Several Toronto Blue Jays players were included in The Athletic’s Jayson Stark’s recent article predicting the winners of the MLB awards. Although the team and its fans are focused on a potential playoff run, it was an intriguing read that gave enthusiasts a sneak preview of some hardware select players are being considered for.
Predictably, Stark picked Shohei Ohtani for the American League MVP award and eloquently expressed his selection despite the two-way superstar missing the final 25 games of the season. The ensuing top 10 and eight additional “can’t believe I ran out of room for” players somehow didn’t include any Jays players. Not having Bo Bichette listed as one of the best 18 players in the AL is a stunning oversight.
As big of a snub as that was, many Blue Jays were mentioned later on in the piece.
AL Cy Young
Gerrit Cole is the fairly obvious choice in this category, but it was a pleasant surprise to see Kevin Gausman named as runner-up. He led the American League with 237 strikeouts, and his 3.16 ERA was fourth amongst qualified starters. If nominated, Gausman would represent the fourth year in a row the franchise had a Cy Young finalist, following Hyun-Jin Ryu in 2020, Robbie Ray (winner) in 2021, and Alek Manoah last year.
Chris Bassitt was an honorable mention, which seems appropriate, approximately 10th in the voting. The “Hound on the Mound” was a tireless worker and the only AL pitcher besides Cole to get to 200 innings.
AL Cy Yuk
To the surprise of no one, Alek Manoah was a prime candidate in this dubious class. If not for the Royals' disastrous duo of Zack Greinke and Jordan Lyles, Manoah may have won this fictional award. His future with the Jays looks uncertain after an ineffective and injury-plagued season.
Defensive awards weren’t included in Stark’s story, but some Blue Jays players are poised to be nominated for Gold Gloves, including Matt Chapman, Daulton Varsho, and Kevin Kiermaier.