With the shortened MLB season coming to a close after just over two months of action, the races to decide the Most Valuable Players and Cy Young Award winners in both leagues are finally wrapping up.
Despite the 60-game slate, there have been plenty of pitchers and position players who have stood out in what will undoubtedly be a season for the history books.
Let’s predict the winners of the league’s top awards!
AL Cy Young: Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians
The easiest award to hand out will be the AL Cy Young Award, where one player laps the rest of the competition: Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber.
Bieber is third in baseball in innings pitched, first in ERA, first in strikeouts, and has compiled an outstanding 8-1 record to push the Indians to yet another playoff berth. At just 25 years old, you can bet that this won’t be the only time that Bieber will be in the race for a pitching prize like this.
Runners-up: Kenta Maeda (Twins), Dylan Bundy (Angels)
NL Cy Young: Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs
The NL Cy Young Award might be the tightest awards race in all of baseball. While there are other deserving candidates, the ace of a Chicago Cubs team that has led them to first place in their division despite pre-season doubts in an enormous comeback season is my pick: Yu Darvish.
Darvish has returned to his prime form this season, posting a minuscule 2.22 ERA in 11 starts for the Cubs. He has maintained an excellent 88:13 strikeout to walk ratio and kept opposing batters from making hard contact. This will be a close vote, but the Japanese ace is my pick to dethrone Jacob deGrom, who also has a real shot at winning.
Runners-up: Jacob deGrom (Mets), Trevor Bauer (Reds)
AL Most Valuable Player: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
No one would have expected Jose Ramirez to be the leader in contention for the AL MVP at this point a month ago, but a blistering hot final stretch to the season has led the Dominican infielder to 2nd place in the Major Leagues in home runs (17) and the sixth-best wRC+ in the league (158) for an Indians’ offense he helped ignite. Not only that, but he’s been one of the best defensive third basemen in the Majors.
Ramirez might lose out to teammate Shane Bieber for the award, but I think his day-to-day contributions both offensively and defensively have made him even more important for his team than their ace pitcher.
Runners-up: Shane Bieber (Indians), Jose Abreu (White Sox)
NL Most Valuable Player: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
While Fernando Tatis Jr. looked to be running away with the NL MVP trophy just a few weeks ago, long-time superstar Freddie Freeman now looks to be the best pick for the league’s best player, which would give him his first MVP trophy.
Freeman has been the best offensive player in baseball (minimum 200 PA) according to wRC+ (185) and is posting an insane .457 on-base percentage along with 12 home runs and 51 RBI for baseball’s best offense, statistically. The Braves have overcome pitching struggles to win their division for a third straight season, and Freeman has been the straw that has stirred the drink for his team.
Runners-up: Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres), Mookie Betts (Dodgers)