Ranking each BBWAA Awards race

Major League Baseball has officially unveiled the three finalists for each of its prestigious BBWAA awards: MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year. The excitement is palpable as we wait for the winners to be announced this week, but the choices are endlessly intriguing. Some categories boast clear-cut favorites, while others present a conundrum with no clear answer, leaving us to ponder over the deserving victor.

The 2023 award recipients will be revealed this week on MLB Network, airing at 6 p.m. ET on the designated days.

We’re on the brink of definitive answers, but for now, let’s revel in the speculation. It’s time to rank the candidates! Here’s a breakdown of each category, ranked based on the ease of making a choice, from easiest to toughest (Reminder: Votes were submitted before the start of the playoffs, so October performance is not a factor).

Outman and Senga were vital contributors to the successes of both the Dodgers and the Mets. However, Carroll’s absence as an MVP finalist, let alone as a Rookie of the Year finalist, is arguable. He is likely to land in the top five for MVP voting after producing the first 20-50 season by a rookie in MLB history, leading his team to the World Series, and reshaping the entire trajectory of the franchise. He is unequivocally the easiest pick for the award.

Seager’s remarkable performance this season would be sufficient to make a compelling MVP case in any other year, but unfortunately for him (and Semien, the other finalist), he is competing against a formidable opponent. Ohtani is poised to secure his second MVP Award as he heads into free agency. It’s moments like these that we’ll reminisce with future generations about witnessing such extraordinary talent.

Henderson, MLB Pipeline’s top prospect in baseball at the start of the season, established himself as the standout star of the Orioles’ remarkable season, leading all rookies in homers and extra-base hits and solidifying his position as the centerpiece of the lineup. This year’s Rookie of the Year Award rightfully recognizes a player who not only had an incredible season but also showcased the promise of being a dominant force in the years to come.

Cole has had exceptional seasons in the past, finishing second in Cy Young voting in 2019 and consistently ranking among the top pitchers. Both Gausman and Gray have strong cases this year, but Cole outshines them with his undeniable prowess, making him deserving of recognition. This would mark the Yankees’ first Cy Young winner since Roger Clemens in 2001.

The Manager awards are inherently challenging to decide as they don’t rely on concrete statistics like the other categories. Ultimately, it comes down to the overall impression. All three finalists led their teams to the playoffs with better records than anticipated, and while postseason performance isn’t considered in the voting, Bochy stands out for guiding a team that had long missed the playoffs to 90 wins and a tie atop the AL West in his inaugural season, making him a strong contender for the award.

Counsell’s nomination may be intriguing owing to his opportunity to win for the Brewers while being employed by the Cubs, but the competition is fiercer between the other two finalists. Schumaker steered the Marlins to the playoffs after two decades, while Snitker achieved one of the finest seasons in Braves’ history. It’s a challenging choice between these exceptional managers.

Lastly, the MVP category presents the most difficult decision. Freeman’s presence notwithstanding, the real contenders are Betts and Acuña. While Acuña maintained the lead for most of the season with his outstanding performance, Betts’ higher WAR and his exceptional year comparable to his historic MVP season in 2018 offer a strong case. Both are elite baseball players who delivered exceptional seasons, leaving the voters with an unenviably difficult choice.


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