The last of the major awards for the 2020 Major League Baseball season were announced on Thursday evening when the AL and NL MVP award recipients were announced.
Previously, the Rookies of the Year, Managers of the Year, and Cy Young awards were announced. No Dodger won any of those awards, although Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin finished fourth and fifth respectively for Rookie of the Year, and Clayton Kershaw also received some fifth place votes for Cy Young.
The AL and NL MVP Awards were announced and again no Dodger won – but Mookie Betts did finish second. Freddie Freeman won the award with 28 of the 30 first place votes, and 410 total. Betts had the other two first place votes and 21 second place votes with a total of 268. Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres rounded out the top three.
As typically happens, the voters went for the best hitter of the trio in Freeman. But if defense and base running were taken more into account, the award should have gone to Betts. Freeman did not the Gold Glove award for first base, like Betts did for right field. Betts was the NL leader in WAR, with 3.4. He was fourth in the league in base saving runs, and +10 in Defensive Runs Saved, while Freeman was only league average in that category.
If Betts had won, he would have become only the second player in MLB history to win MVP in both leagues, joining Frank Robinson, and the fourth to win with two different teams. He also would’ve been the 14th to win in their first season after having been traded to a new team. He would’ve been just the fourth to win in the same season his team won the World Series.
Regardless, Dodgers fans know what Mookie has brought to this team. From standing up on Day One of the Spring Training and making a speech in front of his brand new teammates about what it was going to take to win the World Series, to quietly helping other players like Austin Barnes with their batting, he was the MVP of the Dodgers this season and helped them win their first Championship in 32 seasons.
Today was also proclaimed “Mookie Betts Day” in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. Mayor John Cooper made the pronouncement at Mookie’s alma mater, Overton High School.
Coming in second for MVP in your first season with a team is still pretty special. On a Zoom program with other Dodger players and SNLA hosts on Wednesday evening, Mookie stated “As a unit we were just consistent, and it’s hard to beat someone who’s super consistent, and that’s why we won”. That consistency started with Betts himself, and was evident that is spread throughout the team. Dodgers fans are lucky to be able to watch this superstar talent for the next 12 years.