Elites of the year

MLB conducts virtual award ceremony


Photo Courtesy of The New York Times

The 2020 MLB MVP awards went to José Abreu(left) and Freddie Freeman(right). Both guys had incredible seasons and put up incredible numbers. They were well deserving of the award and their names will be cemented in history as the Most Valuable Player.

Joseph Ebmeier, Staff Reporter

The 2020 Major League Baseball season had it all. Over the course of the shortened 60 game season, the league had to deal with the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, racial tensions and multiple protests conducted by many teams/players. 

However, they were able to have a successful season and crowded a World Series Champion. Another important event, the MLB Awards, took place as well, the event took place over the span of four days, beginning on November 9 and ending on November 12. The event normally has a big induction ceremony where all the nominees as well as other star players gather to recognize the accomplishments of one another. However, this year, due to COVID-19, the ceremony was held virtually.

The biggest and most important award is the Most Valuable Player award, and it was announced on November 12. This is given to the two players who had the best overall year statistically as well as boosted their team towards a successful season. The American League MVP award was given to Chicago White Sox first baseman, José Abreu. Abreu led the White Sox to their first postseason appearance in 12 years. Along the way, he led the American League with 60 RBIs, had a second best 19 home runs and a fourth best .317 batting average.

“You can (only) dream about it,” Abreu said in his virtual acceptance speech. “You can’t imagine the feeling. “And (I’m) just grateful to be able to be honored with this award.”

In the National League, the MVP award was captured by Atlanta Braves first baseman, Freddie Freeman. He led the Braves to an NL East title and had a statistically sound season. Throughout the season, Freeman led the MLB in runs scored with 51, finished second in the league with 1.102 OPS. In the National League alone, Freeman finished second in batting average (.341), OBP (.462), and slugging (.640).

“I am still at a loss for words,” Freeman posted on his Twitter account. “To be honored with the 2020 NL MVP is absolutely amazing. I’ve never played this game for awards, but to be recognized in this way is truly humbling.”

The next most important award, the Cy Young award,  is given to the best pitchers in each league, and was announced on November 11. This year, Cleveland Indians’ Shane Bieber absolutely dominated all opposing teams. He became the first unanimous Cy Young winner in the American League since 2011. Bieber had an MLB record 41.1% strikeout rate, he recorded the lowest earned run average since 1969, as well as tying for the lowest opponents batting average since 1969 with a .167. 

In the National League, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer became the first ever Red to win the award. This season Bauer led the National League with a 1.73 earned run average, opponents average with a .159 and shutouts with two. He also had the second most strikeouts in the National League with 100.

The Rookie of the Year award recognizes the player in each league who had the best season of all the first year players in his respective league and was announced on November 9. The American League Rookie of the Year award went to Seattle Mariners outfielder Kyle Lewis. Lewis was a unanimous selection for the award. He became just the second rookie to lead his team in batting average (.262), home runs (11), runs (37) and walks with 34.

The National League nod went to Milwaukee Brewers reliever Devin Williams. He became the first reliever to receive the honor since 2011. This year Willaims struck out 53% of his 100 batters faced, had a 0.33 earned run average and posted a 0.90 opponents batting average.

On November 10, the head coaches for each team had a chance to be recognized, with the Manager of the Year award. This award goes to the coach who did the best they could with the team they were given, it does not necessarily go to the best team in each league. In the American League, the award was won by Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash, he led the Rays to the teams first division win since 2010 and also to a narrow loss in the World Series. He had many players on the injured reverse list and still led his team to a great season. He also implemented 59 different batting orders in 60 games.

In the National League, the award was taken home by Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly. He led the Marlins to the team’s first postseason appearance in 17 years. His team was very picked apart due to the COVID-19 pandemic which makes this accomplishment even more impressive.

There were also a few other smaller awards given out over the four day span. There are several awards that are given out by the MLB Players Association which means only players vote on the winners. The Marvin Miller Man of the Year award went home with Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz. He was voted by his peers for the “most respect based on his leadership on the field and in the community.” Freeman also took home some more hardware when he received the Player of the Year award and NL Outstanding Player.

Postseason awards were also revealed over the course of the event. The American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player award was given to Rays outfield Randy Arozarena; he was given the award for his major contribution toward pushing the Rays into the World Series. Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager took home some hardware as well. He won the awards for National League Championship MVP and World Series MVP as he helped the Dodger capture their first World Series title since 1988.

It was a wild year for the MLB, they had a bit of it all. A changed schedule, star players missing games, a multiple month delay and so much more. Eventually however, the season was able to be played, we were still able to crown a champion, and still able to recognize the best in the business with all these great award winners.