MLB Awards Watch: A Cy Young run for the ages and how Ohtani could lose AL MVP

  • Sports reporter, Kansas City Star, 2002-09
  • Writer, Baseball, Baseball Prospectus
  • Co-author, Pro Basketball Prospectus
  • Member, Baseball Writers Association of America
  • Member, Professional Basketball Writers Association

  • Covers MLB for ESPN.com
  • Former deputy editor of Page 2
  • Been with ESPN.com since 1995

With less than three weeks to go in the 2021 MLB regular season, much has changed in the races for baseball’s biggest individual awards since the last time we checked in.

Only one race seems clear, and even that one could still change over the stretch run. That refers to the American League Most Valuable Player race, in which Los Angeles Angels’ two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani seems to be the clear front-runner, but … well, have you seen how hot Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Toronto Blue Jays have been lately?

So even the most settled race is not sealed as awards contenders across baseball prepare to make their closing arguments as September turns into October. Today, ESPN MLB experts Bradford Doolittle and David Schoenfield check in on these races in this month’s Awards Watch.

As always, a statistical glimpse of the races is provided using Doolittle AXE ratings. The ratings are prorated for 162 games using season-to-date results, plus a rest-of-season forecast based on anticipated playing time and 2021 performance. Playing time estimates are based on depth chart data from Fangraphs.com.

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