Awards season has arrived.
The finalists for each of the major awards handed out by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America were announced on Monday on MLB Network.
A reminder that voting for the BBWAA Awards — which include the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year Awards — takes place at the conclusion of the regular season, meaning that postseason performance was not considered.
Here’s a rundown of the top three vote-getters for each award and when the winners will be announced:
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Winners announced Thursday, Nov. 12 on MLB Network
NL finalists: Mookie Betts (LAD), Freddie Freeman (ATL), Manny Machado (SD)
Betts: The 2018 AL MVP Award winner had an impressive debut season with the Dodgers, slashing .292/.366/.562 with 16 homers and 10 stolen bases. Along with winning the award in 2018, Betts has received MVP votes each season since ’15, including finishing as the runner-up in ’16.
Freeman: Though he’s never finished higher than fourth in MVP voting previously, that will change after Freeman’s incredible 2020 campaign. The Braves’ first baseman hit .341 with 13 homers, an MLB-leading 23 doubles and 53 RBIs, all while posting a remarkable 1.102 OPS.
Machado: A key cog in the Padres’ potent offense, Machado had a solid all-around season, clubbing 16 homers and swiping six bases in the shortened 60-game season. That would put him on pace for 43 homers and 16 stolen bases over a 162-game stretch. He also slashed .304/.370/.580 while forming one of the league’s most formidable duos alongside Fernando Tatis Jr.
AL finalists: José Abreu (CWS), DJ LeMahieu (NYY), José Ramírez (CLE)
Abreu: The 2014 AL Rookie of the Year Award winner is looking to add an MVP Award to his trophy case after leading the AL in both hits (76) and slugging percentage (.617). Abreu also led the Majors in RBIs (60) and total bases (148), while his 19 homers were second only to Luke Voit (22).
LeMahieu: After finishing fourth in AL MVP Award voting in his first season with the Yankees in 2019, LeMahieu upped his hitting line across the board in ’20. He led the Majors with a .364 average and paced all AL batters in both on-base percentage (.421) and OPS (1.011).
Ramírez: After back-to-back third-place finishes in AL MVP Award voting in 2017 and ’18, Ramírez took a step back with a disappointing ’19 campaign. The Indians infielder responded in a big way in ’20, however, posting a career-best .993 OPS while racking up 17 homers and 10 stolen bases — numbers that would have had him on pace for 45 home runs and 27 stolen bases in a 162-game season.
Winners announced Wednesday, Nov. 11 on MLB Network
AL finalists: Shane Bieber (CLE), Kenta Maeda (MIN), Hyun Jin Ryu (TOR)
Bieber: No surprise here, as Bieber took home the pitching Triple Crown — not just for the American League, but for the Majors as a whole. After finishing fourth in 2019 AL Cy Young Award Voting, the Indians right-hander led all AL pitchers in wins (eight), ERA (1.63) and strikeouts (122).
Maeda: The Twins got exactly what they were hoping for with Maeda, who led the Majors with a dominant 0.75 WHIP after being acquired from the Dodgers as part of the three-team blockbuster deal involving Mookie Betts in February. The right-hander finished 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA and 80 strikeouts in just 66 2/3 innings over 11 starts.
Ryu: After leading the Majors with a 2.32 ERA and finishing second in NL Cy Young Award voting as a member of the Dodgers in 2019, Ryu picked up right where he left off in ’20. The left-hander went 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA while averaging a career-best 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings in his debut season with the Blue Jays.
NL finalists: Trevor Bauer (CIN), Yu Darvish (CHC), Jacob deGrom (NYM)
Bauer: After finishing sixth in AL Cy Young Award voting with the Indians in 2018, Bauer took a step back in ’19 — especially after being traded to the Reds. He went 2-5 with a 6.39 ERA in 10 starts down the stretch with Cincinnati, but he bounced back in a major way this season. Bauer led the NL with a 1.73 ERA and struck out 100 batters over 73 innings. He allowed one earned run or fewer in eight of his 11 starts, while striking out at least 12 batters in four of them.
Darvish: The Cubs right-hander was nearly unhittable for a stretch this season, going 7-0 with a 0.98 ERA over seven starts from July 31-Sept. 4. Though Darvish wasn’t quite as dominant over his next few outings, he still finished 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 12 starts.
deGrom: A quest for a third consecutive NL Cy Young Award took a bit of a hit in a rocky Sept. 16 outing in Philadelphia, but deGrom still finished with a respectable 2.38 ERA while leading the NL with 104 strikeouts. The Mets ace had a 1.67 ERA entering that outing and he struck out 24 batters in the two starts that followed. However, allowing three runs in just two innings after being pulled with a hamstring spasm against the rival Phillies on that night could loom large.
JACKIE ROBINSON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Winners announced Monday, Nov. 9 on MLB Network
NL finalists: Alec Bohm (PHI), Jake Cronenworth (SD), Devin Williams (MIL)
Bohm: This was a case of a club’s top prospect living up to, if not exceeding, expectations from the very start. After making his highly anticipated MLB debut on Aug. 13, Bohm — the third overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft — slashed .338/.400/.481 with four homers, 11 doubles and 23 RBIs in just 44 games for the Phillies.
Cronenworth: There was a point this season when it looked like Cronenworth was going to absolutely run away with this award. The Padres’ infielder was slashing a ridiculous .356/.411/.624 entering September, with 16 of his 36 hits going for extra bases (four homers, three triples and nine doubles). Though he cooled off a bit down the stretch, Cronenworth still finished with a .285/.354/.477 line with four homers, 15 doubles and three stolen bases, while appearing all across the infield.
Williams: Few pitchers have ever had a stretch as dominant as Williams’ 2020 campaign. Milwaukee’s 26-year-old reliever allowed just one earned run over 27 innings (0.33 ERA) while posting a 0.63 WHIP and striking out a jaw-dropping 53 batters.
AL finalists: Cristian Javier (HOU), Kyle Lewis (SEA), Luis Robert (CWS)
Javier: With the Astros in need of pitching depth after losing Gerrit Cole to free agency and Justin Verlander to a season-ending injury, Javier stepped up. The 23-year-old righty went 5-2 with a 3.48 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 12 appearances, including 10 starts.
Lewis: Seattle’s first-round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft burst onto the scene with his dazzling all-around play in 2020. Lewis tied for the lead among all rookies with 11 homers, while also racking up five stolen bases — and one unforgettable grand-slam robbery.
Robert: After signing a six-year, $50 million deal before even making his MLB debut, Robert came out swinging in 2020. He posted a .960 OPS and 10 homers in 33 games through August before slowing a bit down the stretch. Robert still led all rookies with 31 RBIs and tied with Lewis atop the rookie home run leaderboard.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Winners announced Tuesday, Nov. 10 on MLB Network
AL finalists: Kevin Cash (TB), Charlie Montoyo (TOR), Rick Renteria (CWS)
Cash: The Rays not only claimed their first AL East title since 2010, but they did so by posting the AL’s best record (40-20) and the best winning percentage (.667) in franchise history. After finishing in last place in ’16, Tampa Bay has improved its winning percentage in each season since.
Montoyo: In just his second season as a big league manager, Montoyo guided the Blue Jays back to the playoffs after a 95-loss season in 2019. He led Toronto to a 32-28 record — its first winning season since 2016 — despite the fact that the team could not play at Rogers Centre due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Blue Jays ultimately played their home games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, N.Y.
Renteria: After a 10-win improvement from 2018-19, Renteria helped the White Sox return to the postseason in ’20 for the first time since ’08. Though Renteria and the White Sox parted ways after the season, Renteria is still receiving consideration after leading the White Sox to a 35-25 (.583) mark — their best winning percentage since the ’05 championship season.
NL finalists: Don Mattingly (MIA), David Ross (CHC), Jayce Tingler (SD)
Mattingly: One season after losing an NL-worst 105 games, Mattingly’s Marlins went 31-29 (their first winning record since 2009) and made their first postseason appearance since winning the ’03 World Series. All that despite dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in the first week of the season that forced Miami to use 61 players — the most in any season in franchise history — in 60 games.
Ross: In his first year at the helm, Ross helped the Cubs return to the postseason after a disappointing 2019 season. The 2016 World Series hero led Chicago to a 34-26 record and its first division title since ’17 in his debut season.
Tingler: Another first-year manager, Tingler guided the Padres to their first postseason appearance since 2006. San Diego finished at 37-23 (.617), marking the best single-season winning percentage in franchise history.