It's Awards season: Here's what's on tap

November 7th, 2019

The 2019 season is in the books, and the Nationals have been crowned World Series champions. But the Commissioner's Trophy is just the beginning when it comes to hardware to be handed out in 2019. November is MLB awards season, and here's a preview of which players are in the mix for this year's honors.

Gold Glove Awards

This year's Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners were announced on Sunday, Nov. 3. Among the notable winners were Nolan Arenado in the National League, who extended his streak to seven straight Gold Gloves at third base to start his career. Matt Chapman and Matt Olson took home American League honors at third and first, respectively, making it two straight years that the A's have had two infielders win -- after never having such a duo in the history of the award prior to 2018.

NL MVP hopeful Cody Bellinger won his first Gold Glove, as did Lorenzo Cain and J.T. Realmuto, among others. Here is the full list of winners.

The Platinum Glove Awards for the best defender in each league went to Chapman and Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado in a ceremony on Friday, Nov. 8.

BBWAA Award finalists

The three finalists for each BBWAA Award were announced on Monday, Nov. 4, with both MVP races and the AL Cy Young ballot among the most intriguing.

The Astros landed finalists for Rookie of the Year, MVP and Cy Young. No team has ever swept all three awards in the same year. Here is the full list of finalists.

Wilson Defensive Players of the Year

These awards honor the top defender in MLB at each position, as well as one overall Defensive Player of the Year and the Defensive Team of the Year and were handed out on Wednesday, Nov. 6.

Indians catcher Roberto Pérez came away with this year's overall Defensive Player of the Year Award, his first Wilson honor, and the AL champion Astros were named Defensive Team of the Year. Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, D-backs left fielder David Peralta and Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge were also first-time winners. Here is the full list of winners.

Silver Slugger Awards

The 2019 American League and National League Silver Slugger Award winners were announced on Thursday, Nov. 7, as the league’s top hitters were rewarded for their offensive performances. After a record-breaking season across the league on offense, three Braves players were among this year's honorees. Here is the full list of winners.

BBWAA Awards (winners named the week of Nov. 11)

AL Rookie of the Year (winner announced Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network)

Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez is the favorite to be named Rookie of the Year in the AL, separating himself from the field by smashing 27 home runs and posting a 1.067 OPS in 87 games.

NL Rookie of the Year (winner announced Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network)

In a strong field, Pete Alonso burst out ahead of the pack and is the overwhelming favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award. The 24-year-old Mets slugger launched an MLB rookie-record 53 home runs, eclipsing the record Aaron Judge set just two years earlier with 52. Alonso also electrified the Progressive Field crowd in Cleveland with his prodigious blasts en route to winning the All-Star Home Run Derby. If it were any other year, candidates like the Braves' Mike Soroka and the Pirates' Bryan Reynolds would stand a better chance.

AL Manager of the Year (winner announced Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network)

Many great candidates here. There's the Rays' Kevin Cash, who took the low-payroll Rays to the AL Wild Card Game after a 96-win regular season. There's Aaron Boone, whose Yankees team was so hobbled with injuries that it was almost easier to name players who were not on the injured list at some point during the season. New York went on to win 103 games and reach the AL Championship Series anyway.

And then there's Rocco Baldelli, who led the surprise team of 2019, the Twins, to the postseason with one of the most powerful lineups in baseball. The A's were also a surprise, though you'd think we'd learn by now not to be surprised by Oakland, with Bob Melvin's group winning 97 games and claiming an AL Wild Card berth. You can never leave out the manager who led his club to the most wins in baseball -- 107 -- AJ Hinch. He guided Houston to within a victory of its second World Series title in three years.

NL Manager of the Year (winner announced Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network)

Dave Martinez's Nats won the World Series, and that was after ballots were cast, but the Nationals went 74-38 after a 19-31 start to reach the postseason and bring home the first World Series title to Washington, D.C. since 1924. That's a tough act to beat, but there are several other strong candidates for the award, including the reigning NL Manager of the Year, the Braves' Brian Snitker, who led Atlanta to a second consecutive NL East title.

There's also the Cardinals' Mike Shildt, who led St. Louis to the top of a division in which it had to leapfrog both the Cubs and Brewers to win the crown. Speaking of the Brewers, a team generally struggles somewhat without its superstar, but that was not the case with Milwaukee, as the club reeled off 12 wins over its final 17 games to reach the NL Wild Card Game despite a season-ending injury to Christian Yelich. And last but by no means least, Dave Roberts guided the Dodgers to 106 wins, the most in franchise history, before an early exit in the postseason.

AL Cy Young Award (winner announced Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network)

Although his Astros teammate, former Cy Young Award winner Justin Velander, is a strong candidate, Gerrit Cole is the man to beat for the AL Cy Young Award in 2019. His 2.50 ERA led the league, and his 326 strikeouts on the season led all of baseball. Though the postseason doesn't count here, as ballots were due prior to the start of the playoffs, Cole shined on the national stage in October with a 1.72 ERA and 47 strikeouts in five starts.

NL Cy Young Award (winner announced Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network)

You've heard these names before, but these guys are just that good, and their consistent excellence is matched by few. Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom and Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer are favorites, along with a newcomer to the discussion, Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu. It's a tough call between the three. Ryu led baseball with a 2.32 ERA, while deGrom wasn't far behind at 2.43. But Scherzer had the lowest FIP of the trio, at 2.45.

No one not named deGrom or Scherzer has taken home the NL Cy Young Award since 2015, when the Cubs' Jake Arrieta won. It wouldn't be a surprise to see either of them or Ryu win the honor this year.

AL Most Valuable Player Award (winner announced Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network)

How good is Mike Trout? The superstar center fielder missed the final three weeks of the regular season and still led baseball with 8.6 WAR (Fangraphs). The best player in the game hit .291/.438/.645 with 45 home runs in 134 games. But not so fast -- Astros third baseman Alex Bregman is right there with Trout, producing an 8.5 WAR while slashing .296/.423/.592 with 41 homers and an MLB-best 119 walks. Both are also Gold Glove Award finalists. It could be quite an awards season for the pair.

NL MVP Award (winner announced Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network)

This one's also too close of a race to call. Both reigning NL MVP Award winner Christian Yelich and Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger finished at 7.8 WAR on the season, though Yelich did it in fewer games due to a season-ending knee injury. He played in 130 games, whereas Bellinger appeared in 156.

Nevertheless, Bellinger got off to a stunning start at the plate, and though he cooled off in the second half of the season, still finished with a .305/.406/.629 slash line and 47 homers. Yelich hit .329/.429/.671 with 44 homers in fewer games, but Bellinger has the edge defensively. Flip a coin?

We'd also be remiss if we didn't have an honorable mention here -- the D-backs' Ketel Marte had a tremendous season, putting himself in the MVP conversation by hitting .329/.389/.592 with 32 home runs in 144 games. He also played solid defense both in the middle infield and in center field.

AL Comeback Player of the Year

The finalists for the Comeback Player of the Year Award in the AL are Lucas Giolito, Hunter Pence and Jorge Soler.

A season removed from giving up an MLB-high 118 earned runs and issuing an AL-high 90 walks, Giolito turned things around swiftly with a 3.41 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 32 percent strikeout rate in an All-Star 2019 campaign. Pence had been plagued with injuries for several years before turning in his best offensive season since 2014. And Soler broke out by belting 48 homers, a new single season Royals record.

This one likely comes down to Giolito and Soler, considering they each played a full season and Pence played in 83 games. Which one was more dominant? Tough to say, but the edge may be with Giolito since his stark turnaround came over two full seasons, whereas Soler had only played in 96 games for the Royals between 2017 and '18 before playing in all 162 this year.

NL Comeback Player of the Year

In the NL, the finalists are a pair of left-handers and a slugger who missed the majority of the 2018 season due to injury.

Sonny Gray and Hyun-Jin Ryu both had tremendous 2019 campaigns, but while Ryu put himself squarely in the NL Cy Young Award conversation, he had a strong, albeit injury-shortened season in '18. Gray, on the other hand, bounced back from a 4.90 ERA with the Yankees in '18 to post a 2.87 ERA over 31 starts in his first year with the Reds.

Josh Donaldson was limited by injury to 52 games in 2018, but in his return to health with the Braves this season, he helped Atlanta win a second straight NL East title by posting a .900 OPS with 37 homers.

Gray has the edge among the three given his big turnaround year-over-year.

Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award

J.D. Martinez and Austin Meadows each had a great season at the plate, but the ageless Nelson Cruz is the favorite to take home the Outstanding DH honor for 2019. He helped the Twins to an improbable AL Central title by slugging .639 and smashing 41 homers, including the 400th of his career, in 120 games.