Who’s ready for some more predictions?
Before we raise the curtain on the 2022 season, here are our predictions for the major end-of-season awards, based on a poll of 73 MLB.com experts.
AL: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
It took a historic season from Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani to keep Guerrero from earning AL MVP honors last season. The Blue Jays slugger finished second in the race after tying Royals catcher Salvador Perez for the MLB lead with 48 homers and leading the AL in on-base percentage (.401) and slugging (.601). Our experts expect another big season from the 23-year-old, predicting he’ll top the AL in home runs and win a batting title, which could be enough to give him the edge in the AL MVP race this year.
Others receiving votes: Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Rafael Devers, Wander Franco, Aaron Judge, Luis Robert, Carlos Correa, Anthony Rendon
NL: Juan Soto, Nationals
Like Guerrero in the AL, Soto placed second in the NL MVP Award voting last season behind former teammate Bryce Harper, who won the award for the second time. Soto put up a .348/.525/.639 slash line with 18 home runs in the second half of 2021 and has recorded a lifetime 160 OPS+, tying him with Fernando Tatis Jr. for the fifth-best mark any AL/NL player has posted through his age-22 season (min. 1,000 plate appearances), behind only Ted Williams, Mike Trout, Stan Musial and Ty Cobb. He could have multiple MVP Awards in his future, and our voters predict he’ll get his first in 2022.
Others receiving votes: Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, Francisco Lindor, Ronald Acuña Jr., Matt Olson, Fernando Tatis Jr., Nolan Arenado
Cy Young Award
AL: Gerrit Cole, Yankees
Can Cole finally seal the deal and get his first Cy Young Award? He’s come awfully close in the past, finishing fifth once, fourth twice and second twice. The Yankees ace was seemingly on track to do it last season, but a rough finish gave the edge to Robbie Ray. Since 2018, Cole ranks first in the Majors in strikeouts (939) and innings pitched (667) and fourth (min. 400 innings) in both ERA+ (153) and WHIP (0.99).
Others receiving votes: Lucas Giolito, Shane Bieber, Robbie Ray, José Berríos, Shohei Ohtani, Justin Verlander, Lance Lynn, Dylan Cease, Casey Mize, Nathan Eovaldi, Framber Valdez
NL: Walker Buehler, Dodgers
Dodgers pitchers have won 12 Cy Young Awards, by far the most of any franchise, and Buehler has a good chance to join the list, which includes stalwarts such as Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Clayton Kershaw and Don Newcombe. The 27-year-old recorded a personal-best 2.47 ERA over 207 2/3 innings with 213 strikeouts last season, finishing fourth in the NL voting behind Corbin Burnes, Zack Wheeler and Max Scherzer.
Others receiving votes: Max Scherzer, Corbin Burnes, Max Fried, Julio Urías, Yu Darvish, Logan Webb, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Aaron Nola
Rookie of the Year Award
AL: Bobby Witt Jr., Royals
There could be heavy competition for the AL Rookie of the Year Award, with MLB Pipeline’s top five prospects -- Witt, Adley Rutschman, Julio Rodríguez, Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene, respectively -- all expected to play big roles for AL clubs in 2022 (Rutschman and Greene are both battling injuries currently). Our voters see Witt emerging from this stacked field to win it. The Royals announced Tuesday that Witt would be on the club’s Opening Day roster after he posted a 1.222 OPS over 34 plate appearances this spring. The five-tool stud hit .290 with 33 homers, 29 steals and a .936 OPS in the Minors last season.
Others receiving votes: Spencer Torkelson, Julio Rodríguez, Adley Rutschman, Riley Greene, Joe Ryan, Pedro Leon, Jeremy Peña
NL: Oneil Cruz, Pirates
A delayed callup may be the only thing that holds Cruz back in the NL Rookie of the Year Award race this year. While other top NL candidates such as Seiya Suzuki, Joey Bart, Hunter Greene and Bryson Stott are set to be on their teams’ Opening Day rosters, Cruz will be starting out in the Minors. However, MLB.com’s voting panel doesn’t think a late start will matter for Cruz, who became the tallest shortstop in big league history at 6-foot-7 when he made his debut last September and possesses incredible power potential.
Others receiving votes: Seiya Suzuki, Joey Bart, Hunter Greene, Bryson Stott, Brennen Davis, C.J. Abrams, Alek Thomas, Cade Cavalli, Max Meyer, Nolan Gorman, Sixto Sánchez
Manager of the Year Award
AL: Charlie Montoyo, Blue Jays
Our experts predict the Blue Jays will win the AL East and make a deep run into the postseason, so it makes sense that Montoyo is the consensus pick for AL Manager of the Year. Under Montoyo’s guidance, Toronto has emerged from a brief rebuilding period to become a contender, recording a .554 winning percentage over the past two years, and he’ll lead one of the game’s most talented rosters in 2022.
Others receiving votes: Scott Servais, Joe Maddon, A.J. Hinch, Rocco Baldelli, Aaron Boone, Dusty Baker, Alex Cora, Kevin Cash, Mike Matheny, Chris Woodward, Tony La Russa
NL: Buck Showalter, Mets
After a three-year absence from managing, Showalter is back and set to lead the Mets, who added Scherzer, Chris Bassitt, Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha and Adam Ottavino in the offseason. The 65-year-old, who brings 20 years of experience to the job, has won Manager of the Year Awards in three decades, each time with a different team. He previously won AL honors with the Yankees in 1994, the Rangers in 2004 and the Orioles in 2014.
Others receiving votes: Craig Counsell, Bob Melvin, Dave Roberts, Oliver Marmol, Brian Snitker, Joe Girardi, Don Mattingly, Gabe Kapler