Rookie of the Year
American League: Luis Robert
The White Sox will be one of the more interesting teams to watch. Over the winter, Ken Williams made a few big ticket splashes in Edwin Encarnacion, Dallas Keuchel, and Yasmani Grandal. Chicago added these veterans to balance out their young talent such as Lucas Giolito Eloy Jimenez, and Yoan Moncada. However, Luis Robert may have more upside than anyone on the White Sox current roster. In 122 games between A and AAA last season, he had a .328 batting average, 32 home runs, .376 on base, and .624 slugging. Robert will start in center field from day one and may be on the fast track for Rookie of the Year.
National League: Gavin Lux
Gavin Lux had a tremendous 2019, leading to the Dodgers making him one of their September call-ups. Prior to this, Lux played 113 games between AA and AAA. The numbers he put up were astronomical, including a .347 batting average, 26 home runs, .421 on base, and .607 slugging. Lux won’t have too much pressure given the depth of the Dodgers’ lineup, which should positively impact his play.
Manager of the Year
American League: Rick Renteria
The White Sox haven’t had a winning record since 2012, but that will change this year due to the teams’ aforementioned veterans and influx of young talent. Not only does the team have Robert coming up from the farm, they have highly touted MLB ready prospects in Michael Kopech and Nick Madrigal. Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, and Lucas Giolito should all enjoy success coming off breakout seasons. Chicago may not be ready to surpass Minnesota in the division, but don’t be surprised if they overtake Cleveland.
National League: David Bell
On paper, Cincinnati is undoubtedly the most improved team in the National League. Nicholas Castellanos and Mike Moustakas will start at right field and second base respectively, both of whom are upgrades for the team. Shogo Akiyama was also signed out of Japan for more outfield depth. On the other side of the ball, the reds signed Pedro Strop, Nate Jones, and Wade Miley to upgrade their pitching staff. Cincinnati will also have a full year of Trevor Bauer, who they traded for before last year’s deadline. The Reds are my surprise division winner pick for 2020, which should garner David Bell strong consideration for Manager of the Year.
American League: Gerrit Cole
Most avid baseball fans and personnel were shocked to hear that Justin Verlander had beat out Gerrit Cole for the 2019 Cy Young Award. Cole will have his shot of redemption, but this time on the biggest stage of them all. The Bronx. Cole is coming off a year where he led the American League in ERA, ERA+, strikeouts, FIP, and strikeouts per 9 innings. Will he be able to top his numbers from the past season? I’m not sure. What I do know is that he’ll be the overwhelming Cy Young favorite going into 2020 and deservedly so.
National League: Walker Buehler
I know what you’re thinking? Where’s Scherzer? Where’s deGrom? Walker Buehler may have the best pure stuff of any starting pitcher in the National League. He boasts a fastball that will easily hit 100 mph and has a devastating breaking ball. Buehler is coming off his first all star appearance, but has so much more potential than to just be a perennial all-star. Over the past two seasons, he has an ERA of about 3.00, and is only going into his age 25 season. Buehler has surpassed Clayton Kershaw as LA’s ace. If the Dodgers want to make their third World Series appearance in the past four years, Buehler has to lead the charge.
American League: Anthony Rendon
I could take Mike Trout for MVP, but what fun is that? His strongest competitor may not come from far away. What if I told you the MVP will share the same dugout as Trout in 2020? Anthony Rendon is relocating from Washington D.C to Anaheim fresh off a new 7 year, 245 million dollar deal. Rendon is coming off his best season as a major leaguer, in which he had 34 home runs, 126 RBI’s, and an OPS of 1.010. He finished third in MVP voting, to go along with an all-star nod and a silver slugger. Rendon will be the guy to alleviate some offensive stress from Trout, but in doing so, he’ll take home the AL MVP.
National League: Ronald Acuna Jr
Ronald Acuna has lived up to the hype from his days as the consensus number one prospect in baseball. In 2018, he won Rookie of the Year. Last season, Acuna was elected to his first All-Star Game, won a Silver Slugger Award, and finished 5th in MVP voting. This season, he will help fill the offensive void of Josh Donaldson (who left for Minnesota). If Acuna cuts back on his strikeout and exhibits more discipline at the plate, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll have a career year.
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