Two months into the season should be too early to start talking about MVP careers or Cy Young talks, but that never stopped baseball fans before.
So let’s take a look.
These are the players we think would win the award if the season ended yesterday, not the ones we think will end the award at the end of the season.
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NL Cy Young
Jacob deGrom, Mets: Even by deGrom’s standards, as high as they are, the two-time Cy Young winner’s numbers in 2021 are simply staggering. He has made eight starts and his ERA is 0.71. His FIP (Independent Pitching Fielding) is 1.08. In 51 innings, he allowed just 22 hits and seven walks, while striking out 82 batters. His 11.7 K / BB ratio is the best of his career, as is his 14.5 K / 9 ratio. He has yet to allow more than one run, or even five base runners, in any start in 2021. It’s the easy option, but it’s ridiculous to say because so many pitchers are having stellar seasons to date.
Others: It’s crazy to think that Kevin Gausman and Brandon Woodruff have made 11 starts each, with 1.40 and 1.27 ERA and 3.5 and 3.9 bWAR, respectively, but neither is the favorite. One of Woodruff’s rotation partners in Milwaukee, Corbin Burnes, has a FIP of 1.15, to go with a 2.24 ERA and a K / BB ratio of 11.6, and another, Freddy Peralta, has a 2.38 ERA with a 13.1 K / 9 ratio. None are above. And we still have to mention Trevor Rogers of Miami (1.87 ERA, 2.46 FIP), Trevor Bauer of Los Angeles (2.24 ERA, 96 strikeouts), Max Scherzer of Washington (2.34 ERA, 95 strikeouts) or Yu Darvish of San Diego (2.16 ERA). Oh, and the Mets ‘Taijuan Walker and the Cardinals’ John Gant still have ERAs below 2.00 (1.84 and 1.60, respectively) and aren’t even in the conversation.
National League MVP
Fernando Tatis Jr .: The young Padres superstar does not lead the NL position players in WAR either by FanGraphs calculation (that’s Nick Castellanos of the Reds) or by the Baseball-Reference formula (that’s Max Muncy of the Dodgers ), but he’s having an incredible season, despite playing just 39 of the Padres’ 56 games so far. He is one behind the MLB leader with his 16 home runs, and is tied for the NL lead with 12 stolen bases. He also leads the National League with a .693 slugging percentage and has a stellar 199-plus OPS.
Others: Muncy and Castellanos have been outstanding, and anyone would be a good choice. Kris Bryant is having a great comeback season (.317 / .398 / .598 and 12 homers) that basically led the Cubs into contention in the NL Central. Ronald Acuña Jr. is having an incredible season for Atlanta (he’s basically alone on that island of Georgia), and Jesse Winker is hitting .341 with 13 home runs and a .621 slugging percentage for the Reds. And what about Buster Posey, the eternal, who topped .300 with double-digit home runs to lead Giants of the year history?
National League Rookie of the Year
Trevor Rogers, Marlins: The thirteenth overall pick in the 2017 draft made it to the majors in 2020, but his debut season (let’s be nice) wasn’t a good one. In seven starts, the left-hander posted a 6.11 ERA. In his 23-year stint, Rogers seems to have figured things out. Through 11 starts, he has a 1.87 ERA with just three homers allowed and 76 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings.
Others: Ian Anderson (3.27 ERA in 10 starts) is picking up where he left off last postseason for Atlanta, and Adbert Alzolay (3.66 ERA in 10 starts) is having a good season for the Cubs. Dylan Carlson is having a good season for the Cardinals, hitting second ahead of Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado.
AL Cy Young
Gerrit Cole, Yankees: No, he doesn’t have a no-hitter, but we will stick with Cole and his 1.78 ERA and 12.4 K / 9 for the two-month Cy Young in the AL season. It has been, again, everything the Yankees could have hoped for in what has so far been a rollercoaster season for the franchise. Most notable? He’s gotten incredibly stingy at handing out rides. Cole has always been in good control – his “worst” BB / 9 was 2.9 – but in 11 starts this year, he only walked nine and struck out 97. In a particular stretch of five starts, he had 49 Ks and 0 BBs. . He has four top-five Cy Young finishes in his career, and it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him finish first in 2021.
Others: Carlos Rodon of the White Sox and John Means of the Orioles both have no-nos and ERAs around 2.00 – 1.98 for Rodon, 2.05 for Means – and that puts them near the top of the list. Lance Lynn missed a few starts for the White Sox, but that 1.37 ERA in nine starts deserves attention. In a season where everyone is striking out everyone, Shane Bieber runs away with the strikeout title in Cleveland.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays: With all due respect to the incredible Shohei Ohtani, I have to give the thumbs up to this young Jays superstar. Here’s a partial list of the categories he leads (or is tied for the lead) in the American League: home runs (17), hits (64), average (.337), on-base percentage (.447), slugging (. 663), OPS-plus (203) and total bases (126). In his first taste of Major League action in 2019, he struck out 91 times and walked 46 times; So far in 2021, he has 32 walks and 32 strikeouts. It’s crazy to remember that he finally turned 22 in March, because we seem to have heard of him forever. Well, you’ve always heard of him because it’s been known for a long time that he has the potential to do exactly what he’s doing right now.
Others: Shohei Ohtani is a lot of fun to watch. You know what? Just watch this. Xander Bogaerts is having an outstanding season and is one of the main reasons the Red Sox have exceeded expectations. Guerrero’s teammate Marcus Semien finished third in the 2019 AL Most Valuable Player race and is heading toward a similar finish in 2021.
American League Rookie of the Year
Adolis Garcia, Rangers: It’s not just 16 home runs and 41 RBIs, both of which are in the top five in the American League, but Garcia’s ability to get ahead in the biggest situations. He already has three, THREE, extra home runs in innings this season. Two put the Rangers ahead in the top of the 10th inning, and one was an out (with the Rangers losing by one run) in the bottom half of the 10th inning.
Others: Yermin Mercedes’s story has been pretty incredible, but she’s been struggling lately. His ChiSox teammate, pitcher Michael Kopech, has 45 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings in a hybrid role. Randy Arozarena hasn’t quite been “playoff Randy,” but he’s still pretty good, with seven home runs, 36 runs scored and eight stolen bases. At Cleveland, Emmanuel Clase has nine saves and a 1.14 stellar ERA.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.