As the 2022 Major League Baseball season comes to a close, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) will vote to make their selections for the league’s regular season awards. In both conferences, an MVP, a Cy Young winner, a Rookie of the Year and a Manager of the year will be crowned. Here are our selections for the 2022 MLB awards season.
American League MVP:
Caelan Broussard: I think this year that the AL MVP should be split between Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani. Aaron Judge was by far the best hitter in the American League, crushing an AL-record 62 home runs. He also won two legs of the Triple Crown for hitting and came up .005 short of winning the third leg, according to Baseball Reference. He had the highest WAR of a 10.8, meaning that he helped the Yankees win 10 more games than his replacement would. However, Ohtani has been the best two-way player, with an ERA of 2.33 and a 15-9 record. This is the best possible year to give them a split of the MVP award.
Jean Guidry: It’s hard to make a case for anyone not named Judge or Ohtani, but a compelling one can be made for Houston Astros’ designated hitter/outfielder Yordan Alvarez. Other than Judge, Alvarez was the only other hitter in baseball to record an on-base plus slugging percentage over one (1.019), which is pretty remarkable.
Isaac Henry: As a spectator of baseball, do yourself a favor, put aside Aaron Judge’s league-leading offensive metrics for a moment, and just take a moment to apply the eye test. Despite the Yankees slumping away 10-plus wins after the All-Star break, Judge would not let his team fall easily, often providing the only runs in games where they needed them more than ever. He also became the league’s biggest draw in years as he chased and set the AL home run record at season’s end. These narrative pulls alone will likely pull in enough votes to win Judge the MVP.
AL Cy Young Award:
CB: Justin Verlander. He leads in most major statistical categories and has been a force on the bump, helping the Houston Astros to the best record in the American League and become favorites to win the World Series, of course providing they don’t get banged up.
JG: Is it possible for a starter to lead the league in walks and still have a strong case for the Cy Young Award? Chicago White Sox starter Dylan Cease had exactly that kind of year. Cease led baseball with 78 walks, but in 32 starts he compiled the third best ERA in baseball, the highest WAR among AL pitchers, and was one of only four pitchers to average 11 strikeouts per nine innings.
IH: At the age of 39, Justin Verlander had a career renaissance, and finally looked like his pre-surgery, 2012 Detroit Tigers self. He led the majors in earned run average (ERA), fielding-independent pitching (FIP), and had the lowest walk and hit rate per inning pitched.
AL Rookie of the Year:
CB: Julio Rodriguez hit 28 home runs and also stole 25 bases. He helped the Mariners reach the playoffs for only the second time since the turn of the century. The fact that he earned a 14-year contract extension tells you that he was something special this season, more so than any other rookie.
JG: Although he most likely won’t win the award, people must know about the importance of Cleveland Guardians’ outfielder Steven Kwan. Kwan finished top 10 in the AL in batting average, on-base percentage, hits and WAR for position players. Kwan was a staple atop the Guardians’ batting order all year long, batting .311 from the leadoff spot and .298 for the season.
IH: The Seattle Mariners have lucked into their best position player since Ichiro Suzuki. Julio Rodriguez made the All-Star game by hitting 28 homers, swiping 25 bases and putting up an OPS+ of 147. He was the push the team needed to finally break the longest current postseason drought in U.S. professional sports.
AL Manager of the Year:
CB: I honestly believe that the best team in each league is only the best team if the management in the dugout is there. As such, I bestow my pick for AL Manager of the Year to Dusty Baker of Houston.
JG: Many writers had the Guardians finishing towards the bottom of the AL Central division. No one expected Terry Francona’s Guardians team full of savvy, young players and a few veterans to exceed their projected win total of 76.5, per BetMGM and overachieve their way to a division title and a playoff appearance.
IH: Orioles manager Brandon Hyde took a broken team that lost 110 games last year and turned them into a respectable .500-level team in an absolutely stacked division. ESPN projected a 58–104 record for the Orioles before the season, and they ended up 83–79. That’s a +25 swing.
CB: This might be a bold take here, but I’m going to go with Paul Goldschmidt. Not only is he top 10 in pretty much every category hitting-wise, according to Baseball Reference, he had a .999 fielding average, with only one singular error in roughly 1,200 chances. Clearly an offensive juggernaut having a resurgent year, he’s also the best defensive first baseman in the league.
JG: With all the attention garnered by the San Diego Padres this season, it’s remarkable how much third baseman Manny Machado thrived under pressure. Despite the Fernando Tatis Jr. suspension, the Juan Soto blockbuster trade and the inability to catch up to their division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Machado still lifted the Padres with the third best NL OPS, the fourth best NL WAR and the fourth best NL batting average.
IH: While I’d agree that Machado deserves votes given his resurgence and his team clinching the postseason, Paul Goldshmidt’s offense was way too hot early in the season not to deserve the MVP here. His 35 home runs and .317/.404/.578 slash line was much more valuable to his team than guys like Freddie Freeman or Nolan Arenado, who had comparable production on way better teams.
NL Cy Young:
CB: Sandy Alcantara had the best year of his career. 2.28 ERA, 207 strikeouts and 6 complete games. That’s triple the second-closest pitcher. It would be highway robbery if he didn’t win it.
JG: Few NL pitchers commanded the strike zone like Philadelphia Phillies’ starter Aaron Nola. Nola allowed the fewest free passes and struck out the third most batters in the NL. Alcantara’s ridiculously high 228.2 innings pitched blew everyone else out of the water, but Nola’s 205 innings paced the rest of the NL behind Alcantara.
IH: It’s Sandy Alcantara. He led the league in wins above replacement for pitchers. The Marlins have their superstar pitcher of the future going forward, and if he had any run support at all, the team would be a serious postseason threat right now.
NL Rookie of the Year:
CB: I believe Spencer Strider should get the award. Strider was meant to come in as a bullpen guy, but he ended the season in the starting rotation and balling out, helping the Atlanta Braves erase a 10.5-game deficit in the NL East division race.
JG: The Atlanta Braves retooled their outfield this season by promoting 21-year-old Michael Harris from their minor league system, a young talent only known about within the organization. All he did for the Braves was lead all major league rookies with a .853 OPS and a .514 slugging percentage. He also hit .297 in 414 at bats and got on base at a .339 percent rate.
IH: Michael Harris II slotted in at center field for the Atlanta Braves, and he fit right in. A 135 OPS+ and a .297/.339/.514 slash line aided the now-Freddie Freeman-less Braves to yet another Wild Card postseason.
NL Manager of the Year:
CB: Dave Roberts earns my nod as Manager of the Year for leading the Dodgers through the undoubtedly good division of the NL West, and shattering the record for wins by a Dodgers team in history.
JG: Brian Snitker and the Braves got off to a disappointing start in 2022, finishing the first two months of the season with a 23–27 record and trailing the division-leading New York Mets by 10.5 games. Many suspected that they would eventually right the ship, and that’s exactly what Snitker’s Braves did by going 78–34 the rest of the season and stealing the division title right from under the Mets.
IH: Talk about a mid-season turnaround. The Phillies fired their manager Joe Girardi after a disappointing 22–29 start. Rob Thompson took over, and coached the team to an 87–75 record to get the team back on track to postseason success.