Now that the Los Angeles Dodgers have been crowned World Series Champions, we can start getting into the “Way Too Early Predictions.” Who else is pumped for hopefully a full season of baseball in 2021? From that small sample size of the 2020 season, let’s take a look and see if that can help us predict the 2021 awards.
AMERICAN LEAGUE AWARDS
AL MVP – Carlos Correa
After a strong 2019 season, Correa didn’t follow up in 2020 only posting a 97 wRC+, a 0.9 fWAR, and only hitting 5 homers in 221 plate appearances. He was an elite defender in 2020 as he has been his whole career.
Correa is a prime candidate to break out in 2021 after his incredible postseason in 2020. He had some ridiculous numbers batting .362, with a 226 wRC+ and hitting 6 homers in just 55 plate appearances. If the Astros lose outfielder George Springer in free agency, Correa could be asked to step up to a bigger role in 2021 on the offensive side of the ball. I think everything comes together for the Astros young shortstop next year and he takes home the 2021 American League MVP award.
AL Cy Young – Gerrit Cole
Gerrit Cole wasn’t exactly what Yankees fans expected he would be in 2020, but he was still one of the best pitchers in the league. The new Yankees ace had a “down year” I guess you could say in 2020, but his down years are still borderline Cy Young worthy.
Cole put up a respectable, 3.21 SIERA, a 2.84 ERA, and a very solid 32.6 K%. He got off to a rocky start in 2020 but finished very strong with a 1.00 ERA in his last four starts and impressed in his three postseason starts. I think if we see the Gerrit Cole we did in September of 2020, he will be running away with the Cy Young in 2021.
AL ROY – Ryan Mountcastle
After a very impressive 2020 campaign from the young slugger in Baltimore, I think he improves even more and wins AL Rookie of the Year in 2021. Mountcastle was very productive in the chances he got in 2020. In 140 plate appearances he posted a 139 wRC+, an impressive .333 average, and hit 5 homers. I think in a full 162 game season and him being one of the main features of that Baltimore lineup, we should expect big things from Ryan Mountcastle.
NATIONAL LEAGUE AWARDS
NL MVP – Juan Soto
A “positive” COVID-19 test and an elbow injury kept Soto out of the lineup for 13 games in 2020 and possibly ruined his chances at an MVP. Besides the fact that he doesn’t have enough games and at bats to really qualify for MVP, Soto was the best hitter in the National League in 2020. He led the league in AVG (.351), OBP (.490), SLG (.695), OPS (1.185), wOBA (.478), and wRC+ (200). As you can see Soto dominated in 2020 and I think you can expect the same in 2021 and many more years to come.
If the Nationals can pick up a big bat via free agency or trade to protect Soto in the lineup then he will become even scarier. Pitchers weren’t too fond of facing him in 2020, walking him 41 times in 196 plate appearances. With a big bat hitting behind him, that would limit his walks and force pitchers to give him better looks at the plate. Juan Soto is a dangerous young man and he is looking for some more hardware.
NL Cy Young – Aaron Nola
Aaron Nola has been very inconsistent throughout his young career but after an impressive 2020 and some success in the past, I think he is a great candidate to put it all together in 2021. Nola has been teetering on that borderline ace pitcher title and I think he earns it next season.
After finishing third in the 2018 Cy Young voting and then a disappointing 2019, Nola was very inconsistent in 2020. Nola started the 2020 season off with a bang posting a 2.35 ERA in five starts in the month of August. September was a different story with Nola struggling in four of his last five starts. This one is more of a hunch feeling but I think Nola finally puts it together all year and gets his first Cy Young award.
NL ROY – Dylan Carlson
Dylan Carlson was a top Rookie of the Year candidate going into 2020 but a very underwhelming career for the Cardinals switch hitting outfielder. Carlson didn’t get much time this past year only playing in 35 games. I think he will get more playing time in 2021 and make an impact so big the Cardinals will have to play him.
Carlson disappointed Cardinals fans in 2020 hitting .200 with a 65 wRC+ in 119 plate appearances. 2020 only being the young sluggers first taste of the big leagues and his incredible success in the minors lead me to think Carlson will be a prime ROY candidate next year. I love his switch hitting and quick bat, his above average defense in the outfield just makes him all the better prospect. Keep your eye out for Dylan Carlson in 2021.