Extra Innings: MLB Award Predictions

The Baseball Writers Association of America announced its finalists for the 2022 MLB awards on Nov. 7, and the winners will be revealed throughout this week. Here are the finalists and my thoughts on who should win each award.

American League MVP: Yordan Alvarez, Astros; Aaron Judge, Yankees; Shohei Ohtani, Angels

Who should win: Judge

Ohtani had arguably an even better season than last year, which saw him win this award in a landslide, and he’s still the best player in baseball. But this is Judge’s year. His 62 home runs, 131 RBIsand a 1.111 OPS add up to the greatest hitting season since Barry Bonds in 2004.

National League MVP: Nolan Arenado, Cardinals; Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals; Manny Machado, Padres

Who should win: Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt’s been one of the best players in baseball for a long time. He’s twice been a runner-up for this award, but this year should be different. His teammate Nolan Arenado has a case, but Goldschmidt led the National League with a .981 OPS, a far better number than Arenado’s .891.

American League Cy Young: Dylan Cease, White Sox; Alek Manoah, Blue Jays; Justin Verlander, Astros

Who should win: Verlander

Cease and Manoah were both terrific, and in many other years, they would have won this award easily. Unfortunately for them, Verlander was on another planet this year, and he should be headed for his third Cy Young award. At age 39, he led all of baseball with a 1.75 ERA and 0.829 WHIP, while also ranking fourth in strikeout to walk rate at 6.38.

National League Cy Young: Sandy Alcántara, Marlins; Max Fried, Braves; Julio Urías, Dodgers

Who should win: Alcántara

While Urías led the National League in ERA at 2.16, Alcántara threw 228.2 innings, far more than Urías’s 175, and still managed a 2.28 ERA. He also pitched six complete games; no one else in baseball this season had more than three.

American League Rookie of the Year: Steven Kwan, Guardians; Julio Rodríguez, Mariners; Adley Rutschman, Orioles

Who should win: Rodríguez

Kwan emerged as a premier contact hitter and won a Gold Glove, while Rutschman impressed defensively behind the plate and posted an .806 OPS. But this one belongs to Rodríguez, the 21-year-old who is a rare and valuable combination of power and speed. He hit to an .853 OPS with 28 homers and 25 stolen bases in 2022.

National League Rookie of the Year: Brendan Donovan, Cardinals; Michael Harris II, Braves; Spencer Strider, Braves

Who should win: Harris II

Harris II emerged as a key piece of an already strong Atlanta Braves team. The Georgia native hit .297 with an .853 OPS in his first season, while also stealing 20 bags. His teammate, Strider, also has a strong case, as he posted a 2.67 ERA and struck out just over 38% of the batters he faced, but Harris’s 5.3 wins above replacement easily trumps Strider’s 3.7.

American League Manager of the Year: Terry Francona, Guardians; Brandon Hyde, Orioles; Scott Servais, Mariners

Who should win: Servais

Francona’s long been one of the best managers in the game, and Hyde’s Orioles shocked the world by posting a winning record in 2022. However, Servais taking the Mariners to their first postseason in my lifetime has to count for some kind of miracle, so he’s my pick for this award.

National League Manager of the Year: Dave Roberts, Dodgers; Buck Showalter, Mets; Brian Snitker, Braves

Who should win: Showalter

Yes, the Mets collapsed in the wild card round, but none of these managers won more than one postseason game anyway. While the Dodgers and Braves were supposed to be heavyweights, there were some doubts about the Mets preseason. Showalter’s club silenced those doubts by racking up 101 wins.

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