The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the finalists for the four main year-end awards Monday, featuring a few surprises in each category, per John Schlegel of

Although we won’t know who wins each award until next week, some big names won’t be in contention for the hardware. Meanwhile, a few players and managers could be happy just to get into the top three despite knowing they have little chance of earning the top spot.

The Washington Nationals were the big winners as the only team with a finalist in all four categories, but the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians had a big showing as well.

All votes were cast before the start of the postseason, which likely would have changed the outcome of a few races. Keep this in mind as you review the full list of finalists in the major award categories.


Award Finalists

Rookie of the Year (Announced Nov. 14)

Much of the debate in the American League will surround the Rookie of the Year candidacy of Gary Sanchez. The New York Yankees catcher played in only 53 games, but he was incredible in his limited time, finishing with 20 home runs and a 1.032 OPS.

Although some won’t want to give an award to a player who didn’t even spend half of the season in the majors, Yankees manager Joe Girardi stated his case.

“I think you have to think about it, I really do,” Girardi said in September, per Andrew Marchand of “I know people are going to argue he has only been here two months, but his two months have been as good as it gets.”

MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds offered more praise:

Sanchez’s biggest competition will be Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer, who finished with an 11-7 record and a 3.06 ERA in his first season in the majors. Although he slowed down after posting a 2.11 ERA in the first half of the season, he remains a quality option for the award.

The National League race will be easier to figure out, with Corey Seager likely running away from the field. He batted .308 with 26 home runs, 72 RBI and 105 runs this season, proving to be a force in a veteran Dodgers lineup.

MLB Stat of the Day broke down how good Seager was at the plate this season:

While Nationals center fielder Trea Turner was exciting with his 33 stolen bases and .342 batting average in 73 games, Seager might be too far ahead to catch.


Manager of the Year (Announced Nov. 15)

Terry Francona turned heads in the postseason by helping the Indians advance to the World Series, but the Manager of the Year award will likely be close based on regular-season success.

As Big League Stew joked, that might help Buck Showalter:

The Baltimore Orioles manager infamously came under fire for not using closer Zach Britton in the AL Wild Card Game, which Baltimore lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in extra innings.

All of the finalists led their teams to the playoffs despite flawed rosters and various injuries. The Orioles barely had a starting rotation, but Showalter overcame it with his bullpen and offense. The Texas Rangers dealt with a variety of injuries before Jeff Banister led the team to the best record in the American League.

As for Francona, anyone who watched the playoffs knows the type of impact he had.

There were few surprises in the National League, with Chicago’s Joe Maddon, Washington’s Dusty Baker and Los Angeles’ Dave Roberts all having legitimate arguments.

Maddon led the Cubs to 103 wins and the team’s first World Series title in 108 years, somehow finding a way to live up to the lofty expectations at the start of the season.

Baker and Roberts were in their first year with new teams, and while both left question marks in the postseason, reaching that stage was an impressive accomplishment.

New York Mets manager Terry Collins might also have a case, but it’s hard to pick him over the others on the list.


Cy Young (Announced Nov. 16)

These might be the most competitive races this year, especially considering the pitchers who were left out.

Matt Snyder of noted a surprise absence among the AL Cy Young finalists:

Britton posted a 0.54 ERA in 67 innings and was nearly flawless as a closer this season.

Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale (17-10, 3.34 ERA) and Toronto’s J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.18 ERA) were also omitted from the list despite strong seasons. Still, the three who made the list were exceptional.

Detroit’s Justin Verlander had a bounce-back season with a 3.04 ERA. Boston Red Sox starter Rick Porcello had a major-league best 22-4 record, while Cleveland’s Corey Kluber might still have the best pure stuff in all of baseball.

In the National League, Cubs starters Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester are each finalists after finishing No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the league in ERA. Washington’s Max Scherzer joins the duo with a league-best 284 strikeouts to go with his 20-win season.

Mark Zuckerman of noted the close race between the starters:

Of course, you can also make an argument for San Francisco Giants starters Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner, as well as Noah Syndergaard of the Mets. Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez would also be a reasonable choice to posthumously receive the award after his strong season.

Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register also shared an interesting note on Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw:

There can only be three finalists, but there is a long list of deserving candidates in both leagues.


Most Valuable Player (Announced Nov. 17)

Among the American League’s three MVP finalists, only one made the playoffs: Mookie Betts of the Red Sox.

Betts was arguably the biggest breakout player of the 2016 season, with 31 home runs, 113 RBI, a .318 batting average and excellent defense. While David Ortiz had a strong year in his final season, Betts was the clear MVP on the roster.

Of course, the other two candidates also had excellent seasons. Houston Astros star Jose Altuve led the AL with a .338 batting average, while Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout easily had the best WAR in the majors, per

Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times noted Trout’s incredible consistency:

Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds were the last players to finish in the top three for five years in a row.

Baltimore’s Manny Machado and Toronto’s Josh Donaldson were left off the list, and Donaldson especially won’t like the list of finalists above him.

“You gotta win,” the Blue Jays third baseman said in September, per Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball. “Don’t get me wrong, Trout and Altuve are both great payers, but that’s my idea of valuable.”

That won’t be as much of an issue in the National League, with all three finalists reaching the playoffs.

Kris Bryant is the favorite as the key cog for a Cubs team that had its first 100-win season since 1935.

Daniel Murphy and Seager were also leaders for playoff teams, but both would be a surprise, considering the talent around them.

Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports doesn’t believe there will be much of a debate over the final results:

Bryant’s teammate Anthony Rizzo could have also been worthy of inclusion in the top three, as well as Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, who led the majors with 133 RBI, but the final list is rock solid.


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