J.T. Realmuto, Aaron Nola receive some love for NL MVP and Cy Young


MLB's major awards season came to a close Thursday night when Aaron Judge and Paul Goldschmidt were named their league's MVPs.

Judge's case was clearer than Goldschmidt's. The Cardinals' first baseman was locked in at the plate from opening day through the end of August but slumped in September, along with fellow MVP candidate Nolan Arenado. The funk those two found themselves in late contributed to the Phillies upsetting the Cardinals in a best-of-three wild-card playoff series in St. Louis.

Still, the body of work Goldschmidt had put together over the regular season's first five months earned him his first MVP award. He received 22 of 30 first-place votes, with runner-up Manny Machado getting six and third-place finisher Arenado receiving one.

Two Phillies players received MVP votes. J.T. Realmuto placed seventh on the ballot, by far the highest finish of his career. Realmuto had received votes only once prior, finishing 14th. Realmuto appeared on 26 of 30 ballots, coming in fifth or sixth on 14 of them.

It wasn't quite a career year for Realmuto offensively because his numbers were in line with previous seasons. He hit .276/.342/.478 with 22 homers and 84 RBI. Over the prior five seasons, he hit .273/.336/.469.

It was, however, the most impactful season of Realmuto's nine-year career behind the plate and on the basepaths, so it was his best from an all-around perspective. He stole 21 bases in 22 opportunities, not getting caught until his final attempt in Game 160. He threw out base-stealers at nearly double the rate of the league average and was charged with just two passed balls despite catching 127 more innings and 14 more full games than any catcher in the majors.

Three seasons remain on Realmuto's five-year, $115.5 million contract. He'll make $23.875 million in 2023, 2024 and 2025.

Kyle Schwarber appeared further down the ballot, placing 16th with one ninth-place vote that came from the Los Angeles chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Schwarber led the National League with 46 homers and helped will the Phillies to the playoffs with important homers early and late, along with major power throughout the month of June and in Bryce Harper's absence.

Earlier in the week, Aaron Nola finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting. It's the third year he's received votes -- he finished third in 2018 and seventh in 2020.

Sandy Alcantara won the award unanimously, with Max Fried placing second, Julio Urias third, Nola fourth, Zac Gallen fifth and free agent Carlos Rodon sixth.

Nola appeared on 17 ballots, with 11 of those votes coming for second or third place behind Alcantara.

It was the third time in Nola's six full seasons that he exceeded 200 innings and the fourth time he made at least 32 starts. His 3.25 ERA was the second-lowest of his career and his 0.96 WHIP was his best. He also had the lowest walk rate in the NL and the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the majors, with 235 K's and 29 free passes.

It was no surprise that the Phillies picked up Nola's 2023 club option for $16 million. It is the final guaranteed year under contract for a pitcher the Phillies drafted seventh overall in 2014 and have watched blossom into one of baseball's workhorses. He turns 30 next June 4.

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