The abbreviated 2020 MLB season is complete and the Los Angeles Dodgers are World Series champions. They defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in six games to clinch their first title since 1988. Now that the offseason is underway, here are the important dates you need to know for the winter. Despite the short season, MLB and the Baseball Writers Association of America will hand out their major awards for each league. 

The awards will be announced Nov. 9-12. It’ll be Rookies of the Year on Nov. 9, Managers of the Year on Nov. 10, Cy Youngs on Nov. 11, and MVPs on Nov. 12. The winners will be revealed during a live MLB Network broadcast. The finalists have been announced, and voting for each award took place before the postseason.

Before the BBWAA reveals their winners, we here at CBS Sports will reveal our award winners. To hand out our season awards, our five CBS Sports MLB scribes (R.J. Anderson, Katherine Acquavella, Mike Axisa, Dayn Perry, Matt Snyder) each cast a hypothetical ballot for each award. Our rules:

  • Our individual ballots for each award were only three names deep. In reality, the MVP ballot is 10 players deep and the Cy Young ballot is five players deep. Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year each includes three slots.
  • The scoring system: Three points for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote, and one point for a third-place vote. Most points wins. Nice and easy.

Here are our 2020 end-of-season award voting results for the MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie and Manager of the Year in each league, with a short explanation. Let’s get to it. 

In a short 60-game season, more nuance is required from MVP voters. The sample isn’t big enough to rely on WAR (not that they should rely on WAR exclusively anyway), and the context of regional play is important. Players did not face the same caliber of competition, not even close, and that undoubtedly impacted their performance.

Abreu is our AL MVP because he was the best player on an upstart White Sox team that reached the postseason for the first time since 2008. That the ChiSox limped to the finish and were the No. 7 seed rather than the No. 4 seed may hurt him among BBWAA voters, but it didn’t in our vote. LeMahieu’s steady excellence earns him the second-place finish ahead of Ramirez, who was the best player on the team that finished ahead of Abreu’s team. Ramirez was dynamite down the stretch.

It’s a two-horse race for NL MVP. Betts led baseball in WAR but Freeman was the best hitter in the league not named Juan Soto, and he was outrageously clutch. His 3.17 win probability added was the highest in baseball. Only one other player was over 2.50. The best player on a division winner will never look out of place in the MVP voting. Mookie having so much value tied up in his glove hurts him a bit. MVP voting tends to reward more reliable offensive stats.

For much of the season Tatis was the clear frontrunner for NL MVP, but his September slump pushed him out of the running. Machado outproduced Tatis in many respects this year and would be a fine third-place choice. The NL MVP race comes down to Freeman or Betts. This could be the closest NL MVP vote since Giancarlo Stanton finished two points — two points! — ahead of Joey Votto in 2017.

AL Cy Young: Shane Bieber, Cleveland

This is a race for second place. Bieber should win the AL Cy Young award unanimously. He led all pitchers — not just American Leaguers — in WAR, ERA, ERA+, wins, strikeouts, and win probability, among other things. Also, Baseball Prospectus’ Deserved Run Average stat says Bieber was the best starter in the game even after adjusting for the relatively weak competition he faced in the Central region. Bieber is going to win the AL Cy Young award. This is a no-brainer.

In our voting, Cole narrowly edges out Ryu for second place, though Maeda isn’t far behind. Lance Lynn deserves a mention here as well, even though he did not appear on any of our ballots. The fact guys like Chris Bassitt and Zach Plesac threw so many fewer innings than the league leaders is going to hurt their case (Plesac threw fewer innings because of his own stupidity, of course). The race for second place is wide open here. That’s all it is though. A race for runner-up. Bieber has the AL Cy Young in the bag.

DeGrom is trying to become the third pitcher in history to win three straight Cy Young awards, joining Hall of Famers Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux, who each won four straight. In a season this short, the NL Cy Young vote could come down to deGrom allowing three runs in five innings in his final start, giving him a 2.38 ERA to finish the season. It had been under 2.00 much of the year.

Despite that, deGrom narrowly edges out Bauer in our voting because he had more strikeouts, a higher strikeout rate, and faced more difficult competition in the East region. Bauer certainly has a strong case for the NL Cy Young. In our voting, he fell just short. Shoutout to Max Fried and Zack Wheeler, who did not receive a vote on our ballots despite tying for the National League lead in WAR. They were quite a few innings behind the league leaders due to injury, however, particularly Fried.

AL Manager of the Year: Kevin Cash, Rays

Kevin Cash, Rays

3

1

1

12

Charlie Montoyo, Blue Jays

2

1

7

Bob Melvin, Athletics

2

1

5

Rick Renteria, White Sox

2

1

5

Rocco Baldelli, Twins

1

1

The Manager of the Year typically goes to the manager of the team that most exceeded expectations, or the manager of the team that was just so good he can’t be ignored. Cash falls into the latter category. The Rays had the American League’s best record this year and they did it despite a shoestring payroll. Montoyo gets some love for leading the upstart Blue Jays to the postseason, ditto Renteria with the White Sox, though he was let go shortly after the season. Melvin has long been a Manager of the Year voting staple. He always gets votes.

NL Manager of the Year: Don Mattingly, Marlins and Dave Roberts, Dodgers

Don Mattingly, Marlins

2

6

Dave Roberts, Dodgers

2

6

Jayce Tingler, Padres

2

1

5

David Ross, Cubs

1

2

4

Brian Snitker, Braves

1

1

3

Note: Matt Snyder abstained from our NL Manager of the Year voting because he holds an NL Manager of the Year vote this year.

Co-Managers of the Year! It has only happened once before, when Johnny Oates (Rangers) and Joe Torre (Yankees) tied for the American League award in 1996. Mattingly managed a young Marlins team with a tiny payroll to the postseason, and he did it after the team had to be shut down two weeks with a COVID-19 outbreak. Roberts led the Dodgers to the best record in the sport, which usually equals Manager of the Year votes. Tingler and Ross get some Manager of the Year support in our voting after completing their first seasons as big-league skippers.

For much of the season this appeared to be Robert’s award to lose, but a sluggish finish allowed Lewis to jump ahead and into first place in our voting. The duo tied for the MLB rookie lead in home runs but Lewis finish with significant advantages in batting average and on-base percentage, and he led all rookie position players in WAR as well. This was going to be a close race up until Robert stopped hitting in September.

The race for third place is much more wide open than our voting would lead you to believe. James Karinchak is in the mix, Willi Castro is in the mix, Ryan Mountcastle is in the mix, and several others as well. The expanded 28-man roster made this a good year for rookies in the so-called Junior Circuit. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, breakout postseason star Randy Arozarena started only 17 regular season games this year, putting him well behind the league’s other top rookies.

Our voting isn’t as close as I expect the BBWAA voting to be. Cronenworth had an excellent season, but he did cool off a bit near the end, while Bohm had a huge impact on the Phillies. He was insanely clutch — Bohm finished sixth in baseball in win probability despite finishing 157th in plate appearances — and had the high batting average Rookie of the Year voters will love. Cronenworth gets the nod in our voting. The actual vote figures to be closer.

Unlike the AL Rookie of the Year race, not too many top contenders for the NL award spent the entire season in the big leagues, so we’re left to sift through smaller samples. The small-sample-size king this year was Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who put up huge numbers in fewer than 100 plate appearances. In fact, he tied Lewis for the WAR lead among rookies. In a weird as year as this one, I would not discount Hayes sneaking into the NL Rookie of the Year race and making a serious run at the award.

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