The entire landscape of Major League Baseball is virtually guaranteed to change from one season to the next. The annual awards that were handed out over the course of this week are yet another example of that.
Just to pick one race, let's go with the AL MVP competition. Just before the season, SportsBetting.com ranked the most likely candidates as Mike Trout of the Angels and Luis Robert of the White Sox. Based on what we saw in 2020 and, for Trout, over a multiyear period, the status of favorite for both made sense. Indeed, both played like MVPs while they were on the field, but injuries kept both players off the field so often that they were never factors in the race.
Meanwhile, eventual landslide AL winner Shohei Ohtani was tied for third in the futures market with the Yankees' Aaron Judge. But the AL finalists in addition to Ohtani were further down the list, with Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. coming in tied for eighth (at 20-1) and Blue Jays teammate Marcus Semien off the board entirely, so somewhere south of 100-1.
That's just one award, but that dynamic repeats for all of them, no matter where you're getting your odds. The reason is simple: Predicting the future is hard. It's hard in life. Hard in sports. Hard when it comes to teams. It's especially hard when it comes to players.
Let's do it anyway. Here's a very early stab at the 2022 MLB awards races. How early? So early, that you might even call it way too early.