Updated: Mar 28
Here is one player from EVERY team that could come to the awards, and the Manager per division I can see winning the Manager of the year. It's about time for it to come to fruition as the season is getting kicked off, the WBC is over, and it's time for six months of the best sport, baseball. We will kick it off with AL; make sure you come back tomorrow for the NL.
I have to get the first and most challenging division out of the way where I have to praise other players of division rivals of my Seattle Mariners.
MVP: *deep breath, more profound, deeper* JULLLLIIIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! With an incentive of $25MM in additional pay if Julio wins the MVP. Coming off winning the RoY award and becoming a face of the MLB, the face of the Mariners franchise, it's on Julio if this team makes a deeper playoff run going into 2023. No doubts Julio is a legit MVP finalist.
Cy Young: La Pierda, aka Luis Castillo. After coming to Seattle from the Reds via trade, he did not disappoint as he earned a 5-year/$100+MM contract. Robbie Ray might have recently won it, Logan Gilbert is great, and George Kirby is back for an encore performance in his 2nd season. Still, Castillo is overdue for a legit Cy Young award consideration.
MVP: Now I know that Yordan Alvarez was the finalist for the MVP award in 2022; however, I don't think he is the most valuable player on the Astros as I believe that title belongs to Kyle Tucker, who in 2022 had four fewer hits than Alvarez, seven less HR, ten more RBI, 24 more SB. Both are 25 fantastic players, and I am a vast Tucker fan, and I genuinely believe he will be the team's MVP in 2023.
Cy Young: This is a two-way tie for me for the Astros as they have co-aces in my eyes in their rotation, and both could push for the Cy Young award. Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier. Both posted sub 3.00ERA and both had 194K.
MVP: Now, it's crazy because the Angels have one player who can with both awards and likely will be top-3/5 for them, Shohei Ohtani; Mike Trout is a perennial MVP candidate, and when healthy, it's obvious. The Angels live or die on the hills of Ohtani/Trout and will continue to do so.
Cy Young: If you look back at my post about whether the awards were correct after they were announced. You can view that here. However, Ohtani posted a 6.2WAR, 15-9 record in 28 starts, and 166 IP. He had a 2.33ERA/2.40FIP, 219K/44BB. The case for Ohtani has just as many starts as JV, more wins than Cease, only 9IP less than JV, more K's than JV and Manoah, and less BB allowed than Cease and Manoah.
MVP: When you pay a man $300MM+, who comes in and struggles to start the season, you question the team. However, down the stretch and into the second half, Corey Seager looked great and at home in Texas with the Rangers. He posted a 3.9WAR, 119OPS+, and was on a tear down the stretch. Corey will only improve as he enters his 29 seasons and year 2 of the mega-deal.
Cy Young: When deGrom is on the mound, he is the best pitcher in baseball by a mile. However 2021/22, he didn't make more than 15 starts; I am not counting the shortened 2020 season. Between 2014-2019 he was making 22/24 and at least 30 starts. He even had back-to-back Cy Youngs in 2018/19. If deGrom can make 23-27 starts for the Rangers, it's a no-brainer for deGrom to earn his 3rd Cy Young award.
MVP: I believe that A's do not have an actual MVP candidate on this team, however, I think their best player offensively will be 25yo Catcher Shea Langeliers, and he will jump into the top 7-10 catchers in the MLB
Cy Young: Japanese import Shintaro Fijinami is filthy on the mound. He has nearly a 100MPH fastball and nasty breaking stuff; he ended his 2022 season in Japan with a 2.77ERA, 115k-36KK. I am excited about the energy, the smile, and the competitiveness he brings to the A's. I have Shintaro as a legit RoY winner and a dark horse for Cy Youg.
Manager of the Year: Mariners Scott Servias; after he leads the M's back to the playoffs and deep, Servias will finally get some respect for his name and the elusive MoY award.
MVP: The Guardians are easily the best team in the AL Central by a mile, and it's not particularly close, as they won the division by ten games in 2022. The MVP of this team is a man who will once again be a top-6 for the award, Jose Ramirez. After finishing 4th(22), 6(21), 2(20), 3(18), 3(17), and 17(16), there is no slowing J-Ram from coming around to his time of earning it.
CY Young: The 1-2 tandem of Bieber and McKenzie both starting 30G, having a sub 3.00ERA, and each having at least 190k, yikes watch out, AL Central. I love Shane Beiber as a player. However, McKenzie took a giant step forward, and with the guardians continuing their push ahead with him and Bieber, both will contend for the award.
MVP: With Jose Abreu now in Houston, the White Sox is just hoping for a healthy season from Robert and Jimenez; there is one man who I think that push for the MVP on this team if the health allows it for him as well- Tim Anderson. TA is fantastic about getting on base, hitting for average, power, slug, and posting over and .800OPS between 2019-2021 before injuries limited him in 2022. When healthy, I believe Robert, Jimenez, and Anderson each can be "the guy" for the White Sox and push for the accolade; however, it's all on health.
Cy Young: Dylan Cease got rough up in spring training. However, it's okay cause it was spring. The White Sox thought that Lucas Giolitto would be the guy pushing for the Cy Young. However, Cease stepped up in 2022 with a runner-up finish for the award. Giolitto will be back to an above-average SP, and Cease will remain as great into 2023 and build off his strong season, as manager Peter Grifol pushes his players to keep getting better and not stop learning.
MVP: Now, when he is healthy, Buxton is elite; he hasn't played in more than 100G since 2017, not counting the shortened Covid season. In the last few seasons, 92(22), 61(21), 87(19), and 20(18), yet the Twins are paying him elite OF money with the 7yr/$100MM deal he signed ahead of the 2022 season. I need the Twins to make the spending make sense, please. However, if we look at the MVP of the team, we have to look towards re-signed SS Carlos Correa, who signed the 6yr/$100MM deal this off-season to stay with the team after agreeing to sign with the Giants, then the Mets and landing back in Min.
Cy Young: I wish I had mentioned him in my players. I still believe in the piece, which you can read here. However, Kenta Maeda looked sharp in Spring Training, and that should translate well to the regular season for him as he works his way back, in a contract year from tommy-john surgery. Maeda is 34 and will pace this Twins staff alongside new arrival Pablo Lopez in 2023.
MVP: Now, we can't give the honors to Miggy, at 40, as he commences on his last trip around the MLB this season. However, he's an honorary MVP and destined for Cooperstown. As you remember, I wrote about Javy Baez in that same piece of players I still believe in; you might recall he is in a contract year. He can opt out of the deal with Detroit this year. Watch as Javy pops off in 2023 and helps the Tigers honor Miggy and push the Guardians for the division.
Cy Young: After signing an excellent deal ahead of the 2022 season for 5yr/$77MM, E-Rod only made 17S for the Tigers during the season due to injuries. However, Eduardo Rodriguez has been sharp in spring ball and looked good in the WBC. I put E-Rod as my Cy Young winner for the Tigers, don't sleep on the newly signed Michael Lorenzen to capitalize on the opportunity in Detroit to put up numbers against a much weaker AL Central compared to the AL West he pitched against in 2022.
MVP: The obvious choice here is Salvador Perez. However, I only sometimes take the easy route to the answer. The next would be young SS/3B Bobby Whit Jr. However, it's not him either. At the same time, Perez and Whit Jr will pace the team. I am confident in Nicky Lopez and MJ Melendez to pace the Royals. I am incredibly high on MJ Melendez to deliver big things alongside Whit as they lead the waves of young talent knocking for the Royals.
Cy Young: Justin Verlander won a Cy Young at 39yo last season; why couldn't Zack Greinke push for his 2nd in 2023 as he likely pitches in his last season in the MLB back again where it started in 2004?
Manager of the Year: Give me AJ Hinch of the Tigers as he gets the Tigers into 2nd place during the 2023 season and falls just short of the Wild Card; extraordinary things are on the horizon in Detroit.
MVP: I believe it, and I don't know that the Red Sox finished 5th place in the AL East in 2022. After settling at $17.5MM for the 2023 season, the Red Sox locked down Rafael Devers through 2033 with a $313.5MM deal. Raffy Big Stick is only 26 and has had a top-15 MVP performance in back-to-back seasons. The time is now for the power, the incredible slash line, for it all to come together in his age 26 seasons for him to lead the Red Sox back into competition in the ultra-competitive AL East.
Cy Young: Wow, maybe I am thinking too highly of players I mentioned in that players I still believe in. However, the Red Sox have NO ONE else that has proven beyond a 37yo, washed-up Corey Kluber in the rotation outside of Chris Sale, who looked good in Spring Training. If Sale can keep his cool, stay healthy, and have some good luck, he can be in the conversation again.
MVP: It's a two-person race in TB for the MVP and best player honors between Randy Arozarena, who is consistent, has 30/30 potential, and is clutch in most significant moments. The other is 22yo SS, signed through 2032 by Wander Franco. However, Randy is coming up on Arbitration and is due for a payday soon. I doubt he can ball out and be in the conversation.
Cy Young: Year 3, age 26, coming off an All-Star appearance and a 6th place finish in the Cy Young, Shane McClanahan is going to be in the conversation all season long, and I have no doubt he can be a top-3 contender for the award in the AL.
MVP: Run it back is Arson; I mean Aaron Judge, the Captian, the $360MM man, the AL homerun King, and the 4th most HR in a single season after McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds.
Cy Young: The Yankees have one other obvious choice here; with Montas and Rodon both hurt opening the season, Gerrit Cole will again be in the conversation.
MVP: While catchers rarely are in the conversation unless they hit 40+ HR like Perez did in 2021, I don't see Adley taking an MVP leap ahead in 2023; however, a deal worth more but similar to Kiebert Ruiz will be on the table for him. The Orioles have two OF who should have strong seasons between Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander, who will pace this young and up-and-coming Orioles team during the 2023 season as they genuinely push for the 3rd wild-card.
Cy Young: I am still deciding whether to land on a Cy Young winner or true competitor for the Orioles, as Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez fight for the title alongside veterans Kyle Gibson and Cole Irvin.
MVP: PLAKATA! Vald Guerrero Jr, after agreeing to a $14.5MM contract for this season to avoid Arbitration, is due for a payday going into his age 24 seasons. He has finished 2nd and 16th in the MVP the last two seasons, and with the Jays in the mix for the AL East/Wild Card again heading into 2023 and being a TRUE contender, I know with a big season for Vlad, possibly with another MVP finish, the bag is his.
Cy Young: The Jays have a legit trio of Cy Young-caliber pitchers who are all great starting pitchers in the MLB. Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios and Alek Manoah. If I take one for the award, give me the energy, grit, and fun that is Alek Manoah.
Manager of the Year: Hyde of the Orioles is an obvious choice, with the Orioles pushing for the playoffs.
Who wins it?
MVP: The MVP comes down to Julio, Ohtani, and Jose Ramirez/Vladdy G, with Ohtani likely taking it and earning a LARGE contract in free agency.
Cy Young: Luis Castillo, Shane McClanahan, Triston McKenzie, Castillo winning it with clutch starts, complete games, and leading the Mariners to back-to-back playoff berths.
Manager of the Year: Scott Servies, Seattle Mariners, after leading them back to the Playoffs and showing it wasn't a fluke.
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