MLB Notes: Have Ohtani and Acuña locked up MVP?

Today marks the ultimate day of Major League Baseball’s common season, and for a handful of baseball’s greatest and brightest it additionally represents the final alternative to make a case for one of many league’s main awards.

While some awards have lengthy felt like a foregone conclusion, a number of seem more likely to come right down to the wire, with the National League Cy Young and Manager of the Year races specifically seemingly nonetheless up within the air.

So who will take dwelling the key {hardware} within the coming weeks? Here’s how issues stand because the common season involves a detailed.

Most Valuable Player

Even although Shohei Ohtani will wind up lacking the final month of the season, it shouldn’t make a distinction. Between his dominance on the plate and his excellence on the mound, Ohtani turned in top-of-the-line seasons in MLB historical past and is a certain wager to win his second AL MVP award.

Offensively this can go down as one of the best season of Ohtani’s profession to date. The 29-year-old batted .304 with an MLB-best 1.066 OPS and clubbed an AL-high 44 dwelling runs. He additionally tallied 95 RBI, 20 stolen bases, 102 runs scored and led the AL in walks with 91.

Pitching-wise Ohtani was a Cy Young candidate till his season on the mound was reduce brief in August by a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. In 23 begins Ohtani went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings. Put all of it collectively, Ohtani’s 10 wins above substitute was greatest in baseball by a large margin, and he’s now simply the fourth particular person to document a ten WAR season since 2010, becoming a member of Mike Trout (2012, 2016), Mookie Betts (2018) and Aaron Judge (2022).

Even if somebody needed to carry his missed time in opposition to him, it’s not like Ohtani’s competitors had been ironmen both. Texas’ Corey Seager, the seemingly AL MVP runner-up, additionally missed seven weeks price of motion because of damage and Judge missed greater than two months.

The National League MVP race needs to be razor skinny on paper, however realistically Ronald Acuña Jr. has it within the bag. Earlier this week Acuña grew to become the primary participant in MLB historical past to document 40 dwelling runs and 70 stolen bases in a season, a outstanding accomplishment that ought to give him the sting regardless of equally dominant manufacturing from Betts.

Betts’ case shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. As of this writing he has the higher WAR complete (8.3 vs. Acuña’s 8.2) thanks largely to his superior protection at a number of positions. The pair even have very related energy and run producing totals, however Acuña’s game-breaking velocity and his superior all-around affect can’t be denied.

Cy Young Award

There wasn’t a complete lot that went proper within the Bronx this season, however Gerrit Cole greater than lived as much as the invoice because the ace of the New York Yankees workers. He needs to be rewarded for his efforts within the coming weeks along with his first profession Cy Young Award.

From begin to end Cole was dominant, going 15-4 whereas main the American League in ERA (2.63), innings pitched (209), walks and hits per innings pitched (0.981), and pitcher WAR (7.5). He recorded 222 strikeouts, threw two full sport shutouts and flat out shoved each time he took the mound.

Cole’s case is open and shut. The National League race, nonetheless, stays broad open.

San Diego’s Blake Snell is the presumed favourite. As of this writing Snell leads the NL in ERA (2.25) and pitcher WAR (6.1) and ranks second in strikeouts (234). He’s additionally gained a Cy Young earlier than, however there are notable warts to his candidacy as properly, significantly his comparatively low innings pitched totals (180) and his astronomical stroll determine (99, by far the very best within the NL).

Among the opposite candidates: San Francisco’s Logan Webb leads baseball in innings (216), ranks second within the NL in pitcher WAR (5.7) and fourth in ERA (3.25), and his 3.6% stroll charge ranks 99th percentile in baseball. Arizona’s Zac Gallen can also be over 200 innings (210 to be exact) with a 3.47 ERA, and Atlanta’s Spencer Strider (19-5, 3.81) has been flat out overpowering, tallying 274 strikeouts in solely 181.2 innings.

Chicago’s Justin Steele (16-5, 3.06 ERA), New York’s Kodai Senga (12-7, 2.98) and Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler (13-6, 3.64) warrant consideration as properly, and there’s a superb wager we may see a variety of preferences amongst Cy Young voters.

Rookie of the Year

Triston Casas made issues fascinating over the course of the second half, and had he stayed wholesome perhaps there’s an opportunity he may have swayed just a few voters down the stretch, however at this level the American League Rookie of the Year award appears like Gunnar Henderson’s to lose.

The former high prospect transfer than lived as much as the hype in his first full MLB season. Entering the weekend Henderson ranked third amongst all AL place gamers with 6.2 WAR, aided largely by his robust conventional stats (.257, 28 dwelling runs, 82 RBI, .818 OPS) and elite defensive metrics at each shortstop and third base. The 22-year-old has been one of many driving forces behind Baltimore’s rise to prominence and it’s clear he has a vivid future forward of him.

The similar will be mentioned of Casas as properly, and whereas his season ended prematurely because of shoulder irritation Red Sox followers needs to be proud of the strides he made. Shaking off a ghastly first two months, Casas completed with 24 dwelling runs, an .856 OPS and batted .317 with 15 homers and a 1.034 OPS after the All-Star Break.

Cleveland’s Tanner Bibee had a standout season as properly, actually one of the best by an AL rookie beginning pitcher. The Guardians right-hander went 10-4 with a 2.98 ERA over 142 innings.

For the National League there are two clear candidates — Arizona’s Corbin Carroll and New York’s Kodai Senga — and if baseball awarded separate rookie awards to place gamers and pitchers then issues can be quite a bit easier.

Senga’s debut season in New York was good and will earn him just a few Cy Young votes, however Carroll was simply unbelievable. This 12 months the 23-year-old grew to become simply the second rookie in MLB historical past to hit 25 dwelling runs and high 40 stolen bases, with the primary being Mike Trout in 2012. Entering the weekend Carroll was batting .287 with 25 homers, 76 RBI, 54 stolen bases and a .873 OPS, monster numbers that deservedly put the rookie among the many sport’s greatest.

It’s nonetheless not clear if Arizona will wind up cracking the playoff discipline, however the followers in Phoenix should be excited in regards to the prospect of watching Carroll do his factor over the subsequent few years.

Manager of the Year

Seeing as that I’ve a vote for AL Manager of the Year, I’m going to defer remark till after the award winner is introduced. The NL race, nonetheless, it’s shaping as much as be an fascinating one that might go right down to the wire.

Historically Manager of the Year tends to be given to somebody who’s staff both exceeded expectations or took a significant step ahead, and proper now there are 4 candidates whose groups match that description and remained within the thick of the playoff race proper right down to the ultimate weekend: Arizona’s Torey Lovullo, Miami’s Skip Schumacher, Chicago’s David Ross and Cincinnati’s David Bell.

As of this writing Lovullo’s Diamondbacks and Schumacher’s Marlins occupy the ultimate two NL Wild Card positions, however that race and this award actually may go right down to the ultimate day. If the Cubs make the playoffs then Ross looks like the most definitely winner, his membership regarded lifeless and buried by midseason however loved a summer season surge to get again into rivalry and has sustained the success all through the second half, however don’t sleep on what Schumacher’s completed.

They in all probability gained’t win, however Atlanta’s Brian Snitker and Los Angeles’ Dave Roberts each additionally deserve immense credit score for holding their respective wagons on monitor. The Braves and Dodgers have develop into the category of the NL and their managers have performed a giant half of their sustained success.