MLB BBWAA Award Predictions

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Sam Anthony, Staff Writer

On Monday, Major League Baseball released the finalists for the four major awards: MVP, Cy Young, Manager of the Year and Rookie of the Year. These awards will be announced next week, starting on Monday, November 11th. While some are not particularly close, and the announcement is simply a formality, some are highly debated. Here is a breakdown of each award and my prediction as to who wins each.

The Rookie of the Year is the first award announced, and both of these are likely formalities. While no disrespect to guys like Mike Soroka and Fernando Tatis Jr., Pete Alonso and Yordan Alvarez seem to have run away with these awards. Alonso came up in April after the Mets opted to bring him up, despite the service time advantage, and he never looked back. He broke the rookie major league record for homers with 53, while also winning the home run derby and becoming the first rookie since 1900 to ever win the home run title outright. While the Mets opted to bring up Alonso at the beginning of the year, the Astros did not with Alvarez. Nevertheless, he obliterated the baseball in his time up. He hit 27 homers in 87 games, with an OPS of 1.067. Both these awards should be unanimous. 

For the Cy Young, it becomes a little less clear as to who will win. Jacob deGrom will likely win in the NL and would be my choice for the award, but Hyun Jin Ryu and Max Scherzer are both viable candidates. deGrom won the Cy Young last year, and while not having quite as good of a year, he still put up great numbers. He had a 2.43 ERA with a league leading 255 strikeouts in 204 innings. While Ryu leads in ERA, his failures near the end of the year will likely stay in voters’ minds. Scherzer’s injuries throughout the year cost him many innings and made his numbers less appealing than deGrom. In the AL, it will be a very close race. Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander are the frontrunners, and the difference between their stats are miniscule. Their ERA’s are within .08 of each other (Cole leads with a 2.50) and both tallied 300 strikeouts. This one could easily go either way, but I would choose Verlander based on the 10 more innings that he pitched. 

For Manager of the Year, any of the finalists could have a legitimate case because each had to deal with their own problems, whether it be injuries, lack of talent, or lack of payroll. Although each has a legitimate case, I would choose Aaron Boone and Mike Shildt. Boone had to lead a team with tons of injuries and got them to be the second best team in the league. It takes extreme talent to be able to take a team with so many injuries like the Yankees and lead them to the postseason. On the National League side, Shildt took over the Cardinals mid-year last year and almost got them to the postseason. This year, the team beat expectations by winning the division. Shildt deserves credit for outperforming the general expectation that the Cubs were better than them. Also, his team, as compared with the other two finalists, did not go to the postseason the year before, which is taken into deep consideration when voting.

Finally, the MVP voting. In the NL, it seemed like it would come down to Bellinger and Yelich, before Yelich suffered a broken kneecap. Bellinger is the frontrunner (1.035 OPS, 9.0 bWAR), but Rendon may be an upset candidate. While Bellinger has better stats and plays better defense, the voters may take team into consideration. By literal definition, Rendon may be considered “more valuable” by some voters because the Nationals needed him more to make the postseason than the Dodgers needed Bellinger. Altogether, though, I think Bellinger will win it. On the American League side, it comes down to preference. Mike Trout was on pace for a unanimous MVP until he suffered a season ending injury and finished with 135 games. His stats are still MVP worthy, but Alex Bregman’s stats are almost as good. The preference comes down to total production or production per game. Trout produced more on a per-game basis but played in 20 less games than Bregman. My vote would go to Trout, but it will be a close vote.