Awards Watch

Thursday, September 02 2021 @ 02:00 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

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