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MLB Preseason Award Predictions

Written by: Jonathan Lidskin

Despite the MLB having a much shortened, 60 game season, awards will still be handed out. The sample size for voting will be much smaller, and a hot month for a player could essentially win them the award. Here’s the one thing to note, however. There should not be an asterisk next to award winners’ names. Everyone plays the same amount of games this year, plus, a really good two months can win an award (Cody Bellinger last season). Without further ado, your 2020 MLB Award Winners will be…

American League Rookie of the Year: Luis Robert, CF, White Sox

To figure out how good Luis Robert is, you just have to ask the White Sox how much they believe in him. Robert signed a 6 year 50 million dollar contract extension with the White Sox this offseason and he has not yet played an MLB game. Robert hit .328 with 32 homers in 122 games in the minors last season. He should start for the White Sox almost everyday in center field and will have the benefit of playing in warm weather for a full season, and will not face a ton of tough pitching playing in the AL Central. Robert will not have a ton of fierce competition either as Bo Bichette is not eligible for the award this season.

Luis Robert in a Spring Training game with the White Sox (Photo: South Side Sox)

National League Rookie of the Year: MacKenzie Gore, P, Padres

The easy way out pick for this award would be Gavin Lux. Lux will play a ton for the Dodgers and should have a good year with that lineup around him. However, it was anticipated that MacKenzie Gore was going to be called up this year. With a weak backend of their rotation, the Padres have no reason not to move up Gore for the shortened season. With the NL East having a tough schedule and the NL Central beating up on each other, it’s possible that Gore could help the Padres steal a wild card spot. He throws in the mid-high 90’s with his fastball, and has a filthy curveball. Gore had a 1.69 ERA and struck out 135 batters in 20 starts on his way to winning minor league pitcher of the year last season. With no minor league baseball this season, he should be a no-brainer call up and should be a starter for the Padres this season.

American League Manager of the Year: Rick Renteria, White Sox

See a trend here? The White Sox are going to have a good year. They will play the Tigers and Royals 10 times each as well as a bunch of games against mediocre NL Central teams. With this schedule, the White Sox will make the playoffs. Rick Renteria has a really young team and a pitching staff with some questions. Despite this, a playoff appearance without a doubt will earn him AL Manager of the Year.

National League Manager of the Year: Luis Rojas, Mets

The Mets are in a really tough situation this season. They’ll have to play an extremely tough schedule and they brought in not one, but two managers this offseason. Rojas was hired after the Mets had to fire Carlos Beltran because of the camera scandal. Rojas, who is only 38 years old, will guide the Mets to the playoff in his first season, and although he’ll have some competition for this award, getting the Mets to the playoffs under the circumstances should be enough to win NL Manager of the Year.

Rojas gets introduced as the Mets Manager (Photo: New York Times)

American League Cy Young: Jose Berrios, Twins

I can’t stress enough how important the schedule format is this year. With 60 games this season, pitchers will get at most 12 starts. Considering Berrios could potentially have 5 of those starts against the Royals, Tigers and Pirates, that should put him at a significant advantage already. Berrios, in three full major league seasons, has yet to post an ERA under 3.50. With that being said, Berrios strikes out a ton of hitters, and with the lightened schedule, his ERA should go down. When 5 of your 12 starts are automatic good starts, you should have a pretty solid chance of winning the award.

National League Cy Young: Jacob deGrom, Mets

This NL Cy Young award is almost a lock at this point. Jacob deGrom has won the last two NL Cy Young awards and neither have really been that close. deGrom has been the best pitcher in baseball for the past two years and despite other really good pitchers in the National League, and a strong schedule this season, he seems to pitch well against just about everybody. This for me, was my easiest pick for an award.

deGrom will try to win his 3rd consecutive NL Cy Young this season (Photo: Amazin’ Avenue)

American League MVP: Gleyber Torres, Yankees

I didn’t want to just be unique here. I honestly believe despite how good Mike Trout is, Gleyber Torres will win the award. There’s only one reason for this: the Baltimore Orioles. Torres raked against the Orioles last season hitting 13 homers in 19 games. This season, Torres will play around 16.5% of his games against the Orioles. If he hits homers at the same pace he did last season against the Orioles, he’ll hit 7 homers against them. The MLB leader in homers last year hit 20 homers through 60 games. If Torres hits 7 against the Orioles, he would be on pace to crush the 20 homer mark. He’ll obviously have to hit well against other teams as well, but seeing the Orioles in 16.5% of your games will be a huge help for him.

Torres rounds 3rd base after hitting one of his 13 homers against the Orioles last season (Photo: USATODAY.com)

National League MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr.

Ronald Acuna Jr. is the definition of a 5 tool player. Acuna is great defensively, stole a National League leading 37 bases last season, and hit .280 with 41 homers. His average was a little down from his rookie season, but hitting in the .290-.310 range will become a normalcy for him. This season should be no different. He’ll face a tough schedule playing in the National League East, but the Braves lineup is loaded, so he’ll have plenty of protection around him. Acuna will have to compete with a ton of guys to win the National League MVP, but in his third season, this will be the year he breaks through.

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