We’ve already had The Sporting News Rookie of the Year award and the Players Choice Award for Outstanding Rookie.
Tonight, Major League Baseball’s official Rookie of the Year award will be handed out.
Awards week begins tonight at 6 p.m., with the announcement of the American League and National League’s top rookies, kicking off four days of presentations recognizing the top performances put up this season.
The Rookie of the Year awards will be followed by the announcement of Manager of the Year tomorrow, the Cy Young Awards on Wednesday and Most Valuable Players on Thursday. The awards are all voted on by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, and the presentations will happen at 6 p.m. each day, live on MLB Network.
The Nationals will be a big part of the award process; Bryce Harper is a finalist for NL Rookie of the Year, Davey Johnson is one of three finalists for NL Manager of the Year and Gio Gonzalez has a shot at taking home the NL Cy Young Award.
What are the odds of those three walking away with some hardware this week? Here’s how I see each category playing out, complete with the percentage chance of Harper, Johnson and Gonzalez emerging victorious:
Rookie of the Year: Surprisingly, Harper has come up short in both awards that have been handed out recognizing the top NL rookie so far. Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley won The Sporting News Rookie of the Year, while Reds infielder Todd Frazier was named Outstanding NL Rookie in the Players Choice Awards. Does this mean Harper is due to win tonight’s award, spreading the three honors evenly among the three finalists? That’s certainly a positive way to look at it.
Harper had a fantastic rookie season at just 19, batting .270 with 22 home runs, 59 RBIs, 98 runs, 18 stolen bases and an .817 OPS. He also played a strong center field and posted a 4.9 WAR, according to Fangraphs. Miley won 16 games with an ERA of 3.33 and had a 4.8 WAR, while Frazier batted .273 with 19 homers, 67 RBIs, an .829 OPS and a 2.8 WAR. Frazier had a nice year, but he’ll be hurt in voting for tonight’s Rookie of the Year award by his slump down the stretch and the fact that he wasn’t starting every day. The battle between him, Harper and Miley should be pretty tight. Will the voters go with Frazier, the big-name teenager on a playoff team or the 26-year-old lefty starter who threw nearly 200 innings?
Odds of Harper winning: 55 percent
Manager of the Year: Johnson is up against Reds manager Dusty Baker and Giants manager Bruce Bochy for this award. It’s important to note that, like all of the official MLB awards, this one was voted on immediately after the regular season and before the postseason began, so Bochy’s World Series win won’t factor into the voting at all. Johnson’s Nationals earned the NL East title and won an MLB-best 98 games; Baker’s Reds won 97 games and took the NL Central, and Bochy’s Giants won the NL West with 94 victories.
The Sporting News Manager of the Year award went to Johnson by a slim margin, and I expect a similar result for this award. Johnson took a team that finished a game below .500 last season to the best record in baseball this year, and did it despite a very young roster, a host of injuries and the shutdown of his best starting pitcher. Given that this award is voted on by members of the BBWAA, it also certainly doesn’t hurt that Johnson is thought highly of by members of the media.
Odds of Johnson winning: 80 percent
Cy Young Award: Gonzalez has some stiff competition for the NL Cy Young this year, with Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw joining him as finalists for the award. Dickey appears to be the favorite after going 20-6 this season with a 2.73 ERA in 233 2/3 innings. He led the league in strkeouts, innings pitched, complete games and shutouts, but he did it for a team that won just 74 games. Gonzalez led the majors with 21 wins, had a 2.89 ERA and posted a league-best 9.35 strikeouts per nine innings. Kershaw, meanwhile, went just 14-9, but had a miniscule 2.53 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, best in the NL in both categories. The Dodgers ace struck out 229 in 227 2/3 innings.
I think Dickey is universally considered the leading candidate to take home the award, and would be surprised to see it go to either Gonzalez or Kershaw. Both of the lefties had stellar seasons, but Dickey took the league by storm and while he might get penalized by some for being on a team which was so bad, I actually think that makes his effort all the more impressive.
Odds of Gonzalez winning: 15 percent