The last week of baseball is coming to an end and the awards are up in the air. These awards include the most exciting MVP race of the past decade and a very intriguing Rookie of the Year race in both the American League and National League. Here are my picks for the MLB awards. Some may surprise you.
AL MVP: In most baseball fan’s eyes this award is an easy pick, with Shohei Ohtani leading, but I beg to differ. Ohtani does have over 150 strikeouts, and close to 50 home runs, but his hitting does not match Vladimir Guerroro Jr.’s incredible skills with the bat. Ohtani has a .395 wOBA which puts him in the top 4% of the league, an amazing feat, but this does not compare to Guerrero’s .421 wOBA, the highest in the American League. I also take into consideration how each player’s team competed this year. The Angels, who Ohtani plays for, are nowhere near postseason consideration, but the Blue Jays, the team that Guerroro plays for, are in the toughest division in baseball and are still in postseason contention. While there is no question that Ohtani is the most exciting player in baseball, Guerrero has been more valuable to his team than Ohtani.
NL MVP: This pick is highly controversial. Do you go with the player contending on the top of the leaderboards, or hiding in the shadows? I went with the player who is leading the leaderboards and contending, also known as Bryce Harper. Harper, in my humble opinion, is the clear favorite for MVP, with an astonishing .435 wOBA, the highest in baseball right now. He also has a chance for the division title, so it’s a no brain vote for me.
AL ROY: This is an extremely tight race, and could very well go either way. Randy Arozerena or Adolis Garcia? Arozarena had a pretty consistent season, with a .347 wOBA and a .353 OBP, but when you look at Adolis Garcia, the raw power he possesses can wow an entire crowd. He posted a rookie leading 30 home runs and a .316 wOBA. However, it’s not really close in my opinion. Arozerena has the power and the average, so he’s my AL ROY.
NL ROY: This is a no-brainer for me. Jonathan India has been a dominant force this season with a .367 wOBA, 21 home runs, 56 extra base hits, 70 walks, and 12 stolen bases. His only competition was Trevor Rogers, until he was injured. Rogers was on fire, and the clear favorite until he was hurt, but his numbers have since declined and he fell out of contention for this award.
AL Cy Young: This is a fun race: Robbie Ray or Gerrit Cole? These two are the only contenders, and it really could go either way. Ray has an above average xwOBA at .283, with an elite K% and Whiff%, 32.5% and 32.3% respectively. Cole, on the other hand, has a .268 xwOBA, 33.9 K%, and a 32.2 Whiff%. They both have a 1.04 WHIP. Based on the numbers, Cole is the favorite and my pick.
NL Cy Young: There is no question that Corbin Burnes is the NL Cy Young. He is in the 99th percentile for both xwOBA, xERA, and Fastball Spin Rate. He is also in the 95th percentile or higher for average exit velocity, xBA, xSLG, Barrel%, K%, Whiff%, and Chase Rate. Lastly, you can add in the fact that he’s in the top 90% for three other categories. Therefore, he is the only legitimate candidate for NL Cy Young.
AL Manager of the Year: Once again, Kevin Cash is the top candidate for AL Manager of the Year. However, he has new competition: Charlie Montoyo. Cash has led the Rays to a franchise record in wins, and has put them in prime position for the best record in the American League. But Charlie Montoyo has re-done the Blue Jays and put them in top contention for the Wild Card. If the Blue Jays make the postseason, I think Montoyo has a real chance to win this award, and he is the most deserving.
NL Manager of the Year: This award is focused on two teams, the Cardinals and the Giants. In reality it’s only the Giants. Gabe Kapler is the clear favorite. Most predictions had the Giants coming in last or second to last in the NL West, but instead they are in first. Kapler is the reason that the Giants are winning and that should put him in prime position to win this award without a fight.