MLB Awards: AL and NL MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year rankings after All-Star Game

Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll (7) swings during the eighth inning against the PIrates during a game at Chase Field in Phoenix on July 8, 2023.
Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll (7) swings during the eighth inning against the PIrates during a game at Chase Field in Phoenix on July 8, 2023. /
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The Major League Baseball All-Star Game and festivities are the perfect time to highlight the league’s best players at the season’s halfway point. While nearly every All-Star is having a great season, only the best of the best are gearing up for award races in the second half of the season. At the All-Star break, here are my Most Valuable Player, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year picks if the awards ballot was due today.

How do the races for MLB awards look as the unofficial second half begins?

American League MVP

1. Shohei Ohtani
2023 stats: .302/.387/.663 (181 wRC+), 0.6 BsR, 3.32 ERA, 3.81 xERA, 4.02 FIP, 3.51 xFIP, 3.54 SIERA, 6.0 fWAR

Shohei Ohtani is somehow off to an even more impressive start to 2023 than he was in his MVP campaign in 2021. Ohtani’s 181 wRC+ leads all qualified position players while his 4.3 fWAR ranks second — extremely impressive considering he doesn’t play in the field. In 2021, Ohtani had 5.0 fWAR offensively across 158 games. This season, Ohtani is on pace for 7.2 fWAR offensively if he appears in 150 games.

With Ohtani, his offense is only half of the story. Although he’s not pitching as well as he did last year when he finished fourth in Cy Young voting, Ohtani has an impressive 3.32 ERA in 100.1 innings pitched, good enough to make the All-Star team as a pitcher on top of being the AL’s starting designated hitter.

Without a doubt, Ohtani is the clear favorite to win his second MVP in three seasons. The only things potentially standing in his way are an injury or a trade to a National League team. Ohtani’s MVP case might already be solidified even if either of those two possibilities happens.

2. Wander Franco
2023 stats: 86 G, .278/.338/.459 (124 wRC+), 12 DRS, 11 OAA, 2.0 BsR, 3.8 fWAR

Somehow, when the All-Star teams were announced, Wander Franco wasn’t named an AL All-Star. Franco was later named as an injury replacement for Aaron Judge, but it’s ludicrous to think that the player with the second-most fWAR in the American League behind Ohtani wasn’t originally planning to head to Seattle.

While the players Franco often gets compared to are better offensively than him, Franco’s 124 wRC+ shows that he’s near elite (especially for a shortstop) offensively, which is impressive considering how well he’s played defensively at shortstop.

Franco’s 12 DRS and 11 OAA lead all shortstops, and he’s on pace to be the fifth shortstop to have a wRC+ over 120 and more than 10 OAA in a single season.

On top of his defensive and offensive prowess, Franco is elusive on the bases. With 28 stolen bases, Franco leads the AL in steals while his 2.0 BsR shows he’s effective as an overall base runner. There aren’t many players in baseball who can affect a game in as many ways as Franco.

3. Luis Robert
2023 stats: 89 G, .271/.330/.569 (143 wRC+), 7 DRS, 8 OAA, 0.6 BsR, 3.7 fWAR

One month into the season, Luis Robert was hitting .213 (79 wRC+). Since then, all he’s done is rake, getting his wRC+ up to 143, the fifth-best in the AL. As seen in the Home Run Derby, Robert has effortless power, helping to propel him to an already career-high in homers (26) and an elite .298 ISO.

Additionally, Robert is one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball, with his 7 DRS and 8 OAA ranking second and third, respectively, among all center fielders. While Robert has showcased MVP-like potential across his first three MLB seasons, injuries and 2020 held him back from playing a full season.

On pace to play a full season, Robert can find himself in the MVP conversation for the first (and definitely not last) time of his career if he finishes 2023 healthy.

Honorable mentions: Corey Seager, Jose Ramirez