Unlike many MLB postseason awards races from years past, this one features plenty of races that are hard to predict. So here’s my take; the following represents my top three votes on my ballot for the IBWAA awards.
This is as close to a no-brainer as we have this year. Christian Yelich will win and could be unanimous. He almost won the Triple Crown — he led the league in batting at .326, was tied for third in homers with 36 and tied for second in RBIs with 110. And his team won its division. Javier Baez (.290/34/111) and Nolan Arenado (.297/38/110) had almost identical years, but they will not overtake Yelich.
I went with J.D. Martinez, who also almost won the Triple Crown — his .330 batting average was second in the league, as were his homers with 43. He led with 130 RBIs. That’s good enough for me. But Mookie Betts, no slough himself (a league-leading .346 with 32/80), will probably win because his stupid WAR was better. Mike Trout (.312/39/79) also had a better WAR, and could finish head of Martinez. Just ridiculous.
NL Cy Young
I have written in detail why I voted for Max Scherzer and Aaron Nola over Jacob deGrom. You are free not to agree with me. But don’t worry, deGrom will win anyway, just so writers can show how much they don’t care about wins.
AL Cy Young
This one should be easy. Ian Snell had a year to rival deGrom’s — 1.89 ERA with 221 strikeouts — but he went 21-5. Two-time winner Corey Kluber won 20 games to go along with a 2.89 ERA and 222 strikeouts. Justin Verlander led the league with 290 strikeouts, with a 16-9 record and a 2.52 ERA.
NL Rookie of the Year
This will be a tough one. Ronald Acuna, Jr. and Juan Soto had nearly identical seasons — .293/26/64 for Acuna and .292/22/70 for Soto. I went with Acuna, but easily could have chosen Soto. A tie would be appropriate. Jack Flaherty got a third-place vote because, well, someone had to.
AL Rookie of the Year
Another tough one. I think Miguel Andujar is the easy choice — .297/27/92. But I get the feeling Shohei Ohtani will win. He batted .285/22/61 in 250 fewer at bats than Andujar, but he also went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 10 starts. Injuries cost him time and starts, and I think it should also cost him the award. Gleyber Torres looked like he was running away with it but then slowed down. Stupid Yankees and their young talent.