Last year, I swept all of the awards, and I’m hoping to do it again. Let’s see who will win the awards this year:
AL MVP: Mike Trout, CF, LAA
Despite missing the last few weeks of the regular season, Mike Trout has this award wrapped up. Alex Bregman made a late push for this award, finishing with 41 HR, 112 RBI, an AL-leading 119 walks, a 1.015 OPS, and an fWAR of 8.4. Trout finished with 45 HR, 104 RBI, only 9 fewer walks, a 1.083 OPS (tops in the AL), a 185 OPS+ (tops in the MLB), and an 8.6 fWAR (tops in MLB). Even though he played 22 fewer games than Bregman, Trout is still in line to win his 3rd MVP.
NL MVP: Christian Yelich, RF, MIL
I have already written about how Yelich still deserves to win the MVP, despite missing the last bit of the season (like Trout). The short reason is that he has better rate stats than Bellinger, and the counting stats are similar enough that Yelich has the overall edge. If you want the long reason, read my article about the NL MVP race: Why Christian Yelich Should Still Win NL MVP
AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole, HOU
This has been a tight race the whole way. Justin Verlander’s no-hitter in September seemingly clinched the Cy Young for him. He finished with a record of 21-6, 300 K’s in 223 innings, a 2.58 ERA, and a 0.80 WHIP. In his shadow, however, Gerrit Cole was putting together a stretch of 22 straight starts since May 27 in which he was undefeated (16-0) with a 1.78 ERA and 226 K’s in 146.2 innings. Cole’s season totals were 20 wins, 326 K’s (MLB’s best mark this year) in 212.1 innings, and an AL-leading 2.50 ERA. Despite Verlander having started 34 games to Cole’s 33, Cole still struck out 26 more batters, and finished with an fWAR of 7.4 compared to Verlander’s 6.4, in addition to Cole having the best ERA+ (185) in the majors this year. I think you could definitely make a case for Verlander here as well, but I think Cole deserves this award more.
NL Cy Young: Jacob deGrom, NYM
This year, the NL Cy Young race has many candidates: Mike Soroka, deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. There’s an argument for all 4, but the best argument is for Jacob deGrom to repeat as the NL’s best pitcher. Each pitcher has an upside and a downside except for deGrom. Ryu led the majors with a 2.32 ERA, but he only struck out 163 hitters, and his FIP was almost a full run higher than his ERA. Mike Soroka is a similar candidate, having a great ERA of 2.68, a FIP that’s almost a run higher, not many strikeouts, but his claim to fame is his road ERA of 1.55. Max Scherzer led the majors in FIP with a 2.45, his ERA of 2.92 isn’t bad either, and he struck out 243 men in only 172.1 innings. However, the caveat to this is that Scherzer missed 6 starts this season due to injury. Jacob deGrom, however, checks all of the boxes. He started 32 games, broke the 200-inning mark, led the NL with 255 strikeouts, was 2nd-best with a 2.43 ERA and a FIP of 2.67, a WHIP under 1.00, and the best fWAR and bWAR for NL pitchers. Wins, in addition to being a flawed stat, don’t really factor into any decisions made here, as none of these 4 guys won more than 14 games. I would bet on a deGrom repeat.
AL Rookie of the Year: Yordan Alvarez, DH/LF, HOU
Before Alvarez was called up, the race for the ROY in the AL was full of mediocre candidates like Eloy Jimenez, Michael Chavis, and Vlad Jr.. When Alvarez was called up on June 9th, he immediately started raking, and never stopped. In just 87 games, Alvarez hit 27 homers, drove in 78 runs, and had an OPS above 1.000. There really isn’t anybody close to him in this race. Jimenez hit 30 homers, but did nothing else of note. Bo Bichette’s performance took a downturn in September, and Vlad Jr. didn’t put up overwhelming numbers either. Air Yordan should win this in a landslide.
NL Rookie of the Year: Pete Alonso, 1B, NYM
Before Fernando Tatis Jr. went down for the year on August 13th, he was in a heated race with Pete Alonso for the NL ROY. He was an exciting young player with all 5 tools, but unfortunately he missed the final 7 weeks of the season. Pete Alonso might have won the award anyway, as he finished with 53 home runs, which, in addition to leading the majors, also broke Aaron Judge’s 2-year-old rookie home run record. Something to note here is that Mike Soroka still had his rookie status for 2019. He is going to finish in the top 5 in Cy Young Voting, but he is going to lose the ROY award to somebody who may not finish in the top 5 in MVP voting. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with this, I’m just saying that it’s interesting to think about.
Photo: USA Today