2021 MLB Awards: How MVP, Cy Young races stand after April

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NBC Sports Bay Area Staff
·4 min read
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2021 MLB Awards: How MVP, Cy Young races stand after April originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The first month of the 2021 MLB season is just about through and there’s been no shortage of surprises.

Heading into play Thursday, teams such as the Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals are in first place atop their divisions. Nate Lowe and Jesús Aguilar lead the league in RBIs (22) and Cedric Mullins and Yermín Mercedes (32) are tops in hits. MLB’s leader in ERA is Danny Duffy (0.39) while Corbin Burnes paces the league with an undefined, yes undefined, strikeout-to-walk ratio of 49:0.

Yet as new faces have emerged, others have maintained their status as some of the best players in the game. Let’s handicap the races for MLB’s top awards as April comes to a close.

NL Cy Young

  1. Jacob deGrom (NYM)

  2. Corbin Burnes (MIL)

  3. Brandon Woodruff (MIL)

Burnes may be off to a start so impressive it’s mathematically impossible to quantify, but the only answer here is deGrom. The Mets’ two-time Cy Young winner has tied Nolan Ryan for the most strikeouts for a pitcher through his first five starts in MLB history (59) all while posting a minuscule ERA of 0.571. Oh yeah, and he’s the only pitcher pumping 100+ mph every start.

In the running: Anthony DeSclafani (SFG), Clayton Kershaw (LAD), Joe Musgrove (SDP), Tyler Mahle (CIN), Trevor Rogers (MIA)

NL MVP

  1. Ronald Acuña Jr. (ATL)

  2. Jacob deGrom (NYM)

  3. Jesse Winker (CIN)

The Braves’ offense has stumbled out of the gate, but it’s anyone’s guess just how bad of a start Atlanta would be off too without Acuña. He either leads or shares a tie for the lead among NL hitters in home runs (8), runs scored (24), slugging percentage (.750) and OPS (1.204). The last hitter to finish a full season with an OPS over 1.200 was Barry Bonds in 2004.

In the running: Kris Bryant (CHC), Nick Castellanos (CIN), Bryce Harper (PHI), Justin Turner (LAD), Trea Turner (WSH)

NL Rookie of the Year

  1. Jazz Chisholm (MIA)

  2. Dylan Carlson (STL)

  3. Trevor Rogers (MIA)

The Marlins placed Chisholm on the 10-Day Injured List on Wednesday, putting a damper on an impressive April for the rookie infielder. Chisholm leads the NL with seven stolen bases in addition to a .926 OPS that tops all qualified rookies in the Senior Circuit. After winning the starting second base job out of spring training, Chisholm has quickly proven he’s MLB-ready.

In the running: Ian Anderson (ATL), Phillip Evans (PIT), Zach McKinstry (LAD), Pavin Smith (ARI), Huascar Ynoa (ATL)

AL Cy Young

  1. Gerrit Cole (NYY)

  2. Tyler Glasnow (TBR)

  3. Shane Bieber (CLE)

This is perhaps the closest race right now, with all three of the aces listed above making strong cases for the No. 1 spot. Cole edges out Glasnow and Bieber as the AL leader in WHIP (0.726), FIP (0.72), K/9 (14.2) and BB/9 (0.9). Baseball fans could be in for a treat if these three strikeout machines end up in a dead heat for the AL Cy Young award. Cole is by no means a runaway favorite with the 2021 New York Yankees season in the gutter after the first month of the season.

In the running: Jose Berrios (MIN), Matthew Boyd (DET), Danny Duffy (KCR), Kyle Gibson (TEX), John Means (BAL)

AL MVP

  1. Mike Trout (LAA)

  2. Yermín Mercedes (CHW)

  3. Byron Buxton (MIN)

Trout is wrapping up one of the best months he’s ever had at the plate. Thirteen of his 29 hits have gone for extra bases, while he’s reached base in more than half (.524 OBP) of his trips to the plate. Baseball’s best player is starting to see some competition from a wave of new young stars, but he’s not ceding that title just yet.

In the running: Nelson Cruz (MIN), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR), Yuli Gurriel (HOU), J.D. Martinez (BOS), Shohei Ohtani (LAA)

AL Rookie of the Year

  1. Yermín Mercedes (CHW)

  2. Akil Baddoo (DET)

  3. Michael Kopech (CHW)

Mercedes is putting up numbers that rival the best players in the game, never mind rookies. He has the highest batting average in baseball at .432 while hitting four homers and five doubles. The Chicago White Sox may have found something in Mercedes, who’s 28 years old despite playing his first full season in the bigs.

In the running: Randy Arozarena (TBR), Emmanuel Clase (CLE), Adolis Garcia (TEX), James Karinchak (CLE), Nick Madrigal (CHW)