The Comeback Player of the Year Award has been given out since 2005, and it was voted on by MLB.com’s 30 club beat reporters. Carrasco is the first Indians player to win the award since Cliff Lee in 2008, while Donaldson’s win marks the second straight by a Braves player after Jonny Venters last year.
Carrasco, 32, received a chronic myeloid leukemia diagnosis in early June, causing him to miss three months of the regular season. But the right-hander persevered and became an inspirational figure to his teammates in Cleveland, receiving a standing ovation during the All-Star Game in July at Progressive Field. Carrasco returned to the Tribe’s active roster on Sept. 1, and he came out of the bullpen that day in Tampa Bay to throw an inning of relief. Carrasco wound up making 11 relief appearances in September, including a win in front of the home fans on Sept. 22, when he threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings against Philadelphia out of the ‘pen. Carrasco was also named the Roberto Clemente Award winner before Game 3 of the World Series in October.
Donaldson signed a one-year, $23 million contract with the Braves prior to the 2019 season, and he promptly re-established himself as one of baseball’s best third basemen. He was limited to just 52 games in ’18 as he dealt with ailments in both his shoulder and his calf, and the Blue Jays traded him to Cleveland at the end of August. But Donaldson found his power stroke again in ‘19, knocking 37 homers and driving in 94 runs while slugging .521 and finishing with a .900 OPS. Those 37 dingers were the fifth-most by a player in his debut season with the Braves, and the most by a first-year Atlanta player since Andres Galarraga (44) in 1998. Donaldson also ranked second among third basemen in defensive runs saved behind Oakland’s Matt Chapman. He’s the third Braves player overall to win this award, following Venters and Tim Hudson in 2010.