Updated: Sep 21, 2022
With the MLB regular season now in the rear view mirror and the playoffs beginning on Tuesday, The Circuit hands out their first annual MLB awards, as well as predicts the entire postseason.
Getty Images/Circuit Artwork
For each award, we list the winner, rationale behind that award, and the rest of the ballot (2-5).
Vladdy Jr. made a serious case down the stretch, but the Blue Jays failing to make the playoffs was the final nail in the coffin. I like rewarding team success, but given that none of the playoff teams in the AL had a strong contender, what Othani did this year was MVP worthy. When you do things that only the Babe has done, you probably should win MVP.
Vlad Guerrero Jr.
Just like in the American League, the top contenders for NL MVP were not on playoff teams. Tatis was the favorite all season long, but injuries coupled with an all-time September implosion from the Padres opened the door for former MVP Bryce Harper to mash his way through September and win the NL MVP.
Fernando Tatis Jr.
AL Cy Young
Robbie Ray and Lance Lynn each had strong seasons, but Cole finally gets his first Cy Young. Despite stumbling down the stretch, Cole anchored the Yankees rotation and carried them into the playoffs while dominating batters all year long.
NL Cy Young
Had you asked me in May I would have already mailed the award to the deGrom household. He was such a dominant force all season long, but because he couldn’t stay healthy he forfeited his third Cy Young. In his absence, Corbin Burnes threw one of the best analytical seasons any pitcher has ever had, and he did so while leading the Brewers on a rampage through the NL Central and has them positioned as serious World Series contenders.
The AL had some fun rookies this year, from McClanahan being thrust into the ace role for the Rays to Akil Baddoo homering on his first at-bat in Detroit. But Arozarena wins this award by having a solid season and more importantly, having one of the best postseasons of all-time last season. (Wander Franco is by far the best rookie this season, but given he didn't play all season we're saving him for next years award).
The NL crop of rookies wasn’t as exciting, so India gets the victory for his role in leading the Reds into the playoff discussion.
There were lots of OK managers in the AL. Cash led Tampa Bay to the most wins, but many expected the Rays to be really good. Same with the Astros and Dusty Baker. Servais in Seattle and Montoyo in Toronto both did fine jobs, but they ultimately fell short of the playoffs. LaRussa came back after years away from the game and led the White Sox to their first division title since 2008.
The NL Manager of the Year race was much more fun. Schildt managed the scorching-hot Cardinals into the playoffs, Craig Counsell continued his brilliance in Milwaukee and Dave Roberts continues to be the most taken-for-granted manager of all-time. But Gabe Kapler took a Giants team that no one picked to go to the playoffs and led them to an MLB-best 107 wins and the NL West crown.
C- Salvador Perez
1B- Vlad Guerrero Jr.
2B- Marcus Semien
3B- Rafael Devers
SS- Fernando Tatis Jr
OF- Bryce Harper
OF- Juan Soto
OF- Aaron Judge
DH- Shoehi Othani
SP- Corbin Burnes
SP- Gerrit Cole
SP- Max Scherzer
CL- Josh Hader
The Grady Little Worst Manager Award
Tingler and Baldelli both massively underachieved this season, but Tingler gets the nod as the worst manager due to how the Padres just threw up all over themselves the final month of the season. Many picked San Diego to win the World Series, but instead they collapsed down the stretch and missed the playoffs. At least in Minnesota, Baldelli never had the Twins in playoff position.
The Pedro Martinez Most Dominant Award
deGrom might not have pitched enough to win the Cy Young, but he did earn the Pedro Martinez award for utter dominance. He was clipping batters at a rate that you’d be lucky to achieve in a video game. Every time he was on the mound, you could almost guarantee he was striking out at least 2 batters every inning.
The Jose Reyes Electricity Award
Fernando Tatis Jr.
This award goes to the player who is the most fun to watch, and this could be renamed to the Fernando Tatis Award before too long. From the pink arm bands to the infectious smile, El Nino is must-see tv. Ultimately his team fell short of the playoffs, and he likely fell short of the MVP, but he still dazzled on the diamond.
Vlad Guererro Jr.
AL Wild Card Game:
Yankees over Red Sox
These two teams are virtually even, but gimmie the Yankees in this one. They should ride the momentum from sweeping the Sox last week, and their lineup is better when fully healthy.
NL Wild Card Game:
Dodgers over Cardinals
The Cardinals have been en fuego in September, but I still think the Dodgers are the best team in baseball. With a pitching staff that has three Cy Young candidates, I'll take Los Angeles.
Yankees over Rays in 4
The Rays have always been the little team that could, but I think they're lack of star pitching will catch up with them here.
White Sox over Astros in 4
The Astros are good, but the White Sox give off a team of destiny vibe this year. They dominated their division from Opening Day, and I expect them to see this through to the ALCS.
Brewers over Braves in 3
The 1-2-3 combo Milwaukee has at the top of their rotation, paired with the best bullpen weapon in baseball in Josh Hader, and the Brewers should be able to dispatch of a Braves team that struggled all season long to get into the playoffs.
Dodgers over Giants in 5
Again, I think the Dodgers are the best team in baseball. The Giants had a phenomenal season, and I think they'll push the dodgers more than anyone else will in the playoffs, but Los Angeles will come out on top. Besides, it's an odd-numbered year so the Giants can't win the World Series, right?
White Sox over Yankees in 6
This is where the Yankees lack of pitching will finally catch up with them. They are incredibly thin behind Cole, and the White Sox have multiple arms that can win playoff games.
Dodgers over Brewers in 5
Milwaukee is the only team in baseball that can go toe-to-toe with the Dodgers pitching, but in the end the offense of Los Angeles will overpower that of the Brewers.
Dodgers over White Sox in 5 (World Series MVP: Julio Urias)
The White Sox are a very good team, but their lack of postseason experience will prove too much for them to overcome. The Dodgers don't have that problem.
There you have it! All the winners (and losers) of the 2021 MLB season. Stay tuned for postseason reactions, free agency grades and predictions for the 2022 MLB season!