NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Seiya Suzuki
Its almost unfair because Seiya is not really a rookie. Like other Japanese imports, Seiya comes in with a lot of experience, nine years to be exact, and at age 27 is a fully grown man. The Chicago Cubs literally traded away the farm last year and are looking to rebuild around some new stars. Suzuki is one of those tapped to be a star and Chicago will market him as such. He will be an instant starter and not have to worry about playing time, giving him an advantage over other rookies.
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Bobby Witt Jr.
Bobby is that good. He is the number 1 prospect for a reason, and after the announcement Monday that he officially made the big club, he will have lots of playing time. Should he stay healthy, he is the obvious favorite, rightfully so.
NL CY YOUNG: Max Scherzer
While I am not out on a limb here, this is by no means the most popular pick for NL Cy Young. The run support issues that were present before are still there. Max was a heavy investment, not leaving much for offensive spend. If Max can post his typical, world-beater line, he will be a favorite for the award, but only if he can get some wins to go with the other stats.
AL CY YOUNG: Shane Bieber
Shane has a Cy Young award win from 2020. This is certainly something to be proud of, however many would call this a “Bubble” Cy Young award win. Shane is in line to start for the Cleveland Guardians on opening day. As the ace of the team he will have plenty of starts to show 2020 in full scale in 2022.
NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt was the hottest player in the National League the second half of 2021. He was scorching after the All-Star Break which helped the bats of others in the lineup. Tyler O’Neill being one of the biggest benefactors. He and Nolan Arenado figure to have a say in the MVP conversation this season. Goldy locked in, and with that sort of protection, few are better.
AL MVP: Mike Trout
With most of the attention on his teammate, reigning MVP and favorite for 2022 AL MVP, Shohei Ohtani we forget that the best player on the planet is Mike Trout. Trout returns healthy and with a tremendous threat in front of him batting order. The protection Albert Pujols was to provide Trout, is what Shohei Ohtani will. Trout has nothing to prove, but you have to assume he wants to remind the world that he is still the King. I expect huge numbers from Mike Trout in 2022.
NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Joe Girardi
The stars are aligned perfectly for Joe Girardi to win NL Manager of the Year. The Phillies added some huge bats in Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber, and Philadelphia returns the National League MVP, Bryce Harper. The team has not been this deep since the winning days or Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino. There may be some good fortune as well. Jacob DeGrom going down and Freddie Freeman leaving town certainly don’t hurt. The Atlanta Braves are still the favorites to win the division as they welcome back Ronald Acuna Jr; and Marcell Ozuna. If Girardi and the Phillies win the division as I expect they will, Joe is my early choice.
AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Kevin Cash
I have Kevin Cash winning this award again. All day, and all night. The Rays will compete, and do so with less than anyone else in the NL East. The Rays moving Austin Meadows should be seen as nothing more as getting something instead of getting nothing. Meadows was a top pick, a top 50 prospect most of his career and still very young. The Rays quite simply cannot afford to extend his contract. That’s why he was moved. The Rays consistently win while placing near the bottom in salary spend. This is why Kevin Cash will repeat as AL Manager of The Year.