I've come up with 40 different awards here. I am a crazy person.
But this was a crazy season, so now that it's over let's have some fun reflecting on it. Clearly, not all of these awards are designated for the best of the best players. Some are for players who faked us out in some way. Some are for players who are so uniquely ... something.
If you're interested in where I stand on the more conventional awards, I don't mind sharing:
AL MVP: Shane Bieber, SP, CLE
NL MVP: Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL
AL CY: Bieber
NL CY: Trevor Bauer, SP, CIN
AL ROY: Kyle Lewis, OF, SEA
NL ROY: Dustin May, SP, LAD
Now that we've put that tedium behind us, let's get to the fun stuff.
We discussed Bieber and a lot more of these players on our 2020 awards edition of the Fantasy Baseball Today podcast. Follow all of our podcasts and subscribe here.
Shane Bieber SP
CLE Cleveland • #57 • Age: 25
He was a distant first in both 5x5 and points scoring (not to mention the only pitcher in the top nine in the former). The extent of his impact at such a pivotal position meant he had a major say in who ultimately won the league.
Luke Voit 1B
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #59 • Age: 29
The interpretation of "value" here is bang for the buck. Voit hit three more home runs than anyone else and was drafted after players like Khris Davis, Bryan Reynolds, Willie Calhoun and Justin Upton.
Trevor Bauer SP
CIN Cincinnati • #27 • Age: 29
He wasn't totally buried in drafts but still invited his share of skepticism after delivering a 4.48 ERA last year. Now, he's a pretty clear choice to claim the NL Cy Young.
TOR Toronto • #37 • Age: 28
Where did this come from? He had been a 20-homer guy a couple times prior, but never with the sort of all-around numbers that would make him a top 50 outfielder in 5x5 leagues, much less top five.
MIL Milwaukee • #39 • Age: 26
Others like Dylan Bundy and Zach Plesac are also deserving, but Burnes was the one with an 8.82 ERA last year.
He was hitting .186 with a .451 OPS on Sept. 1, then hit .356 with a 1.075 OPS the rest of the way, ending with numbers plenty good enough for a player who runs like he does.
Luis Robert CF
CHW Chi. White Sox • #88 • Age: 23
When he was hitting .298 with 10 homers and a .960 OPS at the end of August, the talk was how high the rookie would go in drafts next year, but then he hit .136 with one homer and a .409 OPS in September.
Adam Duvall LF
ATL Atlanta • #23 • Age: 32
Plenty of players provided power at a discount in 2020, as seems to happen every year, but none as dramatically as Duvall, a projected bench player who went on to deliver two three-homer games, tying for sixth with 16 homers.
Normally, this would go to a player who delivers a big steals total at a low cost, but Mondesi was such a distant first in the category, delivering 50 percent more steals than the No. 2 player and 100 percent more than the No. 4 player, that he might have single-handedly won it for you.
ATL Atlanta • #20 • Age: 29
He's not getting any MVP buzz, occupying the same lineup as Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna, but was absurdly productive this season, overtaking Mookie Betts to finish as the No. 1 outfielder.
ARI Arizona • #40 • Age: 31
I expected him to struggle with the move from friendly Oracle Park to a more neutral environment, and when he showed up throwing 3 mph slower than last year, it pretty much sealed his fate.
SD San Diego • #23 • Age: 21
From the BABIP to the strikeout rate to the ground-ball rate to the injuries, there were just too many red flags, given the cost. I'll always call out the early-rounder with the most red flags as a potential bust even if the upside is there for it to come back and bite me.
STL St. Louis • #46 • Age: 33
I saw him show up on a few bust lists other than my own, and it stood to reason given his age and dramatic drop in production against fastballs specifically. But it clearly didn't go the way we feared, and Statcast's expected stats suggest his final line should have been even better than it was.
Aaron Civale SP
CLE Cleveland • #43 • Age: 25
I didn't see it for Civale coming into the year, but then when he showed up missing a few more bats with a slightly different pitch selection, well, I wasn't going to dismiss a guy who had a 3.15 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 9.0 K/9 through six starts. Too bad those jumped to 6.62, 1.68 and 7.7 over the next six.
Kyle Lewis CF
SEA Seattle • #1 • Age: 25
I started out insisting his production was just a mirage, but then when he was hitting .350 as late as Aug. 27 and showing better plate discipline, I relented. Too bad he went on to hit .147 with a 37.1 percent strikeout rate in September.
CLE Cleveland • #59 • Age: 33
Considering he was coming back from leukemia, the rebound is even more inspiring. He was as good as he's ever been over his final six starts, all six innings or more, delivering a 1.66 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 on a 17 percent swinging-strike rate.
KC Kansas City • #13 • Age: 30
Corey Seager would also make sense here, but factoring in how long it took Seager to return to form after his Tommy John surgery only makes Perez's immediate success all the more impressive. The catcher topped his previous high in OPS by almost 200 -- and at a position where basically nobody was good.
SD San Diego • #47 • Age: 30
Those who remembered Rosenthal as a lockdown closer for the Cardinals probably never expected to hear his name again, but he turned out to be one of just five relievers with double-digit saves, handling the ninth inning for two different teams, and is surely looking at a big payday this offseason.
DJ LeMahieu 2B
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #26 • Age: 32
He didn't just sustain his surprising 2019 breakout but improved upon it, establishing himself as the clear choice for top second baseman in Fantasy even if he doesn't re-sign with the Yankees.
Josh Bell 1B
PIT Pittsburgh • #55 • Age: 28
What's weirdest about Bell's enormous step back is that he was mostly consumed by strikeouts, which had never been an issue for him before. The launch angle did also come back down.
HOU Houston • #59 • Age: 26
I had my past flirtations with Valdez, but even with two rotation openings for the Astros, he didn't seem to be in the mix early on and appeared to have missed his shot. He finally got his stuff under control enough to get the most from his extreme ground-ball tendencies.
SEA Seattle • #7 • Age: 28
It's three years in a row now of him consistently pitching deep into games to rank among the leaders in wins while maintaining a respectable ERA and WHIP, but we're sure to write him off again since he does it so unconventionally.
Bryce Harper RF
PHI Philadelphia • #3 • Age: 28
It may seem like a strange designation for a guy who actually raised his stock this year, but his strikeout rate was so improved that his expected stats, according to Statcast, were even better than during his MVP-winning 2015, pegging him for .307 batting average .657 slugging percentage rather than his actual .268 and .542 marks.
OAK Oakland • #40 • Age: 31
His 2.29 ERA is a far cry from his 4.49 xFIP, 4.46 SIERA and even his 3.78 xERA, and since he's at best average in the strikeout and ground-ball departments, I'd bet on him going the way of Aaron Civale in the long run.
Ian Anderson SP
ATL Atlanta • #48 • Age: 22
This category is typically reserved for midseason call-ups, which takes Dustin May off the table, and while Alec Bohm and Ryan Mountcastle certainly did everything asked of them, Anderson did so at the more impactful position.
Nate Pearson SP
TOR Toronto • #24 • Age: 24
He got all the buzz in spring training and retained it through the lockdown, then came up and delivered four uninspiring starts before having to shut it down with a flexor strain in his elbow.
SF San Francisco • #34 • Age: 29
The 29-year-old finally had the season everyone decided he never would, which I guess explains the disinterest as it was happening. His 11.9 K/9 would have ranked eighth among qualifiers, just ahead of Gerrit Cole, and his 15.2% swinging-strike rate would have ranked seventh, just behind Cole.
Drew Smyly SP
SF San Francisco • #18 • Age: 31
Another former prospect for whom the ship had seemingly sailed, Smyly missed some time with injury and only got stretched out to five for his final two turns, but he was throwing a couple mph harder and finished with a K/9 (14.4) and swinging-strike rate (14.9%) as impressive as Gausman.
HOU Houston • #53 • Age: 23
The guy couldn't get any prospect love when he had a 1.74 ERA in the minors last year, but at least he had 13.5 K/9 then. He had less than a strikeout per inning in the majors and still came up aces, his seemingly ordinary fastball proving to be impossible to square up.
Jared Walsh 1B
LAA L.A. Angels • #25 • Age: 27
Others like Willi Castro and the Royals duo of Brady Singer and Kris Bubic have a claim here, but Walsh's home run binge was the biggest eye-opener. I have my doubts he's actually good, but he had no shortage of home runs in the minors and did strike out just 13.9 percent of the time.
Seth Lugo RP
NYM N.Y. Mets • #67 • Age: 30
Already established as an ace reliever, Lugo looked good in his first few turns as a starter, but then imploded in two of his final three, his ERA rising from 2.63 to 5.15. Let's hope that's where the similarities to Joba Chamberlain end.
MIL Milwaukee • #22 • Age: 28
The bloated strikeout rate is easy to forgive considering the stilted startup to the season and unusual circumstances surrounding it. Meanwhile, Yelich's average exit velocity and hard-hit rate were both the highest of his career.
WAS Washington • #46 • Age: 31
He was able to navigate a notable drop in velocity at first, even maintaining a reasonably high swinging-strike rate, but everything cratered in September, giving reason to wonder if he's already on the decline at age 31.
MIL Milwaukee • #38 • Age: 26
The rookie was the No. 2 reliever in 5x5 leagues this year even though he didn't record a single save, which says a little about how impactful he was in the other categories. In only four of his 22 appearances did he fail to record multiple strikeouts.
CIN Cincinnati • #58 • Age: 27
It would have been easy to pull the plug on him after he went 0-5 with a 4.10 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in his first seven starts, but he still ranked among the league leaders in ground-ball and swinging-strike rates, suggesting better days were ahead. He then went 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over his next five starts.
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #21 • Age: 26
The Dodgers showed so little urgency in building up Buehler that it's like they knew they could make it to the playoffs without him. He went 3 2/3 innings in his first start and averaged 4 2/3 innings across eight. Honorable mention goes to Blake Snell, who didn't go six innings in a single appearance.
NYM N.Y. Mets • #2 • Age: 25
Just when you thought the once-hyped prospect had missed his chance, getting leapfrogged by Pete Alonso, the DH showed up in the NL and Smith showed up at the plate, delivering far better numbers than Alonso himself. Honorable mentions: Clint Frazier and Ian Happ.
OAK Oakland • #47 • Age: 27
He was already considered a lost cause, having reeled off six straight replacement-level starts, before striking out 13 in the season finale against the Mariners. His manager said he got out of his head and started pitching angry, and his whiff rate for the year was still respectable. So now what?
Joe Musgrove SP
PIT Pittsburgh • #59 • Age: 27
Every Fantasy Baseball analyst's favorite pitcher to hype made his most convincing case yet with back-to-back double-digit strikeout efforts to end the season. He had a 2.16 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 13.7 K/9 and 16.0% swinging strike rate in five starts after returning from shoulder inflammation.