There are no more veterans returning from Tommy John surgery or rookie pitchers coming out of nowhere to dominate opposing hitters. There are no more draft-day afterthoughts or career minor leaguers with red-hot bats to target on the waiver wires.

There is no more advice to give.

On Wednesday, your league will not only crown its champion, but it will have the name of a loser who needs to be punished. (Idea for punishment: He or she must sign up and take the SATs alongside all of those high schoolers who’ve spent months studying for the four-hour long exam. If they score below 1,000, they lose the rights to the first pick next year.) But, before we call it a season, it’s time to award the players who helped you achieve fantasy glory, as well as those players who make getting a root canal sans novocaine seem like a pleasant experience.

Roto Rage Jarad Wilk doles out the honors (and dishonors) for the NL, and Fantasy Alarm’s Howard Bender hands out the AL awards:


NL: Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals — Hit .146 in his first 11 games, but hit .332 with 35 homers, 113 RBIs, 96 runs, five stolen bases and a 1.030 OPS in his next 136 games. Entered the weekend ranked first in the NL in slugging percentage and OPS, second in runs and RBIs, as well as third in average, on-base percentage and WAR. He also ranked fifth in homers, had the 27th-most steals and the sixth-best walk rate.

AL: Aaron Judge, Yankees — Who cares about a steroids-driven league home run record? By season’s end, Judge will own both the Yankees and AL home run records, and he will have done it while batting over .300 with more than 130 RBIs, more than 130 runs scored and more than 15 stolen bases.

Paul Goldschmidt



NL: Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres — With a 53.2 average draft position, fantasy owners thought they were getting a pretty big discount on a rehabbing, first-round talent. Instead, a fourth- or fifth-round selection was wasted (seriously, Francisco Lindor and Nolan Arenado, among others, were still available) on a player who didn’t play a single game because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for violating MLB’s PED policy.

AL: Jesse Winker, Mariners There was so much hype coming into the season after Winker slashed .305/.394/.556 with 24 home runs for the Reds in 2021. But with the Mariners he reverted back to his old self, hitting just .218 with 13 home runs, and forced his manager to sit him against lefties.

Cy Young

NL: Julio Urias, Dodgers — In 18 starts from June 28 through Wednesday, he went 14-1 with a 1.79 ERA, 106-25 strikeout-walk rate and .184 opponents’ average. He allowed three earned runs or more just twice in those outings. That is the definition of clutch fantasy pitching.

AL: Dylan Cease, White Sox — Though the rest of the world fawns all over Justin Verlander again, we’ll shout it out to Cease — who struck out 222 batters over just 179 innings while posting a 2.06 ERA, which was the second-best among qualified pitchers. He also did this while carrying the entire White Sox pitching staff on his back.

Dylan Cease


Sigh Young

NL: Trevor Rogers, Marlins — Coming off a promising rookie campaign, he was drafted as a top-30 pitcher. Unfortunately, outside of a handful of starts, this wasn’t his year. He had 11 losses and, among hurlers with a minimum of 100 innings, he had the fourth-worst ERA, the eighth-worst walks per nine and the 10th-worst opponents’ average.

AL: Jose Berrios, Blue Jays — There was some concern for Berrios going from Minnesota to Toronto, but few people expected it to be this bad. He posted a 5.37 ERA, gave up the third-most home runs in the league and failed to record a strikeout per inning for the first time in three years.

Rookie of the Year

NL: Spencer Strider, Braves — Among pitchers with a minimum of 130 innings, he entered the final weekend of the season with the best strikeout rate (202 in 131 ²/₃ innings), lowest opponents’ average, seventh-best WHIP and ERA, and fourth-best WAR in the NL. Would’ve been the Cy Young if he pitched more innings.

AL: Julio Rodriguez, Mariners — He was one of the early favorites for the award coming into the season, so watching him turn in a slash line of .280/.342/.502 with 27 home runs and 25 stolen bases wasn’t all that shocking. He is going to be a strong power-speed combo for years to come.

Breakout Hitter

NL: Michael Harris II, Braves — Though his walk rate is the fourth-lowest in the NL, he hit .310 in 105 games since June 1. Among players with a minimum of 400 plate appearances, he ranks seventh in OPS, fifth in slugging, fourth in average, 27th in runs and fourth in stolen bases.

AL: Bobby Witt Jr., Royals — He was an early favorite for Rookie of the Year, so a strong season wasn’t all that surprising. His 20 home runs and 28 stolen bases are just the tip of the iceberg here, and he’ll bring up that batting average and OBP soon enough, but talk about announcing your presence in Kansas City with authority!

Breakout Pitcher

NL: Spencer Strider, Braves — Did we mention he also had the best swinging strike rate in the NL (second-best in the majors) and was 7-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 13.8 K/9 in his first 10 second-half starts?

Spencer Strider


AL: Shane McClanahan, Rays — After a solid debut in 2021, McClanhan showed everyone that he is only going to get better as he improved even more on his strikeout rate, cut back on the walks and posted an impressive 2.51 ERA over 161 ¹/₃ innings. We’ll be discussing him for Cy Young honors in 2023.

Comeback Player

NL: Zac Gallen, Diamondbacks — After injuries hampered the first half of his 2021 season (4-10, 4.30 ERA, 1.29 WHIP), he hit a career-high innings total this year while having the fifth-best K/9, third-best ERA and the 11th-lowest walk rate in the NL. He also entered the weekend with the best WHIP and lowest opponents’ average (lowest in the majors, too). Honorable mentions for Yu Darvish and Francisco Lindor.

AL: Justin Verlander, Astros — They say 40 is the new 20, right? Well, after missing all of 2021 and all but six innings in 2020, Verlander is right back atop all the AL pitching leaderboards. His strikeouts may be down, but he led the league with a 1.80 ERA among qualified hurlers and notched 17 wins.

Bargain Bin Hitter

NL: Brandon Drury, Padres — His numbers dipped after his arrival in San Diego, but he reached career-best marks in runs, hits, homers, RBIs, slugging percentage, OPS and WAR. He was among the top 15 in homers, RBIs, slugging and OPS in the NL, and top 20 in runs.

Brandon Drury

Getty Images

AL: Adolis Garcia, Rangers — When you’re in the 15th round of your draft, you tend to look for specific category help, whether it is power or speed. But if you drafted Garcia, not only did you get both (26 HRs, 25 SBs), but he also didn’t kill you in batting average this season, as his .250 mark was 7 points better than league average.

Bargain Bin Pitcher

NL: Kyle Wright, Braves — Leads the majors in wins, and had gone 16-2 with a 3.40 ERA, 110 strikeouts and a .242 opponents average in 20 starts since June 1 before taking the mound Saturday. Not bad for the 143rd-ranked pitcher. Strider, Miles Mikolas, Ryan Helsley, Merrill Kelly, Tyler Anderson and Tony Gonsolin all deserve honorable mention.

AL: Martin Perez, Rangers — Undrafted in nearly every mixed league, Perez turned out to be the best pitching waiver claim of the year with a dozen wins and an eye-popping 2.93 ERA over 190 ¹/₃ innings. Expectations for the lefty were super-low this year and yet he continued to deliver start after start, becoming the best middle-of-the-fantasy-rotation contributor this season.

All-NL Team

C: Will Smith, Dodgers

1B: Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals

2B: Trea Turner, Dodgers

SS: Dansby Swanson, Braves

3B: Austin Riley, Braves

MI: Jeff McNeil, Mets

CI: Freddie Freeman, Dodgers

DH: Christian Walker, D’backs

UTIL: Pete Alonso, Mets

OF: Mookie Betts, Dodgers

OF: Brandon Drury, Padres

OF: Michael Harris III, Braves

SP: Spencer Strider, Braves

SP: Sandy Alcantara, Marlins

SP: Julio Urias, Dodgers

SP: Zac Gallen, D’backs

SP: Kyle Wright, Braves

RP: Edwin Diaz, Mets

Edwin Diaz


All-AL Team

C: Sean Murphy, Athletics

1B: Vlad Guerrero, Blue Jays

2B: Jose Altuve, Astros

SS: Bo Bichette, Blue Jays

3B: Jose Ramirez, Guardians

MI: Andres Gimenez, Guardians

CI: Nathaniel Lowe, Rangers

DH: Shohei Ohtani, Angels

UTIL: Luis Arraez, Twins

OF: Aaron Judge, Yankees

OF: Julio Rodriguez, Mariners

OF: Adolis Garcia, Rangers

SP: Justin Verlander, Astros

SP: Dylan Cease, White Sox

SP: Shane McClanahan, Rays

SP: Triston McKenzie, Guardians

SP: Shohei Ohtani, Angels

RP: Emmanuel Clase, Guardians

Team Names Of The Year

Best Elton John Song: The Bichette is Back

Disappointing DC sequel: Wander Woman 1984

Worst Sly Stallone movie: Stop! Or My deGrom Will Shoot

Worst department store: K-Marte

Best “Star Wars” character: Darth Bader

Best Stoner Flick: Harold & Kumar Go to White Mountcastle

1980 Olympic Venue: Lake Placido

Delicious fungi: Morel Mushrooms

Second worst Sly Stallone movie: Judge Dredd

Best Ice Cream Flavor: Minter Chocolate Chip

Iconic “Scarface” line: Seiya hello to my little friend

Worst Halloween Candy: Yandy Corn

Closely related to Jellyfish: Manoah War

Epic Russell Crowe movie: Vladiator

Most Sung Dean Martin song: Matz Amore

Overplayed Styx song: Come Avisail Away

Cost of gas: $3.69 per Gallen

Creepy thing to say on a date: You Snell So Good

Best line in “Dirty Harry”: Verdugo ahead, make my day

Best Biker Movie: Easy Strider

Annoying Meghan Trainor song: All About That Clase