 34 starts, Kershaw only made 27. Cincinnati is a hellish park to pitch in, Los Angeles is a dream. The Dodgers have a solid lineup, the Reds have a disappointing one. Yet Cueto was right behind Kershaw in ERA (2.25 to 1.77), and wins (20 to 21) and he worked vastly more innings. If Cueto pitched for LA in Dodger Stadium, there’s no telling how thoroughly he might have outpitched Kershaw.
Manager Of The Year: Clint Hurdle (Pittsburgh): I look at the problematic Pirate rotation and wonder how Hurdle got this team into the playoffs and chased the St. Louis Cardinals to the final day for the NL Central title. Pittsburgh overtook a more talented Milwaukee Brewers’ team for the final playoff spot. Hurdle has become one of the best managers in baseball.