By Billy Fallon
After the shortened MLB season, many people were left wondering if awards would even be considered valuable considering they were earned over a 60 game period. That being said, they are still going to give them out so here are my predictions for who will win each award.
Al MVP: Jose Abreu. While there are many good candidates out there, I believe Abreu had the most complete season out of any player in baseball. While both yankees Luke Voit and Dj LeMahieu should be serious contenders, considering Voit led the league in homers with 22 and LeMahieu led in average with a amazing .364 line, Voit did cool off towards the end of the season in the average category, seeing his average in the .310 range in august drop off to end the year at .277. Lemahieu had a fantastic year breaking many records along the way, but ultimately the fact that he did injure his thumb along with contracting Covid-19 earlier in the year resulted in him playing only 50 games, which add up in such a short season. So while I personally believe either LeMahieu or Voit should be the MVP for the stats they put up on such an injury riddled team as the Yankees were, I just don’t see the voters doing so. While many people are calling for Jose Ramirez and Shane bieber to take the award as well, I personally don’t see either of them getting it as well as even though Ramirez was by far the best hitter in the month of september, he struggled in July and early August and I feel even though his insane surge of power was just too late to take the award. Now Shane Bieber is an interesting topic, as he should be, he made it so he will run away with the Al Cy Young award with his 1.63 era and 8-1 record, was it enough to earn MVP? I think because of the shortened season, the answer is no. If he kept this pace over 162 games, this would be a different conversation but all in all, his pitching brilliance lasted for 12 regular season games. While the argument could possibly be made as to why he deserved the trophy, I just don’t see it happening. So, I give the award to the RBI league leader Jose Abreu, who slashed .317/.370/.617 with 19 homers to lead the White Sox to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.
NL MVP: Freddie Freeman. If you asked this question in August, everybody would have said Fernando Tatis and laughed at any other possibility. While that seemed like the case, Tatis went on a major cold streak to end the year, seeing his average drop from the .300 range all the way down to .277, much like Luke Voit in the Al. But while Voit kept powering balls out of the yard, Tatis couldn’t do so, going on a drought and finishing his final 15 games batting .170 with 2 home runs, ultimately letting others pass him in the race. While someone like Mookie betts is a tempting option, Freeman almost beats him in every category and Freeman did all this after being battered by his own battle with covid-19, and as he described, it seemed very bad so for him to do such and then outperform almost everybody in his league, earns him the honors in my book. Now one player that I think should be considered based on stats alone is Juan Soto, the world series hero who led both leagues in OPS with an incredible 1.185 Ops to go along with a .351 batting average, who beat out Freeman in many categories. But, Soto also had covid-19, forcing him to miss 13 games, which again adds up to much more in this weird season, ending the year with 60 less at-bats than Freeman. While the smaller sample size definitely makes a difference, the deciding factor is that Soto finished on a last-place Nationals team in the NL East while Freeman finished on a 2-seeded Braves team who are still in the playoffs. Combine that with the fact Soto only barely edged him out in some categories gives Freeman, bringing a .341/.462/.640 slash line to the table, taking the award.
Al Cy Young: Shane Bieber. I mean come on, 8-1 record, 1.63 era leads the majors, 122 strikeouts leading the majors, getting very serious MVP consideration, this isn’t a debate, he gets it.
NL Cy Young: Trevor Bauer. This one may be controversial with Jacob Degrom still doing Jacob Degrom things, but I’m giving it to the guy with the NL leading Era of 1.73, Trevor Bauer. While Degrom was doing his magic again, I don’t see him getting the award for his third consecutive year. Even though he had very similar production while leading the NL in strikeouts, he wasn’t putting up eye-popping numbers compared to his peers in the race. Yu Darvish also should be seriously considered with an 8-3 record and a 2.01 era, but a couple late season bad performances led to him gaining a couple more losses and inflating his era higher than bauer, and with none of his other numbers really jumping off the page to give him the award, I just don’t see him bringing it home. So, I give the Cy Young to the guy who single-handedly carried the Reds pitching to the playoffs, Trevor Bauer.
Al ROTY: Kyle lewis. This one was really a two person race between Lewis and Luis Robert, and while neither of their stats are truly eye-popping, I give the award to Lewis after Robert looked like he had the award all but in his hands before a late season meltdown seeing his average drop to a sub-par .233. While Lewis saw the same thing happen a bit, he kept his average at .262 to end the year, both finished with 11 home runs, and lewis with an .801 ops and robert with a .738 ops so in the end, a once exciting two person race seems to have a winner after 2 cool-downs, but Lewis kept his numbers a bit higher, earning him the award.
NL ROTY: Alec Bohm. Not many people, myself included, really saw this coming as in 44 games the phillies 3rd baseman put up a .338 batting average to go with an .881 ops and 4 home runs, seemingly out of nowhere. He was not really even that much of a consideration at the beginning of the year, but injuries to the Phillies infield opened up a spot and he took advantage. That, combined with the fact there were no other real competitive candidates besides possibly Jake Croneworth of the Padres, who’s numbers and overall influence meant much less to the loaded team of the Padres than the struggling phillies. Bohm almost led the Phillies to the playoffs, and while Sixto Snachez, the Marlins rookie pitcher, made a late run with some late season pitching brilliance, it wasn’t enough to overtake the monster year Bohm had accomplished.