2019 MLB Award Selections

I obviously don’t have an official MLB Awards vote. If I did, however, these would be my picks. I’ll be making picks for MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Reliever of the Year, and Silver Slugger Awards, I don’t think I watched enough baseball this year to make good Gold Glove picks and not just take the person with the most runs saved above average according to Baseball Info Solutions, the source Baseball-Reference uses for their fielding portion of their WAR calculation. Also, I could make Manager of the Year picks, but Manager of the Year is also basically a Surprisingly Good Team of the Year award and it rarely actually tells you who the best manager was. The player awards, at least now, do a better job of reflecting who was the best performer that year.

AL MVP

Before his season ended a few weeks early with an injury, the easy answer was Mike Trout. Trout played his last game of 2019 on September 7th, and from September 8th to the end of the year, Alex Bregman hit seven homers, drew eighteen walks (to just seven strikeouts), and posted a 1.169 OPS to raise his OPS on the season from .994 to 1.015. He caught Trout in WAR, as they ended basically dead even in both Baseball-Reference’s (AB 8.4, MT 8.3) and FanGraphs’ (MT 8.6, AB 8.5) calculations. A less analytical and more “he played all over the infield and hit for a high average” argument can be made for DJ LeMahieu, who the Yankees paid $12 million to this offseason with the plan of him being a bench player to add to their depth as his free-agent market was dry from fear of Coors Field as the only thing keeping his hitting afloat. Those fears proved wrong as he went to Yankee Stadium and could suddenly hit homers, as 19 of his career-high 26 home runs came at home. Marcus Semien of the A’s also deserves a mention as his hitting finally caught up to his defense at shortstop, posting career highs in batting average, OBP, slugging average, home runs, doubles, RBI, runs, hits, and walks while playing all 162 games and finishing with an OPS+ of 138 with his typical good (not great/Gold Glove worthy) defense at shortstop. Ultimately, though, this is a two-man race between Trout and Bregman. Every year it feels like it’s Trout and someone else, and Bregman provided a lot of value to the Astros in improving his defense at third base, then sliding over to shortstop when Carlos Correa got hurt. While team success shouldn’t be used as a legitimate factor in MVP voting, it can be a tiebreaker when it’s close and the teams are in vastly different situations, with Houston having a good chance to win their second World Series in the last three years while the Angels just suffered their worst record since Trout hit the big leagues. I hate to send Trout home as a runner-up again, but I have to.

Alex Bregman

Alex Bregman, Houston Astros

NL MVP

The NL MVP race looked like it would come down to Cody Bellinger or Christian Yelich in a repeat effort until Yelich broke his kneecap when he fouled off a pitch that caught his knee wrong on September 10th. Anthony Rendon’s under-the-radar consistent mashing at the plate has earned him consideration as 2019 was somehow his first All-Star appearance. Rendon picked a good time to flip a switch and find another gear at the plate, as with free agency looming he put up career highs in home runs, runs, RBI, batting average, OBP, slugging average, and led the NL in doubles for the second straight year while leading the MLB with 126 RBI. He was the best hitter on a Washington team that made a late push to get into the playoffs. Ketel Marte has to get a mention as well as he broke out this year at age 25 for the Diamondbacks, hitting 32 home runs after having 22 in his career of 402 games played coming into 2019, and his hitting slash line in his career had been .263/.324/.389 coming into the year but his offense exploded as he hit .329/.389/.592 with a switch to center field defensively that he handled seamlessly. I ended up looking at two names again, with Yelich and Bellinger just slightly separating themselves at the top. Bellinger, as those who follow baseball heard a lot about, was hitting .404 on May 21st, when the Dodgers played their 49th game of the year. From May 22nd to the end of the year, he hit .260, but with 30 homers, 65 walks and 23 doubles his OPS was still a very impressive .930. That’s not nearly as good as the 1.271 OPS he had before that, but it was just good enough to keep it over 1.000 on the year, as he ended up with a 1.035 OPS that translated to a 169 OPS+. Yelich had been the best hitter in baseball from the 2018 All-Star break through his knee injury, as he was a power surge away from hitting 50 homers, having logged 44 before going down with 18 games to go. His .329 batting average and .429 OBP led the National League, and his .671 slugging and 1.100 OPS led all of baseball. His 179 OPS+ only trailed Mike Trout’s 185, and he added 30 stolen bases while only getting caught stealing twice just for good measure. His offensive output was tough to match, but like Trout, if he had played fifteen or so more games he might have won it, but Bellinger added Gold Glove-level defense for the Dodgers, and his combination of offense and defense earns my vote.

Cody Bellinger.jpg

Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers

AL Cy Young Award

What a race this was. Every time Houston looped through their order, you’d watch Justin Verlander pitch and think, “there’s no way he’s not the best pitcher in the American League.” Then the next night out, Gerrit Cole would pitch and you’d think, “there’s no way HE’S not the best pitcher in the American League.” The two battled back-and-forth as they propelled the Astros to a franchise-record 107 wins. It was really a two-man race between Verlander and Cole, but other pitchers that deserve credit and some votes (as each ballot will have three spots on it) are Charlie Morton, who was also on the Astros in 2018 before signing with the Rays this offseason and posting a 3.05 ERA while allowing just 15 home runs all year; Lucas Giolito, who busted out for the White Sox in his age-24 season and posted a 32.3% strikeout rate; and Shane Bieber, who stepped up when the Indians dealt with injuries to their pitching staff, earned All-Star Game MVP honors, and completed three games (two shutouts) en route to throwing 214 1/3 innings with a 3.28 ERA. Verlander was nearly untouchable all year, posting a WHIP of 0.803, the third-lowest mark by any qualified pitcher since 1900 behind Walter Johnson’s 1913 MVP season and Pedro Martinez’s otherworldly 2000 season where he won the Cy Young Award and somehow only finished 5th in MVP voting. His problem was home runs, as he gave up 36. He only gave up 66 runs, though, as he became the first pitcher in a qualified season to ever give up less than twice as many runs as home runs. In fact, only 16 pitchers have ever had no more than 2.5 runs allowed per home run, with 5 of those seasons happening this year (Yu Darvish, Clayton Kershaw, Jack Flaherty, and Cole) and only three of those seasons happened before 2016. Of those seasons, Cole’s had the highest ERA+ at 185, with Verlander tied for second with Kershaw’s 2017 season at 179. Cole turned his level of play up a notch starting in June after having a 4.02 ERA through May with a 5-5 record. From that point on, he went 15-0 as the Astros went 19-2 in his starts with a 1.73 ERA, and he peaked in September as he made 6 starts (all Houston wins) and allowed just 6 runs (5 earned) over 42 innings for an ERA of 1.07. Cole lead the league with 326 strikeouts, a mark only five pitchers have topped since 1900, with Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson being responsible for 10 of the 13 seasons with more, while Verlander’s 300 strikeouts were enough to make them the second pair of teammates to throw 300 or more strikeouts in a year, after the 2002 Diamondbacks with Johnson and Curt Schilling, and get him to 3,000 career K’s. It was an incredibly tough choice, but I was slightly more in awe of Verlander.

Justin Verlander.jpg

Justin Verlander, Houston Astros

NL Cy Young Award

There were a few different ways you could tell how contested this race was, but my favorite was that Baseball-Reference has a 2019 awards preview section where they have a player comparison for the top three players in the MVP and Cy Young award races. Except for the NL Cy Young Award, they couldn’t pick three players, so they have five. They show Jack Flaherty, Jacob deGrom, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Max Scherzer, and Stephen Strasburg all as candidates, and we’ll try to eliminate some to get a clearer picture. We can start with Strasburg, as his ERA is easily the highest of the group (3.32, no one else is over 3),  and the main things he has going for him are his record, at 18-6 is four more wins than anyone else on the list and a slightly better win percentage than Ryu’s 14-5 record, and innings pitched, as his 209 led the NL but was only five more than deGrom, not exactly a difference-maker. Next, let’s deal with Flaherty, because Cardinals fans want to point out how his second half was comparable to Jake Arrieta’s in 2015 when he won the Cy Young award. There’s some truth to that, as Arrieta’s second-half numbers that year (his last 16 starts) were a 0.77 ERA, a 0.688 WHIP, a .393 OPS allowed, and 122 strikeouts in 116 1/3 innings, a 13-1 record with three complete games, two shutouts, one of which was a no-hitter. Flaherty’s last 16 starts of this year saw him post a 0.93 ERA, a 0.696 WHIP, a .419 OPS allowed, and 130 strikeouts in 106 1/3 innings pitched, a 7-3 record and no complete games. The differences largely reflect the league differences between 2015 and 2019 and/or things out of their control, but Arrieta’s does look slightly better, and the main difference between these seasons was their first half, where Arrieta came into this stretch with a 2.80 ERA earlier in the year and ended the year with a 1.77, while Flaherty had a 4.90 ERA in the first half of the year and it was brought down to 2.75 overall. It was a phenomenal second half, but you can’t be that bad for three months and win the Cy Young. It looked like a battle between Scherzer and Ryu until both dealt with injuries in August, and after Scherzer returned on August 22nd he was mostly ineffective, recording a 4.74 ERA and averaging less than 6 innings per start. If you take Ryu’s first 22 starts and his last three, you end up with a 25-start season (which would be low for a Cy Young contender) with a 1.43 ERA that would have been a full run per 9 innings better than anyone else. Unfortunately, a four-game stretch from August 17th to September 4th may have ruined it for him. In those four starts, he allowed 21 runs (all earned) in just 19 innings, a 9.95 ERA. In his other 163 2/3 innings, he allowed 26 earned runs. It was enough to make his ERA for the year climb to 2.32, still best in the league, but barely ahead of deGrom, with 21 1/3 fewer innings pitched and some worse peripheral stats. DeGrom got out to a slow start, but kept getting better as the year went on, with a 4.85 ERA in March/April, then 2.92 in May, 2.70 in June, 1.09 in an incredible month of July, 2.18 in August, and 1.29 in September while not allowing a run in his final three starts. That lowered his ERA on the year to 2.43, and he finished top-two in the NL in WAR (for pitchers, led both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs), ERA, WHIP, strikeouts (led NL), HR/9 (tied for second with Ryu), and was third in innings pitched and ERA+. It was a difficult choice because so many different people led the league in important stats, but deGrom was close to the top in all of them.

Jacob deGrom.jpg

Jacob deGrom, New York Mets

AL Rookie of the Year

There’s always at least one disappointing award race, and AL ROTY was it this year. Brandon Lowe of the Rays looked like he was going to run away with it after barely falling short of exceeding rookie limits last year, and he was named an All-Star for his performance in the first half, but when he fouled a ball off his shin on July 2nd resulting in a bone bruise, then strained his left quad in his rehab assignment, he ended up missing two and a half months, only returning to action on September 22nd in the hopes to get tuned up for the playoffs. That left the door open for another rookie All-Star, John Means, who was Baltimore’s lone representative, with a 3.60 ERA on the year that, when factoring in the tough pitching conditions of his park and others in the AL East, earned a 131 ERA+. The 155 innings pitched are low for a good starting pitcher but normal for a rookie, and he produced the most WAR of any AL rookie, but wasn’t the most impressive and the Orioles were so bad it kept him out of the spotlight most of the time. Before the year, people assumed this battle would be mostly between Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Eloy Jiménez, as they were both ranked in the top 3 of MLB Pipeline’s prospect rankings, but they both had their growing pains while showing flashes of what they could be if they reach their potential, with Vladdy posting a .977 OPS in August that included four homers, seven doubles and nine walks, and Jiménez had a 1.093 OPS in September with nine homers, eight doubles, and 25 RBI in 24 games. But the AL rookie that took the league by storm was Yordan Álvarez, who hit 27 homers and 26 doubles after his June 9th debut. He had 52 walks to go with those 53 extra-base hits, and he finished the year with a slash line of .313/.412/.655. That .655 slugging average is the highest ever by a rookie with at least 300 plate appearances (Álvarez had 369), edging out Rudy York’s .651 with the Tigers in 1937. The next highest slugging average on that list for a player who didn’t win Rookie of the Year (after the award was first given out in 1947) was Chris Duncan’s .589 on 314 PA’s in 2006 (Fernando Tatís Jr had a .590 in 372 PA’s this year and likely won’t win ROTY either). Between Álvarez and Duncan were Rookies of the Year Bob Hamelin (’94 AL), Albert Pujols (’01 NL), Mark McGwire (’87 AL), Aaron Judge (’17 AL), and Ryan Braun (’07 NL). Even as a DH, Álvarez is making the Astros look smart in trading him straight up for Josh Fields in 2016 even though he was a very effective reliever for two and a half years for the Dodgers, with a 2.61 ERA (155 ERA+) in 117 1/3 innings for them. This means the Astros, for me at least, sweep the MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year awards for their league, becoming the first team to ever do so (though it’s worth noting the Cy Young Award didn’t exist until 1956 and wasn’t split into AL and NL until 1967).

Yordan Alvarez.jpg

Yordan Álvarez, Houston Astros

NL Rookie of the Year

This race was a lot more fun than its AL counterpart, as at least one player is going to receive MVP votes and at least one pitcher is going to receive Cy Young votes of this class of NL rookies. Also, while Vlad Jr led AL rookies in games played with just 123, Pete Alonso played 161, Víctor Robles played 155, Christian Walker played 152, etc. Four different NL rookie pitchers logged over 170 innings pitched as well, along with three relievers who appeared in at least 50 games, there was just more activity from NL rookies. The names that came to the front of the pack for the ROTY award were Bryan Reynolds, Mike Soroka, Robles, Fernando Tatís Jr, and Alonso. Reynolds was near the top of the NL batting title chase for most of the year, but an end-of-year slump took his average from .330 on September 10th to .314 at the end of the year, ending his hopes of being the first rookie to win a batting title since Ichiro Suzuki back in 2001. Robles didn’t have a great year at the plate given the expectations for him, hitting .255 with 17 homers and 33 doubles for a .745 OPS, just an 88 OPS+, but the NL Gold Glove for center field is likely going to come down to him and Lorenzo Cain of Milwaukee and that level of defense at a premier position (along with his speed on the basepaths) is valuable. Tatís Jr was electrifying when healthy, but two separate injuries kept him out for the whole month of May and ended his season on August 13th. That resulted in him playing in just 84 games despite being a starter from opening day. Strikeouts are a concern, as they are with a lot of young players, and 110 in 372 plate appearances is a lot, but even with that he still managed to hit .317 with 22 homers, 13 doubles, 6 triples, and 30 walks for a .969 OPS. He mixed great and awful fielding plays (18 errors ranked 2nd most in NL), and with practice could become a good to great shortstop in the field as well. Before he got hurt for the second time he was definitely in the running, but he ultimately didn’t play enough games to have a chance. That leaves us with the two All-Stars in Mike Soroka, who posted a 2.68 ERA and allowed the fewest HR/9 in the NL at 0.721. He struck out “just” 142 batters in 174 2/3 innings in 29 starts, and he’ll receive some well-deserved Cy Young votes for his efforts. Having just turned 22 in August, he looks like a front-of-the-rotation starter for years to come. Unfortunately, he had this incredible rookie season the same year someone else did something pretty incredible, as Pete Alonso set the major league rookie record with 53 home runs. He also became the first rookie to lead the majors in homers outright (Mark McGwire and Tim Jordan [with 12 in 1906] had tied for the MLB lead), and the first to lead the NL since Ralph Kiner in 1946. Alonso posted a .941 OPS, and even while playing below-average defense at first base he produced 5.0 WAR (as calculated by Baseball-Reference) and already seems like a leader of the team, doing things such as buying custom cleats for every member of the team for their September 11th game.

Pete Alonso

Pete Alonso, New York Mets

AL Reliever of the Year

This used to be a de facto closer of the year award, but the way teams set up their bullpens and use relief pitchers have changed. The best candidates for this award this year were Liam Hendriks, who had a “breakout year” (I think 30 is too old for it to be a breakout and not an anomaly, some disagree though) for the A’s, Brandon Workman, another 30-year-old who just logged easily the best year of his career working the back end of a disappointing Red Sox pitching staff, and Will Harris, who’s been a stud for Houston’s bullpen for a while now, and just put up his best ERA, ERA+, and nearly his best OPS allowed (.540 vs .525 in 2015, MLB average OPS was .758 this year, .721 in 2015), but only threw 60 innings. Unfortunately, Major League Baseball decided to have Hendricks, Aroldis Chapman of the Yankees, and Roberto Osuna of the Astros as the finalists. It would have been a tough choice between Hendricks, Workman, and Harris, as Hendricks had the most innings pitched but the “worst” ERA+ (at 240) Harris had the best ERA+ (309) but the fewest innings. Hendricks had the most saves, if that’s something you care about, Workman had a 10-1 record, if that’s something you care about. Hendricks and Workman both had higher strikeout rates than Harris, while Hendricks and Harris posted lower walk rates than Workman. Workman only gave up one home run all year, however, while Hendricks allowed five and Harris had six homers against him. Workman had an unbelievable .433 OPS allowed (for an 18 OPS+), but the walks led to his WHIP being higher than Hendricks and Harris. Osuna led the AL in saves and Chapman was second. It looks like the MLB still wants this to be a closer of the year award rather than actually giving it to the best reliever. Hendriks had 25 saves and outpitched Chapman and Osuna, and he’d better win the award.

Liam Hendriks

Liam Hendricks, Oakland Athletics

NL Reliever of the Year

This race should have come down to Felipe Vázquez and Kirby Yates, but again the league decided to keep one of the best relievers out of the finalists. Josh Hader and Will Smith were named finalists along with Yates, and Hader had an unbelievable 47.8% strikeout rate, and a WHIP of just .806, but he allowed 15 homers in 75 innings which is gross and should have moved him just out of contention. Smith was 6-0 with 34 saves and a 2.76 ERA that just doesn’t stand out among NL relievers. Other relievers who would have made better finalists than Smith at least and maybe Hader include Scott Oberg, who had the third-best ERA (behind Vázquez and Yates) of NL relievers with at least 30 innings pitched while playing for the Rockies, but compared to those two, he threw fewer innings, had a lower ERA+ and strikeout rate and a higher walk rate. Giovanny Gallegos of the Cardinals pitched 74 innings, struck out 93 batters, had a 2.31 ERA, but only had one save. Yates and Vázquez both had incredible seasons, with Yates leading the league in saves and ERA, but allowed six unearned runs to bring his total runs allowed to 14 to Vázquez’s 12. Vázquez had a tiny advantage in WAR, 2.9 to 2.8, and while saves are generally considered more than a pitcher’s record for Reliever of the Year, he was 5-1 compared to Yates’ 0-5 record. But Yates had a better WHIP, a higher strikeout rate, a lower OPS against, and the gap of 13 in saves is bigger than the record and WAR differences. Yates should win it, but it should have been a close race between him and Vázquez, not an easy choice of him over Hader and Smith.

Kirby Yates

Kirby Yates, San Diego Padres

AL Silver Slugger Awards

Catcher: Mitch Garver, Minnesota Twins

This was the weakest position in the AL this year, and Garver played just 93 games. He hit 31 homers and logged a .995 OPS in that time and was nearly a full win above any other AL catcher in offensive WAR (oWAR).

First Base: Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians

Matt Olson of the A’s and Yuli Gurriel of the Astros were also good, but Santana had a higher OPS in more plate appearances than both of them. He more than doubled both of them in walks, and while Olson had two more homers, that didn’t make up for the difference in OBP.

Second Base: DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees

He had a significantly higher OPS than Jonathan Villar and Whit Merrifield, and more than 100 more plate appearances than José Altuvé. This is where LeMahieu played most and he deserves a Silver Slugger for his performance this season.

Third Base: Alex Bregman, Houston Astros

Bregman’s my MVP pick. Of course he’s also winning the Silver Slugger. Rafael Devers, Yoan Moncada, and Matt Chapman also had good seasons, but it’s Bregman, and it’s not close.

Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox

The closest race in the AL, Bogaers edges out Marcus Semien, who had a breakout season at the plate while Bogaerts just kept getting better. They both had 33 homers, Bogaerts had 52 doubles to Semien’s 43 (but with 7 triples while Bogaerts had none), and Bogaerts’ .939-.892 edge in OPS was enough for me.

Outfield: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels; George Springer, Houston Astros; Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox

It didn’t really hit me how injury-plagued AL outfielders in general were until I saw that among the top 5 in oWAR, only Springer played at least 140 games. Also, Aaron Judge was 11th with only 102 games played and Joey Gallo was 15th with just 70 games played. Trout and Springer were outstanding when they were healthy, Betts led the league in runs by 6 over teammate Devers, with his 135 towering over other AL outfielders, with Trout having the second-most at 110. Sorry, Mark Canha and Austin Meadows, better luck next year.

Designated Hitter: Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins

Shoutout to Jorge Soler and his AL-leading 48 homers, while JD Martinez put up another really good year in Boston and Yordan Álvarez mashed so well in barely over half a season that he gets a mention here, but the 38-year-old Cruz just hit .311/.392/.639 with 41 homers in just 120 games. He’s got my vote.

NL Silver Sluggers

Catcher: Yasmani Grandal, Milwaukee Brewers

He had more plate appearances than any other NL catcher (by also making sixteen starts at first base), and the only NL catchers I can find with a higher OPS are Willson Contreras, who played 105 games and had more than 200 fewer PA’s than Grandal, and Will Smith, who didn’t even hit 200 PA’s total with the Dodgers. JT Realmuto and Contreras aren’t far behind, but I think it should go to Grandal.

First Base: Pete Alonso, New York Mets

Not an easy call here, as Alonso, Freddie Freeman, and Josh Bell were all within .006 of one another in OPS, and Anthony Rizzo wasn’t far behind. Alonso’s OPS was slightly the highest, as was his OPS+, and hitting a league-leading 53 home runs was the most impressive stat among this group.

Second Base: Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers

This one was tough because the best two hitters who spent a significant amount of time playing second base (Muncy and Ketel Marte) also played elsewhere a lot. If we went with someone who consistently played second base, we’d be looking at Ozzie Albies, who had just a 114 OPS+ or Keston Hiura who only played 84 games. Muncy played more second base than anywhere else, so I’ll take him.

Third Base: Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals

This will end Nolan Arenado’s run of four consecutive Silver Sluggers, bookended by Rendon winning the award. Josh Donaldson, Kris Bryant, and Eugenio Suárez all had great years as well, but Rendon had the highest OPS of the group while leading the NL in doubles and RBI.

Shortstop: Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies

I wanted to go with Fernando Tatís Jr here, he hit so much better than any other NL shortstop, but he only played 84 games. Story was the only one who produced more oWAR than Tatís, had the best OPS+ of any qualified NL shortstop and had the most home runs, so he’s my pick.

Outfield: Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers; Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers; Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks

I debated going with Marte at second base and putting Ronald Acuña Jr or Juan Soto here, but Marte played more center field than second base, and he outhit both of them. Yelich led the league in slugging and OPS while also leading the NL in batting average, OBP, OPS+, and oWAR. Bellinger was second in slugging and OPS, and he and Marte tied for second in oWAR. There’s rarely a shortage of options in the outfield, but this year there was a clear top three.

Pitcher: Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks/Houston Astros

I thought for sure Greinke being traded to Houston was going to end his chances of winning the Silver Slugger award. Then I saw that despite having fewer plate appearances than most NL starting pitchers, Grienke still led all pitchers in oWAR. His .883 OPS is the highest for any pitcher with at least 10 plate appearances by .106, ahead of Steven Brault, who had 50 to Greinke’s 54 PAs. Jacob deGrom could win the award if voters don’t want to vote for someone now in the AL, as his 70 PAs dwarfs Greinke, but he had just a .569 OPS. Greinke hit like an above-average MLB hitter this year, and no other pitcher came close. I had to give it to him.

Before I wrap this article up, I wanted to get back to my point about the Astros potentially sweeping the MVP, Cy Young, and ROTY awards. As I mentioned, no team has done this before, but they’re not the first team to have a shot at it. In 1967, the first year the Cy Young award was awarded to both leagues individually, the Red Sox had Carl Yastrzemski win MVP, Jim Lonborg win Cy Young, and Reggie Smith was probably the best rookie in the AL that year. He lost the ROTY vote to Rod Carew, who outhit him, but he was better on the bases and in the field (it’s worth noting that if we wanted to redo a vote with modern data, Lonborg would likely lose the Cy Young vote to Joe Horlen of the White Sox). In 1974, the Rangers had Jeff Burroughs win MVP, Mike Hargrove win ROTY, and Fergie Jenkins as the runner-up in a hotly contested Cy Young race with Catfish Hunter. In 1988, both leagues came close to a sweep as the AL had José Canseco win MVP, Walt Weiss win ROTY, and Dennis Eckersley as a (distant) runner-up for the Cy Young award for the A’s, and the NL saw the Dodgers make a run at a sweep with Kirk Gibson winning MVP, Orel Hershiser winning the Cy Young, and Tim Belcher finish third for ROTY. In 1993, the White Sox had a shot as Frank Thomas won a unanimous MVP award (with John Olerud and Ken Griffey Jr being badly overlooked), Jack McDowell won the Cy Young award (despite Randy Johnson and Kevin Appier outperforming him), and Jason Bere finished as ROTY runner-up. We’ve seen it happen as recently as 2013, with the Tigers featuring MVP Miguel Cabrera (even though Mike Trout had a better overall year), Max Scherzer won a wild Cy Young race that saw 11 different pitchers receive votes, and José Iglesias, who they had received in a midseason trade with the Red Sox, finish runner-up in the ROTY race.

The MLB will announce the real winners of these awards in November, other than the Relievers of the Year being announced on October 26th, with the Silver Sluggers being announced Nov 7th, Rookies of the Year on Nov 11th, Cy Youngs on Nov 13th, and MVPs on Nov 14th. We’ll see how many I got right and how many the official voters and I disagree on. It was an awesome MLB season and there are plenty of players who would be good choices for most of these awards.

Stats and info courtesy of Baseball-Reference.comMLB, and ESPN.

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