Whether it be a big debut for a rookie, an inspirational comeback or season for the history books at the plate or on the mound, or shot caller that makes all of the right moves off of it, there is a potential award winner waiting within every franchise. So, who is the most likely award winner in 2021 for each MLB team?
Arizona Diamondbacks: Zac Gallen, NL Cy Young
Even on the heels of a breakout campaign that would have made him an All-Star in any normal year, Gallen remains a dark horse candidate in the NL Cy Young picture. Yet over his first two MLB seasons, Gallen has turned in a 2.78 ERA over his first 27 starts, while holding opponents to a .210 average against and his 2.7 WAR tying for the NL lead among pitchers. The wins may be hard to come by in the desert at times, but Gallen’s performance shouldn’t often be at fault for it.
Atlanta Braves: Ronald Acuna, NL MVP
It’s really just a matter of time until this is a reality. Even on a team with the defending NL MVP, the salacious potential of Acuna continues to make him one of the frontrunners for this award for the next decade, at minimum. A 40/40 season is very much in reach for him at age 23, potentially with an extra 40 (doubles) mixed in too. But don't discount his lineup mate and defending NL MVP Freddie Freeman for being among his prime competition for this honor yet again, however.
Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini, AL Comeback Player of the Year
After missing 2020 with a fight against colon cancer, Mancini’s return is already one of the most inspirational stories of the year. If he returns to the field with the same bat that saw him hit .291 with 35 homers in 2019, this would be a runaway win as well. He’s the heart and soul of the Orioles and capturing this honor would be a great story amid the franchise’s continued rebuild.
Boston Red Sox: Bobby Dalbec, AL Rookie of the Year
In Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, the Sox have a pair of infield bats that could put up MVP caliber numbers. However, across the diamond, their rookie first baseman could have the clearest path to taking home some hardware. Dalbec turned in impressive .959 OPS, with eight home runs over 23 games. If he reaches the 30-home run level his potential showed, the award could be his.
Chicago Cubs: David Ross, NL Manager of the Year
Although his roster features former MVP and Cy Young winners, as well as a host of Gold Glove earners and contenders, it is Ross that has the most meaningful pathway to taking home some hardware. He enters his second season at the helm in Wrigley with a franchise that is at a crossroads. After a winter of moving out more than they brought in (with potentially more to come), if Ross can pull off a return to the postseason amid it all, he could be a runaway for MOY honors.