Mike’d Up: Pre-season MLB award predictions

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts, left, and Corey Seager (5) warm up before a spring training baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in Phoenix, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Hour by hour, we get closer. Opening Day is only nine days away.  

Last week, I sent out my pre-season predictions for the final standings for the 2021 regular season. You can check that out here. This week, it’s time for my pre-season MLB awards predictions. I tried to be a little outside the box with this one, so spoiler — no Mike Trout.  

I am keeping it to just MVP and Cy Young for this week; I was going to do Rookie of the Year as well but there’s so many questions about who’s going to be called up and who’s going to stay down. 

Most Valuable Player 

American LeagueYordan Alvarez, OF/DH, Houston Astros 

Before yelling at me for picking an Astro, give me a chance. Yordan Alvarez flashed one of the most special bats we have seen, potentially ever, in 2019. In 87 games, he hit 27 home runs, 26 doubles and drove in 78 runs while walking at a 14.1% rate. Projected over 150 games, that’s 46.5 home runs, 44.8 doubles and 134.4 RBI. Those are video game numbers.  

All you need to do is scroll through his Baseball Savant page and look at all the red. He was in the 95th percentile or better hard hit%, xwOBA, Barrel% and xSLG. 

National League: Mookie Betts, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers 

I am making this pick based entirely on his GQ shoot and the fact he deserves to succeed after the Boston Red Sox tossed him in the bin. He’s a franchise player — you’d be insane to trade him. He also came in second in the MVP voting last year. 

It helps that he is also a legitimate 30-20 candidate every season and one of the best right fielders in my lifetime. The four-time All Star has been in the top-10 in MVP every season since 2016, including three top-2 finishes. In seven seasons, only five of which were full seasons, he has put up a ridiculous 45.4 bWAR. 

Cy Young 

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito throws to a San Francisco Giants batter during the first inning of a spring training baseball game Monday, March 22, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

American LeagueLucas Giolito, RHP, Chicago White Sox 

At some point, if I keep picking him, he’s going to win it, right? I also picked Giolito to win this last season, and he finished seventh in the running. Last year he had a 3.48 ERA, but a 3.19 FIP, and had a 12.1 K/9 – which is the 24th highest ever. This must be taken with a grain of salt, though, as seven of the top-25 season’s in K/9 were in the shortened season last year. 

The only person standing in Giolito’s way is division rival Shane Beiber, who had an unthinkable 14.2 K/9 last year, the greatest mark of all time. Even still, Giolito is my favorite pitcher right now so I’m putting my chips on his name. 

National League: Jacob deGrom, RHP, New York Mets 

There’s a reason his nickname is “deGOAT.” He is the greatest pitcher of our generation. He has legitimately never been a bad pitcher. Even in his worst season he had a 3.53 ERA with a 10.7 K/9 in 2017. Since then, he has a combined 2.10 ERA with an 11.6 K/9, 6.5 H/9 and 2 BB/9 in three seasons.  

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