I published my predictions for the award winners in the National League this past Tuesday. Head on over there before or after reading here to see what I think! Today, I will be laying out my predictions for the award winners in the American League. Like I said in my previous post, all of these predictions could be completely wrong and I can go 0/6 between the two leagues. However, that is part of the fun when writing pieces like this. With all that said, here are my American League award predictions.
Rookie of the Year – Nate Pearson, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
There are so many talented prospects affiliated with American League teams, including 7 of the top 10 and 5 of the top 5. Some of the top prospects are poised to make their MLB debut this season including Wander Franco, Adley Rutschman, and Jarred Kelenic. However, my pick goes to a pitcher who made his debut last season but still holds rookie status. Nate Pearson of the Toronto (Buffalo?) Blue Jays will win the American League Rookie of the Year. Pearson is the 10th ranked prospect in baseball and the top ranked pitcher in the American League. He did struggle during his rookie season in 2020. He started 4 games but accumulated a 6.00 ERA in only 18 innings pitched. However, I believe Pearson is poised for a breakout season in 2021.
Cy Young – Shane Bieber, RHP, Cleveland Baseball Team
Shane Bieber took home the award last season after going 8-1 with 122 strikeouts and a 1.63 ERA. Those are some pretty impressive stats and I believe he will repeat as the American League Cy Young winner. Bieber finished fourth in the Cy Young voting in 2019 during his first full season in the bigs. He jumped from a 3.28 ERA in 2019 to a 1.63 ERA in 2020 and that is no fluke. By no means do I think he will repeat that ERA over the course of a 162 game season, but he will be in the low to mid 2.00s. He is one of the best strikeout pitchers in the game and boasts one of the highest swing and miss rates in baseball. If you miss a lot of bats, the strikeouts rack up and base runners are kept off the base paths.
MVP – Matt Olson, 1B, Oakland Athletics
If we are being real, this award should go to Mike Trout every season. Just as the award should go to Lebron every season in the NBA. Trout is the best player in baseball and legitimately has a chance to be the greatest baseball player to ever live (according to WAR). However, Trout will finish at least one spot behind Oakland A’s first baseman, Matt Olson. Olson had a very down year in 2020. He felt his swing was too horizontal which to a career worst strikeout rate. However, we have seen the type of player Olson can be. Until 2020, his WAR increased by over a full point from season to season, peaking at 5.4 in 2019. He is a Gold Glove caliber first baseman who is also capable of hitting 40 home runs and driving in 100 runs. Olson will have a huge bounceback season and lead the A’s to an AL West Division title.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
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