The 2020 MLB season has officially come to a close, as fans now await the beginning of the Wild Card Series. This week will be packed with games, starting with all eight AL teams playing on Tuesday.
The 2020 MLB playoff bracket is set‼️
RT if your team made the postseason: pic.twitter.com/po2ZZrMpZ0
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 27, 2020
Now that the season is over, let’s take a moment to predict this year’s award winners.
AL MVP: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
Ramirez bounced back from a down year in 2019, as he led the MLB in WAR (3.4). The third baseman was the anchor of Cleveland’s lineup, raking 17 home runs with a .292 average, .386 OBP, and .607 SLG. Not only did he deliver at the dish, but Ramirez also finished in double digits for stolen bases. Add in a .415 wOBA and 177 wRC+, Ramirez will likely win his first career MLB award.
Honorable Mention: Shane Bieber (CLE), Jose Abreu (CWS), DJ LeMahieu (NYY)
NL MVP: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Freddie Freeman cemented himself as the best first baseman in baseball this year. He was right on Ramirez’s tail with a WAR of 3.3. Freeman was practically unstoppable at the plate, batting an absurd .341. Freddie also led the league in doubles and runs scored as his Braves won the NL East title. Juan Soto had comparable stats at the plate, but Freeman stayed injury-free for the season. Add in his 1.102 OPS, .456 wOBA, and 187 wRC+, and Freeman should easily win the MVP.
Honorable Mention: Marcell Ozuna (ATL), Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD), Mookie Betts (LAD)
AL Cy Young: Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians
The 2020 AL Cy Young winner is Shane Bieber, and it’s not particularly close. Beiber won the Pitching Cy Young with 8 wins, 122 strikeouts, and a 1.63 ERA. This is one of the most dominant campaigns in years and Bieber has even put himself in the MVP race. For now, he will focus on facing Gerrit Cole in what should be a fantastic pitching duel in Game 1.
Honorable Mention: Zack Greinke (HOU), Kenta Maeda (MIN), Lucas Giolito (CWS)
NL Cy Young: Trevor Bauer, Cincinnati Reds
Trevor Bauer showed this year why he is an elite starting pitcher. He led the NL in several categories: Hits/9, ERA+, Complete Games, and Shutouts. Most importantly, he led the NL with a 1.73 ERA and a 0.795 WHIP. Bauer was a key contributor to the Reds getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2013. He is a sign of the times, as he is a student of advanced analytics and incorporating it into his training.
Honorable Mention: Yu Darvish (CHC), Jacob deGrom (NYM), Dinelson Lamet (SD)
AL Rookie of the Year: Kyle Lewis, Seattle Mariners
Kyle Lewis earned himself a spot in the Mariners’ lineup going forward as he took the starting center fielder job and ran with it. Leading AL rookies with a 1.7 WAR, Lewis also hit 11 home runs for Seattle. He paced rookies in runs scored and walks, while also swiping five bags. Although he cooled off to end the year, he was the most productive rookie in the American League this year.
Honorable Mention: Luis Robert (CWS), Justus Sheffield (SEA), Sean Murphy (OAK)
NL Rookie of the Year: Jake Cronenworth, San Diego Padres
The NL Rookie of the Year is another player who has cemented himself into his team’s future. Cronenworth came onto the scene and took over the job as starting second baseman. My logic for Cronenworth winning is very similar to Lewis’s. There are other players with better offensive stats, but no player who helped his team as much. Cronenworth led NL rookies in games played, plate appearances, and runs scored. He was second in WAR amongst batters and finished with a line of .285/.354/.477. That helped the Padres finish with a fantastic 37-23 record.
Honorable Mention: Alec Bohm (PHI), Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT), Tony Gonsolin (LAD)
AL Manager of the Year: Rick Renteria, Chicago White Sox
This is one of the toughest awards this year, as there were so many great AL teams. However, I believe Renteria takes home the hardware because the White Sox are finally over the hump. After years of rebuilding, Chicago has made the playoffs with a record of 35-25. This is their first postseason appearance since 2008. Renteria helped talent like Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson and Lucas Giolito break out. They may be the 7 seed but that is very deceiving, as the finished 1.0 GB of the AL Central.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Cash (TB), Charlie Montoyo (TOR), Rocco Baldelli (MIN)
NL Manager of the Year: Don Mattingly, Miami Marlins
If you had told me at the beginning of the year that the Miami Marlins would be the 5 seed in the playoffs, I would have told you that you were crazy. Even after a COVID outbreak, the Marlins find themselves as the second place team in the NL East. This is a testament to Mattingly’s leadership and how he rallied this team together. Although the NL East was weak, the Marlins still showed their potential. Mattingly is extremely deserving of this award.
Honorable Mention: Jayce Tingler (SD), David Bell (CIN), Dave Roberts (LAD)