Another exciting Major League Baseball regular season is in the books, which means only 10 teams still have a shot at winning the ultimate award — the World Series.
But before the eventual champions celebrate, a couple of other major awards will be handed out to the best pitchers, hitters and managers in both the American League and National League.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s take a look at predictions for Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, Manager of the Year and Rookie of the Year in both leagues.
David Ortiz, Designated Hitter, Boston Red Sox (AL)
The AL MVP race is loaded with quality candidates, but it probably will come down to Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts and Big Papi.
Altuve led the AL in hits (216) and batting average (.338), and he also posted 24 homers, 96 RBIs, 30 stolen bases, 42 doubles and a .928 OPS. Betts was a member of the exclusive 30-home run, 100-RBI club with 31 homers and 113 RBIs, and he also had 214 hits, 26 stolen bases, a .318 batting average and a .897 OPS.
But one thing neither of those candidates are is a surefire Hall of Famer who had arguably the greatest farewell season in MLB history at 40 years old. Ortiz had 48 doubles, 127 RBIs, 38 home runs, a .315 batting average and an absurd 1.021 OPS. Yes, he’s a designated hitter, and writers might hold that against him, but he would be our choice.
Kris Bryant, Everywhere, Chicago Cubs (NL)
The NL race is a lot easier. Daniel Murphy and Corey Seager both likely will receive votes, but this is Bryant’s award.
In just his second season, the 24-year-old phenom had 39 home runs, 102 RBIs, 121 runs, a .292 batting average and a .939 OPS. Oh, and Bryant did all that while playing third base, left field, right field, first base, center field, designated hitter and shortstop. Pretty impressive.
Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox (AL)
Porcello rebounded from a rough first season with Boston to lead MLB with 22 wins in 2016. He finished the season 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, .230 opponents’ batting average and 189 strikeouts in 223 innings pitched over the course of 33 starts.
Zach Britton might have the second-best case to win, but being a closer likely will be held against him. Corey Kluber also is in the running.
Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals (NL)
This is where being as good as the Cubs are sort of hurts them. How the heck do you pick a Cy Young candidate out of Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks?
Lester might have the best case out of those three pitchers, but expect Scherzer to secure this award for a second time. (His first came in the AL with the Detroit Tigers.) Scherzer led the NL in wins (20), innings pitched (228 1/3), strikeouts (284) and WHIP (0.97). And if that’s not enough, he also had a 2.96 ERA and .199 opponents’ batting average.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians (AL)
Red Sox manager John Farrell likely will get some consideration after taking a team that finished in last place for the past two seasons to an AL East title. However, Francona probably will win after leading the Indians to the AL Central crown, all while dealing with some key injuries.
Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers (NL)
This one is close between Nationals manager Dusty Baker and Roberts. Both managers inherited teams loaded with talent and led them to division titles, but we already knew Baker could manage. We didn’t know that with Roberts. In his first season in L.A., Roberts led the Dodgers to a 91-71 record, and that was without an injured Clayton Kershaw for a considerable amount of time.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Gary Sanchez, Catcher, New York Yankees (AL)
Yes, Sanchez only played in 53 games, but he might have been the best offensive player in baseball during that stretch. He posted absurd stats in just 201 at-bats with 20 home runs, 42 RBIs and a 1.032 OPS. We’re guessing a lot of writers will go with Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer, but that’s no fun.
Corey Seager, Shortstop, Los Angeles Dodgers (NL)
Trevor Story might have had a case if he didn’t get injured, but Seager can rest easy knowing he’ll get this award. The Dodgers shortstop had 193 hits, 26 home runs, 72 RBIs and a .308 batting average.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images