As always when we roll these out, it’s best to get the disclaimer out of the way early. These are not my individual opinions of who will win the two leagues’ Cy Young and MVP awards. They are results of predictive models, based on quantifying voter behavior in response to statistics and conditions voters use in their decision-making process. They’re not always right, but they’ve been pretty accurate.
Each model is normalized to 100 for the front-runner to show how close the model expects the BBWAA vote to be. Since the finalists in all three categories have already been announced, we know (like last year) that 10 of the predictions agree with the final 12 between the four races. We just don’t know about the order of things.
Last year’s model correctly predicted all four winners (Blake Snell, Mookie Betts, Jacob deGrom and Christian Yelich). It got the first four in order in the AL Cy Young, the top three in the NL Cy Young, and the first two in the NL MVP, but overvalued J.D. Martinez (fourth, not second) in the AL MVP race.
It’s not always right. It picked Justin Verlander in 2016, who got more first place Cy Young votes, but was edged by Rick Porcello. It also picked Mookie Betts over Mike Trout for MVP. Both votes were close, but it went just 2-for-4 in winners that season.
In 2017, it liked Chris Sale over Corey Kluber by a hair in a race that went the other way. The same went for Aaron Judge and José Altuve. I’ve made tweaks to the formula over the years to adjust voting behavior and refine the results. Here’s what the model tells us will happen this week, when the awards are announced.