Even during a shortened season the MLB baseball awards are still a toss up. Due to COVID-19, the MLB was able to conduct a 60-game season in which we saw teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, and Tampa Bay Rays shine. When it comes to the 16-teams that made the playoffs, which player stood out the most?
The Dodgers had the best record in the league with 43 wins, while the Rays made a case with their 28th ranked payroll that you don’t have to have a multi-millionaire on the team to produce. With that said, the National and American League Most Valuable Player awards will be distributed next month. As of now, these should be the favorites.
National League Favorite: Freddie Freeman-Braves
Most live dealer casinos pinpoint Corey Seager from the Dodgers as the favorite, but Freeman gets the edge. For starters, Freeman finished with the best wins above replacement (WAR) among any player in the NL at 3.4. His offensive stat line of .341/462/.640 was one of the top in the league. He finished second to Juan Soto in average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, and wRC+.
However, Soto played just 47 games, while Freeman played in all 60. If Soto played the full 60-game season, Soto would likely be in the top tier of choices, but given the small sample size, he doesn’t even crack the top-5. Freeman’s only downfall was that players like Mookie Betts and Manny Machado hit more home runs, but Freeman totaled more runs batted in with 53.
As for other contenders, Betts had an impressive number in terms of WAR at 3.0, but his other numbers were significantly lower. Betts finished the year with a .292 average and 39 RBIs. Granted, Betts played a lot more games in the leadoff spot, but his 47 runs were just narrowly ahead of Machado.
Machado is likely the third place finisher. Machado had a WAR of 2.6 to go with 16 home runs and a .304 batting average. His teammate Fernando Tatis Jr should be in the running, as well as Freeman’s teammate Marcell Ozuna.
American League Favorite: Jose Abreu-White Sox
This should not be an even close contest. Abreu is the overwhelming favorite to win after his sensational 60-game season. Let’s put it frank: the White Sox would not have made the playoffs without Abreu’s big bat in the lineup.
Abreu finished the 2020 season with a line of .317/.370/.617 to go with a American League leading 19 home runs and MLB leading 60 RBIs. He led the AL in slugging percentage and was fourth in batting average. The three players that finished ahead of him played in 10 fewer games.
Abreu’s biggest competition will come from Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez. In 58 games, his 3.4 WAR was the league’s best mark, while he also added 17 home runs and 46 RBIs. His September totals were off the charts as well, totaling a batting average of .366, 10 home runs, 24 RBIs, and a 1.294 OPS.
Other players that should be near the top-5 in voting should include D.J. Lemahieu, Anthony Rendon, and Tim Anderson.