Commentary: MLB Awards Predictions


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Major League Baseball’s Most Valuable Player Award

As the season comes to a close, the next phase of the MLB calendar is upon us: Award Season. With some borderline locked up picks, as well as some tight races, let’s see who is my pick to win each award.

Manager of the Year

American League: Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners

Scott Servais of the Mariners is my pick for the AL’s Manager of the Year. Following a 90-win season last year, Servais led Seattle to an identical 90-win campaign this year. More importantly, he led the Mariners in breaking a streak that had been haunting them for over two decades. The team made its first postseason appearance since 2001, breaking baseball’s longest postseason drought. The Mariners took down the Blue Jays in two games in the Wild Card Series, eventually falling to the American League champion Houston Astros.

National League: Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers

Roberts has been a staple of the Dodgers organization, leading them to a World Series win in 2020, their first since 1988. Though this season didn’t result in a World Series win, Roberts did lead Los Angeles to a historic result. With Roberts at the helm, the Dodgers won 111 games, baseball’s best record, tying the fourth most wins in MLB history. A successful season isn’t a rare commodity for the Roberts-led Dodgers. During his stint in Los Angeles, he has piloted the Dodgers to four 100-win campaigns, along with six NL West titles.

Rookie of the Year

American League: Julio Rodriguez, Center Fielder, Seattle Mariners

The second piece of hardware traveling to the Pacific Northwest should be the Rookie of the Year Award. While Guardians outfielder Steven Kwan and Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman have made very good cases for themselves, I still believe that this is a no brainer. Julio Rodriguez showed himself to be a five-tool superstar. Rodriguez bashed 28 home runs, swiped 25 bases, while posting a .853 OPS (On-base Plus Slugging). He also led all rookies in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) with 6.0, while finishing in the Top-20 for all of baseball in the stat. I have no doubt J-Rod will be in the MVP conversation for years to come.

National League: Spencer Strider, Starting Pitcher, Atlanta Braves

Whether I’m right or wrong with this pick, the Braves have the National League Rookie of the Year on their squad. Though Center Fielder Michael Harris put up a great campaign for the Braves, I’ve given the slight edge to Spencer Strider. Strider debuted last year, throwing a few innings in relief, starting this season in a similar fashion. Following struggles by the existing rotation, the Braves elevated Strider to the rotation and he posted a 2.67 ERA, with 202 strikeouts over 131.2 innings pitched. If it weren’t for a late-season oblique injury, Strider might have been a Cy Young candidate along with Rookie of the Year.

Cy Young Award

American League: Justin Verlander, Starting Pitcher, Houston Astros

I believe this is the tightest race for an American League award. Early in the season, it seemed like Rays southpaw Shane McClanahan had the award locked up. Another player in consideration is Dylan Cease of the White Sox, who put together an ace-level season. Toronto had two pitchers, Kevin Gausman and Alec Manoah, who are strong candidates, not to mention the two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani. However, it is impossible to dismiss the display of excellence by Astros ace Justin Verlander. Verlander has won the award twice, in 2011, along with MVP that season, and 2019. Following the more recent of his Cy Young wins, Verlander only threw six innings over the 2020 and 2021 season due to injury. How’d he respond? By leading the American League in wins (20), while leading all of baseball in ERA (1.75) and WHIP (.83). Even at 39 years old, he still dominates like he did over a decade ago.

National League: Sandy Alcantara, Starting Pitcher, Miami Marlins

This is a two horse race. While pitchers like Corbin Burnes, Aaron Nola, Carlos Rodon and Max Fried will also be in contention, I believe it’s between a southpaw from the west and a workhorse from the east. The former, Dodgers lefty Julio Urias, has emerged as the Dodgers’ new ace. Following his 2020 postseason heroics finishing Game 6 of the World Series for the Dodgers, Urias has become a household name, recording 20 wins in 2021 and a Top-10 Cy Young finish. He followed that up with another dominant season this year, racking up 17 wins and the NL’s best ERA at 2.16. His counterpart, however, has been a one-man wrecking crew throughout the season. Sandy Alcantara has been the lone bright spot on a floundering Marlins club. Alcantara led all of baseball in innings (228.2 IP), complete games (6), and shutouts (1). He did all of this with a low-2 ERA and a sub-1 WHIP. The race will be tight, but I have to give the edge to Alcantara.

Most Valuable Player

American League: Aaron Judge, Right Fielder, New York Yankees

This is the easiest pick.. Though Shohei Ohtani will forever be one of the most impressive athletes in all of baseball, Judge’s 2022 campaign tops it. When a player leads baseball in almost every important offensive category, he’s bound to be the frontrunner for MVP. Aaron Judge put together one of the most impressive seasons of offense in baseball history. Judge finished .005 points away from winning the Triple Crown. And don’t forget Judge bashing 62 home runs, breaking Roger Maris’ AL home run record. He now hits the free agent market, and his historic season will likely mean historic compensation.

National League: Paul Goldschmidt, First Baseman, St. Louis Cardinals

This is a three-man race. Padres third baseman Manny Machado put together his first full MVP-caliber season, picking up the slack created by Fernando Tatis Jr. missing the entire year. Fellow third baseman Nolan Arenado has become a household name, being potentially baseball’s best third baseman, with his highlight reel defense and fierce offensive prowess, which he continued this year. I believe the hardware will go to St. Louis, though not with Arenado. It will be awarded to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. “Goldy” will finally get it done, after three Top-3 finishes in 2013, 2015 and 2017. Goldschmidt finished Top-5 in all major offensive categories, including home runs (35, tied for 5th), runs batted in (115, second), batting average (.317, third), and OPS (.982, first).

The awards will be announced next week.

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