Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
On a day with no baseball, let's figure out who has the inside track on this year's awards.

Having pondered the issue for approximately thirty seconds, let me say this - I'm neither providing you with my own votes nor my prediction for how the vote will go. Nope. I'm just handicapping the race.

In the junior circuit

MVP - Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles
Duh. One wonders how long he can do this - playing 150 games and pitching in, say, 25 of them - and at this level. It's simply never been done before - the closest would be Babe Ruth's 1919 season, when he started 15 times on the mound and 110 times in the outfield. Ohtani, of course,  hasn't had to run around in the outfield at all.. Ohtani himself hasn't made a habit of this type of performance -  his only truly comparable season in Japan was 2016. He didn't pitch very much in 2017, he didn't hit anywhere near this well in 2014 and 2015. It may be a bit much to expect this from him every year.
Also on the ballot: Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Toronto; Marcus Semien, Toronto. Some of the players having really outstanding individual seasons have done it for teams that haven't been in contention at all - Sal Perez, Cedric Mullins, Jose Raimrez.

Cy Young - Robbie Ray, Toronto
This looks like a three man race at the moment, between Ray, Lynn, and Cole. If the season ended today, Ray looks - barely - like the winner. But it's still close enough that the six starts that everyone's got left are what's going to settle things. We'll just have to wait and see.
Also on the ballot: Lance Lynn, Chicago; Gerrit Cole, New York

Rookie of the Year - Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay
The true rookie of the year, of course, is Wander Franco, Arozarena's Tampa Bay teammate. But Franco is only going to end up with roughly 85 games played, and unless he goes totally berserk in September - not at all impossible - it won't be enough. There's probably not a whole lot to choose between Arozarena and Baltimore's Ryan Mountcastle, besides name recognition. Alek Manoah of the Blue Jays, like Franco, can insert himself into the discussion with a strong September. Some pretty impressive rookie performances - Adolis Garcia of Texas, Andrew Vaughn of Chicago, Luis Garcia of Houston - barely even figure, although they've been good enough to win this thing some years.
Also on the ballot: Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore, Luis Garcia, Houston

Manager of the Year - Aaron Boone, New York
It irritates me to point this out, but Boone's team is almost certainly going to the post-season despite pretty much everyone, save Gerrit Cole, either playing below their capabilities or getting hurt. I mean, Aaron Judge has had a helluva season but he's not going to hit 50 homers this year. He's unlikely to even make it to 40. The celebrated pickups at the deadline, Rizzo and Gallo, haven't been anything special - the Yankees' offense remains rather inoffensive. They've done it with pitching, especially out of the pen, and this despite their famous closers, Chapman and Britton, being very underwhelming.
Also on the ballot: Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay; Dusty Baker, Houston

And in the Other League

MVP - Fernando Tatis, San Diego
This is still a little up in the air. Tatis has been the best player in the league - but he's already missed more than 30 games, he's had to move from shortstop to right field, and the Padres have been a disappointment. The guy absolutely no one talks about is Buster Posey - an all-star catcher, a former MVP, a man having an outstanding season for this year's great surprise team. You'd think someone might have noticed. But the Giants have monitored Posey's workload very carefully - he's going to play even fewer games than Tatis - and that's going to cost him any real chance of winning this thing. I would think Muncy is the one with the best chance of taking the award away from Tatis.
Also on the ballot: Max Muncy, Los Angeles; Bryce Harper, Philadelphia

Cy Young - Walker Buehler, Los Angeles
The injury woes of Jacob deGrom have opened this up to the other pitchers, and lots and lots of them have seized the opportunity. Buehler looks like the front-runner for now. He also gets bonus points for holding the Dodgers staff together after the injury to Kershaw and the disappearance of Bauer. But there are lots of other excellent candidates still in a position to make a fight of this one. Gosh. We'll just have to wait and see.
Also on the ballot: Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia; Wade Miley, Cincinnati; Kevin Gausman, San Francisco; Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee; Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee

Rookie of the Year - Jonathan India, Cincinnati
India's competition comes from two young pitchers who are both just returning to action after being out for a month in the case of Miami's Trevor Rogers and six weeks for Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. It's still anyone's award to win, but India's been there and played well all season. Rogers or Anderson will have to rise up and steal it away from him in these final weeks.
Also on the ballot: Trevor Rogers, Miami; Ian Anderson, Atlanta

Manager of the Year - Gabe Kapler, San Francisco
The easiest single vote anyone will be casting this season, even easier than AL MVP.
Also on the ballot: Craig Counsell, Milwaukee; David Bell, Cincinnati; Brian Snitker, Atlanta

Awards Watch | 7 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
John Northey - Thursday, September 02 2021 @ 04:50 PM EDT (#406113) #
Always a fun discussion. I like checking WAR for reality checks often.

AL MVP: Ohtani 7.7, Ray 6.1, Correa & Semien 5.8, Judge 5.5, Cole 5.4, Vlad 5.3, José Ramírez 5.2

Ohtani has it for sure. Vlad was in the discussion earlier but has fallen recently - another hot month could change things, but unlikely. Vlad does lead in offensive WAR at 5.5, 3rd in Avg (5 points back), 2nd in HR (3 back), 3rd in RBI (6 back). So yeah, a hot September could get him the triple crown still but that wouldn't be enough unless Ohtani has a terrible September.

AL Cy Young: WAR for pitching only: Ray 6.1, Cole 5.4, Lynn 4.4 - this looks like a blowout. Lynn leads in ERA 2.59 to Ray's 2.71, Cole 2.73; Wins is Cole 14, Ray 12, Bassitt 12, Lynn is at 10 (tied for 8th). K's are Cole 215, Ray 209, no one else over 188. Manaea for Oakland is the only pitcher with 2 shutouts. For 'you could've made a mint betting on this pre-season' - Ray is #9 for lowest BB/9.

AL Manager of the Year: Cash I put in #1 automatically just because how insane it is that that team does this every year - dumps their ace and now is #1 by a good margin. In truth their GM should be executive of the year. 7 guys with 10+ starts, 16 guys with 100+ PA, this team juggles and juggles and somehow keeps on winning. I expect Tony LaRussa to get a lot of votes thanks to his team being in first by a mile in one of the weakest divisions. Dusty Baker deserves marks with the chaos and hate the Astros face yet he keeps them winning. I hope Baker gets it, and I hope he comes back next year as he is just 30 wins from 2000 and would be the first black manager to get 2000 and into the HOF as a manager.

AL Rookie: Mountcastle has the OPS (821), Garcia for Texas has the HR (29), Arozarena (3.3 WAR) is great all around (#1 in R, H, 2B, BB, 4th in HR, 2nd in SB (but 12 SB vs 8 CS), #1 in OBP (351). Lots to like there. Franco is having a very good rookie campaign (2.4 WAR in 55 games = over 7 WAR in a full season), but the late start kills it especially without the shiny numbers voters look for (277/339/459 is nice for a SS with a great glove but doesn't jump at you like a 300/400/500 season would). Sadly 2017 the Jays didn't have as much to spend so they went for Eric Pardinho (still in rookie ball), Leonardo Jimenez (reached A ball this year), Miguel Hiraldo (in A all year) - Net $2.95 mil vs Franco's $3.8 mil bonus, yeah the Jays should've found a way to get $1 mil+ more. In 2018 the Jays blew their wad on Orelvis Martinez ($3.5 mil) - between A/A+ he has hit 263/344/549 this year at SS/3B.
Chuck - Friday, September 03 2021 @ 09:36 AM EDT (#406122) #
This looks like a three man race at the moment

Cole is 4 wins ahead, for those few voters to whom that still matters, and is ahead, for them that would parse the details, in the rate stats. He does have the better pedigree, has never won a Cy, and pitches in the league's marquis market.

Ray has the better bWAR but Cole the better fWAR.

An emotional strike against Cole may be the weasel words he used when confronted about his use of sticky stuff. Conversely, Ray's re-emergence after a downward spiral may be a narrative that is hard to resist.

I agree that this race will most likely come down to September performances as the differentiator.

92-93 - Friday, September 03 2021 @ 10:16 AM EDT (#406124) #
A few days ago I pointed out that Wander Franco was 25:1 to win the award, which seemed like great odds. It fell to 11:1 overnight and is now 8:1, so Vegas is catching on.
85bluejay - Friday, September 03 2021 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#406135) #
We just don't give the Rays organization enough credit.
John Northey - Friday, September 03 2021 @ 03:45 PM EDT (#406136) #
To me the people running the Rays are incredible. Of course, they do get a few advantages the Jays don't - such as bonus draft picks every year (due to market size), and $1 mil more a year they are allowed to spend on IFA (would've made the difference for Franco vs the Jays if they Jays had been involved in that negotiation).

That said, they still need to compete with a tiny budget vs all other teams (Cot's has then for Competitive Balance purposes between $81 mil and $103 mil each year from 2012 to 2021 - 2012 $81.2 vs 2021 $83.1 mil). The Jays via Cot's are at $103.7 mil (2012) to $167.1 (2018), $153.6 this year. That is a big difference - basically adding Ryu & Springer to a lineup with cash left over. Of course, in that same time span the Yankees were sub $200 only once (2018), and this year will be their only other time sub $220 mil. Red Sox were $177.8 in 2013, up to $243.7 in 2019. The Dodgers nearly reached $300 mil in 2015 ($297,918,681).

All this suggests teams outside of Tampa/Miami/others with no support can have $200-300 mil payrolls easily right now but don't because of the luxury tax hitting at $210 mil (pathetic negotiating by players union to let that happen as by now it should be closer to $300 mil than $200 mil). But it isn't my money either way. Regardless, the Rays have been very impressive with how they have done it over the years. I suspect they'll keep doing well no matter how the rules change.
ISLAND BOY - Friday, September 03 2021 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#406139) #
The Rays seem incredible at drafting/signing and developing prospects. I saw a ranking of top prospects in MLB ( in the minors) and they had two in the top tier that only included about 8 players, and neither were Wander Franco.
SK in NJ - Friday, September 03 2021 @ 04:27 PM EDT (#406140) #
Agreed about the Rays. They are on another level when it comes to player development, and their farm system is still elite even after Franco's promotion. I just wish they were in a better market, or a market that actually cared for baseball. If the Jays built a team like that, they'd have to turn people away from coming to the stadium, but Rays games are not even half filled whenever I see the highlights. Move them to Nashville or something.
Awards Watch | 7 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.