MLB Award Predictions & Best Bets
Heading into the 2022 MLB season, I think there are some great value plays you can get on season long awards. Trying to find some different values and long shot plays can help you make some money, as the market is ever changing as soon as games start on April 7th.
Below are some my favorite plays for MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year in both the American League and National League. Let’s get into it!
American League MVP: Byron Buxton +3000
All we need is Byron Buxton to stay healthy, which he has never done before. Buxton was the best hitter in all of baseball in April last year before the injuries piled up, and also had a great September. The former number one prospect has an elite toolset and the injury concern is only reason we get such a discount on this number. Last year he had a Barrel % of 17.9%, Sprint speed is in the 99th percentile which should lead to more stolen bases, and his max exit velocity is in the top 4% of the league.
National League MVP: Juan Soto +275
Juan Soto is going to win this award in the next 3 years. Why am I picking him this year? Fernando Tatis Jr is out for 3 months, and Ronald Acuna Jr is coming off of reconstructive knee surgery, so I think its a clear path to the top for Juan Soto, a generational bat. Sure they value isn’t great when you pick the favorite, but it makes a lot of sense to me. If you’re looking for some value, place a wager on Ketel Marte at +20000.
AL Cy Young Award: Justin Verlander +2000 & Nathan Eovaldi +2500
This was one of my harder picks. I didn’t want to select Gerrit Cole so I tried to find some better late values. In his last two full seasons, Justin Verlander has won the Cy Young award and finished second in the voting. Of course, coming off of UCL surgery will turn people away, but what his stuff has shown me in the spring is that he is back to being fully healthy. I like this value and wouldn’t be surprised to see him at the top of his game.
There were very few pitchers in baseball who were more important or more valuable to their teams than Nathan Eovaldi was for the Red Sox in 2021. Only Corbin Burnes and Zack Wheeler accrued more fWAR than Eovaldi’s 5.6. In addition to being leagues better than most other pitchers in 2021, that 5.6 number was also far and away the best of Eovaldi’s 10-year career, with his previous high-water mark coming in 2014 with the Marlins (3.3 fWAR) (Over The Monster). Eovaldi had a 2.79 FIP and a 66 FIP-, ranking third in baseball in both metrics among qualified starters. I’ll take this chance on Nate any day of the week.
NL Cy Young Award: Max Fried +1500 & Joe Musgrove +2500
Two of my favorite Fantasy Baseball values for this season are who I want to sprinkle on for the NL Cy Young. Max Fried is a dog who showed how good he was in the postseason. One of the stats that can blind voters is wins, and Fried gets a ton of those. He had the 6th most wins in baseball last year, ERA was 22nd in the league and WHIP 30th in the league and top 10% of the league in avg exit velocity against and has a career 54% ground ball rate.
Joe Musgrove has great off speed stuff and elite spin rate on his fastball. A new pitching coach in San Diego should throw out his cutter and use his 4SFB more. His curveball (88th percentile spin rate) and slider both returned BAAs under .160 last year, and I don’t see why he would move away from their combined 50%+ usage. A good defensive park, and more consistency should see Musgrove climb the ranks and compete for the award this year.
AL Rookie Of The Year: Bobby Witt Jr +300 & Jeremy Pena +1100
Let’s be honest, Bobby Witt Jr is a generational prospect. His ability to hit for power and speed make him a special talent. From all accounts he will be the opening day third baseman in Kansas City, and I believe in his ability to put up great numbers over a full season.
If we want to sprinkle in different places, I would wager on Jeremy Pena. The replacement for Carlos Correa in Houston, Pena put up these numbers in 2021, mostly in AAA: 37 G, 160 PA, .297/.363/.579, 10 HR, 6 SB. He’s being placed in a lineup that got to the World Series, and being given free reign to run with it. Many in the Astros organization believe Pena is a superstar in the making and that’s why I will take a chance on him to win Rookie Of The Year.
NL Rookie Of The Year: Seiya Suzuki +500
From Chris Clegg, FantasyPros “Suzuki was one of the best hitters in the NPB last season, posting a .317/.433/.639 slash line in 538 plate appearances. He hit 38 home runs and stole nine bases. Suzuki often gets comps to Hideki Matsui, who hit the ground running with the Yankees upon his debut. Suzuki, just 27-years-old, could significantly impact the Cubs lineup. We could see Suzuki hit 25 or more home runs and chip in a few stolen bases.” Obviously unfair that he could be 27 and win this award, but if he puts up the best numbers we will cash this. People will flock to Oneil Cruz but be different and take Seiya Suzuki.