Awards Watch & Off-Day Stufff in General

Thursday, September 08 2022 @ 10:40 AM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

The Baltimore series thread is up to 350 plus comments. Mercy! Skip past the stuff on the silverware if you like, and feel free to discuss the State of Things here! Better for everyone...

They do give away these big prizes at the end of the year, and this is how I expect it to turn out...


MVP - Aaron Judge, New York. This has been developing into a two player race, but I think it's still there for Judge. I expect that if he breaks the AL record for HRs in a season - still held by Roger Maris after all these years, 61 in '61 - he'll get it. Assuming the Yankees hold on to first place as well. But while the novelty of the amazing Shohei Ohtani may have worn off slightly, the impact of his play remains. He is the first man in the history of baseball to win 10 games on the mound and hit 30 HRs with his bat. That's right - now he's doing things that not even Babe Ruth was able to do (the Babe went 9-5 with 29 HRs in his last season with the Red Sox.) Ohtani didn't even do this in Japan - the closest he got was the 22 HRs he hit while going 10-4 for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2016.  Everybody else in the league - they're just names to fill out the ballot, which unfortunately slights the excellent play of Jose Ramirez, Yordan Alvarez, Andres Gimenez, Jose Altuve and so on.

Cy Young - Dylan Cease, Chicago. This was Verlander's to take home until his calf injury took him out of the picture for what will probably end up being most of September.. Compared to the other contenders - Cease, McClanahan, Manoah - it's Verlander who is the best at the things that matter most. It's Verlander who gives up the fewest hits plus walks, and the fewest home runs. Which is how he gives up the fewest runs. At this point in his career, all he could possibly still want to achieve is to win a World Series game (he's already got a ring.) That's unless he really does plan to be the Tom Brady of baseball, maintain this level of performance for another five years, and make a run at 300 wins. But he may not even qualify for the ERA title now. The Rays are hoping McClanahan will be back in another week or so. But for now, Cease is really the last man standing.

Rookie of the Year - Julio Rodriguez, Seattle. Bobby Witt and Jeremy Pena are young shortstops having very fine rookie campaigns and either could have won this in some other year. Felix Bautista and Jhoan Duran have been brilliant working out of their team's bullpens. And there's a good chance Tampa Bay will regret trading Joe Ryan for years to come. But Rodriguez and the Orioles' Adley Rutschman have been the best rookies in the league. I think the young Baltimore catcher has been even more impressive (by a tiny, tiny margin) but Rodriguez got a six week head start on his season that's a bit too much to overcome.

Manager - Brandon Hyde, Baltimore - Could this instead be Dusty Baker's year? After all, his Astros have cruised comfortably to the best record in the league. Nah. It's never Dusty Baker's year (he did win it three times, way back when he was managing the Giants. I think the front-runners are probably Scott Servais and Hyde, and the voters have often been impressed by bad teams suddenly leaping into respectability. I think Rocco Baldelli's work in Minnesota deserves some respect, and Kevin Cash always gets it done in Tampa Bay. Any of the five men I've named is eminently worthy.


MVP - Paul Goldschmidt St Louis. This does seem to be coming down to the two St.Louis corner infielders and it may be too close to call at the moment.  Goldschmidt could have the best narrative - the last NL hitter to achieve the Triple Crown was Joe Medwick in 1937. That was 85 years ago. Right now Goldschmidt leads the league in BAVG and RBIs, is tied for the lead in HRs with Kyle Schwarber. Arenado is a terrific hitter himself and one of the best defensive third basemen of his generation. September is going to have to settle this thing. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman have each had a lot to do with the Dodgers remarkable season, as has Austin Riley in Atlanta.

Cy Young - Sandy Alcantara, Miami. The Braves and the Dodgers can each nominate a pair of worthy contenders, whose level of performance comes very close to Alcantara - but the Marlins' ace gives his team so many more innings of this level of performance that it sets him quite a ways apart from the rest of the pack. Also on the ballot: Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, Kyle Wright, Max Fried.

Rookie of the Year - Spencer Strider Atlanta. I suppose it's really a matter of which of the Braves' two outstanding rookies you like best - the speedy young centre fielder or the overpowering right-hander. Strider sure doesn't look overpowering, which is part of his charm for me. But 183 Ks in 120.2 IP? I'll have some more of that, if you please. Michael Harris is a remarkable story - he began the season getting his first ever taste of AA ball, was in the majors by the end of May, and has suddenly developed a bit of a power stroke to go along with his other tools. He's pretty exciting himself. Brendan Donovan and Christopher Morel, two versatile young players who have given their teams all they could ask for at multiple spots in the field, are going to be lost in the shuffle.

Manager - Buck Showalter New York. When a team wins as often as the Dodgers, the manager seldom gets any credit. And the Braves are the defending champs. Craig Counsell's work in Milwaukee is always impressive, and the Phillies have turned around very smartly indeed since Rob Thomson took over. But the Mets went 77-85 last year, and they're probably going to win 100 games this time around. Take a bow, Buck.