2023 MLB Award Winners Announced So Far: What Does Winning Do For Their Rookie Card Values?
The World Series is complete, and the off-season activity has not yet taken off in earnest.
But baseball offers one more bit of excitement for the 2023 season – the announcement of 2023 MLB Award Winners. These include Rookie of the Year (ROY), Manager of the Year (MOY), Cy Young, and Most Valuable Player for both the American and National Leagues.
But who are the finalists for this year’s awards? Who will win the honors? And what will winning do for the value of the player’s involved rookie cards?
2023 MLB Award Winners announcement schedule
In recent years, MLB has stepped up its game with the announcement of its major awards. The announcement has gone from a low-key press release to a multi-evening event on MLB Network.
MLB even announces 3 finalists for each award, to really focus the spotlight on top contenders for each award in the days leading up to the announcements.
For 2023, the announcement schedule for the major MLB awards will be:
AL and NL Rookie of the Year awards: 6 p.m. ET, Monday, Nov. 13, on MLB Network.
AL and NL Manager of the Year awards: 6 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Nov. 14, on MLB Network.
AL and NL Cy Young awards: 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Nov. 15, on MLB Network.
AL and NL MVP awards: 6 p.m. ET, Thursday, Nov. 16, on MLB Network
What winning a major award can do for a player’s card value
How does winning a major MLB award affect a player’s card values?
The short answer is “it depends”. In many cases, the winner isn’t exactly a surprise to those following the sport. The player has, after all, had a really good season. That being said, a slight bump, at least temporarily, is not to be unexpected.
Whether winning a major award brings a longer-term bump or usually has to do with the larger body of work. After a Rookie of the Year who peaks that first year is likely to have a rookie card.
Look at former Rookie of the Year winners who didn’t find long-term success like Bobby Crosby, Bob Hamelin, or Pat Listach. Likewise, a single MVP award or Cy Young award doesn’t guarantee a long career that sees the player become a franchise icon or eventually make the Hall of Fame.
That being said, for the right player, winning a major award can be an exclamation point in a player’s career. In combination, winning several awards quickly begins to suggest a player worth investing in.
With some exceptions, players who win multiple major MLB awards in their careers are going to be household names, and probably have cards that hold some real value.
So, what’s a collector to do? Keep an eye on the award winners. Think about how the award fits into the larger picture of the player’s career, and make a decision on if that player is investment-worthy.
Of course, if you deem them investment-worthy, you may want to wait for any short-term price jumps to stabilize before making your move.
2023 American League Rookie of the Year: Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles
Gunnar Henderson of the Baltimore Orioles won the American League Rookie of the Year (ROY) award, also called the Jackie Robinson Award. Henderson was a unanimous select for ROY, meaning he swept all 1st place votes.
The honor was well-earned. While playing plus defense at two infield positions, Henderson put up a .255/.325/.489 line, good for an OPS of .814 and OPS+ of 125.
He hit 28 home runs, drove in 82 runs, and scored 100 runs. He even added 9 triples and stole 10 bases (3 CS). All told, Henderson was worth 6.2 WAR, which led all AL rookies as well as the 100-win Orioles team.
In 3 postseason games, he hit a whopping .500/.538/.750 with a home run and two RBI. He was the AL Rookie of the Month for June and recently was awarded the AL Silver Slugger award for utility.
Still just 22, Henderson was the youngest player in the American League in 2023. He came into the season as the consensus #1 prospect in the game, and made good on that lofty accolade.
Considering his youth, early success, prospect profile, and strong defense at multiple premium positions, the future appears bright for Henderson.
He’s not a perfect player, as strikeouts (159 in 2023) keep his average and on-base percentage in check, but a power-hitting infielder who plays strong defense should have a long career in this game.
Once any temporary bump his card values get from winning the award dissipates, Henderson offers a solid investment opportunity if Henderson can continue to play at a top level.
Young players always offer risk, but Gunnar Henderson appears to be an up-and-coming player on an Orioles team that has arrived as a force to be reckoned with in the AL East.
Henderson’s 1st Bowman cards are found in 2019, with 2019 Bowman Draft Gunnar Henderson #BD-22, 2019 Bowman Draft Chrome Gunnar Henderson #BDC-22, and 2019 Bowman Draft Chrome Draft Pick Autographs Gunnar Henderson #CDA-GH offer three price points for collectors to consider.
Tanner Bibee of the Cleveland Guardians, a starting pitcher, came in 2nd in the voting. First baseman Triston Casas of the Boston Red came in 3rd.
2023 National League Rookie of the Year: Corbin Carroll, Arizona Diamondbacks
Corbin Carroll, the young outfielder of the Arizona Diamondbacks, won the National League Rookie of the Year (ROY) award, also called the Jackie Robinson Award.
Like Henderson, Carroll was a unanimous selection, sweeping all the 1st place votes.
Carroll put up a rookie year for the record books, becoming the first rookie to hit 25 home runs while stealing 50 or more bases in a season. In addition to the 25 home runs and 54 stolen bases, Carroll led the NL with 10 triples and smacked 30 doubles.
His overall line on the year was an impressive .285/.362/.506, with an OPS of .868 and OPS+ of 134. Henderson was worth 5.4 WAR for the year, which led all NL rookies. Carroll was the NL Rookie of the Month for June, and was a 2023 NL All-Star.
Just 23, Henderson was a huge part of the Diamondbacks going from 14 games under .500 in 2022 making a push to the playoffs that eventually ended in the World Series. In the playoffs, he hit .273/.364/.409 with 2 homers and 10 RBI in 17 games. In game 7 of the NLCS, he helped push the Dbacks to the World Series with a three-hit, two-steal performance.
Corbin Carroll’s 1st Bowman cards are in the same 2019 Bowman sets as Henderson. 2019 Bowman Draft Corbin Carroll #BD-125, 2019 Bowman Draft Chrome Corbin Carroll #BDC-125, and 2019 Bowman Draft Chrome Draft Pick Autographs Corbin Carroll #CDA-CC are already popular with collectors and offer three price points to buy-in.
Carroll has an impressive combination of speed and power that offers a tantalizing opportunity for collectors. After being ranked as a top 5 prospect entering 2023, Carroll made good on that high prospect ranking, and then some.
Like Henderson, Carroll looks like a potential cornerstone player for the Diamondbacks, who signed him to an 8-year / $111,000,000 contract prior to the 2023 season. From an investment standpoint, once any short-term bump due to winning the award dissipates, Carroll looks like a player worth chasing.
Starter Kodai Senga of the New York Mets came in second while Dodgers outfielder James Outman finished in 3rd.
2023 American League Manager of the Year: Brandon Hyde, Baltimore Orioles
Brandon Hyde of the Baltimore Orioles won the 2023 American League Manager of the Year award. Hyde took over the Orioles going into the 2019 season and oversaw a few brutal years as the team rebuilt its minor league system. This included seasons of 108 and 110 losses.
But by 2022, the Orioles were starting to see some young players make the big leagues and went 83-79, challenging for the playoffs. The expectation was that they’d build on that in 2023. They exceeded any reasonable expectations and won 101 games and won the AL East.
Hyde got well-deserved recognition for his role in turning the O’s around.
Hyde never made the big leagues as a player, but did play professionally and has appeared on 10 cards, mostly minor league issues. While it’s unlikely these cards gain significant value unless Hyde proves the second coming of Earl Weaver, they are some interesting oddball cards of the newly minted MOY.
Bruce Bochy of the Texas Rangers finished 2nd in the voting with Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays finishing 3rd.
Bochy, by the way, is a likely future Hall of Fame manager. Check out his 1979 Topps #718 rookie card for a possible long-term play.
2023 National League Manager of the Year: Skip Schumaker, Florida Marlins
Skip Schumaker of the Florida Marlins was selected as the National League’s Manager of the Year. 2023 was Schumaker’s first at the helm, and he led the Marlins to an 84-78 record, good to make the playoffs as a wild card team. This was despite the Marlins having a 75-87 expected record and being outscored on the season.
With 2023 being Schumaker’s first season as a manager, there’s unlikely to be much attention paid to the win from a card value standpoint. Schumaker is of course a former big leaguer, having appeared in the big leagues in part of 10 seasons.
He has appeared on almost 300 cards in his career, with his rookie cards being in the 2004 Bowman sets.
While a successful managerial career can spur interest in a manager’s playing day cards, it will take a long time before Schumaker falls into that category. That being said…what a start to his managerial career!
Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers (and now Chicago Cubs) finished in 2nd place, with Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves finishing 3rd.
2023 American League Cy Young Award: Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees
Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees was the unanimous winner of the 2023 American League Cy Young Award. We can now remove Cole’s name from lists of “the best pitchers to never win a Cy Young Award”.
Gerrit Cole, a former 1st round pick, had previously finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting twice, plus had other seasons with 4th and 5th place finishes.
In 2023, Cole went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA. He led the AL in ERA, winning percentage, shutouts, innings pitched, ERA+, WHIP, and H/9. He stuck out 222 hitters in 209 IP. His season was worth 7.4 WAR.
For his career, Cole is 145-75 with a 3.17 ERA (130 ERA+). While those numbers are very good, they may not scream “Hall of Fame”. But, beyond the four sure-thing active Hall of Fame pitchers and oft-injured Chris Sale and Jacob Degrom, you’d be hard-pressed to find an active pitcher with a better Hall of Fame case.
Gerrit Cole’s 1st Bowman cards appear in 2012, and his rookie cards appear in 2013. We recently explored these cards, and I think there is an upside there. The Cy Young award just cements Cole’s position as one of the best pitchers of his era.
Sonny Gray of the Minnesota Twins finished in 2nd place, and Kevin Gausman of the Toronto Blue Jays finished in 3rd.
2023 National League Cy Young Award: Blake Snell, San Diego Padres
Blake Snell of the San Diego Padres was the 2023 National League Cy Young Award winner. He received 28 of the 30 1st place votes. This is Snell’s second Cy Young award (2018).
Snell is one of only 7 pitchers who have won Cy Young Awards in both the AL and NL. His 2023 numbers included a 14-9 record and an NL-leading 2.25 ERA. He also led the NL in ERA+ (182), H/9, and oddly enough, walks (99). Snell’s 2023 season was worth 6.0 WAR.
For his career, Snell, 30, is 71-55 with a 3.20 ERA (127 ERA+). Snell is a free agent this off-season, which is great timing with the Cy Young Award. He stands to sign a very impressive contract this winter.
Blake Snell’s first Bowman card is in 2011 Bowman Draft. In a PSA 10 slab, these sell for $30-40. Snell also appeared in 2015 Bowman Draft before having his official rookie cards in 2016, including 2016 Bowman Chrome and 2016 Topps Chrome Update. The 2016 Topps Update sells for $40-50 in a PSA 10 slab.
Snell’s cards are a bit questionable as an investment. He’s already 30, and has not yet won 75 games in the big leagues despite two Cy Young Awards. He tends to walk a lot of hitters, so consistent success has been a challenge.
Snell’s two Cy Young seasons are his only seasons in which he has accumulated over 2.1 WAR. He will join the short list of two-time Cy Young Award winners who aren’t superstars. Another recent example is Corey Kluber.
Logan Webb of the San Francisco Giants finished 2nd in the voting, and Zac Gallen of the Arizona Diamondbacks finished 3rd.
2023 American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award: Shohei Ohtani, DH/SP Los Angeles Angels
Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels won his second MVP award, both of which were unanimous selections. If not for Aaron Judge’s 62 home run barrage in 2022, its likely Ohtani would have three straight MVP awards. It all makes sense, as Ohtani may be the most unique player in the history of the game.
The Japanese import is somehow not just one of the best hitters in the game, but also one of the best pitchers. He put up a 304/.412/.654 line at the plate, good for an OPS of 1.066 and OPS+ of 184. That .304 batting average was “only” 4th in the American League. All the rest of those numbers led the league. Ohtani also paced the AL with 44 home runs and 325 total bases.
Just those hitting numbers would make Ohtani an MVP candidate. But he also started 23 games, going 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA. In 132 innings pitched, he struck out 167 hitters. Not even Babe Ruth combined pitching and hitting in a single season like Ohtani. It will be fascinating to see what type of contract the free agent gets this off-season, and where he ends up.
Ohtani has a lot of cards worth chasing, on both sides of the Pacific. His US rookie cards are in 2018 product, including 2018 Bowman Chrome and 2018 Topps Chrome. Ohtani’s greatness and uniqueness isn’t lost on fans and collectors, so Ohtani’s cards are some of the hottest in the hobby. The MVP win won’t slow his any, so Ohtani cards are worth chasing, even if prices are already quite strong.
Texas Rangers teammates Corey Seager and Marcus Semien finished in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.
2023 National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award: Ronald Acuna Jr., OF Atlanta Braves
Ronald Acuna Jr. was the unanimous selection for the National League MVP award, making 2023 the first time ever that the winner in both leagues were both unanimous. Only 25 years old, Acuna Jr. is a dynamic player with a bright future.
In 2023, Acuna had a historic season, inaugurating the 40-70 club, becoming the first player in history to hit 40 or more home runs in a season while also stealing 70 or more bases in the same season. It is not surprising that Acuna was a unanimous selection for the MVP. Acuna led the NL in plate appearances, at bats, hits, runs scored, stolen bases, caught stealing, OBP, OPS, OPS+, and total bases. He was second in the league in batting average, WAR, and slugging percentage.
His overall line of .337/.416/.596, good for an OPS of 1.012 and OPS+ of 168. He was worth 8.2 on the season, in which he was a big part of the Atlanta Braves to the top of the NL East.
Acuna’s 1st Bowman card appears in 2017 Bowman Chrome Prospects, as well as the paper version. His rookie cards are in 2018, including 2018 Topps Chrome and 2018 Bowman Chrome. Acuna Jr. has dealt with some injuries in his young career, but when he’s on the field, there are few better. Once any temporary bump related to the MVP award win dissipates, Acuna Jr looks like a player worth of investing in. If he can stay healthy, he has a chance to be a very special player.
Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers finished in 2nd place in the voting, while Bett’s teammate Freddie Freeman finished 3rd.
2023 Topps Chrome MVP Buyback Program: We Have our MVP’s
A reminder that the Topps Chrome MVP Buyback Program returned in 2023, and we now have our MVP’s. If you have 2023 Topps Chrome cards of either Shohei Ohtani or Ronald Acuna Jr, you now have a chance to trade them in for store credit at hobby shops.
Final thoughts on the 2023 MLB Award Winners
We now have our MLB award winners for 2023. For some players, the win is part of a larger body of work that has already established them as a superstar (Ohtani and Cole, for example). For others, such as our ROY winners, the award is a great start for a promising young player who may become hobby royalty.
For others, however, the win may not move the needle much on their card values. Blake Snell and the Manager of the Year winners fall into this category.
What do you think of the 2023 MLB Award winners? Agree with the selections? Think someone got robbed? Which of the winner’s cards are you chasing? Let us know at card_lines on Twitter.