The Baseball Writers’ Association of America honors are the centerpiece of awards season, and the winners of this hallowed hardware -- the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year Awards -- will be announced this week, starting with the Rookie of the Year Awards tonight at 6 ET on MLB Network.
Voting for the BBWAA Awards took place at the conclusion of the regular season (meaning postseason performance does not come into play), and the top three vote-getters for each award were announced on MLB Network last Monday.
Here’s a rundown of who is in the running and when the award winners will be announced:
JACKIE ROBINSON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Tonight, 6 ET, MLB Network
Alvarez: In 369 plate appearances, he hit 27 homers, including one that went to the rarely touched third deck at Minute Maid Park. The only rookie in the Modern Era (min. 300 plate appearances) with a higher OPS+ mark than Alvarez (173) was “Shoeless” Joe Jackson (193) with the 1911 Cleveland Naps.
Lowe: Though injury sidelined him much of the second half, Lowe had an All-Star first full season with a .270/.336/.514 slash and 124 OPS+ to make an impact on the AL Wild Card-winning Rays.
Means: It was a rough year in Baltimore, but the 26-year-old Means offered hope in the form of a 3.60 ERA and 131 ERA+ across 155 innings. The O’s won 12 times in his 27 starts and just 42 times in their other 135 games.
Alonso: As the first rookie ever to lead the Majors outright in home runs (53), Alonso made a huge splash in Queens after the Mets opted to roster him on Opening Day. His .941 OPS was seventh among all NL qualifiers. He even won the Home Run Derby.
Soroka: With a 2.68 ERA and 169 ERA+ in 174 2/3 innings across 29 starts, the then-21-year-old Soroka broke out as a central figure of the Atlanta rotation and pitched himself into the fringes of the Cy Young discussion.
Tatis: Injuries abbreviated this electric talent’s awe-inspiring rookie season, but Tatis’ .317/.379/.590 slash with 22 homers in 372 plate appearances and some standout defensive gems and baserunning feats in his age-20 season make him nothing short of one of the most exciting players in baseball.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Tuesday, Nov. 12, 6 p.m. ET, MLB Network
American League finalists: Rocco Baldelli, Twins; Aaron Boone, Yankees; Kevin Cash, Rays
Baldelli: Were there a Rookie of the Year Award for managers, Baldelli would be the runaway winner after leading the Twins to a 23-win improvement (from 78 to 101) and their first AL Central title since 2010.
Boone: Any perceived built-in advantage of managing a star-laden squad with a big payroll was wiped away by a truly ridiculous run of injuries to prominent players. But it didn’t prevent Boone’s Yankees from running away with their first AL East title since 2012.
Cash: The Rays had no shortage of injury bug bites in 2019, as well, and they had the lowest Opening Day payroll in baseball. But Cash’s progressive managerial style and ability to achieve buy-in from his players continued to pay dividends in the club’s attainment of the second Wild Card spot.
National League finalists: Craig Counsell, Brewers; Mike Shildt, Cardinals; Brian Snitker, Braves
Counsell: On the heels of a dramatic run to the NL Central title in 2018, Counsell’s Brewers hung tough in the NL playoff picture and then saved their best run for after Christian Yelich was lost to a broken kneecap to nail down a Wild Card spot.
Shildt: With a .635 winning percentage in the second half, Shildt’s Cardinals won their first NL Central title since 2015 in his first full season as the skipper. St. Louis was not roundly predicted to win its division, which undoubtedly works in Shildt’s favor in this vote.
Snitker: If Snitker wins this award a second straight year, he’ll be the first manager to do so since his mentor, Bobby Cox (2004-05). The Braves fended off the eventual World Series-champion Nationals to win their second straight NL East title, despite the big-ticket acquisitions made by the Mets and Phillies in the offseason.
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 6 p.m. ET, MLB Network
Cole: In a free-agent walk year, Cole led the AL in ERA (2.50) and Fielding Independent Pitching (2.64) while leading the Majors in strikeouts (326) and ERA+ (185) in his 212 1/3 innings. He was a 20-game winner.
Morton: Had Morton re-signed with Houston, it might have been an all-Astros finalists group. But with the Rays, Morton delivered a 3.05 ERA, 146 ERA+ and Major League-best 0.7 homers-per-nine rate across 194 2/3 innings in 33 starts.
Verlander: The choice between teammates Cole and Verlander was pretty much impossible. In pursuit of his second Cy, Verlander had an almost identical ERA (2.58) compared to Cole with a higher (and MLB-leading) innings total (223) and win total (21), the Majors’ best WHIP (0.80) and the AL’s best K/BB ratio (7.14).
deGrom: A year after winning the Cy with a record-low win total for a starter (10), deGrom kicked the wins all the way up to … 11. His case remains strong, as he posted a 2.43 ERA, 167 ERA+ and NL-best 255 strikeouts across 204 innings in 32 starts. The key was his 1.89 ERA in his last 23 starts.
Ryu: Though his workload was more limited and his results less electric in the second half than the first, Ryu finished with a Major League-best 2.32 ERA and an NL-best 179 ERA+ in 182 2/3 innings over 29 starts. His 1.2 walks per nine was the best rate in MLB.
Scherzer: As was the case in the World Series, Scherzer had to overcome injury to deliver his typical brilliance. His 27 starts were his fewest since his rookie year, but he had a 2.92 ERA and a Major League-best 2.45 FIP and 7.36 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Thursday, Nov. 14, 6 p.m. ET, MLB Network
Bregman: He had a FanGraphs WAR (8.5) just a whisker behind that of Trout (8.6) and a Baseball-Reference WAR (8.4) just ahead of Trout (8.3). His OPS (1.015) was third in the AL, and he had 80 extra-base hits with a Major League-high 119 walks for the 107-win Astros.
Semien: Though hardly a household name, Semien was an essential element in the A’s claim of the top Wild Card spot. He played every day, made more trips to the plate (747) than any other big leaguer, and he had a solid .285/.369/.522 slash to go with well-rated glovework that led to the fifth-highest fWAR (7.6) in the Majors.
Trout: His essentially annual placement among the finalists is hindered less by team standing (which didn’t matter when he won handily in 2016) and more by the fact that his season ended Sept. 7. Trout finished as the AL leader in OPS (1.083) and the Major League leader in OBP (.438) and OPS+ 185, with the aforementioned WAR tallies stacking up well against Bregman despite the missed time.
Bellinger: His deserved Gold Glove win in right field pairs with the .305/.406/.629 slash, 47 homers, 34 doubles and an NL-best 351 total bases to paint the picture of a complete player. Bellinger tied Yelich in fWAR (7.8) and was tops in the Majors in bWAR (9.0) for the 106-win Dodgers.
Rendon: With Bryce Harper gone, Rendon’s .319/.412/.598 slash was an essential ingredient of the Nats’ Wild Card recipe. He led the NL in doubles (44) and led the Majors in RBIs (126), while hitting a career-high 34 homers. His 153 OPS+ trailed only Bellinger and Yelich in the NL.
Yelich: Like Trout, Yelich’s case is complicated by the abrupt ending to his 2019, as he fractured his kneecap on Sept. 10. Yelich was tied with Bellinger in fWAR but trailed him in bWAR (7.1). His Major League-best 1.100 OPS was 100 points higher than in his 2018 MVP year, and his 179 OPS+ was 15 points higher. Despite the missed time, he had 44 homers and 29 doubles for the Wild Card-winning Brewers.