I mentioned, a few days ago, that I felt that the American League Cy Young award race will be one of the closest in recent memory, coming down to Justin Verlander and David Price. I would vote for Price, but Verlander has the highest WAR amongst all qualified starters in baseball, so it won't be easy.
I think the National League Cy Young award race will also be very close, coming down to Mets ace R.A. Dickey and Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez. Dickey won his 20th game of the season yesterday, striking out 13 in the process. Here are their 2012 season stats, so you tell me who you would vote for as NL Cy Young award winner:
Dickey: 20 wins, 2.69 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 3.30 xFIP, 8.78 K/9, 2.13 BB/9. 1.04 WHIP
Gonzalez: 21 wins, 2.89 ERA, 2.84 FIP, 3.39 xFIP, 9.35 K/9, 3.43 BB/9, 1.12 WHIP
it's certainly not going to be an easy decision for voters, but I would lean Dickey right now. He has the lower traditional stat (ERA), while Gonzalez has the better advanced stat (FIP).
The Phillies have talked about giving Chase Utley some playing time at third base before the season ends. The move to third base is a smart move for the Phillies, as it would save Utley's legs through the long MLB season, and keep him in their lineup more. I was told by a Phillies fan that Charlie Manuel wants to give him a shot at third, but GM Ruben Amaro Jr is against the move. Utley has quietly put together a decent second half of the season, hitting .265-.377-.452 with 11 HRs, 45 runs, 41 RBI and 10 stolen bases in less than 300 at bats this season. If you double those stats, we could see Utley as a top 5 fantasy second baseman in 2013.
Every season is filled with disappointments for fantasy owners, and one of the bigger disappointments has to be Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie. Lawrie had a terrific 2011 season, hitting .293-.373-.580 with 9 HRs, 26 runs 25 RBI and 7 stolen bases. All that in just 150 at bats, so you know the hype that prevailed prior to draft day 2012. It was huge hype, and I am here to admit I was part of the hype. Well, Lawrie had a tough time meeting the high expectations we all bestowed upon him, as he is hitting just .269-.315-.392 with 9 home runs, 68 runs, 44 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 469 at bats.The disappointing season just means he could provide real value in 2013 drafts if everyone was a year early on his breakout.
One hitter who could provide some value in 2013 fantasy drafts is Giants first baseman Brandon Belt. Belt is having a decent season at the plate now that he is playing full time. Belt is hitting .275-.362-.429 with 7 HRs, 46 runs, 55 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 389 at bats. I see more power from him in 2013, and the stolen base potential just adds to his value. He will probably be a very late round pick next season who could put up a 20 HR, 85 RBI, 20 stolen base season.