With the pandemic-shortened 2020 MLB season just a couple weeks away from its conclusion, people are beginning to speculate as to who will win the League's annual honors: Rookie of the Year (ROY), Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the Cy Young Award. Ever since I listed off the last 36 World Series winners from memory on my first date with my fiancé, Baseball has been one of our "things" that we enjoy watching together. Although we may not agree on our Baseball teams themselves (he's a Detroit Tigers fan and I'm a Chicago White Sox fan), we've definitely agreed on these predictions. In addition to picking the winner of these three awards in both the American and National Leagues, we've also indicated who we think will finish second and third in the voting. Enjoy!
AL Rookie of the Year: Luis Robert (Chicago White Sox)
At the beginning of the season, many people assumed that Chicago's Luis Robert would run away with the American League's Rookie of the Year Award. However, over these past two months, Seattle's Kyle Lewis came through and made himself a legitimate contender for the award as well. Lewis has posted a .295/.390/.494 slash line so far this season, compared to Robert's .255/.317/.503 totals. Obviously, the numbers are fairly close, but we think that Luis Robert will ultimately pull away because of his absolutely stellar defense. On defense, Robert leads the Majors in 'Outs Above Average' with 7 and in 'Runs Prevented' with 6. Additionally, Robert has a defensive WAR of 1.3; however, there's still time for Kyle Lewis to close the gap.
2nd and 3rd Place Finishers: Kyle Lewis (SEA) & Cristian Javier (HOU)
NL Rookie of the Year: Jake Cronenworth (San Diego Padres)
Unlike the American League's Rookie of the Year competition, the NL's version is in the bag, with Jake Cronenworth as the clear front runner. Cronenworth has been having one hell of a year with the Padres, as he's posted a .319/.378/.546 slash line on the season thus far. If Cronenworth were in the American League, he'd be the clear winner there, too. Furthermore, Cronenworth has been a consistent hitter for San Diego all season long. For those who don't remember, San Diego received Cronenworth in last winter's trade where the Padres also received Tommy Pham, while the Rays acquired Hunter Renfroe and Xavier Edwards (Edwards was the player who Blake Snell referred to as a "slapdick prospect" when venting about the trade shortly following its completion; he later reached out to apologize).
2nd & 3rd Place Finishers: Dustin May (LAD) & Sixto Sanchez (MIA)
AL Cy Young: Shane Bieber (Cleveland Indians)
Similar to the National League's ROY competition, this one is about as locked in as possible. Shane Bieber will absolutely win the American League's Cy Young Award; honestly, this award has been wrapped up for Bieber ever since his first start of the season. In that start, he became the first pitcher in MLB history to strike out 14 batters on Opening Day. Since then, Bieber has continued to dominate the 2020 season. This season, he's 7-1 with a stellar 1.53 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 64 innings (WOW!), along with a 0.87 WHIP. Bieber has been so great this season that both the predicted 2nd & 3rd place candidates are miles behind him.
2nd & 3rd Finishers: Dallas Keuchel (CWS) & Lance Lynn (TEX)
NL Cy Young: Jacob deGrom (New York Mets)
This is much tougher to call than the AL's Cy Young Award, as it's not nearly as obvious. However, we ultimately believe that Jacob deGrom will earn this third Cy Young in as many seasons. Although the Mets don't give deGrom much in terms of run support, he still finds a way to put his team in a position to win every time he takes the mound. This season, deGrom is a 4-1 with a 1.67 ERA, 79 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.87 in 54 innings. However, Cincinnati's Trevor Bauer has also made a case for himself as a Cy Young candidate this season. Bauer has posted a 4-3 record with a 1.71 ERA, 83 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.81 in his 58 innings pitched. By the end of the season, this award could honestly be as close as a coin-flip.
2nd & 3rd Place Finishers: Trevor Bauer (CIN) & Max Fried (ATL)
AL MVP: Tim Anderson (Chicago White Sox)
This pick was VERY difficult to reach a consensus on, as there are several great candidates here. However, Tim Anderson has been having a truly great season for Chicago. On August 1st, Anderson was placed on the 10-day IL with a groin injury. During his stint on the IL, the White Sox were just 6-5 without him. The team definitely missed his offensive presence in that time, as they struggled to score. The reigning American League batting champion (who's on pace to win his second in a row) leads the Majors with a .377 batting average. He also leads the AL with 41 runs and is third behind Nelson Cruz and Mike Trout with a 1.019 OPS. This season, Tim Anderson has 8 home runs, 18 RBI and 5 stolen bases; Anderson's teammate Jose Abreu and the Twins' Nelson Cruz have been making a case for themselves as well, but we still believe Anderson will emerge victorious, earning MVP honors for the first time.
2nd & 3rd Place Finishers: Jose Abreu (CWS) & Nelson Cruz (MIN)
NL MVP: Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves)
Last but not least, the National League MVP! This is another tough one, because there are a couple great candidates, but we believe that Atlanta's Freddie Freeman will earn this award. Many people that assumed Fernando Tatis, Jr. was the obvious choice here, but Freeman's stats are just flat out better. This season, Freeman has a .352/.465/.653 slash line, compared to Tatis, Jr.'s .286/.376/.594 totals. Freeman also leads the National League in RBI with 46 and he’s third in runs behind Tatis, Jr. and Dansby Swanson with 42. Freeman's OPS of 1.118 is currently good for second in the Majors behind Juan Soto. So, while the Freeman pick may surprise some, the proof of his worth is clearly in the numbers here.
2nd & 3rd Place Finishers: Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD) & Mookie Betts (LAD)
So, there you have it! In an abbreviated MLB season, there have still been some amazing performances and there is sure to be an entertaining postseason to soon follow. Personally, we're just happy to have any sort of baseball season. Do you agree or disagree with any of our picks? We can't wait to find out who wins these awards!
- Gabby (@moneybagsgabs) AND Jeff