There are no more games left to be played in Major League Baseball this year, but we can’t officially put a bow on the 2019 season until the year-end awards are handed out.
That process will begin on Monday, Nov. 11, when the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year award winners are announced. The Manager of the Year (Nov. 12), Cy Young (Nov. 13) and MVP (Nov. 14) will follow.
There are some interesting questions to be answered this year. Will Mike Trout win his third AL MVP award despite his season ending early? Which Astros right-hander will take home the AL Cy Young award? Can Jacob deGrom make it back-to-back unanimous NL Cy Young awards? We'll know those answers soon.
As an appetizer to the final announcement, the Baseball Writers Association of America revealed the three finalists for each award on Monday. As a reminder, the final votes were cast before the postseason began. This allows us to zero in on and debate the merits of each finalist before it becomes official.
Here’s a look at every category. Finalists are listed alphabetically.
• Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
• Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics
• Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Our take: This was Mike Trout's award to lose until a foot injury ended his season in early September. The question is whether that missed time may have opened the door for Houston's Alex Bregman to win over some voters. Despite the missed time, Trout still managed to set a career high in home runs with 45. The Angels were never in contention, whereas Bregman's Astros won 107 games with him being a key contributor. Bregman's 41 homers, 112 RBIs and .296/.423/.592 slashline were all career bests. Marcus Semien won't win the award, but deserves credit for raising his game to this level.
• Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
• Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals
• Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
Our take: On the NL side, it's likely that Christian Yelich's September knee injury was enough to change the race. Cody Bellinger took his game to another level, performing as the best player on a Dodgers team that won 106 games. Rendon shouldn't be overlooked, either. But his biggest moments came in October.
AL Cy Young
• Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros
• Charlie Morton, Tampa Bay Rays
• Justin Verlander, Houston Astros
Our take: A Houston Astros right-hander is going to win this award. Cole led the league with a 2.50 ERA while setting a franchise record with 326 strikeouts. Verlander was right behind with a 2.58 ERA while leading the league with 223 innings pitched. It's almost certain they will be the first AL teammates to finish one-two in the Cy Young voting.
NL Cy Young
• Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
• Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers
• Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Our take: DeGrom is on track to make it back-to-back Cy Young award wins after Max Scherzer went back-to-back in 2016 and 2017. Scherzer and Ryu were both excellent this season, but time lost to injury likely wiped out their hopes as the durable deGrom kept getting stronger as the season moved along.
AL Rookie of the Year
• Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros
• Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays
• John Means, Baltimore Orioles
Our take: The rich got richer when Yordan Alvarez arrived in Houston. Immediately upon his call up on June 9, the 22-year-old became one of the most dangerous hitters in MLB. He finished with 27 homers, 78 RBIs and a .313/.412/.655 slash line in 87 games.
NL Rookie of the Year
• Pete Alonso, New York Mets
• Mike Soroka, Atlanta Braves
• Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
Our take: Had Fernando Tatis Jr. not missed half the season due to injury, voters would have faced a tough decision. The 20-year-old shortstop was on pace to challenge for the fifth 40-40 season in MLB history. The majority of votes should go to Pete Alonso, whose 53 homers set the MLB rookie record. Don't sleep on Mike Soroka's season though. He was a fringe Cy Young candidate after posting a 2.68 ERA in 29 starts.
AL Manager of the Year
• Rocco Baldelli, Tampa Bay Rays
• Aaron Boone, New York Yankees
• Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays
Our take: Aaron Boone did an excellent job steering the Yankees' ship despite a record number of injuries. He should be the favorite. Twins' rookie skipper Rocco Baldelli could steal some votes here too for leading the Twins’ turnaround.
NL Manager of the Year
• Craig Counsell, Milwaukee Brewers
• Mike Shildt, St. Louis Cardinals
• Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves
Our take: This is the toughest award to predict. Snitker is looking to join Hall of Famer and Braves legend Bobby Cox as the only back-to-back winners of this award. Counsell finished runner-up last season as well, so both have clearly won over the voters. The argument for Shildt is strong too given the Cardinals’ success.
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