Picking our MLB American League award winners

Picking our MLB American League award winners

From a heated MVP race to Cy Young and Rookie of the Year, here's who should win

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
It’s that time of year, baseball fans!
It’s that time of year, baseball fans!
Image: Getty Images

The 2022 MLB season is coming to a close today and here at Deadspin, we decided that despite the fact that we will likely never, ever, get to actually vote on awards — let alone get credentials — we’d still offer up our take. It’s not like the infallible BBWAA has ever been wrong with its picks before...

Advertisement

2 / 8

MVP — Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

MVP — Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

New York Yankee OF Aaron Judge
Image: Getty Images

This all comes down to the best player/most valuable argument. We all know how good Shohei Ohtani is. He could very well be the best player in baseball. But even with him and the otherworldly Mike Trout in the lineup, the Angels once again missed the playoffs. Ohtani couldn’t always will the “our season is over by May” Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of the O.C. — don’t call it that — to a W the way Aaron Judge could with the Bronx Bombers. So if we’re talking value (10.7 WAR and 211 OPS+, if that means anything to you), the MVP has to be Judge. The Yankee outfielder has hit, and hit well, all season long, while his teammates were at times — quite often — dreadful at the plate. Judge kept the Yankees, who nearly blew a massive AL East division lead, afloat. And, he led in the league in nearly every statistical category (runs, HRs, RBI, walks, OBP, slugging, OPS, and total bases) while flirting with the Triple Crown.

Advertisement

3 / 8

LVP — Dallas Keuchel, Chicago White Sox/Texas Rangers and Joey Gallo, New York Yankees

LVP — Dallas Keuchel, Chicago White Sox/Texas Rangers and Joey Gallo, New York Yankees

Dallas Keuchel and Joey Gallo
Image: Getty Images

If this was the NL LVP, Patrick Corbin would undoubtedly win in a landslide. He was so bad, I’d almost consider him here, despite not playing for an American League squad. Now, my actual top choices both spent time this season in the Senior Circuit — Keuchel for a cup of coffee with the Arizona Diamondbacks (9.64 ERA in four games) and Gallo with the Los Angeles Dodgers after the trade deadline — but left a mark (skid stain?) while in the AL.

Keuchel pitched to a 7.88 ERA in eight games on the South Side, and a 12.60 ERA in two games in Texas. Though he may have a pretty sweet beard, the lefty gave up a total of 42 earned runs, 67 hits, including seven home runs, and 24 walks (to just 27 strikeouts) for both squads.

Then there’s Gallo. Seems like a genuinely great dude, but... a .151 average, .282 OBP, 106 strikeouts in 273 plate appearances, and outfield play weaker than his 2021 Gold Glove-winning defense, while in pinstripes? Worthy of those Bronx cheers and an LVP (possibly for both leagues).

Here are some of the other contenders for this prestigious fake award. (Is it an honor or dishonor?) After signing a 7-year, $245 million deal with the Angels, Anthony Rendon barely produced before getting injured in June and needing season-ending surgery. Javier Baez (Detroit Tigers), Marcus Semien (Texas Rangers), and Corey Seager (Rangers), certainly didn’t live up to their billing. Another Tiger, Jonathan Schoop, produced an atrocious .203/.241/.325 slash line. And as a Yankee fan, Aaron Hicks pissed me off to no end with his defensive miscues and inability to hit with runners in scoring position.

Advertisement

4 / 8

Cy Young — Justin Verlander, Houston Astros

Cy Young — Justin Verlander, Houston Astros

Image for article titled Picking our MLB American League award winners
Image: Getty Images

Though I still despise the Astros, there’s no question that Justin Verlander — at age 39, mind you — has been absolutely dominant. While he missed time with a calf injury — allowing Dylan Cease and Alek Manoah to state their Cy cases — JV lowered his MLB-best ERA to 1.75 after pitching five scoreless, no-hit innings against the Phillies on Tuesday. I’m sure that most of the old heads voting will use that — and his league-leading 18 wins — when filling out their ballots. Verlander boasts a 220 ERA+ and the lowest WHIP (0.83) and batting average against (.186) in the game. He’s only allowed 29 walks in an even 175 IP. This would be his third career Cy Young in a no-doubt Hall-of-Fame career. Plus, another trophy would keep Kate Upton from going apeshit.

Advertisement

5 / 8

Anti-Cy Young — José Berrios, Toronto Blue Jays

Anti-Cy Young — José Berrios, Toronto Blue Jays

Image for article titled Picking our MLB American League award winners
Image: Getty Images

Berrios gave up the most earned runs (100) and hits (199) in the American League, and allowed 29 home runs, while posting a 1.42 WHIP, and .288 average against, which were both the highest in baseball. Thanks to a potent Toronto lineup, Berrios was still able to win 12 games, though we all know pitcher — and quarterback, if we want to look at the NFL — wins are dependent on other factors. The Blue Jays signed him to a 7-year, $131 million deal, and these were the results. If someone performing that badly can make that kinda money, well, boss, are you reading this? I can lay an egg every five days for that kinda cash.

Advertisement

6 / 8

Rookie of the Year — Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners

Rookie of the Year — Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners

Image for article titled Picking our MLB American League award winners
Image: Getty Images

It’s definitely difficult to get called up to The Show, and not only be expected to hit — based on your pedigree — but also handle your team’s pitching staff. For that — and 5.3 WAR — Adley Rutschman has a great case for ROY... but how do you pick against Rodriguez? Sometimes the pick is obvious. J-Rod led all rookies in WAR (5.9) and home runs (27); was second to another standout Steven Kwan in runs scored (82), as well as second in RBI (74); finished third in stolen bases (25), and posted a .284/.345/.506 slash line. And Seattle ended its two-decade playoff drought.

There was also a Rodriguez who burst on the scene at a young age for the M’s some time ago. I’m sure Seattle can only hope for similar production over J-Rod’s 12-year, $209.3 million extension...minus the slapping, getting hit in the face by an opposing catcher, Centaur paintings, PEDs, mirror kissing, and, oh, being the most hated man in the sport.

Advertisement

7 / 8

Manager of the Year — Brandon Hyde, Baltimore Orioles

Manager of the Year — Brandon Hyde, Baltimore Orioles

Image for article titled Picking our MLB American League award winners
Image: Getty Images

I don’t care how well Terry Francona did with a young Cleveland Guardians team. I will always hate Tito for 2004 — I blame 2007 on the midges — and for allegedly covering up, as his son said, the “wrongdoings” of Mickey Callaway, who was Cleveland’s pitching coach back when it still had a racist caricature as its logo.

The Woes, I mean O’s, lost 110 games last season and are guaranteed to finish .500 or better this year. Baltimore was never expected to perform as well as it did. While managers don’t have counting stats — just performance/record — to bolster their case, getting 80+ wins out of a team lacking superstars — and especially one that employed Rougned Odor and his .208 batting average — gets my vote.

Advertisement

8 / 8