the commissioner’s trophy has been awarded to the brave for winning the world series in 2021. only the season portion remains for the individual awards.
there are many interesting cases for the prizes that will be awarded in the last year of baseball. In the al, there’s the MVP debate between a breakout season for the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the bidirectional star of angels shohei ohtani. in the domestic league, an open mvp run might come down to a number of players from teams that aren’t in the playoffs.
Reading: When are mlb awards announced
this could also be a unique year in the history of cy young. robbie ray and max scherzer, both award finalists, are free agents and could potentially win and go to another team. There have only been 13 young cy winners in free agency the following year, and never before have both winners left in the same offseason.
Unlike in 2020, there is a much larger sample size to look at in 2021. The year before, teams were limited to just 60 games. this year, the league was able to go into the full 162-game streak.
more: sports news mlb awards 2021, as voted by players
Here’s what you need to know about the finalists and winners of the America’s Baseball Writers Association Major Awards. Winners will be announced the week of Nov. 15. The schedule is as follows:
- al and nl rookie of the year awards: 6 p.m. et, monday, nov. 15 on mlb network
- al and nl manager of the year awards: 6 p.m. et, tuesday, nov. 16 at mlb network
- al and nl cy young awards: 6 p.m. et, Wednesday, Nov. 17 on mlb network
- al and nl mvp awards: 6 p.m. et, Thursday, Nov. 18 on the mlb network
bryce harper, philadelphia (17 of 30 first place votes)
bryce harper, phillies: this was the season phillies fans have been waiting for. In the third year of his 13-year, $330 million contract, Harper posted the second-highest fangraph war (FWar) of his career at 6.6, behind only the 9.3 mark he posted in his 2015 NL MVP-winning season. . he led the majors in ops (1,044) and wrc+ (170), and his walk rate of 16.7 percent was third-best. His 35 home runs were sixth best in the National League. Harper also added 13 stolen bases.
juan soto, nationals: the more soto plays, the more he starts to look like ted williams. Soto led the league in walk rate at 22.2 percent, which was the second year in a row he led the major leagues in walk rate, making him the youngest to accomplish the feat in consecutive years. , surpassing williams, who was 23 and 24 years old. in 1941 and 1942. He also walked just 14.2 percent and was third in the majors with a .999 ops. His 6.6 fwar is tied with Harper and behind only Trea Turner (6.9) among NL batsmen. Soto also hit 29 home runs and stole nine bases.
fernando tatis jr., parents: health again limited tatis in the amount of time he was able to spend on the field, as his 130 games were the fewest of the three mvp finalists of the national league, but when he played, he did it all. Tatis led the National League with 42 home runs and was third with 25 stolen bases. his .611 slugging percentage was only behind harper’s .615 mark and his .328 iso (isolated power) led the national league.
to the mvp
shohei ohtani, angels (30 out of 30 first place votes)
vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays: If it wasn’t for the next player on this list, Guerrero would have been the heavy favorite for MVP. He posted an impressive slash line of .311/.401/.601, giving him the second-highest trade in the majors at 1,002, and was tied for the MLB lead with 48 home runs. he walked an impressive 12.3 percent of the time and struck out only at a 15.8 percent rate. On top of all that, he was also on the field all the time, as only two players had more plate appearances than Guerrero and his 698 last season. Few hitters hit the ball harder, as he ranked third with an average exit velocity of 95.1 and was second with a 23.1 percent hard hits per swing, according to a baseball expert.
shohei ohtani, angels: It was the season that caught the attention of the baseball world. Ohtani achieved unparalleled feats of greatness in 2021 with his ability to produce like one of the most feared bats in the game and dominate on the mound like a true ace. he was third in the majors with 46 home runs and his 26 stolen bases were the fifth most in the league, and he finished with 5.1 fwar as a hitter. in 130.1 innings pitched, he posted a 3.18 era, ranking eighth in the al among pitchers with 130 ip, and a 3.51 fip. his strikeout rate of 29.3 percent was 11th-best in the majors and fifth-best in the al. which added another 3.0 fwar. All told, that 8.1 fwar was the most of any player in the big leagues.
Marcus Semien, Blue Jays: Guerrero wasn’t the only Blue Jay with an MVP-caliber season. he signed a one-year contract before the season, semien defended the best free-agent signing in the offseason when he delivered a .265/.334/.538 slash line that helped him post soto and harper’s tie with 6.6 war. In the AL, only Guerrero, Salvador Perez and Ohtani had more home runs than their total of 45, and semi added 15 stolen bases to top it off. semien was not only an impact player at the plate, but also an outstanding defensive player. according to one baseball expert, semien’s above-average seven outs made him the sixth-best defensive second baseman in the game.
nl cy young
corbin burnes, brewers (12 of 30 first place votes)
Corbin Burnes, Brewers: It was a great breakout campaign for Burnes in Milwaukee. He concluded the 2021 season with an ERA of 2.43 and a FIP of 1.63 which were the lowest in the game. he combined overwhelming strikeout stuff (35.6 percent strikeout rate, best in mlb) with pinpoint accuracy (5.2 percent walk rate, third-best) and held opposing hitters to a .199 batting average . the baseball expert listed his barrels per plate appearance at 1.8 percent, the lowest in the majors. Burnes’ only drawback is that he was the only Cy Young starter to make fewer than 30 starts (28) and had the fewest innings (167). But when he was on the mound, few could match Burnes’ dominance.
max scherzer, dodgers: nationals red? dodge blue? The uniform didn’t matter to Scherzer, he was going to dominate no matter what jersey he wore. Scherzer finished the year with a 2.46 and 2.97 FIP era in 179.1 work innings and an impressive 6.56 K/BB ratio, trailing only Burnes as the best in the majors. Scherzer took it up another notch when he was on the Dodgers, as he’s gone 1.98 in 68.1 innings since he moved west and posted a 2.9 fwar since August. 4 start, the best of any pitcher in the majors.
zack wheeler, phillies: wheeler showed he had potential as an ace during his years with the mets. they finally caught on in his sophomore year with the phillies. Wheeler pitched 213 1/3 innings, the most in the majors, and was fifth in the majors with a 2.78 ERA. his 7.3 fwar was trailed only by burnouts among pitchers and his 247 strikeouts were the most among nl pitchers. he also scored three complete games and two shutouts, both tied for the most in the majors.
to the young cy
robbie ray, blue jays (29 out of 30 first place votes)
gerrit cole, yankees: cole has continued to sport every part of the ace the yankees wanted when they signed him to the nine-year, $324 million mega deal before the 2020 season. in his first season Complete with the Yankees after the covid-shortened 2020 campaign, he pitched to a 3.23 era with a 2.92 FIP in 181.1 innings of work. his strikeout rate of 33.5 percent was the best in the American league. he totaled 5.3 fwar, which was good for the second-best mark in the al, behind only the red sox’s nathan eovaldi.
lance lynn, white sox: lynn pitched the fewest innings of al cy young’s final three at 157 innings, but pitched at an ace level while in chicago. He finished the year with a 2.69 ERA and a 3.32 FIP, the former being the lowest among all pitchers with at least 150 innings of work. Lynn struck out batters at a rate of 27.5 percent and only walked 7 percent of opposing batters, while opponents hit just .207 against him. his fwar 4.2 was fourth best in the al.
robbie ray, blue jays: the blue jays struck gold with their one-year contracts. not only did they sign semien, but they added ray, who emerged as one of the best pitchers in the american league. Ray pitched to an era of 2.84 in 193.1 innings of work, with both marks representing the best of the AL. His strikeout rate of 32.1 percent was second in the league only to Cole and he posted a career-low 6.9 percent walk rate after displaying free-passing issues in previous years. he was particularly dominant in July and August when he combined to pitch an era of 1.86 with 89 strikeouts in 72.2 innings in 11 starts in those two months.
national league rookie of the year
jonathan india, reds (29 out of 30 first place votes)
Dylan Carlson, Cardinals: There was a lot of buzz about 22-year-old stars Tatis, Soto and Guerrero, and obviously it’s all warranted, but Carlson made his mark in 2021 as another impressive 22-year-old in 2021. He fulfilled a significant role with the Cardinals when he hit 18 home runs and stole a pair of bases while slashing .266/.343/.437. he finished his rookie season with a fwar of 2.8.
jonathan india, reds: the reds called the 2018 no. 5 overall to start the season, and he didn’t disappoint. India led all qualified rookie hitters with a 3.9 fwar and .835 ops. he was also one of only two rookie hitters in the NL to record double-digit home runs and stolen bases as he hit 21 home runs and stole 12 bases. he ranked in the 86th percentile in both chase rate and sprint speed, according to the baseball expert.
trevor rogers, marlins: no rookie pitcher was even in the same realm as rogers in fwar. he finished the regular season at 4.2, with only the top rookie pitcher on the team coming close to 1.5 fwar. in 133 innings, he had a 2.64 ERA, struck out 28.5 percent of opposing batters and walked 8.4 percent with an opponents’ average of .214. his 2.55 fip was the lowest among all rookie starters, as was his time. he missed the entire month of august, as he was put on the dueling list, and probably would have been a heavy favorite for the nl award if he hadn’t missed that time.
rookie of the year
randy arozarena, rays (22 out of 30 first place votes)
randy arozarena, rays: It was hard to imagine arozarena surpassing his historic performance in the 2020 postseason, but he continued to cement himself as a star in 2021 with his full rookie season. he posted the only 20/20 season among rookies, as he hit every mark exactly, and his .274/.356/.459 slash line led him to .815 runs, the best among all rated rookies. Arozarena also registered in the 72nd percentile for above-average putouts, according to one baseball expert, as he split his time between the two corner outfield spots. he led all rookies with 3.3 fwar.
Franco Wander, Rays: The Rays hyped their top prospect in June, and the 20-year-old star proved he was ready for the majors. Franco reached base in 43 consecutive games to tie Frank Robinson for the longest on-base streak by a batter 20 years old or younger. after an early slump, he slashed .302/.354/.473 over the last 285 plate appearances of the season with six home runs and a steal, eventually finishing the campaign with a .288/.347 slash line / .463 with seven home runs. and a pair of steals in 308 total plate appearances for the year. despite the shorter season, he was third among all rookie hitters with a 2.5 fwar.
luis garcia, astros: Before shining in the postseason for the astros, garcia took a big step forward to fill a spot in the rotation during the regular season. He totaled the most innings of any rookie pitcher at 155.1 and was second only to Arozarena with his 3.1 fwar. He impressed with a 3.30 and 3.63 FIP era as he struck out 26.4 percent of opposing batters and walked 7.9 percent.
national manager of the year
advice from craig, brewers: if brewers fans had been told christian yelich would continue his downward spiral and hit just nine home runs and steal nine bases in a full season, they wouldn’t know They would feel great about their chances in 2021. But Counsell helped the Brewers defy the odds, win the NL Central and finish with the third-best record in the NL. The Brewers had over 2.0 fwar seasons from five different hitters and three pitchers — Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta — made for perhaps the league’s best one-two-three hit of any rotation in the majors.
Gabe Kapler, Giants: The Giants last won the World Series in 2014 and hadn’t made the postseason since 2016, which was also the last time they had a winning record. But in Kapler’s second season, the Giants won 107 games, the most of any team in baseball. The change came with the resurgence of veterans like Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt, who were integral parts of the Giants’ World Series stretch in the early 2010s, and standout performances from starters like Kevin Gausman, Logan webb, anthony desclafani and alex wood.
mike shildt, cardinals: the cardinals seemed to be out of the playoff picture as september began. then came the winning streak. st. Louis won 17 straight, edging out several games behind the Reds and Padres with a convincing lead to claim the second wild-card spot and reach the postseason for the third year in a row. Shildt pressed all the right buttons for a team that received just 15 starts from ace Jack Flaherty and only 39-year-old Adam Wainwright pitched more than 110 innings. despite the breakout season, the Cardinals fired him after the season.
manager of the year
dusty baker, astros: the astros could have made the postseason five years in a row, but they were coming off a 29-31 campaign in 2020 and were poised for a challenging 2021 after losing nail. justin verlander to tommy john surgery and george springer to free agency. Baker had no trouble leading Houston to the West crown and eventually a pennant, even though the vote was taken before the postseason. Baker pulled off a patchwork rotation to have the 10th-best collective fwar in baseball, and guided the lineup to have the highest hitting fwar in the game.
kevin cash, rays: It might seem a bit strange that the reigning AL pennant winner had his manager named a finalist for manager of the year, but kevin cash just keeps climbing the list . Despite the Rays having a $70 million payroll, according to Spotrac, nearly $30 million less than any other team to make the playoffs, Tampa Bay finished the season with the best record in the American League at 100-62 despite play in the same division as the red sox, yankees and blue jays, who had more than 90 wins. Cash lost the team’s best starting pitcher midway through the season, but managed a team with a stable of starters and rookie starters, and rotated through a lineup that saw nine different players add up to 100-plus games.
scott servais, sailors: speak of an underdog. When the season began, FiveThirtyEight gave the Mariners an 8 percent chance of making the playoffs and projected Seattle would finish with a 73-89 record. Servais took on a team with low expectations and just four players with 130-plus games played on a 90-win team, leading Seattle to its best record since 2003. The Mariners finished just two games out of a wild card and were on the hunt. of a playoff spot until the last day of the season.