We’re one week away from award season taking over Major League Baseball — a week from when we figure out whether Shohei Ohtani wins the Rookie of the Year despite his injury-marred season, a week before we find out if Jacob deGrom can win the NL Cy Young with a 10-9 record and a week before we see if Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts will take home another trophy this year.
The Baseball Writers Association of America announced the finalists Monday for the big end-of-season awards: MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year.
Here’s a look at every category. Finalists are listed alphabetically. Remember: Only regular-season performance is considered by voters.
Our take: There are a lot of worthwhile names that could be here and aren’t — Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, J.D. Martinez. That’s a testament to how talented the AL was this season. Martinez is getting a lot of attention as a snub, but remember he’s a DH, so that hurts his overall impact. Betts is the favorite here, as his 10.4 fWAR was the best in baseball. Trout was second at 9.8. Ramirez was third at 8.0. Betts also checks the traditional box here: Best player on the best team.
• Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
• Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
• Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
Our take: Yelich is the favorite after a September in which he hit .352/.500/.807 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs. Baez’s all-around talent certainly made an impact, especially considering some of the injury troubles the Cubs dealt with this season, but this is Yelich’s award.
AL Cy Young
Our take: This is one of the tighter races this year. It really depends what you value. Snell had the best ERA (1.89) and most wins (21), Verlander had the most strikeouts (290) and Kluber edged them both in innings. Snell’s season was quite incredible considering the Rays didn’t have many other starting pitchers, but Verlander beats him in innings pitched.
NL Cy Young
• Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
• Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
• Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Our take: deGrom will win and it probably won’t be particularly close. The 10-9 record is deceiving because the Mets gave him horrific run support this season, but his 1.70 ERA was marvelous. He set a record for most consecutive starts without giving up more than three runs.
AL Rookie of the Year
• Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees
• Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
• Gleyber Torres, New York Yankees
Our take: The Ohtani experiment wasn’t a 100 percent success since his elbow injury derailed him as a starting pitcher, but it was still enough to win this year. He was plenty effective at the plate. His offensive output alone (.285/.361/.564, 22 HRs, 61 RBIs) made for a better WAR than Andujar and Torres. Add the pitching numbers, and he was the more valuable overall player. Consider that the two Yankees stand to split some of the votes here and it should be Ohtani’s.
NL Rookie of the Year
• Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves
• Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers
• Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
Our take: A tough one indeed. It’s Acuna vs. Soto here. They’re even in WAR and batting average, close enough in homers and RBIs. Soto’s big advantage is his .406 on-base percentage compared to .366 for Acuna. Acuna’s advantage is that he compiled those numbers in a few fewer games and helped his team to the postseason.
AL Manager of the Year
• Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays
• Alex Cora, Boston Red Sox
• Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics
Our take: What to do with this? All three are deserving for different reasons. Melvin took the A’s to the postseason when nobody expected they would even sniff it. Cora was a first-year manager that ran away with his division. And Cash turned the wild “bullpenning” experiment into a success and ultimately guided one of the better teams in the AL. This is the toughest of these categories.
NL Manager of the Year
• Bud Black, Colorado Rockies
• Craig Counsell, Milwaukee Brewers
• Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves
Our take: Again, three good candidates with three very different cases. Black turned pitching into a strength in Colorado. Snitker had a young Braves team ahead of schedule and surpassing expectations. And Counsell managed baseball games like chess matches en route to the NL Central title. This may not be as tight as the AL — Counsell might be a slight favorite — but it’s still three worthy finalists.
The awards will be given out starting Monday, Nov. 12 with Rookie of the Year, then managers on Nov. 13, Cy Youngs on Nov. 14 and MVPs on Nov. 15. The winners will be announced on MLB Network specials starting at 6 p.m. ET each day.
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