Some years, the awards season is without drama. That’s not the case this time, as several races appear too close to call. While Jacob deGrom could win a second straight National League Cy Young Award, several other races have no clearcut favorite.
On Monday, MLB Network will announce three finalists in each category, with the winners announced in a four-day stretch beginning with the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award on Nov. 11.
Here’s a preview:
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Announcement: Nov. 14 (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
This one will be close. Bellinger finished first and Yelich second in all eight MLB.com polls, but it’s expected to be tight. Yelich may have been on his way to overtaking Bellinger until he broke his right kneecap and missed the Brewers' final 18 games. They finished tied atop Fangraphs' Wins Above Replacement leaderboard at 7.8. Bellinger had more home runs and runs, but Yelich led the NL in OPS (1.100), wOBA (.442), wRC+ (174) and OBP (.429).
Rendon made a late push, leading the NL in fWAR (3.7) after the All-Star break.
Bregman played 22 more games than Trout and compiled his numbers for a team on its way to 107 wins and a third straight division title. Bregman scored 12 more runs and hit 10 more doubles than Trout, and was an eyelash behind in other categories.
Meanwhile, Trout used the 2019 season to remind us that he is one of the best all time. He had 45 homers, 27 doubles and 110 walks despite missing the Angels' final 19 games after undergoing foot surgery. He led the AL in fWAR (8.6), OPS (1.083) and OPS+ (185) and finished atop all eight MLB.com polls. If he wins again, he’ll be the 11th three-time MVP.
CY YOUNG AWARD
Announcement: Nov. 13 (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
Verlander led the eight MLB.com polls and Cole finished second in the final four. But the vote may come down to what voters value. Even that’s a tough choice since the numbers are so close. Cole led the AL in fWAR (7.4), ERA (2.50), strikeouts (326) and xFIP (2.48). Verlander was first in innings (223) and WHIP (0.80) and second in strikeouts (300), ERA (2.58) and xFIP (3.18).
Verlander is seven years older than Cole and already has one Cy Young (and probably should have won in 2016, and possibly even '18, when he finished second both years). Cole has not finished higher than fourth.
Favorite: Jacob deGrom (2.43 ERA, 0.971 WHIP, 204 IP, 255 K)
The Mets' right-hander emerged as the favorite to win a second straight Cy Young Award thanks to an amazing closing kick. In his last 23 starts, deGrom had a microscopic 1.89 ERA. Down the stretch as the Mets battled for a playoff berth, he went seven innings in 12 of his final 13 starts. He got 30 of 35 first-place votes in the final MLB.com poll after not finishing higher than third in the first six votes.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Announcement: Nov. 11 (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
Favorite: Yordan Alvarez (27 HR, 1.067 OPS)
Alvarez homered in his Major League debut on June 9 and hit another one in his second game. He ended up hitting 27 in 87 games as the Astros' offense improved by almost a run per game after his arrival. He tied with teammate Alex Bregman for the AL OPS lead after his debut. Alvarez got all 34 first-place votes in the final two MLB.com polls.
Favorite: Pete Alonso (53 HR, .941 OPS)
This one won’t be close. Alonso is the first rookie since 1900 to lead the Majors outright in home runs, and he’s the first Met to lead the Majors in home runs in setting a single-season team record for homers, total bases and extra-base hits. Alonso got all 34 first-place votes in the final MLB.com poll and won the last six votes.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Announcement: Nov. 12 (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
Favorite: Aaron Boone
Also in the mix: Kevin Cash, Rocco Baldelli, AJ Hinch
Boone would seem to be the favorite after leading a Yankees team hit hard by injuries to 103 wins and an AL East championship. There’s an easy case to be made for Cash and Baldelli, who took their teams to the postseason when neither was picked to do so. Hinch will get some votes for guiding the Astros to a third straight 100-win season.
Favorite: Davey Martinez
Also in the mix: Mike Shildt, Brian Snitker
Votes were cast before the Nationals churned through the postseason to the franchise’s first championship. Even before that, no manager had an odder season than Martinez. When the Nationals were 19-31, he dealt with almost daily rumors of his firing. His front office stuck with him, and Martinez guided the Nationals to a 74-38 finish.