The Finalists have been announced for the four major MLB awards: MVP, CY Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year.
Here is the schedule for the announcements:
• Monday, Nov. 15: Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award • Tuesday, Nov. 16: Manager of the Year Award • Wednesday, Nov. 17: Cy Young Award • Thursday, Nov. 18: Most Valuable Player Award
Is there any value in these futures? Let’s break it down.
Angels SP/DH Shohei Ohtani (-5000) Blue Jays 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (+1500) Blue Jays Marcus Semien (+20000)
Shohei Ohtani is the heavy favorite, and his value as a 2-way player is unmatched. As a hitter, he smashed 46 home runs, tallied 100 RBIs and stole 26 bases. As a pitcher, he went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA. There should be a WAR category just for Ohtani.
He is—quite literally—the very definition of Most Valuable Player. It would take a minimum of two players to replace his production.
It’s unfortunate for Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who had a breakout season and tied Sal Perez for the league-lead with 48 home runs while batting .311.
If you like a long shot based on the fact Ohtani already won the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award, perhaps you bet on Guerrero. Or you could just set your money on fire. There’s no money to be made here.
THE PICK: Ohtani.
Phillies RF Bryce Harper (-222) Nationals RF Juan Soto (+200) Padres SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (+1000)
Bryce Harper did his best to help the Phillies in their playoff push that came up short, batting .307 with 35 home runs, 84 RBIs and a .427 on-base percentage (OBP).
Not that these numbers aren’t impressive, but doesn’t it kind of make you feel bad for Guerrero, who would run away with this award if he played in the NL? But, I digress.
Though Harper is favored, Juan Soto had a better batting average (.313), more RBIs (95) and a better on-base percentage (.465) for the Nationals.
Finally, my pick early in the season for this award was Fernando Tatis Jr. for this award. Tatis has more power (42 home runs) and more speed (25 stolen bases) than Harper and Soto. Tatis missed 22 games due to a shoulder issue and his contact skills (.282 BA) are not as elite as his competition, but +1000 is great value for an electric player that saw far more of the national spotlight than the other two nominees.
THE PICK: I don’t think Harper is a lock for this one, and I would rather back Soto at +200 or sprinkle a few dollars on the +1000 odds on Tatis.
Blue Jays LHP Robbie Ray (-1500) Yankees RHP Gerrit Cole (+550) White Sox RHP Lance Lynn (+3300)
Gerrit Cole was the favorite for the majority of the season, but a late season blow-up has provided some value if you like the Yankee hurler.
Here are the stats:
Cole: 16-8 with a 3.23 ERA and 243 strikeouts in 30 starts Lynn: 11-6 with a 2.69 ERA and 176 strikeouts in 28 starts Ray: 13-7 with a 2.84 ERA and 248 strikeouts in 32 starts
On paper it certainly looks like Ray takes home the hardware. I took Ray at +440 in July, and I’m feeling pretty good about it.
Two of these three pitchers helped get their teams to the postseason, yet Zack Wheeler is somehow the favorite at +150.
Corbin Burnes was masterful all season, anchoring a stellar Brewers rotation that got Milwaukee to the postseason with little help from former NL MVP Christian Yelich. Burnes is +160, and I like him better than Wheeler at +150.
Max Scherzer was excellent for two teams in the Dodgers and Nationals.
Here are the stats:
Burnes: 11-4 with a 2.43 ERA and 234 strikeouts in 27 starts Scherzer: 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA and 236 strikeouts in 30 starts Wheeler: 14-10 with a 2.78 ERA and 247 strikeouts in 32 starts
One thing these stats don’t show: how dominant Scherzer was after suiting up in Dodger blue. He went 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA and 89 strikeouts across 11 regular season starts with Los Angeles.
THE PICK: My value pick is Scherzer at +190 to take home the prize.
Rays OF Randy Arozarena (-260) Rays 3B Wander Franco (+225) Astros RHP Luis Garcia (+900)
Randy Arozarena made the 20/20 club with 20 home runs and 20 steals across 141 games while batting .271. Voters surely will remember his dominant 2020 postseason—although it’s not part of the voting consideration—which inspired many to start a steady diet of chicken and rice, even if they can’t do 300 push-ups. He’s a stud.
Wander Franco was very good after joining the bigs, batting .288 with seven homers and 39 RBI across 70 games, but it’s not enough to overtake Arozarena.
Luis Garcia is the only long shot bet I would make at +900. Garcia was a major reason the Astros took the AL West and had their third World Series appearance in five years. He pitched to an 11-8 record with 3.24 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 28 starts. On the off chance the Rays hitters’ split some votes, the pitcher could sneak in for a win.
THE PICK: There’s no money to be made with Arozarena, but he’s the pick. Garcia is a better option than Franco if you’re looking for a value option.
Reds 2B Jonathan India (-2500) Marlins LHP Trevor Rogers (+750) Cardinals oF Dylan Carlson (+2000)
This is perhaps the second-most lopsided race, as Jonathan India is the favorite at -2500 with Trevor Rogers next in line at +750. India’s stats are uniformly better than Carlson’s, so I don’t see the +2000 for Carlson paying off in any instance.
Rogers was very impressive with a 7-8 record and a 2.78 ERA with 167 strikeouts across 25 starts, but this is India’s award.
THE PICK: India’s 3.9 WAR and 5th-place finish in NL OBP seal the deal.
Rays manager Kevin Cash (-110) Mariners manager Scott Servais (+110) Astros manager Dusty Baker (+550)
An AL-leading 100 win season and back-to-back division titles have Kevin Cash as the favorite for his second consecutive AL Manager of the Year award. But, you know what? I’m over it. The Rays are a boring team and they take the fun out of baseball. Yeah, I said it. So, I’m not backing Cash, because you know who put some fun back into baseball this year? The Mariners.
Servais surprised everyone by having the Mariners in contention until the last weekend. Servais did more with less. Dusty Baker at +550 won’t be taking this one home. Let’s face it, the Astros were dominant and no one wants to see them win another award. Sorry, Dusty. But keep being Dusty because baseball fans love you.
THE PICK: Servais.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler (-1000) Brewers manager Craig Counsell (+500) Cardinals manager Mike Shildt (+1200)
All of these guys are award-worthy in my book, but Gabe Kapler takes this one.
All season long we waited for the geriatric Giants to fall back to earth, and guess what? It never happened. The Giants posted a dominant 107-win season, forcing the 106-win Dodgers to play their way into the NLDS through a Wild Card game (vs. Mike Shildt’s Cardinals). All three of these managers should be lauded, but Kapler takes this one home at -1000, so there’s no money to be made here.
I can’t see anyone picking the NL Central managers.