Little League® Grads Earn 2020 MLB Awards

While the 2020 MLB season was far from ordinary, the one thing that remained consistent was the amount of Little League® graduates who earned awards for their achievements on and off the field.

Topping the list of former Little Leaguers® to earn awards was Atlanta Braves’ first baseman, Freddie Freeman, who took home five honors including the National League MVP trophy and Hank Aaron Award. Laguna Hills Little League graduate, Shane Bieber, shined on the mound throughout the 2020 season, becoming the first unanimous American League Cy Young award winner since 2011. In addition to his American League Manager of the Year honors, Tampa Bay Rays manager, Kevin Cash, made Little League history, becoming the first person to play in the Little League Baseball® World Series (1989) and manage a MLB World Series. On the National League side, Don Mattingly became just the fifth person to win both a Manager of the Year and MVP honor during his career.

From Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award winners to a unanimous Cy Young winner and both Manager of the Year honors, Little League’s top graduates continued to play at the highest level of the game despite the coronavirus pandemic. Below is a list of Little League graduates who earned 2020 MLB awards:

Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies – Lake Forest (Calif.) LL)
  • National League Gold Glove (3B)
  • National League Platinum Glove
Tucker Barnhart – (Cincinnati Reds – Brownsburg (Ind.) LL)
  • National League Gold Glove (C)
Shane Bieber (Cleveland Indians – Laguna Hills LL (Orange, Calif.))
  • American League Cy Young
  • MLB Players Choice American League Outstanding Pitcher
  • First Team All-MLB Team (SP)
Griffin Canning (Los Angeles Angels – Trabuco Canyon (Calif.) LL)
  • American League Gold Glove (P)
Kevin Cash (Tampa Bay Rays – Northside LL (Tampa, Fla.))
  • American League Manager of the Year
Gerrit Cole – (New York Yankees – Tustin Western LL (Newport Beach, Calif.))
  • Second Team All-MLB Team (SP)
Michael Conforto (New York Mets – Redmond North (Wash.) LL)
  • Second Team All-MLB Team (OF)
Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves – Long Beach (Calif.) LL)
  • National League MVP
  • National League Silver Slugger (1B)
  • MLB Players Choice National League Outstanding Player
  • MLB Players Choice Player of the Year
  • National League Hank Aaron Award
  • First Team All-MLB Team (1B)
Max Fried (Atlanta Braves – Encino (Calif.) LL)
  • National League Gold Glove (P)
  • First Team All-MLB Team (SP)
Cesar Hernandez (Cleveland Indians – Venezuela)
  • American League Gold Glove (2B)
DJ LeMahieu (New York Yankees – East Madison LL – Visalia, Calif.))
  • American League Silver Slugger (2B)
  • First Team All-MLB Team (2B)
Don Mattingly (Miami Marlins – North Side LL (Evansville, Ind.))
  • National League Manager of the Year
Anthony Rizzo (Chicago Cubs – Parkland (Fla.) LL)
  • National League Gold Glove (1B)
Juan Soto (Washington Nationals – Banco Central LL (Santo Domingo, D.R.))
  • National League Silver Slugger (OF)
  • First Team All-MLB Team (OF)
Kolten Wong (St. Louis Cardinals – Hilo (Hawaii) American LL)
  • National League Gold Glove (2B)

In addition to all the active MLB players listed above receiving awards, former Little League Baseball World Series (LLBWS) broadcaster, Al Michaels, also took home an honor as he was named the 2021 recipient of the annual Ford C. Frick Award for baseball broadcasting. Mr. Michaels was selected from among eight finalists for the annual award, which is presented by the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Mr. Michaels spent time in Williamsport as a broadcaster for the Little League Baseball World Series between 1975 and 1983, joining legendary announcers and former ballplayers such as Keith Jackson, Bob Ueker, Bob Gibson, Earl Weaver, Willie Stargell, Howard Cosell, Mel Allen, Reggie Jackson, and Jim McKay. During the 1980 LLBWS, Mr. Michaels had the opportunity to call future MLB All-Star, Gary Sheffield, as his team from Tampa, Florida, took on the Longkuang Little League of Hualien, Taiwan, in the championship game.

NOTE: If you know of a player that we have missed, please e-mail the information, including name, current Major League team and the name of the city or town where they played Little League, to [email protected].

Active MLB Little League Alumni