The 2021 MLB campaign is behind us, and now, it’s awards season.
In a little over a week, we’ll learn who’s taking home the most prestigious award in each league: MVP honors.
All season long, every year, fans love to speculate about who’s going to end up winning the MVP award in each league, but when it comes to the 2021 campaign, folks won’t have to speculate much longer.
We’ll soon have our winners.
In the meantime, let’s predict them, starting with the American League.
AL Projected Winner: Shohei Ohtani
It would be stunning if anyone other than Shohei Ohtani took home the AL MVP award.
The Los Angeles Angels phenom had one of the greatest seasons in baseball history in 2021, as he added a massive amount of value on both sides of the ball.
At the plate, he was one of the league’s best hitters.
He blasted 46 home runs, 26 doubles, and eight triples en route to a .965 OPS and 158 OPS+.
SHOHEI OHTANI BOMB 💣
He launched his 36th HR of the season 463 feet @BRWalkoff
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 28, 2021
He also had a ridiculous 21-game span at one point in which he batted .312 with a 1.398 OPS and 16 home runs.
The 27-year-old was must-see television offensively.
The same can be said about his season on the mound.
Over 23 starts, Ohtani posted a 3.18 ERA, 3.52 FIP, and 1.09 WHIP.
He fanned 156 batters in 130.1 innings of work, and the Angels — who finished the year with a 77-85 record — went 13-10 in Ohtani’s outings.
That says a lot about the superstar’s ability to keep the team in games.
Shohei Ohtani, 95mph Fastball (foul) and 82mph Slider (sword/K), Overlay. pic.twitter.com/TlWxREJKfD
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 27, 2021
Ohtani finished the year with a huge WAR of 9.0.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a fantastic season for the Toronto Blue Jays, but the 2021 AL MVP award should go to the Angels’ generational star.
NL Projected Winner: Bryce Harper
While the AL MVP race was Ohtani’s to lose from the gate, the NL MVP race was a wild one throughout the year.
A number of different players seemed like the favorites at certain points, but in the end, Philadelphia Phillies superstar Bryce Harper was able to create some separation.
The Phillies weren’t able to crack the playoffs in 2021, but it certainly had nothing to do with Harper’s performance.
The 29-year-old led the NL in slugging (.615), OPS (1.044), and OPS+ (179).
For context, a 179 OPS+ suggests that Harper was 79 percent better than the league-average hitter in 2021.
He also smacked 35 home runs, 42 doubles, and a triple.
Bryce Harper with an absolute BOMB. 💣
— theScore (@theScore) April 18, 2021
The six-time All-Star likely secured the MVP award over the final month or so of the season, as he went on an absurd tear.
Over his final 27 games, he batted .349 with a 1.275 OPS, nine home runs, and 10 doubles.
He did everything in his power to get the Phillies to the playoffs, but he didn’t get a lot of help.
Philadelphia is still looking to end its postseason drought, and the hope is that the 2022 season will finally be the year.
But in the meantime, Harper might be taking home some hardware.
If he does walk away with the NL MVP award, it’ll be the second MVP award of his decorated career.
We’ll see if that possibility becomes a reality in just over a week.