Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts could become the second player to win the MVP award in each league, and New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom is in the running for his third consecutive NL Cy Young Award.
The competition, of course, is tough.
Betts, Freddie Freeman and Manny Machado are the top finishers for NL MVP in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. DeGrom, Trevor Bauer and Yu Darvish are the finalists in the NL Cy Young race.
The three highest vote-getters for each BBWAA award were revealed on Monday. The winners will be announced next week.
Betts, who won the 2018 AL MVP award with Boston, helped the Dodgers win the World Series last week for the first time since 1988. Frank Robinson is the only player to win the MVP award in both leagues, accomplishing the feat in 1961 with Cincinnati and 1966 for Baltimore.
DeGrom could join Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux as the only pitchers to win at least three consecutive Cy Young Awards. But Bauer had an NL-best 1.73 ERA in 11 starts for Cincinnati, and Darvish went 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA in 12 starts for the Chicago Cubs, matching Cleveland Indians ace Shane Bieber for the major league lead in wins.
Balloting for the BBWAA awards was completed before the start of the postseason.
Freeman batted .341 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs for the NL East champion Atlanta Braves, and Machado hit .304 with 16 homers and 47 RBIs for the San Diego Padres.
Bieber joined Minnesota Twins right-hander Kenta Maeda and Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu as finalists for the AL Cy Young Award. Bieber is the heavy favorite after the 25-year-old right-hander went 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings, leading the majors in wins, ERA and strikeouts.
“My confidence continues to grow just from coming into the season or into the league in 2018,” Bieber said on MLB Network. “Learning my stuff, figuring it out, continuing to sharpen the breaking stuff and trying to add velocity as much as I can from year to year has been the big thing for me.”
LeMahieu, who hit a big league-best .364, and Bauer are free agents after starring during the pandemic-shortened season.
The top finishers in voting for AL Manager of the Year are Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo and Rick Renteria, who was let go by the White Sox after the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Cash was roundly criticized for pulling ace left-hander Blake Snell in the sixth inning of the decisive Game 6 of the World Series against the champion Dodgers.
Miami’s Don Mattingly, San Diego’s Jayce Tingler and the Cubs’ David Ross are the finalists for NL Manager of the Year. Tingler and Ross just completed their first seasons as big league skippers.
Mattingly guided the Marlins to their first playoff appearance since 2003 despite dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that paused their season and ravaged the roster. Miami also lost 105 games last year.
“Coming into this season, there was a lot of people in our clubhouse and within our group that believed that we were going to have pretty good pitching,” Mattingly said.
“With that, you can do a lot.”
The finalists for AL Rookie of the Year are Houston Astros right-hander Cristian Javier and center fielders Kyle Lewis of the Seattle Mariners and Luis Robert of the White Sox. Philadelphia Phillies infielder Alec Bohm, San Diego Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth and Milwaukee Brewers reliever Devin Williams are the top finishers for the NL rookie award.
The 25-year-old Lewis hit .262 with 11 homers and 28 RBIs in 58 games. He said playing 18 games with Seattle in September 2019 helped him out a lot this year.
“It helped me a ton just as far as nerves, as far as the ability to slow the game down,” Lewis said. “Coming up last year everything was happening so fast.”