Who will win 2021 MLB Awards? MVP, Cy Young and more predictions originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The biggest hardware in baseball has been given out, with the Atlanta Braves winning the World Series and taking the championship trophy back with them to Georgia.
But that means award season is just getting started for Major League Baseball. Gold Glove Awards were handed out on Sunday, while Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bryce Harper earned Hank Aaron Awards on Tuesday. While some honors have already been handed out, other major awards are getting announced next week -- the MVP, Cy Young, Manager of the Year and Rookie of the Year.
The winners will be announced one per day starting on Monday, Nov. 15, with Rookie of the Year. It will continue throughout the week with the Manager of the Year, Cy Young and then finally the MVP.
Let’s look at the finalists and who might be taking home some of the most prestigious honors in baseball.
Who will win the AL MVP?
Up first is the AL MVP race. The finalists are the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Marcus Semien, as well as the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: The 22-year-old infielder for Toronto had a sensational season, batting .311 with 111 RBIs and 48 home runs, which was tied for first in the AL. Guerrero Jr. led the AL in on-base percentage (OBP) with a .401 and slugging (SLG) with a .601. Not bad for his third MLB season.
Marcus Semien: Playing on a one-year deal with Toronto, Semien played his way into a big paycheck this offseason. The infielder played every game for the Blue Jays, hitting .265 with 102 RBIs. His 45 home runs set a single-season record for a second baseman. Semien also won a Gold Glove for his defensive work in the infield.
Shohei Ohtani: Ohtani took the MLB by storm this season as an elite dual-threat weapon for the Angels. On the mound, Ohtani made 23 starts, finishing with a 9-2 record and a 3.18 ERA. Impressive enough were his numbers pitching, but Ohtani was arguably better with the bat. He batted .257 with 46 HRs, 100 RBIs, 26 doubles and 26 stolen bases.
Prediction: Shohei Ohtani
In any other year, Vladdy Jr. likely gets the MVP. But Ohtani had an incredibly unprecedented season that the MLB had not seen before. It’s nearly impossible not to give the MVP to the hitter/pitcher.
Who will win the NL MVP?
Bryce Harper: The 2015 NL MVP is up for the honor again in 2021. The Phillies outfielder hit .319 with 35 home runs, 84 RBIs and added 13 stolen bases. He led the league in SLG with a .615 and OPS a 1.044.
Juan Soto: Soto just keeps getting better and better in the MLB. The 22-year-old hit .313 with a .465 OBP, which led the league, and a .534 SLG. Soto ripped 29 home runs and had 95 RBIs and added an MLB-leading 145 walks.
Fernando Tatis Jr.: Another young stud just starting out his MLB career, Tatis Jr was again sensational for the Padres. The shortstop batted .282 and led the NL in home runs with 42. He finished with 97 RBIs and 25 stolen bases, which was third-best in the NL. This all came while missing 32 games with a shoulder injury.
Prediction: Bryce Harper
It’s arguably the closest race out of any of the major awards, but the nod likely goes to Harper. He was consistent all year long and ranked among the top of the league in a number of categories.
Who will win the AL Cy Young?
Gerrit Cole: The ace of the Yankees is a Cy Young finalist for the second time in three years. He finished his second season in New York with 16 wins, which led the American League, and his 243 strikeouts were third in the majors. He ended the season with a 3.23 ERA.
Lance Lynn: The South Side had a ton of studs at pitching, but Lynn was the best of all of them. The hefty righty went 11-6 with a 2.69 ERA, which was the best ERA among AL pitchers who threw at least 150 innings this year. He ended with a total of 176 strikeouts in 28 starts.
Robbie Ray: Ray came out of nowhere this season and became the ace of the Blue Jays. The lefty won the AL ERA title with a 2.84 and had the most strikeouts in the league with 248. He ended the season with a 13-7 record in 32 games started. Ray also had the most double-digit strikeout games with 10.
Prediction: Robbie Ray
A Cy Young-worthy year could not have come at a better time for Ray, who is a free agent this offseason. He led the majors in a ton of categories and deserves the recognition.
Who will win the NL Cy Young?
Switching to the NL, the finalists for the NL Cy Young are the Phillies’ Zack Wheeler, the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes and the Dodgers’ Max Scherzer.
Zack Wheeler: Wheeler was the lone bright spot on a Phillies’ pitching staff that struggled. The 31-year-old finished with a 14-10 record and a 2.78 ERA. Wheeler led all of MLB in innings pitched (213.1), complete games (three) and shutouts (two).
Corbin Burnes: Similarly to the White Sox, the Brewers had a stable of excellent starters, but Burnes was the No. 1 guy. His 2.43 ERA led the majors among those pitchers that qualified, as well as his strikeout rate of 35.6% and his strikeouts per nine innings of 12.6. He was also a part of the Brewers' combined no-hitter, throwing eight innings with 14 strikeouts.
Max Scherzer: A trade to the Dodgers midseason didn’t affect Mad Max. The four-time Cy Young winner went 15-4 in his time with the Dodgers and Nationals with a 2.46 ERA and 236 strikeouts in 30 starts. He had the best WHIP in baseball with a 0.84. If he were to win, he’d join Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux.as the only five-time Cy Young winners.
Prediction: Corbin Burnes
This very much feels like it can be any of the three, but the edge goes to Burnes. When you have the best ERA in the league and strike guys out at the clip he did, you deserve to win the honor.
Who will win the AL Rookie of the Year?
Moving onto the 2021 rookie class, the finalists for AL Rookie of the Year are the Rays’ Wander Franco and Randy Arozarena and the Astros’ Luis Garcia.
Wander Franco: Franco played in just 70 games this season, but that didn’t stop him from making a big impact. Regarded as the No. 1 prospect in baseball heading into the 2021 season, Franco batted .288 with a .347 OBP and .463 SLG. His 43 consecutive games reaching base tied Frank Robinson’s record for a player 20 years or younger.
Randy Arozarena: After a memorable hot streak in the 2020 playoffs, Arozarena picked up where he left off, finishing with a line of .274/.356/.459. He had 69 RBIs and was just one of 10 players in the league to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases.
Luis Garcia: Garcia was an integral part of an Astros rotation that was hit by injuries. In 28 starts, the right-hander finished with an 11-8 record, with a 3.46 ERA and 167 strikeouts. Garcia finished first among all major league rookies in innings, wins and strikeouts.
Prediction: Randy Arozarena
If Franco played a full season, he likely would get the nod. But alas, that’s not the case, so it should go to his teammate Arozarena, who proved his 2020 postseason run was no fluke.
Who will win the NL Rookie of the Year?
The finalists for NL Rookie of the Year are the Reds’ Jonathan India, the Cardinals’ Dylan Carlson and the Marlins’ Trevor Rogers.
Jonathan India: India’s name was immediately thrown into the ring for Rookie of the Year at the beginning of the season. The Reds infielder batted .269 with 34 doubles, 21 home runs, 12 stolen bases and 69 RBIs in 150 games. His .369 OBP ranked fifth in the NL among those that qualified.
Dylan Carlson: Playing in 145 games for St. Louis, Carlson finished with a .266 batting average, with 18 home runs and 65 RBIs. He was also one of the six Cardinals to be nominated for a Gold Glove for his defensive work in the outfield.
Trevor Rogers: Rogers was a bright spot on a Marlins team that underwhelmed this season. The left-hander went 7-8 with a 2.64 ERA in 25 starts. His ERA was the third-lowest by a rookie with at least 130 innings pitched since 2000. He was Miami’s lone representative in the All-Star Game.
Prediction: Jonathan India
He was a consistent force all season long for the Reds and should be selected as the Reds’ first Rookie of the Year since 1999.
Who will win the AL Manager of the Year?
Moving to the bench bosses, the finalists for AL Manager of the Year are the Rays’ Kevin Cash, the Astros’ Dusty Baker and the Mariners’ Scott Servais.
Kevin Cash: After winning the 2020 AL Manager of the Year, Cash is a finalist once again. The Rays won the AL East for the second consecutive season and got to 100 wins, finishing with the best record in the AL for also the second straight season.
Dusty Baker: The 72-year-old manager is vying for his fourth Manager of the Year Award after previously winning three in his time with the Giants. He would join Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa as the only four-time recipients of the honor. Baker and the Astros won the AL West and made it all the way to the World Series.
Scott Servais: It’s not often you will find a manager in the running for Manager of the Year from a team that failed to make the postseason, but Servais is an exception. He took a Mariners team that was expected to be near the bottom of the AL and had them in playoff contention the entire season, falling just short in the final week of the season. It was the first 90-win season for the Mariners since 2003.
Prediction: Scott Servais
The Astros and Rays were expected to finish where they did, but the Mariners were one of the biggest surprises in baseball this season. No playoff appearance, but Servais should get the nod as AL Manager of the Year.
Who will win the NL Manager of the Year?
Rounding out the top awards is the NL Manager of the Year where the finalists are the Brewers’ Craig Counsell, the Giants’ Gabe Kapler and the Cardinals’ Mike Schildt.
Craig Counsell: For the third time in the last four years, Counsell is a finalist for the NL Manager of the Year. He took the Brewers to another NL Central title and a fourth consecutive postseason berth. Despite the nominations, Counsell has yet to win the award.
Gabe Kapler: It’s fair to say the Giants were not expected to win the NL West, let alone finish with the best record in baseball. But Kapler was able to get the most out of every player on the roster and the Giants exceeded all expectations. The team’s 107 wins were the most in franchise history.
Mike Schildt: It’s certainly intriguing to see Schildt on this list considering he was just fired by the Cardinals at the beginning of the offseason. Sitting just above .500 and three and a half games out of a wild card spot, the Cardinals ripped off 17 consecutive wins to secure a spot in the NL WIld Card Game, falling to the Dodgers. Schildt previously won the 2019 NL Manager of the Year.
Prediction: Gabe Kapler
You take a team that wasn’t supposed to sniff the division and finish with not just a better record than the Dodgers, but the best record in baseball, it’s a pretty easy choice.