With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in just ten days, the 2023 Major League Baseball season is almost upon us. The 2022 MLB season brought some of the most historic performances this game has ever seen. Some of these performances led to awards for the game’s biggest stars. The 2023 MLB season is sure to see some more historic feats, but which players will rise above all to capture the major awards this season?

AL MVP

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

Ohtani’s 2022 season was actually better than his 2021 AL MVP season. He finished second in AL MVP voting in 2022, AND fourth in AL Cy Young award voting, creating his best season in the majors yet. The 28-year-old slashed .273/.356/.519 with a .875 OPS, 145 OPS+, 34 homers, and 95 RBI in 157 games. On the mound, he had a 2.33 ERA and 1.012 WHIP in 166 innings pitched. He also accumulated 9.6 WAR. Expect Ohtani to keep setting records this season.

Rounding out the top three…

Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

 

NL MVP

Ronald Acuna Jr, Atlanta Braves

Acuna was an All-Star in 2022 after returning from a shortened 2021 season for him due to a torn ACL. While looking just at his 2021 stats might make this pick sounds crazy, his 2021 season is not at all indicative of the type of player he is. He still missed some time at the beginning of the year while coming back from the ACL injury, and throughout the year had to manage it at times, causing him to only play in 119 games. He slashed .266/.351/.413 with a .764 OPS, 114 OPS+, 15 homers and 50 RBI. In 2022, he accumulated 2.8 WAR. With a recovery season under his belt, Acuna should return to the high-level production player we expect him to be.

Rounding out the top three…

Francisco Lindor, New York Mets

Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers

 

AL Cy Young

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

Cole had an up-and-down 2022. His regular season saw him place ninth in AL Cy Young voting, due in large part to his AL-leading 33 homers allowed and 3.50 ERA. However, he did rack up the most strikeouts in baseball with 257 and showed everyone the ace that he is during the Postseason, particularly in Game 4 of ALDS vs Cleveland, saving the Yankees’ season in an ace performance with the team facing elimination. He accumulated 2.4 WAR in 2022.

Rounding out the top three…

Cristian Javier, Houston Astros

Jacob deGrom, Texas Rangers

 

NL Cy Young

Max Fried, Atlanta Braves

Fried is the ace of an Atlanta staff that chased down the Mets for the NL East crown in the final weeks of the season. He finished second in NL Cy Young voting last season and accumulated 5.9 WAR in 30 games started. He had a 2.48 ERA, 1.014 WHIP, and 170 strikeouts in 185.1 innings pitched. His second top-5 finish in NL Cy Young voting last season, expect Fried to finally bust the door down on the top spot this year.

Rounding out the top three…

Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks

Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins

 

AL ROY

Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles

Henderson got a taste of the majors last season when he was called up at the end of August. In 34 games last season, Henderson slashed .259/.348/.440 while primarily playing third base. He owned a 137 wRC+, while slashing .288/.390/.504 in 65 games in Triple-A prior to being called up, and he’s currently ranked as the number-one prospect in baseball. Rookie of the Year is probably the hardest award to predict, Henderson seems like a safe choice.

Rounding out the top three…

Anthony Volpe, New York Yankees

Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox

 

NL ROY

Jordan Walker, St. Louis Cardinals

Walker only played in Double-A in 2022, but don’t be shocked if and when he reaches St. Louis this season. In 199 games with Double-A Springfield, Walker slashed .306/.388/.510 with a .898 OPS, 19 homers, and 68 RBI. The number four prospect in baseball (and 3rd in the National League), Walker’s hype train just continues to chug along.

Rounding out the top three…

Miguel Vargas, Los Angeles Dodgers

Corbin Carroll, Arizona Diamondbacks

 

(Photo: Twitter/@Yankees)

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