There’s usually a fair amount of intrigue that comes with the end-of-year award races. At least heading into the week of the awards, it appears this year’s group has more clear frontrunners than normal.
The two Rookies of the Year appear to be all but locks for Corbin Carroll of the Diamondbacks and Gunnar Henderson of the Orioles. Gerrit Cole of the Yankees appears well on his way to his first career Cy Young. NL MVP and AL MVP might be closer, but the Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. and the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, respectively, are certainly the clear frontrunners.
NL Cy Young and the two Manager of the Year awards, however, appear to be tightly contested, with clear cases for and against each of the contenders for those awards. And there are often a few surprises when the results of the BBWAA voting are unveiled.
Winners will be announced the week of Nov. 13 during two-hour shows on MLB Network. Viewers can expect the first award each day to be announced around 6:40 p.m. ET, and the second to be unveiled about an hour later.
Here’s the day-by-day schedule for the awards, as well as everything you need to know about the major award finalists and winners:
- AL and NL Rookie of the Year awards: 6 p.m. ET, Monday, Nov. 13, on MLB Network
- AL and NL Manager of the Year awards: 6 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Nov. 14, on MLB Network
- AL and NL Cy Young awards: 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Nov. 15, on MLB Network
- AL and NL MVP awards: 6 p.m. ET, Thursday, Nov. 16, on MLB Network
Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves: No one enjoyed the new base-stealing rules more than Acuna. The Braves star right fielder thrived on the basepaths, swiping a league-leading 73 stolen bases. But he was more than just a speedy base-runner. Acuna led the NL with a 1.012 OPS and was fourth in the NL with 41 home runs. He posted an impressive 80 walks to 84 strikeouts ratio to add on to his impressive season.
Mookie Betts, Dodgers: Acuna was the flashier player, but Betts has an impressive case for MVP. He provided immense value to a Dodgers team often marred by injuries, logging time not just in right field, but also at second base and some time at shortstop. Betts was also absurd down the stretch run, posting a .346/.449/.607 slash line from July through the rest of the year, and led all players with 4.8 fWAR. Only Acuna and Matt Olson had a higher OPS than Betts’ .987 mark.
Freddie Freeman, Dodgers: Freeman quietly had one of the best seasons of his career. He feasted on the stolen base rules by posting his first 20/20 season, stealing a career-best 23 bags and launching 29 homers. The 33-year-old first baseman posted a standout .331/.410/.567 slash line, and had a career-best 7.9 fWAR, topped only by Acuna and Betts in the National League.
Shohei Ohtani, Angels: American League players should probably be happy to see Ohtani leaving the Junior Circuit, because as long as he’s fully healthy, the MVP feels like it will almost always be a lock for him. Ohtani had another outstanding season at the plate, leading the majors in OPS at 1.066 with 44 homers, 20 steals and a career-best .304 batting average. Before he injured his arm, he was also among the most dominant pitchers, with a 3.14 ERA across 132 innings with 167 strikeouts.
Corey Seager, Rangers: This was the kind of season the Rangers envisioned when they signed Seager in 2022 to the largest deal in team history. His 1.013 OPS was topped only by Ohtani, and he was second in the AL with a .327 batting average. On top of that, he also launched 33 home runs in just 119 games. There was some missed time for Seager early in the year, but he more than made up for it with a stellar season.
Marcus Semien, Rangers: The Rangers’ 2022 offseason wasn’t just about bringing in Seager; they also added Semien. And he, too, was stellar in his second year in Arlington. He was a dynamic second baseman, hitting 29 home runs and stealing 14 bases with a .276/.348/.478 slash line. And in a year in which the other two MVP candidates missed extensive time, Semien was one of just four players in 2023 to play in every game.
NL Cy Young
Zac Gallen, Diamondbacks: The Gallen breakout happened in 2022 when he pitched to a 2.54 ERA. But he built on that further in 2023, posting a 3.47 ERA across 210 innings of work, with his innings being second only in the majors to Logan Webb. He was one of the best at striking out batters while limiting walks, as his 20.5 percent K%-BB% ranked ninth in the majors, and topped all NL Cy Young finalists.
Blake Snell, Padres: Snell has already earned an American League Cy Young. He’s now looking for one in the Senior Circuit. Snell had the lowest ERA among qualifying starters at 2.25 and was tied for third in the majors in strikeouts with 234 despite throwing fewer innings than all of the top seven pitchers in strikeouts. Walks were a concern (he led the majors with 99), but when it comes to missing bats and run prevention, few were on Snell’s level.
Logan Webb, Giants: Webb feels like an old-school pitcher. He always goes deep into games, having led the majors with 216 innings pitched and used his precise pitchability to post a 3.25 ERA. He also only walked 34 batters while striking out 194, which led him to a 2.95 FIP, second behind only Spencer Strider. He did not get much run support from the Giants, evidenced by his 11-13 record, but that shouldn’t take away from his Cy Young case.
AL Cy Young
Gerrit Cole, Yankees: Cole has long been the Yankees’ ace, so calling 2023 his breakout year is not accurate. But it could be his breakthrough in the sense that he will finally come away with a Cy Young award. Cole was outstanding in 2023, leading the AL in ERA (2.63), innings (209) and opponents’ batting average (.206), and he was third in strikeouts (222).
Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays: Gausman has now finished in the top 10 in Cy Young voting in each of the past three seasons, and this year will be his highest finish after two years ago he placed sixth. Gausman was fourth in the AL in ERA at 3.16 and led the American League in strikeouts with 237 across 185 innings of work, which was 19th.
Sonny Gray, Twins: Gray’s second year in Minneapolis was the best year of his career. He had a career best 5.3 fWAR and trailed only Cole in ERA with a 2.79 mark. He allowed a .226 opponents’ average, the 10th lowest in the majors, and fanned 183 batters in 184 innings.
NL Rookie of the Year
Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks: Arizona inked Carroll to an eight-year, $111 million extension before the season. The team must have been on to something with their former top prospect. Carroll led all rookie batters with a 6.0 fWAR as his standout 2023 season had him not just among the best rookies, but the best overall players, too. He swiped 54 bases and hit 25 homers, while posting a .285/.362/.506 slash line.
James Outman, Dodgers: Replacing Cody Bellinger wasn’t going to be easy, but Outman was ready. He burst onto the scene early, winning NL Rookie of the Month in April. He posted an impressive .248/.353/.457 slash line with 23 homers and 16 stolen bases, all while playing standout defense in center for the NL West-winning Dodgers.
Kodai Senga, Mets: In his first season after coming over from Japan, Senga was one of the lone bright spots for the Mets. He led all rookie pitchers with a 3.4 fWAR, and was the only rookie hurler to strike out at least 180 batters (he had 202). Senga had an impressive 2.98 ERA that was second in the NL behind only Snell.
AL Rookie of the Year
Tanner Bibee, Guardians: The Guardians largely relied on their rookies to fill out an injury-plagued rotation, and no one was better than Bibee. Had he pitched enough innings to qualify, he would have been tied with Senga as MLB’s rookie ERA leader at 2.98, though he had just 142 innings (he needed 162). Bibee trailed Hunter Brown in AL rookie strikeouts (178 to 141), and he held batters to a paltry .228 opponents’ average.
Triston Casas, Red Sox: It was a tale of two halves for Casas. He started the season with a .191/.317/.363 line through his first 52 games of the year. After that, though, he was outstanding, blasting 18 homers with a .305/.396/.563 slash line. During that run, he earned AL Rookie of the Month for July and finished the year as one of three Silver Slugger finalists at first base.
Gunnar Henderson, Orioles: Being the No. 1 prospect in the sport brings a lot of pressure, but Henderson was ready for that and a pennant chase. The Orioles infielder, splitting time between short and third, trailed only Carroll in rookie fWAR at 4.6 as he led all rookies with 28 homers, added 10 steals and slashed .255/.325/.489. Like Casas, he got off to a slow start, but from June through the rest of the year, he had a .276/.322/.535 slash line with 23 homers, en route to winning a Silver Slugger as a utility player as a rookie.
NL Manager of the Year
Craig Counsell, Brewers: The Brewers just keep finding ways to get it done. Milwaukee found itself in a tight NL Central race midseason but caught fire in the second half to win the division by nine games. That happened despite an inconsistent lineup and a rotation that was often marred by injuries. Counsell has been praised as among the game’s best managers, which might explain why the Cubs went all-in to bring him to Chicago.
Skip Schumaker, Marlins: The NL East was supposed to be a three-team race among the Braves, Mets and Phillies. The Marlins and Nationals were tabbed as expected bottom-feeders. All Miami did in Schumaker’s first year as manager was go 84-78 to finish third in the vaunted division, earn a wild-card bid and do it all despite a step back from reigning NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara.
Brian Snitker, Braves: It’s not that the Braves were an unexpected team. It’s that they were such a dominant team. Atlanta went 104-58 with one of the best run differentials in modern history. It wasn’t all easy for Snitker and the Braves either, as Atlanta had to manage injuries to several key starters and deal with an inconsistent bullpen that lacked the usual bite of past years.
AL Manager of the Year
Bruce Bochy, Rangers: Turns out, this Rangers team needed a veteran manager to turn things around. Texas went 68-94 in 2022. Despite largely the same roster, Texas went 90-72 in 2023, coming short in the AL West race only on the final day of the season and doing all that despite losing Jacob deGrom early in the year and midseason trade acquisition Max Scherzer late in the year.
Kevin Cash, Rays: Can the Rays ever really be counted out? Tampa Bay plays in the toughest division in baseball, saw its star player put on administrative leave midway through the season and lose two key starters to injury midseason. Cash’s team won 99 games and for stretches was baseball’s most dominant team despite all that.
Brandon Hyde, Orioles: Managing a young team can have its ups and downs. So can managing a team with a shaky rotation. Hyde did both in the same year, and took it to a 101-win season and an AL East crown. The Orioles were among the sport’s youngest teams and had a rotation that featured only one player with an ERA below 3.60. That’s not too bad for last year’s AL Manager of the Year runner-up.
Source : ESPN.com