MLB Awards Week: Results and everything you need to know about MVP, Cy Young and more

Friday, November 18, 2022

With the World Series in our rearview mirror -- though the champion Astros are surely still reveling in their victory -- the 2022 season is all but done, with one final piece left: awards!

The winners of MLB's four major end-of-season awards -- Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player -- were announced throughout the week.

On Monday, Seattle's Julio Rodriguez took home American League Rookie of the Year honors, while Atlanta's Michael Harris II won in the National League. On Tuesday, Cleveland's Terry Francona was named AL Manager of the Year, and the Mets' Buck Showalter won for the NL. On Wednesday, 39-year-oldJustin Verlandersecured his third career Cy Young by winning the AL honors, whileSandy Alcantaramade Marlins franchise history in the NL with his victory -- marking the first time since 1968 that the Cy Young winners were each unanimous choices.

Finally, Paul Goldschmidtbeat out Cardinals teammate Nolan Arenado and Padres star Manny Machado for NL MVP honors. Meanwhile,Aaron Judgecapped his historic season with the AL MVP award, keepingShohei Ohtanifrom a second straight MVP award.

We have everything you need to know for awards week, including our ESPN MLB experts' predictions and analysis from Bradford Doolittle as each award was handed out.

Jump to ... :

Rookie of the Year: AL | NL

Manager of the Year: AL | NL

Cy Young: AL | NL


American League MVP

Winner:Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees

Final tally: Judge 410 (28 first-place votes); Shohei Ohtani 280 (2); Yordan Alvarez, Astros 232; Jose Ramirez, Guardians 186; Jose Altuve, Astros 142; Andres Gimenez, Guardians 141; Julio Rodriguez, Mariners 108; Mike Trout, Angels 90; Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox 50; Justin Verlander, Astros 44; Bo Bichette, Blue Jays 16; Adley Rutschman, Orioles 14; Luis Arraez, Twins 12; Rafael Devers, Red Sox 10; Kyle Tucker, Astros 8; Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays 7; Jose Abreu, White Sox 5; Alek Manoah, Blue Jays 5; Alex Bregman, Astros 4; Yandy Diaz, Rays 2; Framber Valdez, Astros 2; Sean Murphy, Athletics 1; Dylan Cease, White Sox 1.

Experts' picks: Judge (12 votes), Ohtani (1)

Doolittle's take: According to Baseball Reference, Ohtani put up 9.6 WAR this season. That's a tremendous season. During the 54 seasons of divisional play, only 29 hitters and 24 pitchers have exceeded that total and, of course, none of them did it as a two-way player. Nevertheless, Judge's bWAR (10.6) was a full win better.

No version of WAR is the end-all, be-all of this conversation but this speaks to just how special Judge's season was in a historical context. The only other active players to produce a 10-WAR season are Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and (surprise) Zack Greinke.

The AL record 62 homers will dominate the forever headlines, but just as impressive is the full sweep of Judge's 2022 stat line. He topped 130 runs and RBI, something that hadn't been done since Alex Rodriguez in 2007. He led the AL in walks, on-base percentage, slugging and finished second in batting average. While playing on a division champion, he led the circuit in win probability added.

Here's another snippet about how special a 10-WAR season actually is. Judge became the fourth Yankee position player to record a season of that caliber. The other three are named Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle. Joe DiMaggio never did it. Derek Jeter never did it. However Judge's free agency turns out, he has made his mark on Yankee history in a big way.

There aren't many seasons in which Ohtani's 2022 performance would not be a slam-dunk MVP campaign. This just happened to be one of them.

Here's how my AXE leaderboard had it:

1. Judge (171)

2. Ohtani (157)

3. Alvarez (142)

4. Andres Gimenez, Guardians (141)

5. Mike Trout, Angels (138)

Note: AXE is an index that creates a consensus rating from the leading value metrics (WAR, from Fangraphs and Baseball Reference) and contextual metrics (win probability added and championship probability added, both from Baseball Reference).

MVP must-reads:

The road to 62: How Aaron Judge made home run history in 2022

Aaron Judge vs. Shohei Ohtani: How to compare two radically different MVP contenders

'This guy, he's different': What it's like to watch Yordan Alvarez up close

National League MVP

Winner:Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals

Final tally: Goldschmidt 380 (22 first-place votes); Manny Machado, Padres 291 (7); Nolan Arenado, Cardinals 232 (1); Freddie Freeman, Dodgers 220; Mookie Betts, Dodgers 154; Austin Riley, Braves 116; J.T. Realmuto, Phillies 98; Pete Alonso, Mets 81; Francisco Lindor, Mets 77; Sandy Alcantara, Marlins 39; Trea Turner, Dodgers 29; Dansby Swanson, Braves 23; Michael Harris, Braves 9; Julio Urias, Dodgers 8; Jeff McNeil, Mets 6; Daniel Bard, Rockies 2; Kyle Schwarber, Phillies 2; Edwin Diaz, Mets 2; Starling Marte, Mets 1.

Experts' picks: Goldschmidt (6 votes), Machado (4), Arenado (3)

Doolittle's take: The metrics were close enough that you could make a coherent argument in favor of all of the finalists and beyond, including the Dodgers' power duo of Betts and Freeman. However, Goldschmidt did top the AXE leaderboard and is a worthy choice.

This is no reason to give a person an MVP trophy, but Goldschmidt's career deserved to have at least one such award on his mantel. He has been one of the game's best all-around players for nearly a decade and one of its most consistent. He also has been a perennial also-ran in the MVP balloting, with three previous top-three finishes and two others in the top 10. This has perhaps contributed to his status as one of his generation's most unsung stars.

Hopefully that changes now that Goldschmidt has an MVP on his résumé, one that might have reached a tipping point this season in terms of Hall of Fame consideration. That's no empty talk. According to the new Bill James Handbook 2023, his production this season put him on the cusp of such consideration in the Hall of Fame Monitor system. And, given what we saw in 2022, he has a lot of production ahead of him to add to his case.

The flip side of the good-for-Goldy tale is that Arenado is now in his teammate's former position as a generational player with six top-10 MVP finishes but no award. Meanwhile, Machado is at five top-10 finishes without a win. For both, it's now a question of whether, next season, they can follow Goldschmidt's path.

Here's how my AXE leaderboard had it:

1. Goldschmidt (147)

2. Machado (144)

3. Arenado (143)

4. Betts, Dodgers (139)

5. Freeman, Dodgers (136)

MVP must-reads:

How this year's top two NL MVP candidates, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, are feeding off each other

'It's my prime, baby': Why Manny Machado is the best he's ever been at age 30

American League Cy Young

Winner:Justin Verlander, Houston Astros

Final tally: Verlander 210 (30 first-place votes); Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox 97; Alek Manoah, Toronto Blue Jays 87; Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels 82; Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays 10; Shane Bieber, Cleveland Guardians 5; Nestor Cortes, New York Yankees 3; Gerrit Cole, Yankees 1; Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays 1.

Experts' picks:Verlander (12 votes), Cease (1)

Doolittle's take: Justin Verlander once seemed all but indestructible, maintaining every bit of his dominance as he advanced into his late 30s. Then, after one fateful start in the stunted 2020 season, Verlander proved to be human. Tommy John surgery, rehab and that lone outing over a two-season span followed. Time comes for us all and it had been a great run. Verlander would return, but dominant Verlander?

Yep. Still here -- and he's the fourth oldest player to win a Cy Young in MLB history. All Verlander did in his return from his long layoff was lead the AL in wins, ERA, ERA+, WHIP and hits allowed per nine innings. Just like that, it's all back on the table -- Verlander's long-stated desire to pitch into his mid-40s, his quest to win 300 games, one more monster contract, all of it.

My one qualm with the voting came before Wednesday's results were even announced, which is that I thought Ohtani should have been a finalist and Verlander's top competitor for the award. Even if that had happened, I would still have leaned towards Verlander. As for Cease and Manoah -- both young, emergent aces -- they'll have plenty of more shots at this honor.

I am a little shocked that it was unanimous. While I thought Verlander should win, the separation between him, Cease and Manoah wasn't overwhelming. It's a great achievement though and amazing that we have two unanimous Cy Youngs in one season.

Here's how my AXE leaderboard had it:

1. Verlander (148)

2. Ohtani (146)

3. Cease (141)

4. Manoah (139)

5.Martin Perez, Texas Rangers(132)

Cy Young must-reads:

The fall of the starting pitcher -- and one young ace who signifies hope for the future

From Tommy John to Cy Young form at 39? Inside Justin Verlander's unprecedented return to dominance

National League Cy Young

Winner:Sandy Alcantara,Miami Marlins

Final tally: Alcantara 210 (30 first-place votes); Max Fried, Atlanta Braves 72; Julio Urias, Los Angeles Dodgers 66; Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies 48; Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks 45; Carlos Rodon, San Francisco Giants 30; Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers 20; Yu Darvish, San Diego Padres 7; Edwin Diaz, New York Mets 6; Kyle Wright, Atlanta Braves 3; Logan Webb, San Francisco Giants 2; Ryan Helsley, St. Louis Cardinals 1.

Experts' picks:Alcantara (13 votes)(unanimous choice)

Doolittle's take: No one did as much to remind baseball fans about the aura of a true, traditional workhorse ace this season than Alcantara. The metrics (8.0 bWAR) showed that, to be sure. Just as important was the buzz that was generated around the Marlins when Alcantara was slated to take the mound. Every outing had a big game feel to it as Marlins fans jumped on for the ride. More often than not, Alcantara delivered.

For all the deserved attention that Alcantara's MLB-high 228 2/3 innings and six complete games generated, he was much more than a mere bulk pitcher. His 2.28 ERA ranked second in the NL and he finished fourth with 207 strikeouts. He was the perfect merger of quantity and quality.

As dominant as Alcantara was, he knew when to dial his effort up and down, often recording absurdly low pitch counts that got him quickly into the middle innings by simply throwing one quality strike after another. He was a throwback ace, the best pitcher in baseball this season and he deserved to be a unanimous pick. Let's hope many other pitchers look to follow Alcantara's example -- and their teams let them do it.

Overall, there was a fairly large disconnect in the way the voting broke down in this category, as compared to the AXE leaderboard. AXE ranked Urias 11th in the NL Cy Young race, for example. So far, Cy Young is really the one category in which AXE didn't see eye-to-eye with the voters.AXE has picked the right winner in both of the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young races, and has had little complaint with the lists of finalists. The NL Cy Young race is the exception.

Here's how my AXE leaderboard had it:

1. Alcantara (156)

2. Nola (145)

(tie) Rodon (145)

4. Fried (144)

5. Max Scherzer, Mets (138)

Cy Young must-reads: How Julio Urias became the Dodgers' ace -- and maybe their closer

American League Rookie of the Year

Winner:Julio Rodriguez,Seattle Mariners

Final tally:Rodriguez 148 (29 first-place votes); Adley Rutschman,Baltimore Orioles68 (1); Steven Kwan,Cleveland Guardians44;Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City Royals7; Jeremy Pena, Houston Astros 2;George Kirby, Mariners 1

Experts' picks: Rodriguez (12 votes), Rutschman (1)

Doolittle's take:Rookie classes are ultimately judged on what the first-timers do in addition to their inaugural seasons, as one year alone does not make a baseball career. But this year's AL rookie class has already established itself as something special -- and its winner, Seattle's Julio Rodriguez, is already poised to become one of baseball's biggest stars. No matter who took home this award, the allure of this group is likely to only grow over the years.

But 2022, by itself, was pretty special in its own right for AL rookies. Consider that Pena, who posted 4.8 bWAR and went on to win to win MVP honors in both the ALCS and the World Series for the champion Astros, was not a finalist. Kwan, whose 5.5 bWAR would have topped AL rookie classes in 59 of the 74 seasons since the Rookie of the Year vote was split between the leagues in 1949, finished third in the voting behind Rodriguez and super-rookie catcher Rutschman.

Rodriguez, whose 6.2. bWAR was the most by an AL rookie since Aaron Judge in 2017, is going to do special things in this game, and he was the clear-cut top choice in the balloting. That he was able to set himself apart in this particular rookie class is just another testament to how special a talent J-Rod already is.

One note on the voting: It's possible that in 20 years, Witt turns out to be the best player in this class. He certainly has the raw ability to be. But based on what we saw in 2022, it's a head-scratcher that he got a second-place vote and finished ahead of Pena.

Here's how my AXE leaderboard had it:

1. Rodriguez (133.8)

2. Rutschman (128.4)

3. Kwan (124.6)

4. Pena (121.6)

5. Jhoan Duran, Minnesota Twins (117.1)

ROY must-reads: How Julio Rodriguez became the Mariners' $470 million man

National League Rookie of the Year

Winner:Michael Harris II, Atlanta Braves

Final tally:Harris 134 (22 first-place votes); Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves 103 (8); Brendan Donovan, Cardinals 22; Jake McCarthy, Arizona Diamondbacks 4; Alexis Diaz, Cincinnati Reds 3; Nick Lodolo, Reds 2; Oneil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates 2.

Experts' picks: Harris (8 votes), Strider (5)

Doolittle's take: Entering the last couple of weeks of the regular season, trying to come up with a coherent argument about whether the Braves' star rookie hitter (Harris) or the Braves' star rookie pitcher (Strider) was the most deserving contender for the award was a maddening exercise. Their metrics were just that close. Ultimately, Strider suffered an oblique injury and didn't make a regular-season appearance after Sept. 18, when Atlanta was still locked in a torrid battle with the Mets for the NL East. That, as much as anything, might have been the decider.

Either way, it has seemed clear for months that one of the pair was set to become Atlanta's second Rookie of the Year in five seasons, joiningRonald Acuna 2018. Harris kind of came out of nowhere to record a 5.3 bWAR, easily the highest figure among NL rookies, but my AXE ratings still saw it as pretty close between the two. In the end, Harris was the whole package, hitting for average and power, flashing impact speed on offense and posting terrific metrics on defense at a premium position. The voters nailed it, and the Braves are set up nicely for years to come.

Here's how my AXE leaderboard had it:

1. Harris (126.5)

2. Strider (124.7)

3. Donovan (117.6)

4. McCarthy (111.2)

5. Diaz (110.8)

ROY must-reads:

Michael Harris' baseball life has always been in Braves Country

10 rookies about to take this year's postseason by storm

American League Manager of the Year

Winner: Terry Francona, Cleveland Guardians

Final tally: Francona 112 (17 first-place votes); Brandon Hyde, Baltimore Orioles, 79 (9); Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners 43 (1); Dusty Baker, Houston Astros 31 (3); Aaron Boone, New York Yankees 4; Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays 1

Experts' picks: Hyde (6 votes), Francona (6), Baker (1)

Doolittle's take: Talk about a tough choice. You have the skipper of the out-of-nowhere miracle team (Hyde) against the guy who led baseball's youngest team to the ALDS (Francona) and the guy who has turned winning one-run games into an art form (Servais).

It would have been hard to complain about any of the three finalists winning it, so I certainly won't complain about Francona, who might have done the best work of a Hall of Fame managerial career in 2022.

It's not just that the Guardians were the youngest team in baseball, which they were. They just kept getting younger as the season went along as the team cut bait with veterans like Franmil Reyes while continuing to add young players from the system.

The ability to install rookies and win with them has long been a coveted manager trait and few skippers have done it as well as Francona did in 2022. Add to that the fact that Francona also guided an elite bullpen and was part of the Go-Go Guardians developing a style of baseball that relied on speed, defense and contact hitting -- some that run counter to trends in the current game -- and it was a masterpiece.

So no complaints, but neither would there have been had Hyde or Servais come out on top.

Here's how my EARL leaderboard had it:

1. Hyde (13.42)

2. Francona (9.70)

3. Baker (6.45)

4. Servais (4.85)

5. Cash (minus-0.61)

Note: EARL is a metric that looks at how a team's winning percentage varies from expectations generated by projections, run differential and one-run record. While attributing these measures to managerial performance is presumptive, the metric does tend to track well with the annual balloting.

MOY must-reads:

How the Guardians turned the AL Central race into a one-team sprint

How the Orioles -- yes, the Baltimore Orioles -- became the hottest team in MLB

National League Manager of the Year

Winner: Buck Showalter, New York Mets

Final tally: Showalter 77 (8); Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers 57 (8); Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves 55 (7); Oliver Marmol, St. Louis Cardinals 44 (5); Rob Thomson, Philadelphia Phillies 36 (2); Bob Melvin, San Diego Padres 1.

Experts' picks: Showalter (6 votes), Snitker (5), Roberts (1), Thomson (1)

Doolittle's take: The National League didn't have much in the way of Cinderella-esque emergent teams like the Orioles and Mariners in the American League, so we ended up with a race between skippers from preseason favorites.

My guy would have been Marmol, who faced a major challenge in balancing the need to win now with the unusual narrative aspects of the Cardinals' year and ended up leading the Redbirds to a storybook regular season. St. Louis didn't win it all, but no one went away unhappy with the way the campaign played out for Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and, most of all, Albert Pujols. Alas, Marmol wasn't a finalist in the balloting.

That aside, of the three finalists, all leaders of high-powered, preseason favorites, I thought Showalter stood out even if the Mets faded toward the end of the season. Yes, the Mets had a massive payroll but the task of meshing so many veteran, high-salaried stars into a cohesive roster is not an easy one and Showalter was the perfect guy for the job. He played a big part in bringing it all into focus.

Beyond his work in unifying the clubhouse, Showalter also faced challenges with a star-laden pitching staff. Yes, the rotation was headed by generational stars Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, but those two combined for 209 innings, or around one rotation slot in terms of workload. Yes, the Mets had the game's best reliever in Edwin Diaz but not only did Showalter help navigate an uncertain middle relief staff to get him the ball with the lead, but he avoided overusing Diaz, which had to be a temptation.

In a time when managers are too often viewed as glorified media relations personnel and appendages of the front office, we saw a lot of evidence in 2022 that traditional managerial acuity still matters. Few typified that reality more than Showalter.

Here's how my EARL leaderboard had it:

1. Showalter (7.72)

2. Marmol (5.13)

3. Snitker (4.09)

4. Roberts (3.01)

5. Lovullo (1.49)

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