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Clubhouse Leaders: MLB Awards Edition 2021

May 26, 2021
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We’re back! Welcome, loyal readers, to 2021' first installment of Clubhouse Leaders!

This year’s debut is a little later than usual – team’s will be a lot closer to 50 or so games played rather than 40 by the time you read this – but that just means that there’s a little more data to evaluate when we go over the choices.

As always, we anticipate that the final tally may well be considerably different than what we’re looking at early one, but hey – that’s part of the fun! In this strange year, as MLB continues to work through the various obstacles presented by the ongoing pandemic, it’s tough to say who will rise to the top.

Let’s take a look at who’s looking good early on, shall we?

(All stats current as of May 23.)

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AL Rookie of the Year

Yermin Mercedes, Chicago White Sox

I honestly don’t know if this pick will be viable even a month from now, but at the moment, it’s tough to pick against the slugger. As of press time, the guy was pulling off the rare .300/.400/.500 slash line, putting up a .404 OBP and .538 slugging percentage to go with his league-leading .354 batting average. All this, plus half-a-dozen homers and 25 RBI. He’s primarily a DH, so he’ll have to keep those offensive numbers in the stratosphere to stay in contention for this award; his relatively advanced age for a rookie (he’s 28) may work against him as well. Adolis Garcia of the Rangers has flashed big-time power early on, and preseason favorite Randy Arozarena of the Rays is still in contention, but for the moment, I’ve got to give the nod to Mercedes.

(Also noteworthy: Garcia; Arozarena; Michael Kopech, Chicago White Sox; Nick Madrigal, Chicago White Sox; Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers)

NL Rookie of the Year

Jazz Chisolm, Miami Marlins

I went back and forth between a pair of Marlins here, but ultimately, I decided to go with Chisolm here. Not just because of his production on the field, which is impressive - .290/.356/.516, with five homers and eight steals – but also because of the energy he’s bringing to that production. He’s just a fun player to watch, whether he’s at the plate, on the basepaths or in the field. That said, if you want to argue for Chilsolm’s teammate Trevor Rogers – 6-2 with a 1.74 ERA and 65 Ks in his first nine starts of the season – I won’t stop you. Honestly, either one of these guys is a solid pick. There are a couple of other potential contenders, guys like Atlanta’s Ian Anderson and Milwaukee’s J.P. Feyereisen, but for right now, it looks like the NL ROY is coming through Miami.

(Also noteworthy: Rogers; Anderson; Feyereisen; Ryan Weathers, San Diego Padres; Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals)

AL Cy Young Award

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

There have been a handful of dominant pitchers across both leagues so far this season, but none of them have displayed the kind of consistency that we’ve seen from Cole. His record stands at 6-2 after 10 starts, with an ERA below two and a WHIP of 0.80. He’s also second in the league in strikeouts with 92. He’s been dominant just about every time he’s taken the mound. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Baltimore’s John Means – we expected this from Cole, but Means has been shockingly good. We’re talking league-leading numbers in both ERA and WHIP, though his record is more reflective of the terrible Orioles squad for which he pitches. And oh yeah, he tossed one of those no-hitters we keep hearing about all the time. Still, I’m going to go with Cole here – he’s been more across the board dominant and is showing no signs of slowing down.

(Also noteworthy: Means; Kyle Gibson, Texas Rangers; Shane Bieber, Cleveland Indians; Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays; Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox)

NL Cy Young Award

Trevor Bauer, Los Angeles Dodgers

I’ll be honest here – I don’t believe that Bauer is going to be the one to ultimately win this award, despite an exceptional start to the season that sees him with a sub-two ERA, a 0.77 WHIP and a league-leading 88 Ks over his first 10 starts. I think it’s going to be Jacob deGrom who does it, whose otherworldly performance can only be halted by injury (which to be fair has already happened this season). Bauer has been dominant, but deGrom, when healthy, is far and away the best pitcher in the major; his 0.68 ERA and 0.60 WHIP would both lead the majors if he qualified. Still, these two, while the cream of the crop, are far from alone as far as NL CYA contenders. Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta have both been incredible so far, while St. Louis’s Jack Flaherty has a shot at the biggest win total we’ve seen in some time – he’s 8-0 in nine starts. Bauer now, deGrom later.

(Also noteworthy: deGrom; Woodruff; Peralta; Flaherty; Yu Darvish, San Diego Padres)

AL MVP

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

Full disclosure: I love Shohei Ohtani. Honestly, I’m not sure how you can be a fan of baseball and NOT love him – he’s putting on a display of sheer talent that is unlike anything we’ve witnessed in a century. This is a guy whose offensive prowess would have him here regardless – he’s leading the AL with 14 home runs as I write this, to go along with a .268/.320/.619 slash line. He’s got 34 RBI, six steals and even three triples. That’s an MVP contender. But when you add what he’s done on the mound – a 2.37 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP and 45 Ks in just over 30 innings across six starts – you’re left with a player the likes of which none of us have ever seen. Yes, his teammate Mike Trout might wind up winning this – dude’s got a typically excellent .333/.466/.624 slash line, though he has missed some games – and Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has started this season looking like the elite talent we expected him to be, but if Ohtani keeps this up, it’s nuts to give the nod to anyone else.

(Also noteworthy: Trout; Guerrero Jr.; J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox; Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox; Aaron Judge, New York Yankees)

NL MVP

Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds

Look, I’m as surprised as you are. But while I don’t necessarily think that Winker can keep up this level of production through season’s end, there’s no denying that his production so far has earned him this spot. This is a dude whose .351/.410/.669 slash line ranks first, third and first respectively in the NL. He’s hit a dozen home runs. Thus far, he’s the guy. But Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. – a much more likely candidate – has put up his own strong numbers. He’s got a league-leading 15 homers to go with 37 runs scored (also NL-leading), six steals and a .279/.380/.630 line. There are a couple of other potential movers as well – Winker’s teammate Nick Castellanos has been having a hell of a year in his own right, while Chicago’s Kris Bryant has put up some great numbers thus far as well. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out, but for now, Winker sits atop the list.

(Also noteworthy: Acuna Jr.; Castellanos; Bryant; Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers; Trea Turner, Washington Nationals)

Last modified on Wednesday, 26 May 2021 06:05

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