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Diamond Digest’s 2022 Award Winners

With the Baseball Writers Association of America prepared to announce their Rookie of the Year winners tonight, we at Diamond Digest wanted to reveal our own award ballots for who we believe should be taking home some hardware in the coming days!

Below you will find the result of our team’s voting for each award using the same point system (with the exception of MVP, which shares the same voting system as the Cy Young) as the BBWAA. Writers were also given the option to vote for the Hank Aaron and Reliever of the Year awards. You will also find some quotes from those who voted below each section in order to get an understanding from our writers as to why they voted as they did.

Without further ado, let’s get into the awards!

American League Hank Aaron Award: Aaron Judge

(Photo via Will Arvin/Diamond Digest)

Judge was easily the best hitter in the AL.

Samuel Hougham

National League Hank Aaron Award: Paul Goldschmidt

(Photo via Will Arvin/Diamond Digest)

He was the best hitter in the National League, plain and simple.

Carson Melinder

AL Mariano Rivera Reliever of the Year: Emmanuel Clase

(Photo via Will Arvin/Diamond Digest)

Clase was in his own league as a reliever. Not entirely immortal, but as close as you could get in 2022, where nearly every reliever has pure gas with movement.

Patrick Matteson

NL Billy Wagner Reliever of the Year: Edwin Diaz

(Photo via Will Arvin/Diamond Digest)

In terms of an iconic season that will be remembered for not just one of the best reliever seasons in MLB history, Diaz captured the hearts of every fan in Queens and put his mark forever on the 2022 season.

Samuel Hougham

American League Rookie of the Year: Julio Rodriguez

(Photo via Will Arvin/Diamond Digest)

Julio Rodriguez was dominant through out the year. Even after a slow start, and multiple issues with injury in the second half he led the AL in most hitting categories and came up just shy of the first true rookie 30-30 season in MLB history.

Michael Fitzpatrick

Julio was the final piece of the puzzle for Seattle. He was the sparkplug and the offensive power that the Mariners needed to get to their first postseason in over 20 years. You gotta feel for Adley though, as any other year he probably wins with flying colors, but it just feels like JRod’s award to lose.

Diego Franco-Carreno

Adley Rutschman was easily the best player on the Orioles, despite appearing in 113 games and not making his big league debut until late May. His 5.2bWAR was the highest of any Orioles player, and when his offensive production is coupled with his arguable top 10 defense in the big leagues behind the plate, Rutschman was the most impressive rookie in the A.L. in 2022.

Bailey Digh, voted for Rutschman

National League Rookie of the Year: Spencer Strider

(Photo via Will Arvin/Diamond Digest)

The Braves development system just doesn’t stop giving and they were the most prime example of that this season. This award feels pretty neck and neck between the two Braves stars, but at least one thing is clear: Atlanta know how to develop talent at an elite level and Spencer Strider with his deGrom like arsenal is the perfect recipient of this representative award for this surely proud franchise and the way they’re trending.

Samuel Hougham

The choice between Harris and Strider is essentially a toss up. I like Strider’s mustache and I find the 4.9 fWAR more impressive as a rookie pitcher than Harris’ 4.8 fWAR as a rookie hitter.

Patrick Matteson

Hot Wheels Harris was probably the least talked about rookie that deserves to win ROY that I can remember. A fantastic defender in center field and a very good guy in the lineup as well. Strider and Harris both have fantastic cases bit I like Harris a bit more.

Diego Franco-Carreno

American League Manager of the Year: Brandon Hyde

(Photo via Will Arvin/Diamond Digest)

Prior to 2022, the Baltimore Orioles hadn’t finished with a .500 record or better since 2016. Disregarding the shortened 2020 season, they had lost 100 games or more three years in a row. Taking one of the worst teams in baseball over the last few seasons to an 83 win season means Brandon Hyde deserves to be named Manager of the Year in the A.L..

Bailey Digh

Baltimore was one of the more fun teams to watch this season, and the brand of baseball they play starts with the culture in the dugout. Hyde deserves to be rewarded for leading that.

Jordan Lazowski

An award that Servais could’ve very easily won last season, I believe he gets the job done this year. Servais did an amazing job managing an elite bullpen all year, as the Mariners led the majors in one run victories for the second season in a row. He took care of young stars such as Julio Rodriguez, George Kirby, Logan Gilbert, and Cal Raleigh, as he played a pivotal role in their breakout seasons. Oh, and being at the front of the charge while ending the longest drought in major professional sports is nothing to scoff at. Servais has brought this team to relevance, and this is the year he should get recognized.

William Gross

National League Manager of the Year: Brian Snitker

(Photo via Will Arvin/Diamond Digest)

Snitker rebounded from a tough couple of months to get his club to play at an outrageous pace, pacing past the Mets for another NL East crown.

Carson Melinder

The Braves were 10.5 games behind the Mets for first place of the N.L. East at the start of the June. They went on to have the best record in the majors from that point forward, and won the N.L. East. Snitker was in charge of turning the atmosphere in the clubhouse and the product on the field around, and he did just that.

Bailey Digh

Shouldn’t even have made the playoffs, and the other ones all had high expectations and stacked rosters.

Joey Bohley, voted for Thomson

American League Cy Young Award: Justin Verlander

(Photo via Will Arvin/Diamond Digest)

Verlander’s 2022 was just remarkable. To me, he was solidly above everybody else in baseball. His 2.49 FIP was the best of his career, and lowest among pitchers with 175 IP. He was the strikeout machine we expect from him, but what allowed him to reach new heights was a career low walk rate of just 4.4%. Two years removed from tearing his UCL, Verlander was as good as ever.

Jennie Tsai

When your ERA is equal to your IP in a qualified season, that’s pretty impressive; not to mention coming off TJ, being 39 and in a contract year

Joey Bohley

It’s Verlander, and it should be, but I’m shamelessly giving it to Cease since Verlander actually found a way to give up 7 runs (albeit 4 ER) to the 2022 White Sox.

Jordan Lazowski, likely would’ve voted for Cease regardless

In the year that was Aaron Judge taking up every headline possible, it was Ohtani that took the backseat despite having another incredible season. And while his 2021 MVP campaign showed us how incredible his power is, 2022 showed us the extent to how brilliant of a pitcher he was too. He finished second in AL ranks in FIP and first in strikeouts per nine, all while having to drive in the runs and carry his meager Angels team on his back. So, while Judge has every right to claim the AL MVP without protest, Ohtani also has claim to the Cy Young award for somehow becoming even better on the mound a year after winning an MVP.

Samuel Hougham, voted for Ohtani

National League Cy Young Award: Sandy Alcantara

(Photo via Will Arvin/Diamond Digest)

The decision for this award will come down purely to baseball writer’s bias and how they view this award. If they think team performance is somehow related to individual’s performances, then Alcantara will no doubt lose out on this award. But if you’re able to see the pure dominance of Alcantara’s 228.2 inning and 2.28 ERA season without letting the Marlins performance cloud your vision, then Alcantara is the clear winner in my view. If he didn’t already breakout in previous years, then this year was the one that put Alcantara’s name in the mix of the most elite arms in baseball.

Samuel Hougham

Six complete games, which was more than any TEAM, went deep into games and pitched the league high amount of innings, which is unheard of in this day and age of baseball.

Joe Koetters

While this decision could be somewhat due to my bias and love towards Aaron Nola, it is hard to look at the numbers and not come to the conclusion he should win the N.L. Cy Young Award. Yes, his 3.25 ERA was 13th in the N.L. in 2022, but with the Phillies playing some of the worst defense in the majors behind Nola, we can assume that contributed to his ERA being that high. Overall, Aaron Nola finished top three among N.L. starting pitchers in the all of the following categories: bWar, fWAR, innings pitched, strikeout percentage, FIP, xERA, and SIERA. He was 4th in WHIP, but was 0.001 point off of being tied for 3rd.

Bailey Digh, voted for Nola

American League Most Valuable Player: Aaron Judge

(Photo via Will Arvin/Diamond Digest)

Theoretically, in a perfect world, Shohei Ohtani should win MVP every year unless there is another historic season alongside him. The decision for AL MVP not only determines the award for 2022, but also sets a precedent for the rest of baseball history. How historic does a challenger have to be to finally unseat Ohtani. If it’s not Judge, then the only bar we are setting for such historic precedent is the return of Barry Bonds.

Payton Ellison

This season was Aaron Judge’s stage, and we were all here to watch his performance. He reignited a home run chase some thought wouldn’t be chased again (and also brought back up the age-old steroid debate) and carried the Yankees offense on his back en route to a division championship. In possibly one of the most exciting individual performances of all time to witness, Judge put together perhaps one of the greatest single seasons in MLB history.

Samuel Hougham

When many people discuss this year’s A.L. MVP race, they mention how historic of a year Aaron Judge had. It was historic. He had one of the best offensive seasons in recent memory, and he broke the A.L. home run record that stood for more than half a century. Even though Judge had a year for the ages, there is another player who is doing something we have never really seen before, and he is so good, many people are unsure how to calculate his true value. That would be Angels’ superstar Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani gets my vote for A.L. MVP because he was one the A.L.’s better hitters, and one of its most effective pitchers. His OPS+ is a few points lower than Jose Ramirez, who also appears on this ballot, and he ranks in the top 5 of many important pitcher categories. Ohtani is the most valuable player in baseball right now because he is one of the most productive hitters and most effective pitchers all in one player.

Bailey Digh, voted for Ohtani

This is an impossible question to answer. While Judge had more WAR, when I ask myself “Would a team be better if it had Ohtani or Judge”, my answer is Ohtani.

Jennie Tsai, voted for Ohtani

Judge is going to win this award, but Ohtani deserves it more. He collected a 3.8 fWAR and a 142 wRC+ at the plate in 666 plate appearances combined with 166 innings of 2.33 ERA baseball on the mound. He was 7th in the AL in wRC+ and 4th in ERA among qualified pitchers. Judge had a dominant year and is a deserving MVP, but if Ohtani had not had as much two way success as he had in his 2021 MVP season, it’s fair to think he would be running away with the MVP in 2022.

Grant Carver, voted for Ohtani

Noting Ohtani’s absurdity as a two-way player, our writer’s made the voting very close. The betting odds favorite for the actual award is Judge, but it will be interesting to see if Ohtani is closer to (or passes) Judge or Alvarez in the final polls.

Note: Ohtani’s lone fifth-place vote was a “mistake” made on the writer’s ballot.

National League Most Valuable Player: Paul Goldschmidt

(Photo via Will Arvin/Diamond Digest)

This was a tough choice. But I’m going to go for the man that had a career season at age 34. Many looked at 2020 and 2021 on Savant and saw a regression candidate in Goldschmidt. Instead, he has elevated his game offensively to levels that rival and even eclipse peak Arizona years. I’m sorry Mr. Arenado, I encourage you to prove me wrong next year.

Carson Melinder

Goldy was pretty clearly the best hitter in the NL this year, with a wRC+ 20 points higher than the next-best (Freeman). It was a hard choice between him and one of the clutch 3B, but ultimately his offense was elite enough to outweigh the defensive value brought by Machado and Arenado

Joey Bohley

It’s about time the baseball world respects Manny Machado as a hall of famer playing before our eyes and one of the best generational talents of the past decade. In an award decision that could be drawn from a hat with how equally well Machado, Goldschmidt, and Arenado played, the slight edge for me goes to Manny. He barely eked out first in fWAR in the NL on top of being the stabilizing force and heartbeat of San Diego’s deep playoff run. This was the peak of Machado’s game performance-wise and the star who often gets the tag of “lazy and overrated” based on past instances now deserves the spotlight to himself in this 2022 that was highlighted by his MVP performance.

Samuel Hougham, voted for Machado

Here is the schedule this week for BBWAA awards announcements, all telecast on MLB Network at 6 pm ET:

November 14: Rookie of the Year
November 15: Manager of the Year
November 16: Cy Young Award
November 17: Most Valuable Player

Make sure to tune in to our Twitter for more thoughts on these award winners, and let us know if you think we got our voting right!

Payton Ellison

Payton Malloy Ellison is a recent graduate from SUNY New Paltz with a degree in journalism. He has been writing his entire life, and about sports in various genres and settings for five years, starting with monthly coverage for the NBA and Major League Baseball on Grrindtime. He has been the Managing Editor for Diamond Digest for two years, written and edited articles produced live content and assisted in growing the brand for four years. He has also served as the sports director for the New Paltz campus radio station, WFNP The Edge, and had provided play-by-play and color commentary for SUNY New Paltz basketball.

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