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Putting Together My 2023 Ballots For Season’s Awards

The 2023 regular season has come and gone, and my invitation to join the Baseball Writers Association of America must have been lost in the mail…again.  But fear not, Rays faithful, for once again I have put together a ballot for each of the four major awards in the American League, just as if Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times had asked me to in order to help out the chapter.  Just like the writers who do have to vote on these awards, I’ve given you a full 10-player ballot for MVP, a five-player ballot for Cy Young, and three-person ballot for both Rookie and Manager of the Year.  And unlike if I actually did vote for the BBWAA, I can give you my ballot right now and not have to wait for the postseason to end and the announcement to come out in mid-November.  So without any further ado, here’s what my 2023 awards ballot would look like if I had one.

2023 American League Most Valuable Player


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Winner: Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

He may have missed the last month of the season, but Ohtani’s season in Los Angeles, widely regarded as his last with the Angels, was among one of the best all-around seasons we’ve seen out of a player since Babe Ruth.  Ohtani finished with a WAR of 9.0, split between his hitting (6.6, tops among all American League hitters) and pitching (2.4).  While missing the final month of the year, he still led the American League in home runs, with 44, and led the league in on-base percentage (.412), slugging percentage (.654), OPS (1.066) and wRC+ at 180 (80 percent above league average).  Seager and Diaz battled all the way to the final day for the batting title, which Diaz won, but I still put Seager in front on my ballot for having more home runs, more RBI, and a higher slugging percentage.

Some people may wonder why he’s on my ballot, others may wonder why he’s so low on my ballot, but Aaron Judge‘s injuries kept him from having a shot to repeat as MVP, as if he had missed only 30 games as opposed to nearly 60 games, he’s probably a close second to Ohtani.

My full ballot:

  1. Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
  2. Corey Seager, Texas Rangers
  3. Yandy Diaz, Tampa Bay Rays
  4. Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros
  5. Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners
  6. Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
  7. Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers
  8. Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees
  9. Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City Royals
  10. Luis Robert Jr. Chicago White Sox

2023 American League Cy Young Award


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Winner: Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

On what most folks in the Big Apple will say is one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory for the Yankees, the team knew that every fifth day Cole would take the baseball, and they’d have a very good chance of winning. He was one of just two pitchers in the American League to eclipse 200 innings, led the league in Earned Run Average, and was considered the best starter in the league this year.  Orioles closer Felix Bautista deserves accolades because he may have been the best pitcher in the league, and should be a unanimous choice for reliever of the year

My full ballot:

  1. Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees
  2. Felix Bautista, Baltimore Orioles
  3. Sonny Gray, Minnesota Twins
  4. Zach Eflin, Tampa Bay Rays
  5. Kevin Gausman, Toronto Blue Jays

2023 American League Rookie of the Year



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Winner: Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles

Henderson should be a unanimous choice here, and it should be no surprise that I have him atop my ballot as well.  The only debate I had was whether to include Royce Lewis of the Twins, who played in only 58 games but had 52 RBI, or Ruiz, who was the only rookie to lead the league in an offensive category with 66 stolen bases.  I went with the latter.

My full ballot:

  1. Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles
  2. Tanner Bibee, Cleveland Guardians
  3. Esteury Ruiz, Oakland Athletics

2023 American League Manager of the Year



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Winner: Brandon Hyde, Baltimore Orioles

It should be no surprise that for winning a division title and finishing with 101 wins this year, Hyde should be atop most of the ballots, while Bochy’s AL West division title will likely have him second in front of Cash, who will always be on the short list of the top managers every year, though it’s going to get progressively harder for him to win a third title seeing as his team seems to keep winning no matter the injury situation to his players.

My full ballot:

  1. Brandon Hyde, Baltimore Orioles
  2. Bruce Bochy, Texas Rangers
  3. Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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