MLB Awards always have favorites and front runners. Let's talk about dark horse candidates.
Through three starts, Shane Bieber has been the most dominant pitcher in the league. In a shortened season, there won't be any starting pitching records that are broken due to the lack of innings pitched. However, this season, many starting pitchers will pitch a similar number of innings as a reliever in a normal season. If a starter can break some of those records this year, they will have a pretty good chance to win the MVP, due to the lack of eye-popping offensive numbers. Less than 30 pitchers have ever won an MVP award but Shane Bieber could this year. Through three starts, (all of which he won), he had an ERA at 0.83 and an astounding 35 strikeouts, including 14 in his first start and 13 in his second. In a normal season with 162 games, he would likely start about 30 games. At this pace, he would strike out 350 batters in 30 games, a number only reached 5 times since 1900. Staying on this pace could win him the AL MVP.
In the past, DJ LeMahieu has shown that he can be an elite contact hitter. But in a shortened season, he could have close to a .400 batting average. Through 14 games, nearly a quarter of the season, LeMahieu has a batting average at .400, the only AL player at that mark this year. He has 20 hits in 50 at-bats and in a season where totals aren't as impressive (HR,RBI,etc.), averages will be big factors in the MVP races. Maintaining a .400 average, could win him the AL MVP
This season, hitters will need to produce eye-popping numbers. Fortunately for Nelson Cruz, he can do that. As a DH, he is not called on to take the field and his impact is through the bat. It will be difficult for him to win this award since it has never been won by a designated hitter but with the universal DH having been implemented this season, all eyes will be on the DH position. Through 14 games, Cruz has hit 3 home runs, driven in 15 runs, scored 10 runs, and had a .365 batting average, a .411 OBP, .596 SLG, and 1.007 OPS. A 60-game season would give him approximately 13 home runs, 64 RBIs, and 43 runs. If those numbers get stretched out to a regular 162-game season, and he would have about 35 home runs, 174 RBIs, and 116 runs. Those 35 home runs and 116 runs scored are great but those 174 RBIs would be the fifth most ever and the most since 1938. Add that to his averages and he would be on pace for a great season. Oh yeah. And he's 40 years old and the third oldest player in the league (second oldest hitter). The people above him are not on his level at this point.