For the first time in a while, several postseason awards are truly up for grabs. I only see one race as a lock; the others can go in a variety of ways. Here are my top three in each category — they represent my votes for the IBWAA awards.
It took me a while to get on the Bryce Harper train. But in the end, he had the best season — .309 (third in the league), 35 homers (fifth) with 84 RBIs. Juan Soto had a similar season — .313, 29, 95 — but the homers put Harper on top for me. My leader until the end, Fernando Tatis, Jr., ultimately finished third in my vote, with a league-leading 42 homers, 97 RBIs and a .282 average. This race is wide open.
I was all about Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and his Triple Crown quest. In the end, he would tie for lead the league in homers with 48, tied for fifth in RBIs with 111 and tied for second in BA at .311. If only he had led the league in BA or RBIs… But barring that, it was hard to vote against Shohei Ohtani (46, 100, .257). The batting average is mediocre, but when you add in his pitching line (9-2, 3.18 ERA, 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings) you’ve got an unprecedented season. I had Marcus Semien third.
NL Cy Young
This is perhaps the biggest tossup of all. No one had an extraordinary season (oh, what might have been for Jacob deGrom). Max Scherzer had his fourth Cy Young wrapped up until he stumbled in his last couple of starts. So in the end, I went with Julio Urias. I know I’m not supposed to care about wins and losses, but too bad — he was 20-3 with a very respectable 2.96 ERA (seventh in the league) with 195 strikeouts. I had Scherzer (15-4, 2.46, 236) second and Zack Wheeler (14-10, 2.78, 247) third. Either of those two could still win — Wheeler’s case is bolstered by his league-leading 213.1 innings pitched. Scherzer only tossed 179.1, and ERA leader Corbin Burnes only threw 167 innings to accomplish his 2.43 ERA. Innings pitched is a big stat for voters. Oh, Walker Buehler (16-4, 2.47, 212 in 207.2 innings) is another legitimate candidate.
AL Cy Young
This is the only lock. Robbie Ray was the only AL pitcher with a sub-3.00 ERA (2.84). He went 13-7 with a league-leading 248 strikeouts. Gerrit Cole and Lance McCullers were second and third.
NL Rookie of the Year
No rookies really had outstanding, breakthrough seasons in either league. In the NL, I went with Jonathan India, Patrick Wisdom and Dylan Carlson.
AL Rookie of the Year
In the AL — Ryan Mountcastle, Adolis Garcia and Randy Arozarena.