Marcus Semien

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Finalists for 2019 BBWAA awards announced

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The Baseball Writers Association of America has announced the finalists for four awards for the 2019 season: the Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP. The results of the voting, which concluded before the start of the postseason, will be announced on November 11-14.

AL Rookie of the Year

Despite logging only 369 plate appearances, Álvarez is the clear frontrunner for the award. He was one of baseball’s absolute toughest outs since the moment he debuted on June 9, finishing the year with a .313/.412/.655 line along with 27 home runs and 78 RBI. Prorated over 650 PA, that comes out to 48 homers and 137 RBI — MVP-esque.

NL Rookie of the Year

Alonso grabbed the headlines, leading the majors with 53 homers and knocking in 120 runs with a .941 OPS. He also won the 2019 Home Run Derby. Not bad for a rookie. Soroka’s season is not to be forgotten, however. He quietly plugged away, finishing with a 13-4 record, a 2.68 ERA, and a 142/41 K/BB ratio in 174 2/3 innings. He was unmistakably the best pitcher in the rotation and the 21-year-old will easily be the ace of the rotation going into next season.

AL Manager of the Year

  • Rocco Baldelli, Twins
  • Aaron Boone, Yankees
  • Kevin Cash, Rays

No A.J. Hinch, even though his Astros led all of baseball with 107 wins. It was, however, the Astros’ third consecutive 100-win season, so expectations were high. Hinch still exceeded those expectations, but not by nearly as much as other managers did. The Manager of the Year Award is usually an “exceeded expectations” award. Knowing that, Baldelli seems like a strong candidate. Paul Molitor, the 2017 Manager of the Year, was fired after the Twins went 78-84 last year. Baldelli, plus a handful of shrewd acquisitions, helped turn the Twins around to win the AL Central with 101 wins. Boone, in his second year, led the Yankees to another 100-win season.

NL Manager of the Year

  • Craig Counsell, Brewers
  • Mike Shildt, Cardinals
  • Brian Snitker, Braves

If we’re continuing with the “exceeded expectations” theme, Shildt should be the favorite here. Both Counsell and Snitker’s teams made the playoffs last year, while Snitker — who took over for Mike Matheny after 93 games in 2018 — took his team from third place to first place with a three-win improvement. The Braves won the NL East again while the Brewers settled for a Wild Card after winning the division in 2018. The Nationals’ Dave Martinez and the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts are notable omission, but remember that voting is concluded before the start of the postseason.

AL Cy Young

This feels like Cole’s award to lose. Cole led the trio in ERA, FIP, xFIP, strikeouts, and K-rate. Verlander led in strikeout-to-walk ratio. Morton allowed the fewest home runs of the bunch, particularly impressive in the year of the juiced baseball. Still, probably not enough to catapult him over Cole or Verlander.

NL Cy Young

This debate will be interesting. Ryu led in ERA, 2.32 to deGrom’s 2.43 and Scherzer’s 2.92. Ryu also issued the fewest walks of the trio. deGrom logged the most innings at 204 to Ryu’s 182 2/3 and Scherzer’s 172 1/3 innings. deGrom also led in strikeouts, 255 to Scherzer’s 243, though Scherzer of course had the highest K-rate. Scherzer had the best FIP and xFIP. Who you think is most deserving of this award comes down to which stats you weight most.

AL MVP

Trout missed the final three-plus weeks of the regular season, but still finished as the ever-so-slight leader in FanGraphs WAR, 8.6 to Bregman’s 8.5, followed by Semien’s 7.6. Trout also led the group in homers and stolen bases, as well as on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Missing the 90 or so plate appearances may prevent Trout from winning, though, as might Bregman’s versatility. Bregman played third base, but also filled in at shortstop when Carlos Correa was injured. Some voters, however erroneously, factor in whether or not a candidate’s team makes the playoffs and that will of course hurt Trout’s campaign. Semien feels like a lock for No. 3.

Trout, one of the greatest baseball players of all-time, may still be only a two-time MVP Award winner when the results are announced in 10 days.

NL MVP

Yelich is looking to make it two in a row, but it will be a hard road. He missed the last three weeks of the season due to a fractured kneecap. As a result, he ended up deadlocked with Bellinger in WAR, according to FanGraphs. Rendon was a not-so-distant third at an even 7.0. Bellinger led in homers and runs, Yelich led in all three rate stats and stolen bases, while Rendon led in RBI. As with the NL Cy Young, this one will come down to which stats you happen to like.