An unprecedented baseball season concluded last Tuesday when the Dodgers defeated the Rays in Game 6 of the World Series to win the franchise's first championship in 32 years. Now that the season is over, another season begins -- yes, there's Hot Stove season, but there's also awards season. November is awards month for MLB, and here's a preview of the favorites and finalists for individual honors, starting with the BBWAA finalists being announced Monday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.
All awards announcements on MLB Network are at 6 p.m. ET unless otherwise noted.
Finalists to be announced on MLB Network on Monday, Nov. 2
Winners to be announced on MLB Network, Nov. 9-12
Rookie of the Year (Winners announced Nov. 9)
As much as Rays rookie slugger Randy Arozarena thrilled us during his record-setting postseason, he only played in 23 regular-season games this year. The American League Rookie of the Year Award will likely come down to a pair of center fielders -- the Mariners' Kyle Lewis and the White Sox's Luis Robert.
Lewis is the front-runner, hitting .262/.364/.437 with 11 home runs in 58 games for Seattle. He also made some highlight-reel plays in center field. Robert, who is listed as 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, made some sparkling plays of his own, wowing the baseball world with his speed and range in center. He also belted 11 home runs in 56 games, many of which were mammoth blasts that displayed his raw power. On top of that, he also stole nine bases.
In the NL, for quite some time it looked as though Padres infielder Jake Cronenworth would be the obvious choice, but that was before a couple of other star rookies burst onto the scene. Cronenworth hit .285/.354/.477 over 54 games for San Diego, but hit just .183 over the season's final month. Meanwhile, the Phillies' Alec Bohm made his case, slashing .338/.400/.481 in 44 games for Philadelphia.
While those two are strong candidates, this award may belong to a pitcher who was unbelievably overpowering, the Brewers' Devin Williams. Williams struck out an eye-popping 53 percent of the batters he faced while yielding just one earned run in 27 innings out of the bullpen for Milwaukee, using his blazing fastball and devastating changeup to baffle opposing hitters.
Manager of the Year (Winners announced Nov. 10)
Let's start with the managers that won their respective leagues in this unique season -- Dave Roberts of the World Series champion Dodgers and Kevin Cash of the AL champion Rays. While votes were cast before the postseason, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay each had the best record in their league, with the Dodgers finishing 43-17 and the Rays going 40-20. It's hard not to imagine these two will be toward the top of the list, with Cash potentially having the inside track with the low-budget Rays winning the tough AL East for the first time in a decade.
There are several other managers who will surely get some consideration as well. On the AL side, Rick Renteria's White Sox went 35-25, ahead of schedule in Chicago's rebuilding process. And let's not forget about Aaron Boone, whose Yankees once again weathered countless injuries to reach the AL Division Series, where they lost in five games to the Rays.
In the NL, Padres skipper Jayce Tingler led San Diego to a 37-23 record and its first postseason appearance in 14 years. Don Mattingly helmed the year's biggest surprise team, as the rebuilding Marlins reached the postseason for the first time since 2003 despite a chaotic schedule as a result of COVID-19 infections among some of their players. Other candidates include Brian Snitker, whose Braves won a second consecutive NL East crown, and David Ross, who led the Cubs to an NL Central title in his first year as manager.
Cy Young (Winners announced Nov. 11)
Voters may not have too hard of a time trying to decide who should be named the 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner. That's because the Indians' Shane Bieber was just that dominant. The 25-year-old right-hander, who introduced himself to the baseball world when he won the 2019 All-Star Game MVP Award on his home mound in Cleveland, posted a Major League-best 1.63 ERA while striking out an incredible 41 percent of the batters he faced over 12 starts (77 1/3 innings). He also walked just 21 and led baseball with a 2.07 FIP.
In the NL, things are tighter. While there were many stellar pitching performances over the 2020 season, the NL Cy Young Award race will likely come down to the Reds' Trevor Bauer, the Cubs' Yu Darvish and the reigning two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, the Mets' Jacob deGrom.
All three had outstanding campaigns. Bauer led the league with a 1.73 ERA and 0.80 WHIP while striking out 36 percent of batters faced over 73 innings. Darvish, meanwhile, accumulated the most wins above replacement (FanGraphs) among the three, at 3.0, and finished with a 2.01 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and a strikeout rate of 31 percent over 76 innings. And deGrom, who is looking to become just the third pitcher in MLB history to win the award in three consecutive years -- he would join Greg Maddux (1992-95) and Randy Johnson (1999-2002), who each won four straight. deGrom posted a 2.38 ERA and 0.96 WHIP while leading the league with 104 strikeouts (39 percent strikeout rate).
Most Valuable Player (Winners announced Nov. 12)
It's an intriguing race in the AL, with the Yankees' DJ LeMahieu leading the league in offensive production with a 177 weighted runs created plus (wRC+), but José Abreu and José Ramirez right there with him in terms of overall value -- LeMahieu finished with 2.5 WAR, with Abreu finishing at a virtually identical 2.6 and Ramirez ahead of the pack at 3.4. Others who might get some MVP consideration include Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon, White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe.
LeMahieu hit an MLB-best .364 while posting an on-base percentage of .421 and slugging .590. Abreu, meanwhile, had a monstrous season of his own, slashing .317/.370/.617 with a second-ranked 19 home runs. And Ramirez had a tremendous bounce-back season after a difficult 2019, hitting .292/.386/.607 with 17 homers and 10 steals. And of course there's Mike Trout, who had what some might call an "off year" by his standards, if you can call a .281/.390/.603 slash line with 17 homers in 53 games (2.5 WAR) an "off year."
On the National League side, there are plenty of great candidates as well, but this one might come down to a three-man race between Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts and Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.
Freeman led the NL in WAR (3.4) and hit .341/.462/.640 with 13 home runs and a 187 wRC+. Betts' star shined brightest in the postseason, but his regular season was spectacular as well -- the former AL MVP Award winner hit .292/.366/.562 with 16 homers and five Outs Above Average in right field. He hopes to become the second player in MLB history to win an MVP honor in both leagues, joining Frank Robinson. And Tatis, perhaps the most exciting player in the game, had a huge season of his own, posting a .937 OPS with 17 homers despite slumping toward the end of the season.
Gold Glove Awards
Winners announced on ESPN -- Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. ET
There are some intriguing names among the AL Gold Glove Award finalists. Matt Chapman of the A's is widely considered the best defensive third baseman in the AL, but due to injury and a shortened 2020 season, he is not among this year's finalists. That opens the door for the Rangers' Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the White Sox's Yoán Moncada, and the Yankees' Gio Urshela. Kiner-Falefa led the trio with eight defensive runs saved and four Outs Above Average at third base, but Moncada wasn't far behind in terms of OAA, with three, and Urshela was close in DRS, with six.
Another interesting competition is for center field, where a couple of unsurprising names appear on the finalists list -- the Twins' Byron Buxton and the Athletics' Ramón Laureano. But the other finalist at the position is rookie phenom Luis Robert, who added elite defense to his prodigious home runs in 2020 -- he tied for the lead among all MLB outfielders with seven Outs Above Average. See all AL Gold Glove Award finalists
For the NL, we again lead off at third base, where the Rockies' Nolan Arenado appears primed for his eighth Gold Glove Award in eight Major League seasons, which would extend his own record for most consecutive Gold Glove Awards to begin an infielder's career. Arenado's competitors are no slouches, of course -- the Padres' Manny Machado has a pair of Gold Glove Awards to his name, and the Marlins' Brian Anderson has established himself as one of the best -- and most versatile -- defensive players in the game. Still, Arenado's MLB-best 15 defensive runs saved and seven Outs Above Average (tied for most in MLB) have him well in front of Machado (seven DRS and three OAA) and Anderson (four DRS and four OAA).
At first base, a pair of star sluggers are vying for a fourth Gold Glove Award, while another is seeking his first in his 10th Major League season. No first baseman not named Anthony Rizzo or Paul Goldschmidt has won the honor in the NL since 2014. Both veterans, both sluggers and both great defensive first basemen, each helped lead his club to the postseason in 2020. And Brandon Belt shined defensively for the Giants, hoping to add a Gold Glove Award to his trophy shelf, next to his two World Series rings. See all NL Gold Glove Award finalists
The Rawlings Platinum Glove Awards, which go to the best overall defensive player in each league, regardless of position, will be announced Friday, Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network. Also announced at that time will be the team Gold Glove Awards, which are presented to the best defensive team overall in each league.
Silver Slugger Awards
Winners announced on MLB Network -- Thursday, Nov. 5
Salvador Perez had a red-hot 37 games at the plate in 2020, slashing .333/.353/.633 with 11 home runs. He's the front-runner for the Silver Slugger Award in the AL, though other candidates include the White Sox duo of Yasmani Grandal (.773 OPS, 8 HR) and James McCann (.896 OPS, 7 HR), the Angels' Max Stassi (.886 OPS, 7 HR), Athletics rookie Sean Murphy (.821 OPS, 7 HR) and Red Sox backstop Christian Vazquez (.801 OPS, 7 HR).
Among NL catchers, it appears to be a three-man race between the Phillies' J.T. Realmuto (.840 OPS, 11 HR), the Dodgers' Will Smith (.980 OPS, 9 HR) and the Braves' Travis d'Arnaud (.919 OPS, 8 HR).
In the AL, this is all but settled -- White Sox slugger José Abreu is an MVP Award candidate after hitting .317/.370/.617 with 19 homers, second in baseball to only the Yankees' Luke Voit.
In the NL, another MVP Award candidate is the front-runner -- the Braves' Freddie Freeman had a huge season, launching 13 homers while posting a 1.102 OPS, second in the NL to only the Nationals' Juan Soto. Freeman is looking to win his second straight Silver Slugger Award after winning his first in 2019.
It's a two-man race at second base for the AL Silver Slugger Award, and it's a good one between the Yankees' DJ LeMahieu and the Rays' Brandon Lowe. LeMahieu followed up a career season in his first year with the Yankees by leading the league with a .364 batting average and 1.011 OPS to go along with 10 home runs. Lowe had a breakout campaign for Tampa Bay, posting a .916 OPS with 14 homers in 193 at-bats -- in 2019, he hit 17 homers in 296 at-bats.
The Mets' Robinson Canó figures to be the favorite at second base in the NL. Canó had a subpar 2019 campaign that was limited by injury, but bounced back in '20, hitting .316/.352/.544 with 10 home runs for New York. A 2020 Silver Slugger Award would be the sixth of his career, and first since 2013.
The Indians' José Ramírez is head-and-shoulders above the AL pack at the hot corner after hitting .292/.386/.607 with 17 home runs, six more than any other third baseman in the league. The 2020 season represents a strong bounce-back after Ramírez had a subpar 2019 -- for him anyway -- with an .806 OPS and 23 homers in 129 games.
In the NL, the Silver Slugger Award at third base is Manny Machado's to lose. The Padres' slugger helped fuel San Diego's successful season by belting 16 homers to go along with a slash line of .304/.370/.580.
Tim Anderson of the White Sox and Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox are the two AL shortstops who had the most productive offensive seasons in 2020. Anderson hit .322/.357/.529 with 10 homers, while Bogaerts slashed .300/.364/.502 and led all AL shortstops with 11 homers.
It's a very intriguing three-man race at shortstop in the NL, with the Dodgers' Corey Seager, the Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Nationals' Trea Turner all strong candidates. Before being named MVP of both the NL Championship Series and the World Series, Seager had a big regular season, hitting .307/.358/.585 with 12 homers in 52 games.
Tatis, meanwhile, had an incredible first month of the season before slumping in September. He still finished with strong numbers -- a .937 OPS with 17 homers. And Turner, relatively quietly, put together a stellar season of his own, leading the Majors in hits (78) and the NL in triples (four) while posting a .982 OPS (including a career-best .588 slugging percentage) with 12 homers.
In the AL, this one is likely to come down to a choice between Eloy Jiménez of the White Sox and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. of the Blue Jays. Jiménez has done nothing but slug over his first two Major League seasons, and has 45 homers to his name in 177 career games. He launched 14 of those in 2020, while posting an .891 OPS for Chicago. Much like Jiménez, Gurriel is right at the center of a youth movement in Toronto, for whom he belted 11 homers with an .882 OPS in 2020.
The NL honor could very well go to a player who missed the first 13 games of the season due to testing positive for COVID-19 on Opening Day. He may have only played in 47 games, but Juan Soto still smashed 13 homers while hitting .351/.490/.695.
Mike Trout is the favorite to win his eighth Silver Slugger Award in the last nine years after adding another stellar season to his record, though it was perhaps not as prolific as seasons past. The three-time AL MVP finished with a .993 OPS and 17 home runs, with George Springer's 14 homers second among AL center fielders.
On the NL side, Ronald Acuña Jr. looks to win his second Silver Slugger Award for center field, and he's in a great position to do that after slugging 14 homers and posting a .987 OPS in 46 games to help Atlanta to a second straight NL East title.
The Silver Slugger Award for right field in the AL figures to come down to the Blue Jays' Teoscar Hernández and the Orioles' Anthony Santander, who really put himself on the map with a fine 2020 campaign. Hernández has the edge in homers, with 16 to Santander's 11, but the two had roughly equal slugging percentages, at .579 for Hernández and .575 for Santander.
There's a large contingent of candidates among NL right fielders. Of course, there's MVP candidate Mookie Betts of the Dodgers, who hit 16 homers with a .927 OPS. There are also his fellow NL West right fielders Wil Myers and Mike Yastrzemski -- Myers slugged .606 with 15 home runs for the Padres, and Yastrzemski posted a .968 OPS with a league-best four triples to go along with 10 homers for the Giants. And don't forget about Phillies slugger Bryce Harper, who belted 13 homers with a .962 OPS.
Who else would be the AL favorite here if not the ageless wonder himself, Nelson Cruz. The 40-year-old DH slugged .595 with 16 homers for the Twins. He seeks his second straight Silver Slugger Award and fourth overall.
For the first time, this category has an NL column, so who will be the first NL Silver Slugger Award winner for DH? How about a player who will get MVP consideration as well? The Braves' Marcell Ozuna had a great campaign at the plate after a pair of seasons that were a step back from his breakout 2017. Ozuna led the NL in homers (18), RBIs (56) and total bases (145) while slugging .636.
Winners announced on MLB Network during the week of Dec. 7
For the second time, there will be an "end-of-the-season" version of All-Star voting through a vote for the All-MLB Team presented by CohnReznick, which is comprised of a fan vote and a vote from a panel of experts, each weighted 50 percent. Fans can vote here through 2 p.m. ET on Nov. 13, and the winners will be announced on MLB Network during the week of Dec. 7.
The Padres led MLB with nine players nominated for an All-MLB honor -- second baseman Jake Cronenworth, third baseman Manny Machado, shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., catcher Austin Nola, outfielders Wil Myers and Trent Grisham, right-hander Dinelson Lamet, and relievers Trevor Rosenthal and left-handed reliever Drew Pomeranz.
Two clubs had seven players nominated, both from the AL Central -- the Indians and White Sox. Cleveland's nominees are second baseman Cesar Hernandez, third baseman José Ramírez, designated hitter Franmil Reyes, right-handers Shane Bieber and Carlos Carrasco, and relievers James Karinchak and Brad Hand.
For the White Sox, the nominees are first baseman José Abreu, shortstop Tim Anderson, catcher Yasmani Grandal, outfielder Eloy Jiménez, left-hander Dallas Keuchel, right-hander Lucas Giolito and reliever Alex Colomé. Full All-MLB Team nominees list
The five deepest positions in terms of All-MLB nominees are shortstop, starting pitcher, reliever, first base and the outfield.