Race For The Hardware – MLB Awards 2019

Who wins MVP?

Jose Moreno, Writer

Now that the MLB regular season is over, it is time to coronate the players and managers that have made a significant impact for their teams and made themselves indispensable throughout the season. With award season underway, let’s take a look at the frontrunners for the MLB’s most prestigious individual prizes. 

American League (AL) Manager of the Year

Rookie manager Rocco Baldelli propelled a Minnesota Twins that finished the 2018 season with a sub-.500 record to their second 100-win campaign in franchise history. Finishing the season with an impressive 101-61 record, the Twins improved by an astounding 23 wins, earning their first division title since 2010. After missing the playoffs in 2018 thanks in part to an abysmal 29-52 away record, Baldelli and the Twins posted a 55-26 record on the road this season. The Twins led the majors in home runs with 307, a 141 home run improvement over their 166 output. Baldelli’s achievements as a first-year manager are incredible and therefore put him at the forefront of the AL Manager of the Year race. For the first time since 2010, the Twins will be playing in a divisional series in the playoffs.

AL Most Valuable Player

The choice for AL MVP should be Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman. Bregman hit 41 home runs, 112 RBIs and scored 122 runs. His offensive contributions were invaluable to the Astros, who won the AL West with an astounding 107-55 record. However, he’ll have fierce competition from both Mike Trout and Nelson Cruz, each of whom finished with a higher OPS. 

AL Cy Young

At 36-years-old, Justin Verlander has been able to maintain his high quality of pitching. His 21 wins and 0.80 WHIP each led the MLB while his 300 strikeouts and 2.58 ERA were good for second behind teammate believing his career was waning down during his last season with the Detroit Tigers. Verlander is the frontrunner for the 2019 AL Cy Young Award.

National League (NL) Manager of the Year

Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker has done an admirable job with the Braves, winning the NL East for two years in a row by a comfortable margin. Prior to 2018, the Braves hadn’t made the postseason since 2013, tied for their longest playoff drought since 1982-1991. Snitker has been with the Braves since 1977, in both a player and managerial capacity. He managed their three minor league teams and was eventually appointed as interim manager in 2016. The persistence that he has carried with him has been passed to the rest of the Braves’ roster. Snitker is a strong candidate in a crowded field for NL Manager of the Year Award. 

NL Most Valuable Player

Washington Nationals’ third baseman Anthony Rendon is a player that has had a stellar season despite being overlooked in the NL MVP conversation. Since the beginning of the season, he has maintained a batting average over .300, finishing the season with a .319 BA. In addition, Rendon led the MLB with 126 RBIs. His impact is immense for the Nationals because he forms a big part of their offensive productivity. The Nationals clinched a wild card spot with a record of 93-69. Rendon’s MVP-caliber season has been rewarded by the Nationals as they have offered him a seven-year deal ranging between $210 million and $215 million.

NL Cy Young Award

Hyun-Jin Ryu had a tremendous 2019 season. Ryu led the MLB in ERA with a staggering 2.32. Ryu seldom walks batters, owning the lowest walk rate in the majors with a 1.2 walks per nine innings. He helped the Dodgers finish with a National League best 106-56 record. Ryu’s credentials speak for themselves, placing him in a prime position to claim his first NL Cy Young Award.