My 2020 MLB Award Picks
By Chris O’Connor
The final installment in this series is my look at the American League and National league Rookie of the Year Awards.
The top 2 was tough, but I ultimately went with Lewis over Roberts because of the offensive advantage that Lewis had. Though Roberts played Gold-Glove caliber defense in center field, defensive metrics are not the most reliable, especially in a shortened season. That might’ve been a tiebreaker if they were close offensively but Lewis hit to a 126 WRC+ while Roberts faded down the stretch and ended up at a league average 101 WRC+. They had similar slugging percentages but Lewis had an OBP of .364 compared to .302 for Roberts and their games played difference was negligible; Lewis played in 58 games while Roberts played in 56. This duo should be exciting to watch in the future.
Murphy was a pleasant surprise at catcher for the A’s, with a high walk rate of over 17% that contributed to an OBP of .364 and a WRC+ of 131. He only played in 43 games, however. Honorable mentions are Willi Castro of the Tigers and Ryan Mountcastle of the O’s.
Cronenworth was great for the Padres this year. He played in 54 games and broke out with a slash line of .285/.354/.477 with a 125 WRC+. He flashed versatility on defense, appearing in games at shortstop, second base, and first base. Other position players like Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bohm hit better, but I believe Cronenworth’s big advantage in games played and positional versatility gives him the top spot.
At 2 I have Devin Williamss. Williams was unbelievable as a reliever for the Brewers: in 27 innings, he had an ERA of 0.33 and struckout 17.69 batters per nine innings. Yes, you read that right. Normally I would normally give the advantage to a starter like Tony Gonsolin who threw more innings (with 46), but Williams was so incredible that he gets the number 2 spot. I have Cronenworth ahead of him only because of the lack of innings he pitched, but he was incredible in those innings.
I went back and forth between Tony Gonsolin and Alec Bohm. Gonsolin surprised for the Dodgers, a team that never seems to run out of pitching depth. In 46 innings he pitched to a 2.31 ERA, though he only started 8 games and struck out just 8.87 hitters per nine innings. Bohm, a top prospect, played in 44 games and slashed .338/.400/.481 with a 138 WRC+ for the Phillies. I would have loved to see him in the postseason.