These teams are likely to have award winners

In this unusual season, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Awards will be handed out just like any other year. Shortly after the World Series champion is crowned, we’ll have MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year winners. With roughly 25 percent of the season over, here’s a ranking

In this unusual season, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Awards will be handed out just like any other year. Shortly after the World Series champion is crowned, we’ll have MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year winners. With roughly 25 percent of the season over, here’s a ranking of the teams most likely to have a player secure at least one of the awards.

1) Dodgers
Perhaps no player in the sport has a bigger early edge toward winning an individual award than Dodgers fireballer Dustin May, the clear National League Rookie of the Year Award favorite. The 6-foot-6 righty has opened eyes with an average four-seam fastball velocity of 98.2 mph and a 3.00 ERA in five starts. The success hasn’t come out of nowhere. At the moment, there isn’t a strong challenger to May among NL rookies. In addition to May, the Dodgers have two past MVPs in Mookie Betts (who is red hot and just had his record-tying sixth career three-homer game) and Cody Bellinger, plus possible Cy Young contenders in Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler.

2) Yankees
Have you heard? Aaron Judge is pulling the ball again. That means homers. Lots of them. The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year (and AL MVP runner-up) is tied for the MLB lead in dingers (nine) and is an MVP favorite, though some leg soreness that has put him on the injured list could present a problem for his award chances.

With the Yankees, not only do you get Judge (and you can’t totally rule out DJ LeMahieu, although he’s also on the IL with a left thumb sprain) as a top MVP candidate, but also Gerrit Cole as a Cy Young favorite. While he probably wouldn’t win the award if voting were conducted today — it likely would be Indians strikeout maestro Shane Bieber — Cole remains a top contender. After finishing fifth in voting in 2018, Cole narrowly missed taking home the hardware last year, losing to then-Astros teammate Justin Verlander by a razor-thin margin. He’s off to a strong start (4-0, 2.76 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 10.4 K/9) and will figure prominently in the voting again.

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3) Angels
In his eight seasons as a full-time Major Leaguer before this season, Mike Trout has three MVPs, four second-place finishes and one fourth-place finish. In a 60-game season, it isn’t quite as likely that Trout will take home the prize, simply because it’s harder for him to fully establish dominance relative to the rest of baseball in a more compressed year. A smaller sample size gives others a better chance, and one Trout injury or slump would be more damaging than usual. But he’s certainly the AL favorite, and the tear he’s been on since becoming a father for the first time on July 30 (four homers in his first five games after the birth) indicates another amazing season is likely.

The Angels also have other possible award winners: rookie Jo Adell (MLB Pipeline’s No. 6 overall prospect) made his Major League debut on Aug. 4, and Dylan Bundy (3-1, 1.57 ERA, 0.63 WHIP) is off to a sensational start, so he’s worth monitoring.

4) Padres
If you’re starting a team from scratch, Trout would be just about everyone’s first pick. Second? You couldn’t go wrong taking Fernando Tatis Jr., who is tied for the MLB lead with nine homers. Tatis appears destined to win an MVP in his career, and by the looks of his early-season prowess, it could be sooner rather than later. He’s destroying pitches in the zone, laying off bad pitches, showing off his rocket arm and displaying the best bet flip in MLB.

Beyond Tatis, Dinelson Lamet (2-1, 1.59 ERA) is among the legitimate challengers to try to take the NL Cy Young from the Mets’ Jacob deGrom (we’ll get to him shortly), and neither MacKenzie Gore nor Luis Patiño — MLB’s No. 5 and No. 28 prospects, respectively — should be ruled out for Rookie of the Year runs.

5) Indians
The most impressive pitcher during this young season has been Indians strikeout savant Shane Bieber. Through five starts, the righty is 4-0 with a 1.30 ERA and 54 strikeouts. He tied MLB’s all-time mark with 27 strikeouts through his first two starts of the season. His stellar form follows a breakout campaign in 2019, when he finished fourth in the AL Cy Young race (15-8, 3.28 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 10.9 K/9). He is the top challenger to Cole.

Additionally, José Ramirez (third in AL MVP voting in 2017 and ’18) and Francisco Lindor (three top-10 AL MVP finishes since 2016) can’t be ruled out as contenders for the AL MVP Award.

6) White Sox
The AL Rookie of the Year race looks like it could be quite a battle between Luis Robert and the Mariners’ Kyle Lewis. Robert comes with a slightly higher pedigree (MLB Pipeline’s No. 3 overall prospect, compared to Lewis’ peak of No. 29), and he has been sensational thus far. He’s a Statcast darling, hitting vicious liners, prodigious homers and tracking down balls in center field with ease.

Lucas Giolito, last year’s sixth-place AL Cy Young finisher, has struggled through the early part of the season with a 4.88 ERA, so it’s likely up to Robert to win an award for the White Sox. That said, Robert is the favorite.

7) Reds
Nick Castellanos is a superstar. While he might not be a household name — he hasn’t even made an All-Star team — he’s developed into one of the best bats in the game. It isn’t often that a player goes from good to great in his late 20s, but that is what the Reds slugger has done. After a historic season of doubles a year ago, Castellanos is continuing his dominant hitting, but this time, he’s crushing homers. He’s tied for second in the NL with eight, thanks in large part to one of the best barrel rates in MLB.

The Reds have several pitchers who could figure into the NL Cy Young mix as well. Trevor Bauer (2-0, 0.93 ERA, 32 strikeouts) and Sonny Gray (4-1, 2.05 ERA, NL-best 45 strikeouts) are both off to sensational starts.

8) Mets
Jacob deGrom has won back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards, and there’s nothing to suggest he isn’t the favorite to become the first pitcher to win three in a row since Randy Johnson won four straight from 2001-04, assuming the neck ailment that made deGrom miss his most recent start doesn’t worsen. deGrom is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA and is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, his velocity increase is unprecedented.

Andrés Giménez and David Peterson could also figure into the NL Rookie of the Year race.