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2023 MLB Award Predictions

AL West Strengths

2023 MLB Award Predictions

Major League Baseball is just around the corner, with teams having their pitchers and catchers starting to report. With the beginning of the season comes the impossible task of predicting award winners.

Take last season for example, nobody could have predicted that Justin Verlander would come back to Cy Young form after a missed season, or that Aaron Judge would hit 62 home runs and lock up the AL MVP.

You never know what will happen in any given season, despite this, I will still attempt to predict the winners of the major awards — and hope that I can get even one of these correct.

AL MVP: Julio Rodriguez

The AL MVP always seems like a crapshoot to predict. You have the likes of Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Judge, to name a few. All guys are more than capable of producing MVP seasons. But here I’m going to go with the younger option in Julio Rodriguez.

Rodriguez came up last year and blew all expectations out of the water. He boasted an impressive .284/.345/.509 slash line with 25 doubles and 28 home runs. If he can take that next step that many people think he can, then I don’t see how he doesn’t end up being toward the top of the MVP voting.

He needs to start walking more and cut down the strikeouts, but if he can improve on that, he has the natural talent to steal an MVP.

NL MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr.

I think the Ronald Acuna Jr. bounce-back season is upon us.

As a Phillies fan, the thought of this truly does scare me. I know many people may look at his numbers last year and be hesitant to have them as their MVP. But I think we all know that Acuna was still not back at 100 percent and was battling that knee injury. He should be back to 100 percent by this season, though, and a fully healthy Acuna is scary for the league.

At his best, he’s a player who can be a 40/40 player, being three steals short of this feat in 2018. The talent is there and if he stays healthy this year, I fully believe he will end up as your 2023 NL MVP.

AL Cy Young: Shane McClanahan

Shane McClanahan had one of the most dominant stretches for a pitcher during the first half of last year. He cooled off drastically towards the season’s tail end, preventing him from winning his first Cy Young. But I think this can be the year that McClanahan puts it together for an entire season which should cement him towards the top of Cy Young conversations.

He held opponents to a .193 batting average and only had a barrel percentage of 6.4. McClanahan should also be helped by a stellar rotation around him which should help take some pressure off him.

However, he will need to start throwing more innings. The 166 innings he threw last year simply won’t cut it unless the numbers are sickening. He will need to get to that 180 range if he wants to have a chance at winning. But I think he can get it done and sometimes, you’ve just got to go with faith on these.

NL Cy Young: Zack Wheeler

Now, I really couldn’t go this entire article without having some sort of homer pick. While my bias is clearly present here, I don’t think it’s crazy to believe Zack Wheeler could end up as the top pitcher in the NL this season.

His 2021 season saw him throw 213.1 innings with 247 strikeouts and a stellar 2.78 ERA. This performance saw him finish second in the Cy Young voting losing to a historic Corbin Burnes season.

His 2022 season was more or less just as dominant while he was on the field. He dealt with a shoulder injury last season that skewed his stats a little. But when he was healthy, it was clear that he was still more than capable of winning a Cy Young.

An improved rotation and lineup should bode well for Wheeler in terms of securing more wins and properly resting his arm. Again, this is very much a homer pick, but I mean predicting these awards is already tricky enough, so why not have some fun with it?

AL Rookie of the Year: Gunnar Henderson

Well with this pick I’m going to keep it simple and go with the favorite Gunnar Henderson, which probably means I will be very wrong.

Still, Henderson has rightfully earned his place atop these preseason predictions. In 34 games last season, he hit four homers, seven doubles, and a triple just because he can. He should see a lot of playing time on a young and bad Orioles team which should allow him to accumulate stats. He has 20/20 potential as a rookie which should certainly see him finishing as the top rookie come the end of this season.

NL Rookie of the Year: Kodai Senga

Well, I go outside the box again for one of these predictions. Senga may not even be the top rookie on his team with Francisco Alvarez atop many preseason Rookie of the Year rankings.

Pitchers usually have a more difficult time winning these awards seeing as they only pitch at most once every five games, but I think Senga has the potential to put up numbers that will suppress that narrative.

Reports within the Mets camp are that he has impressed early on and is a name to watch out for this upcoming season. We have all seen time and time again, Japanese players come over and be very impressive especially early in their careers.

The league won’t have a lot of relevant film on him and could cause fits for opposing hitters. He will need to develop a third and possibly fourth pitch, but I think right now he still has the ability to shock a lot of people.

AL Manager of the Year: Brandon Hyde

Trying to pick a Manger of the Year seems like the biggest crapshoot out of all these predictions. I mean you are either going to pick a season manager who won the award before or try and predict some team playing well above expectations. With my Brandon Hyde pick, I think it’s clear to see what way I’m going.

The Orioles impressed a lot of people last year going 83-79 and almost securing a playoff spot. It was a young team that is only going to get better this year with an influx of young talent coming in. This Orioles team could get hot and find themselves in the playoff this season, which should serve well for Hyde and his chances to win Manager of the Year.

NL Manager of the Year: Skip Schumaker

It was clear that the Don Mattingly-era wasn’t working in Miami with the two agreeing to part ways during the offseason. Mattingly is obviously a proven winner as a manager and perhaps he just didn’t mesh with the youth being developed. The Marlins went 69-93 and failed to meet expectations set for them this season.

This team is ripe with young talent and is in prime position to make serious strides. Schumaker will have his work cut out for him in a loaded NL East. But with guys like Jazz Chisholm coming back and other young guys like Edward Cabrera and Jordan Groshans looking to make a mark, the Marlins should be in a great position to see a steep rise in wins.

It just might be enough to earn Skip Schumaker a Manager of the Year award.

Well, there you have it, my complete predictions regarding rewards for the upcoming MLB season. Will I get these correct? Probably not, but like I said earlier, if I can get even one or two of these correct, I will be happy with myself.

It always seems easy in hindsight but really nobody can expect what will happen in any given season. I’m just hoping for another great season and maybe even another World Series run for the Phillies, though I know that last part might be asking for too much.


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