MLB 2020 Awards Week comes to an end tomorrow with the MVP Award announcements that will be made on Thursday. We have our ideas of who should win, of course, which may be different than who actually does win the votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).
Here we go with our picks for the biggest baseball awards of 2020 …
2020 AL MVP: José Abreu
First baseman José Abreu (Chicago White Sox), utility infielder DJ LeMahieu (New York Yankees) and third baseman José Ramírez (Cleveland Indians) are finalists for the AL MVP Award. Looks like voters did something right here, in terms of getting the finalists correct.
Abreu (2.8) and LeMahieu (2.8) were the top position players in the AL for WAR, while Ramírez (2.2) and Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson (2.2) were next up on the list. With all teams involved here making the postseason, this analysis comes down to Abreu and LeMahieu, obviously.
- Abreu: AL-best 76 hits, 60 RBI, .617 SLG, and 148 TBs with .317 average and .987 OPS
- LeMahieu: AL-best .364 average, .421 OBP, and 1.011 OPS with 71 hits, .590 SLG, and 115 TBs
Both players were slightly above-average defenders, so that is a wash, although we’d argue LeMahieu’s ability to play three different positions inherently carries more value when it comes to glove play.
Abreu also topped the AL in double plays grounded into, which is not a good thing, obviously. However, the White Sox star played in all 60 games for Chicago, while LeMahieu missed 10 games during the year for a Yankees team that was injury riddled all season.
[Sidebar which has nothing to do with this: We find it very fishy that LeMahieu posted a .760 OPS over 918 games with Colorado through age 29, and now in his 30s, his two-season OPS for the Yankees is .922 overall—who goes from Coors Field elsewhere and gets better, especially in his 30s? Hmmmm.]
The GP factor is the biggest factor to us: Yes, it was a short season, but Abreu played all of it, and even if LeMahieu probably had the “better” season? He only played in only 83 percent of the games. Abreu is the choice here, although we would not protest a LeMahieu vote victory at all.
2020 NL MVP: Mookie Betts
Right fielder Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers), first baseman Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves) and third baseman Manny Machado (San Diego Padres) are the finalists for the NL MVP Award. Again, we applaud the voters for getting the right finalists into the conversation here, as these were the top-three WAR producers in the NL.
That being said, Betts (3.4) easily outdistanced Freeman (2.9) and Machado (2.8) in WAR, and he is the obvious choice for the award. The Dodgers star finished just outside of the Top 10 for dWAR, while also hitting .292 with 16 HRs, 39 RBI, and 10 stolen bases. His .927 OPS was the second-best mark of his career, which includes the 2018 AL MVP Award with Boston.
If Betts doesn’t win this vote, we’d be shocked.
That is the end of our 2020 MLB awards analysis this week!