Now that the 2023 MLB regular season is over, it is time to look ahead to award season.
We know the accomplishments from the season. Each player has made their case for any individual honours. The numbers are set in stone. It is now up to the voters to determine who takes home the hardware.
In some cases, that vote is quite easy. Players have put together historic seasons, making an emphatic case for themselves. Even other impressive seasons have fallen by the wayside, overshadowed by those performances. In other cases, those ballots could result in a tight race. At any rate, here are my thoughts on the MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year votes.
A look at who could take home the MLB awards
AL MVP: Shohei Ohtani
Honestly, who else had a chance? Maybe Aaron Judge if he stayed healthy, but that was a huge maybe. Ohtani not only led the AL in homers, on-base percentage, and slugging, but he was also fourth in batting average and stole 20 bases. At the same time, he performed like an ace on the mound, at least until his elbow blew out. Fortunately for him, his 2024 prognosis will not matter with this award.
NL MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr.
The National League had plenty of solid candidates for the MVP award. Freddie Freeman, Matt Olson, and Mookie Betts all would have a strong case in most seasons. However, this was the season that Acuna decided that a 40-40 season was not good enough. He also became the only player in the 40-50, 40-60, AND 40-70 clubs. Put that dominance on the best team in the NL and he should run away with the MVP award.
AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole
The Yankees may have disappointed this year, but that can hardly be blamed on Cole. His performance is the only reason why the Yankees were even on the periphery of the MLB postseason heading into mid September. He posted an impressive 2.63 ERA and a 0.981 WHiP over his 209 innings, striking out 222 batters with just 48 walks. After finishing as the runner up in the Cy Young vote in 2019 and 2021, he should finally take home the hardware.
NL Cy Young: Blake Snell
Snell has had an interesting career arc, dominating in 2018 but serving as more of a middle of the rotation option at best in other years. 2023 was another dominant showing as he led the NL in ERA and hits per nine innings. He posted a 2.25 ERA and a 1.189 WHiP over his 180 innings, striking out 234 batters, setting the stage perfectly for his first foray into free agency. While pitchers such as Justin Steele, Logan Webb, and Kodai Senga have a case for the award, Snell is likely to bring home the hardware.
AL Rookie of the Year: Gunnar Henderson
Despite an impressive group of homegrown talent over the years, the Orioles have not had a Rookie of the Year since Gregg Olson in 1989. Henderson, who would normally have a case for MVP as well, is set to change that. He posted a .255/.325/.489 batting line with 28 homers and 29 doubles in his 622 plate appearances, stealing ten bases. This may have been a much closer race had Josh Jung not gotten hurt, but the award is set to go to Henderson.
NL Rookie of the Year: Corbin Carroll
Carroll is another player that would normally have a chance at the MVP award only to run into a historic season. He was a key part of the Diamondbacks surprising 2023 campaign, helping lead them to an unexpected spot in the MLB postseason. Overall, he posted a .285/.362/.506 batting line with 25 homers and 30 doubles while stealing 54 bases. He even led the NL with ten triples. Carroll was an exciting catalyst to the lineup and should be taking home the hardware.