(Photo courtesy of the Bleacher Report) “Gerrit Cole during a game”
With the World Series in the rearview mirror, Major League Baseball has spent this week announcing the winners of their annual awards.
These awards include the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger, which are voted for by players and managers. The other awards (MVP, Cy Young Award, Manager of the Year and Rookie of the Year) are voted for by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
In addition to the standard Gold Glove awards given to a player at each position, MLB also awards a “Platinum Glove,” given to the best overall fielder in each league.
The American League award was given to Cleveland Guardians infielder Andres Gimenez, while the National League award went to San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. This is especially remarkable as Tatis, who had previously played his entire career at shortstop, moved to right field in 2023.
As with every year, the main attraction of awards season was the BBWAA Awards, which were given out through this week via MLB Network primetime specials.
On Monday, the proceedings began with the presentation of the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards. In the NL, Arizona’s Corbin Carroll won the award after a stellar rookie campaign, which saw him hit 25 home runs and steal an astounding 54 bases.
The AL award went to Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson. Henderson was an integral part of Baltimore’s squad, which one their division and appeared in the postseason for the first time since 2016.
On Tuesday, the Manager of the Year Awards were announced, with Baltimore’s Brandon Hyde taking home the AL honors, as was widely expected. Hyde, who has been with the Orioles since 2019, led the Orioles to the playoffs after losing 110 games just two years ago.
NL honors went to Miami manager Skip Schumaker, who won the award in his first year as a manager. After a surprising run to the playoffs in 2020, the Marlins finished in 4th place in the NL East in both 2021 and 2022. After parting ways with longtime manager Don Mattingly, they hired Schumaker, who brought them back to the postseason.
Wednesday night saw the presentation of the Cy Young Award, given to the best pitcher in each league. There was little question about who would win the award. AL honors went to New York’s Gerrit Cole, who finally captured his first Cy Young. Cole was credited with the win in 15 of his 33 starts, while striking out 222 batters and walking just 48.
In the NL, San Diego’s Blake Snell won his second Cy Young. Snell’s first Cy Young came in 2018, when he was with Tampa Bay, making him just the seventh player to win the award in both leagues. Snell is a free agent this offseason, and the recent honor will no doubt increase his bargaining price.
The final set of awards presented were for the Most Valuable Player, and fans saw an historic event, as the award in both leagues was unanimous for the first time. In the NL, Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. won the award for the first time. The MVP is the cap to an historic season for Acuna, who became the first player ever to hit 40 home runs and steal 70 bases in the same season. Just minutes after accepting the award, Acuna was back on the field, making his debut in the Venezuelan Winter League.
For the second time in the past three years, Los Angeles Angels phenom Shohei Ohtani won the AL MVP award. Ohtani is the only two-way player in baseball, serving as a starting pitcher every five days while serving as the team’s designated hitter during every game, even on days when he pitches.
Like Snell, Ohtani will test free agency for the first time this winter. Although a torn UCL and Tommy John Surgery will prevent him from pitching at all in 2024, Ohtani still plans to DH, and doctors expect him to be cleared to hit by Opening Day. Ohtani is projected by some sources to become the first player to sign a contract worth over $500MM.
With the 2023 season now officially over, it is time to look towards free agency and start predicting who will be the award winners in the fall of 2024.