(GAME DATE — Oct. 27, 2020) — The indomitable Chicago rookie sensation John Rambo is a virtual guarantee to take home the Lake League’s Carl Simms MVP Award and the Rookie of the Year Awards for the 2020 season, along with the Gold Crown for the RF position.
This has been nearly certain since the all-star break, when the 23-year-old drafted last year out of Arizona State was among LL HR leaders by then, and hit a 2-run shot in his only all-star game at bat. But the rest of the player awards are less certain, and early returns on voting have shown few locks as solid as Rambo.
Metro League MVP:
Tak-keung Yang, the Arizona Cowboys 1B, and Earl MacPherson, the Norfolk catcher, are the rumored front runners. Yang led the ML in runs and home runs this season, while MacPherson was close behind in HR’s and led in slugging %. Both players are formidable power bats and deserving of the award – though MacPherson already won it in 2018.
LL and ML Sandy Koufax Awards:
Toronto ace Knuckles Malone has some competition this year. The 2-time winner of the best pitcher’s award had the top ERA in the LL, and was the only pitcher in either league to reach 20 wins this year. But New York’s Steve Rollins put in a solid effort, the only other sub-3.00 ERA pitcher in baseball, and with just one less win, he also led in pitcher WAR, IP, shutouts (6), and strikeouts (246).
In the ML, Al Mota of Nevada seems an obvious choice for his ML leading 3.52 ERA and 4th ranked 213 K’s. Other contenders include wins leaders Willie Salazar (Washington) and Young-lau Weng (St. Petersburg).
ML Rookie of the Year:
Andres Arango, the Nevada Speeders mid-rotation arm who signed as a minor league amateur prospect out of Panama in 2016, put up impressive numbers, going 13-2 on the year, crafting a 3.84 ERA, and registering 15 quality starts. The 22-year-old was dominant and impressive, and will certainly get better with experience. Teammate Cain Morris also gets a solid look for his impressive year. Washington first baseman Roberto Gutierrez also put in a solid effort, going .274 at the plate, leading ML rookies in homers and RBIs with 32 and 102 respectively, trailing only teammate Laurent Lenoir in win probability added, with 2.37 to Lenoir’s 3.06. Finally, California’s Hiromitsu Hattori, a solid defensive shortstop, is also among contenders.
LL and ML Woodchuck Trophy (Reliever of the Year):
It’s a wide open field for the LL, with 31-save closer and K/9 leader Gene Becker (Milwaukee) getting some attention, but having to compete with Oscar Gonzalez, who went 8-0 on the year, and Detroit’s Danny Hooten getting a glance as well for his 3.11 ERA, which lead LL relievers.
In the ML, Cain Morris has a dominant position, given his 2.02 ERA and 92 K’s, but some voters have likes Seattle closer Tragically Hipp, who led in K’s with 102, and locked down 30 saves.