How the MLB Awards Will Look at the End of the Season

While fans are ecstatic to have even a taste of baseball back this season, this abridged MLB season has been strange and fraught with injuries and Covid-19. The 60-game regular season saw numerous games canceled when teams were exposed to Covid-19. There was no 2020 All-Star Game and several players, such as Yoenis Cespedes and David Price, opted out of the 2020 season altogether. 

Choosing the standouts this season was more challenging than usual. We are seeing less of all the players, so we have to examine the talent more closely. 

AL Rookie of the Year: Kyle Lewis, OF, Seattle Mariners

The race between Seattle Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis and Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert defined the American League Rookie of the Year race. Robert is a physical specimen with an all-or-nothing approach at the plate. This has resulted in the highest swinging-strike rate of all time. Robert is also a slightly better defender and is a human highlight reel whenever the ball is hit towards center field. However, Lewis is a slightly better hitter, sporting a .286 batting average with an on-base percentage of .390. Robert has been hitting .235 with an on-base percentage of .318. Lewis has taken a Seattle team with very low expectations to a team with a chance at making the postseason. For carrying Seattle baseball on his back, Lewis gets my vote for AL Rookie of the Year. 

NL Rookie of the Year: Jake Cronenworth, 2B, San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres have been a highlight machine night-in-night-out. Even though Fernando Tatis and Manny Machado dominate the headlines, Croneworth has put together a great season at second base. As a 26-year-old rookie, he’s hitting .305 and has been super consistent in the field. Cronenworth completes the stacked Padres lineup and brings consistent contact hitting to a high-powered offense. Outside of Cronenworth, Ian Anderson and Sixto Sanchez bring the most interesting cases for this award, but it’s Cronenworth’s consistency on both sides of the ball that will elevate him to this award. 

AL Cy Young: Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians

Usually, there are a solid three-to-four contenders for this award. However, 2020 has been Shane Bieber’s year, and no other pitcher has come close. Bieber leads all AL pitchers in ERA, wins, strikeouts and strikeout rate. Adjusted for ballpark and the league-wide scoring environment, his ERA right now is the best for any qualified starter in MLB history, narrowly edging out Pedro Martínez’s legendary 2000 campaign. His sheer dominance during this shortened season hands him his first career Cy Young. 

NL Cy Young: Jacob DeGrom, New York Mets

This race, highlighted by Cincinnati Red Trevor Bauer, New York Met Jacob DeGrom and Chicago Cub Yu Darvish, has fluctuated every game. For now, the slightest edge goes to DeGrom. He hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any game this season. In addition to a league-best ERA, his underlying numbers are probably the best in the group, though even here, of course, the margins are infinitesimally small. Expect Degrom to come out on top once again. 

AL MVP: Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox

The youthful Chicago White Sox have been one of the best teams in the AL this year, and most of that can be attributed to the incredible play of Tim Anderson. He is hitting 0.366 with a WAR of 2.3. His defense has also been impeccable. The White Sox were propelled from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the best, and it’s all because of Anderson. Others could argue that Shane Bieber or Jose Abreu could sweep in for the MVP, but Anderson should be taking home his first MVP. 

NL MVP: Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, San Diego Padres

This pick is so obvious that I shouldn’t even need to present a stat. Fernando Tatis Jr. is making baseball fun again. He is the face of the San Diego Padres and will soon be the face of Major League Baseball. He has put the Padres in the game, bringing the spotlight back to San Diego for the first time in 14 years. The young shortstop is the most watchable player in baseball this season, and while he is just beginning, he is exceeding expectations. And for that, he will win the NL MVP.