The new year has begun -- so it's time for more early 2019 MLB predictions. We've already given you our postseason and World Series picks for the coming season. Up next? Our awards predictions.More than 30 MLB.com experts voted for the 2019 American League and National League Most Valuable Players,
The new year has begun -- so it's time for more early 2019 MLB predictions. We've already given you our postseason and World Series picks for the coming season. Up next? Our awards predictions.
More than 30 MLB.com experts voted for the 2019 American League and National League Most Valuable Players, Cy Young Award winners, Rookies of the Year and Managers of the Year.
Votes were cast as if the season started today. That means Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, who are still free agents, were mostly left off the ballots. Both might have garnered MVP support if we knew which league they'll be playing in. (Harper did get a few votes for NL MVP anyway.)
Here are the results -- our predicted winners for the 2019 MLB awards. Besides the winners, other players who received votes are listed in order of how many they received.
AL MVP: Michael Trout, Angels
Trout was an easy pick for AL MVP, notching more than three times as many votes in our poll as the next-closest player, the Astros' Alex Bregman. Trout is a two-time AL MVP, a four-time runner-up (including in 2018) and has never finished lower than fourth in his seven full big league seasons. It took a superhuman season from Mookie Betts to edge Trout for MVP last year, but our voters think the Angels superstar will capture his third MVP in 2019, a feat just 10 players in MLB history have accomplished. Betts, despite his amazing 2018 season, didn't receive any 2019 MVP votes in our poll.
Also receiving votes: Bregman, Aaron Judge (Yankees), Carlos Correa (Astros)
AL Cy Young Award: Chris Sale, Red Sox
It's strange to think that Sale has actually never won a Cy Young Award. The electric left-hander has finished in the top five of the voting for six straight seasons -- and he looked to be headed for his first Cy Young last year before injury derailed his second half. MLB.com's experts think this is the year. Sale finished with a slight edge in our poll over the Astros' pair of aces, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole -- who received the same number of votes -- and the Indians' top duo of Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer. Blake Snell, the 2018 winner, didn't get any votes to repeat.
Also receiving votes: Cole, Verlander, Bauer, Kluber, Luis Severino (Yankees)
AL Rookie of the Year: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
Young Vlad has been tearing through his Minor League competition at every level, and his big league arrival in 2019 will be even more highly anticipated than Braves rookie sensation Ronald Acuna Jr.'s was last year. The 19-year-old third baseman, son of Hall of Famer Vlad Sr., is ranked the No. 1 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline. In 95 Minor League games in 2018 spent mostly at Double-A and Triple-A, Guerrero hit .381 with a 1.073 OPS. He followed that up with an Arizona Fall League stint where he hit .351 in 19 games.
Also receiving votes:Eloy Jimenez (White Sox), Kyle Tucker (Astros), Yusei Kikuchi (Mariners)
AL Manager of the Year: Kevin Cash, Rays
Cash managed the Rays to a surprise 90-win season in 2018, and led one of baseball's most innovative clubs, in particular instituting the "opener" strategy. That earned him a third-place finish in last year's AL Manager of the Year voting -- behind winner Bob Melvin, whose A's made a surprise run of their own and reached the postseason, and Alex Cora, whose Red Sox won a franchise-record 108 games in his first year at the helm. But in 2019, MLB.com is predicting the Rays to build on their success and make the playoffs out of the same division as the powerhouse Red Sox and Yankees, which would make Cash a natural choice for Manager of the Year.
Also receiving votes: A.J. Hinch (Astros), Brad Ausmus (Angels), Cora, Rick Renteria (White Sox), Aaron Boone (Yankees), Melvin, Rocco Baldelli (Twins)
NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals
After Goldy's trade to St. Louis, MLB.com is predicting that 2019 will be the year he finally takes home an MVP trophy. Goldschmidt was a perennial MVP candidate with the D-backs, finishing in the top three of voting three different times (he was sixth in 2018), but he has yet to win the award. Our experts think he'll do it with the Cards, as Goldschmidt has a substantial vote margin over runner-up Nolan Arenado -- another perennial candidate still looking for his first MVP Award with the Rockies. Reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich received only one vote in our poll.
Also receiving votes: Arenado, Anthony Rendon (Nationals), Harper (free agent), Kristopher Bryant (Cubs), Corey Seager (Dodgers), Freddie Freeman (Braves), Yelich (Brewers), Acuna.
NL Cy Young Award: Max Scherzer, Nationals
When in doubt, pick Mad Max to win the Cy Young. Scherzer is already one of just 10 pitchers to win the award three times, and he's finished in the top five of voting six straight years. Scherzer was the NL runner-up in 2018, but his season was Cy Young-caliber -- he struck out a career-high 300 batters to lead the Majors, and he went 18-7 with a 2.53 ERA. Only Jacob deGrom's historic season for the Mets kept Scherzer from a fourth trophy, but our voters think he'll get it in 2019. That would make Scherzer just the fifth four-time Cy Young winner ever. In our poll, Scherzer had an overwhelming margin over deGrom and the Phillies' Aaron Nola, his fellow NL Cy Young finalists from a season ago.
Also receiving votes: deGrom, Nola, Noah Syndergaard (Mets), Patrick Corbin (Nationals), Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers), Zack Wheeler (Mets)
NL Rookie of the Year: Victor Robles, Nationals
The MLB.com vote for NL Rookie of the Year was fairly close between Robles and Peter Alonso of the Mets. But the Nationals' young outfielder, ranked baseball's No. 4 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, is our pick over New York's slugging first baseman of the future. The 21-year-old Robles flashed his talent in a September callup with Washington last year, batting .288 with an .874 OPS in 21 games while hitting his first three career home runs. The Nationals had the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up in Juan Soto; we think they have the 2019 winner in Robles, who along with Soto could give the Nats a dynamic outfield for years to come.
Also receiving votes: Alonso, Nick Senzel (Reds), Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres), Brendan Rodgers (Rockies), Alex Reyes (Cardinals)
NL Manager of the Year: Dave Martinez, Nationals
Scherzer for Cy Young, Robles for Rookie of the Year and Martinez for Manager of the Year? There's a Nationals theme going on with our experts. Martinez had some growing pains in his first season managing in Washington, but we think he'll put it together in 2019. MLB.com has predicted the Nats to return to the top of the NL East in 2019, and if Martinez can lead them back to the postseason -- especially if he does it without Harper -- he'll be a deserving Manager of the Year candidate. Our poll was split between a lot of skippers, with the next-most votes going to the Mets' Mickey Callaway, another second-year manager who we think can lead his team to improvement in '19.
Also receiving votes: Callaway, Mike Shildt (Cardinals), Gabe Kapler (Phillies), Craig Counsell (Brewers), Bud Black (Rockies), Dave Roberts (Dodgers)
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.