As we exit the dog days of summer, and get towards the excitement of September baseball, we can also start predicting who can/should walk away with each award after the season ends. So, let's look at who the front runners are and why they should win it.
NL MVP: Mookie Betts, OF, Dodgers
While Acuña has kept it close, it seems like Betts is starting to pull away and cement himself as the favorite for the award. Acuña does have him beat in steals, with an insane 59 on the year so far to Betts mere 10. He also barely edges Betts out on batting average, holding a .330 while Betts maintains a .315. But after that, it swings way back into Betts's favor. Betts beats Acuña in home runs, RBIs, OPS, OPS+, and slugging percentage in fewer at-bats than Acuña. While you could make the argument for the Brave, and I wouldn't put up too much of a significant fight, Betts barely edges him out.
AL MVP: Shohei Ohtani, OF/P, Angels
The other MVP also comes from LA. But this one is under much less scrutiny and debate. Ohtani has run away with this race since the first day of the season. Hitting above .300, with an on-base percentage above .400, leading the American League in home runs, and having an OPS above 1.000 is insane. That also doesn't factor in pitching. This season is nearly comparable to Aaron Judge's record-shattering season from a year ago, and to do it while pitching? It's madness. While he did suffer an injury and won't be pitching the rest of the year, Ohtani is your MVP. We'll also see how much he gets paid this off-season.
NL CY Young: Spencer Strider, SP, Braves
This one is incredibly tight between Strider and the Diamondbacks ace, Zac Gallen. Strider sits at 15 and 4, while Gallen is 14 and 5. Gallen barely has an ERA, more innings pitched, and an ERA+. Strider, however, has more strikeouts, lower whip, and fewer hits given up. It may come down to personal choice. These two are nearly identical in stats, so whichever you want would be understandable. I go, Strider, because the ERA benefit for Gallen is so minuscule, while Strider's stats gains are decently significant. It is a photo finish, but I give it to Strider.
AL CY Young: Gerrit Cole, SP, Yankees
This one is far less close than the NL's race. Cole has been one of the few bright spots for the struggling Yankees this year and has been damn consistent. To start, he holds the league's lowest ERA and the lowest ERA+, making him the clear leader immediately. While he is only 11-4, compared to pitchers with more wins, he has also been consistent in playing, not missing a start and being tied for the lead for most in the American league. Cole has finally earned it with his typical elite strikeout numbers and is now showing a new level of health and consistency.
NL Rookie Of The Year: Corbin Carroll, OF, Diamondbacks
Despite the recent emergence of Elly De La Cruz for the Reds, Carroll is still the clear answer in the National League. After being named an All-star for the first time in his young career, Carroll has lived up to all the hype he was given leading up to his time in the majors. He's hit .281 with a .364 on-base percentage this year. This comes with 22 home runs, 40 steals, and an MLB-leading eight triples. He is widely considered one of, if not the, fastest players in all of baseball.
AL Rookie Of The Year: Gunnar Henderson, 3B/SS, Orioles
While it may be easy to get lost in the sea of incredible Orioles prospects- including Adley Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez, and Jackson Holliday- Henderson has stayed above water and proved himself so far this season. Henderson has proven himself a cornerstone of this up-and-coming Baltimore team, hitting .251 with a .329 on-base percentage. He has also hit 22 home runs already this year and 65 RBIs. He has also maintained an impressive .479 slugging percentage, showing his power when he makes contact. Mix that with the Oriole's AL East-leading 82-49 records; it's clear why it's Henderson.
NL Manager Of The Year: Brian Snitker, Braves
While the Braves might've just lost out on MVP, there is no doubt that they got manager of the year. Besides an MLB best 85-45, the Braves have obliterated the curve and set records throughout the season. The Braves lead the MLB in batting percentage, hitting .275 as a team, home runs with 40 more than the next closest team, and slugging percentage at .500. This team has dominated on the field like few teams we have ever seen. They also lead in slugging, OPS, and runs this season. This team has been incredible, and while a lot of that can be credited to GM Alex Anthopoulos, Brian Snitker should also take this award home.
AL Manager Of The Year: Brandon Hyde, Orioles
This team plays in the most brutal division in baseball, has the lowest payroll in said division, and is currently winning it with the best record in the American league. The 28th highest payroll, third to lowest, and dominating, is incredible. This team is so young, and what Hyde has been able to do is nothing short of remarkable. This team took notes from the Rays, and it is paying dividends with several top prospects, including a top three relief pitcher in baseball, the best catcher for the next decade, and a plethora of other incredible and high-ranking prospects, including last year's #1 pick, Jackson Holliday. This team is scary; get ready for a Braves vs. Orioles rivalry similar to that of the Cavaliers vs. Warriors.
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