NL Award Predictions: MLB Season Preview Part 2


NL MVP: Juan Soto


Juan Soto has been a force to be reckoned with ever since his entrance into the MLB in 2018. Since then, he has posted a career wRC+ of 152 (52% above average) and has tormented major leaguers with his massive slugging power. The most notable part about his dominance so far has been his age. Very rarely do hitters come up at the age of 19 and immediately tear up the league, but Soto, currently going into his age 22 campaign, has been able to do that and better. No opposing pitcher has been able to stop him, and he absolutely lit the league on fire in 2020. He posted a 201 wRC+ in 2020, the highest in the majors, and there was no stopping him. Had it not been for the 13 games he missed due to COVID-19 at the beginning of the shortened season, he would have surely run away with MVP. His discipline has been a key factor at the plate. In comparison with the best hitter in the game, Mike Trout, Juan Soto swung at 2% less pitches outside of the zone than Trout. If Soto continues this dominance at the plate, he will remain an offensive juggernaut for years to come, and he will be able to be an MVP contender for another decade-plus.


NL Cy Young: Jacob deGrom


Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball, and there is not much debate to be had regarding that claim. Over the last three seasons, he has led the league in HR/9, BB/9, FIP, xFIP, WAR, and ERA-. Simply put, he has dominated the league in all facets, and in 2020, he got even better. His fastball velocity was up, and his stuff became clearly better, evidenced by the jump of 2.51 in K/9. Hitters have not been able to touch deGrom, and if he continues at his current pace, then he will likely run away with Cy Young once more. In addition, the Mets’ offense looks primed to succeed in 2021 thanks to the acquisiton of Francisco Lindor, and the evident bounce back of 2019 Rookie of the Year Winner Pete Alonso during Spring Training. With deGrom and the increased run support, the Mets should now stand a much better chance of competing in the playoffs.


NL Rookie of the Year: Ke’Bryan Hayes


In a season which the Pittsburgh Pirates are destined to finish in the bottom of the NL Central, Ke’Bryan Hayes shines as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak starting lineup. When he was called up during the latter half of the brief 2020 season, he was largely viewed as a defense-heavy third baseman who would make a solid big-league player, but soon after being brought up, Hayes tore it up. While only in a small sample size of 95 AB, Hayes boasted a 195 wRC+ (95% above average), a .464 wOBA, and an OPS of 1.126. His offense was in a world of its own during the short time he was in the majors, and his defense matched the hype it was given in the minors. This combination of bat and glove is heavily reminiscent of Manny Machado or Nolan Arenado, and if he can even somewhat pick up where he left off, he will likely win Rookie of the Year in 2021.