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2019 MLB National League Awards

…same full disclosure as previous years:  The Blowhard watches a whole helluva more American League baseball than National League.  This is probably going to be short, but sweet!

Most Valuable Player:

  1. Christian Yelich, Milwaukee
  2. Cody Bellinger, LA Dodgers
  3. Anthony Rendon, Washington
  4. Ketel Marte, Arizona
  5. Nolan Arenado, Colorado
  6. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta
  7. Pete Alonso, NY Mets
  8. Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati
  9. Juan Soto, Washington
  10. Josh Bell, Pittsburgh

Like Mike Trout in the American League, Yelich missed the majority of the last month with injury, while the closest competitor played the whole season.  But also like Trout, Yelich’s numbers were so sick when he played, he gets the nod for me.  Plus, he had less help than Bellinger in his lineup…and entire team for that matter…and that kind of cemented the pick for me.  Rendon also had a strong season, but he was a tick behind the other two.

Marte?  Talk about coming out of nowhere.  But he deserves the #4 spot.  Arenado once again gets penalized for his home park.  But perhaps I should reconsider after what DJ LeMahieu did in New York after leaving?  Not yet…

The rest of the guys had great seasons, so you can put them in any order you want.  Charlie Blackmon and maybe Trevor Story got penalized for Coors Field, as they could be top 10 as well.  Ronald Acuna Jr. almost went 40/40 and Bryce Harper ended up straightening out his season and ended up with decent numbers.  Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant from the Cubs, Jeff McNeil from the Mets.  Max Muncy…etc.  Some players put up some pretty good numbers, per usual.  Any of them could be in the bottom half of the top ten.  I’m going with the above.

Cy Young:

  1. Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
  2. Hyun-Jin Ryu, LA Dodgers
  3. Max Scherzer, Washington
  4. Stephen Strasburg, Washington
  5. Jack Flaherty, St. Louis

Tougher than it looked here.  Ryu was dominant in the first half and would have been the easy choice had he not had a stretch of starts in the second half where he got shelled…then had to be rested a bit.  Max was Max, but he missed a handful of starts due to injury.  Jake’s numbers were actually pretty close to what they were in 2018 when he won the Cy.  Not having the sub-2.00 ERA may make people think otherwise, but take a look at the whole lot of them.  That pushed me to make him the choice in 2019 as well.

Strasburg had a bit of a high ERA of 3.32, but his overall numbers made me slot him in at #4, again, not including the postseason, where he was dominant and the World Series MVP.  But Flaherty, Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray (seriously?), Mike Soroka and even a closer like Josh Hader or perhaps Kirby Yates could have filled out #4-5 as well.

Rookie of the Year:

  1. Pete Alonso, NY Mets
  2. Pete Alonso, NY Mets
  3. Pete Alonso, NY Mets

This one should be unanimous.  The kid hit 53 homers.  But if I had to take a #2 & #3, I take Soroka second and Dakota Hudson, starting pitcher for St. Louis 3rd.  Fernando Tatis Jr. is a finalist with Soroka in real life and no question he is a real talent.  Along with Keston Hiura of the Brewers.  But they both played 84 games, coincidentally.  And while their numbers were good, they weren’t “Yordan Alvarez good”.  So they both are a step behind.  Special mention here to Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson Mike here as well.  The “kid” finally makes the majors at age 28 and hits 21 bombs and has a .852 OPS in 411 plate appearances.  He is out of the top 5 in the Rookie of the Year voting for sure.  And he may hit .211 with 10 homers next year.  But it’s worth a shout out here anyway.

Manager of the Year:

  1. Craig Counsell, Milwaukee
  2. Mike Shildt, St. Louis
  3. Brian Snitker, Atlanta

Counsell seemed to do more with less this year, even though his team lost 7 more games than last season.  Yelich’s injury at the end didn’t help.  Travis Shaw and Jesus Aguilar fell off the face of the earth.  2018 #1 starter Jhoulys Chacin collapsed, was released and ended up starting bullpen games for the pitching depleted Red Sox in September.  The three-headed monster in the bullpen (Hader, Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress) was down to one this season…Hader.  Knebel missed the entire season with injury.  Jeffress was hurt a bit then sucked when he was healthy and he too was released.  Etc.  Seems like Counsell was the most deserving choice here.

Shildt got the Cards to the playoffs, despite guys like Matt Carpenter, Marcell Ozuna and even Paul Goldschmidt taking a dip down in production.  Plus a few pitchers like Michael Wacha as well.  Snitker led a 7 win improvement while having some pitchers having good seasons in 2018 take a downturn in 2019.

Dave Roberts gets penalized for having a stacked team.  Dave Martinez led a 11 win improvement for the Nationals…and of course won the World Series.  But when looking at that roster, it makes you wonder if he could’ve done even better in the regular season.  Even after the team lost Harper.  I guess when you win the World Series, it matters not.  But I can’t vote with the postseason in mind, once again.

I actually thought of giving Mickey Callaway of the Mets some love for his 9 win improvement and keeping his team in the mix until close to the end, finishing 3 games out of the 2nd wild card spot.  But he is apparently a nut job and ended up getting fired at the end of the season.  So I guess maybe it wasn’t him that led the team to success?

National League Awards

…same full disclosure as previous years:  The Blowhard watches a whole helluva more American League baseball than National League.  This is probably going to be short, but sweet!

Most Valuable Player:

  1. Christian Yelich, Milwaukee
  2. Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
  3. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta
  4. Nolan Arenado, Colorado
  5. Jesus Aguilar, Milwaukee
  6. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona
  7. Trevor Story, Colorado
  8. Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati
  9. Matt Carpenter, St. Louis
  10. Scooter Gennett, Cincinnati

Honestly kind of a thin class, from what I can tell.  Yelich was on fire down the stretch and that allowed him to pull away.  Baez seems like a clear-cut second choice, especially when you throw in his defense.  #3-#7 could maybe go in any order.  Arenado is the third finalist in real life.  But I continuously penalize hitters from Colorado.  I’m sorry.  That hurts Story of course as well.  We picked Freeman third over Goldy mainly because Atlanta was in the playoffs.  Aguilar had a monster year as well and the Brewers were of course also in the playoffs.  I don’t know.  Let’s leave them as is for lack of a better explanation.

#8-#10 had good numbers and I suppose you could mix them in any order also.  We didn’t find any NL pitchers worthy of MVP consideration.  And your guess is as good as mine if we had to make a #11 pick.

Cy Young:

  1. Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
  2. Max Scherzer, Washington
  3. Aaron Nola, Philadelphia
  4. Kyle Freeland, Colorado
  5. Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta

Nola had a great year, but it’s really down to Jacob and Max.  deGrom was on a putrid team, so his 10-9 record doesn’t look good.  But his peripherals, including a sparkling 1.70 ERA, look amazing.  Scherzer’s ERA of 2.53 is, of course, nothing to sneeze at.  300 K’s for Max isn’t either.  But Jake struck out 269.  WHIP’s are almost identical.  Someone else wrote this and I cannot remember who, but it may have been more fun if deGrom didn’t win his final two starts and finished at 8-9 and won the Cy.  But that being said, he gets it in a close vote.  Nola was a clear-cut third.

#4-#8 I feel like you could have picked out of a hat.  #6-#8 in some order would have been Patrick Corbin, Arizona, Zack Greinke, also of Arizona, and Miles Mikolas of St. Louis.  These guys all had similar numbers across the board.  We picked Freeland fourth because unlike Colorado hitters, we need to give Colorado pitchers extra credit for having great years there.  Folty gets fifth because his team made the playoffs, really nothing more.

Rookie of the Year:

  1. Ronald Acuna, Atlanta & Juan Soto, Washington
  2. Walker Buehler, LA Dodgers

Talk about similar numbers, Acuna and Soto had them as well.  Even plate appearances, where Acuna had 487 and Soto had 494.  Acuna had a handful more homers and had more steals.  Soto had a better average.  .923 OPS for Soto versus .917 for Acuna.  I say give them both a piece of this award this year and then let’s see them battle it out for the next decade plus for MVP awards.  I did not pay any mind to Buehler’s fantastic Game 3 World Series start since you know we aren’t supposed to count that.  But he slightly beat out St, Louis’ Jack Flaherty for third place here.  Jack threw 13 2/3 more innings, but Walker got him in ERA (2.62 to 3.34) and WHIP (0.96 to 1.11).  Good enough for me.  A half of season from Franmil Reyes in San Diego was nice, and I’m sure promising for Padre fans.  But not enough to get him in the top three.

Manager of the Year:

  1. Brian Snitker, Atlanta
  2. Gabe Kapler, Philadelphia
  3. Craig Counsell, Milwaukee

Snitker won 18 more games than last year and got the Braves into the playoffs.  And I’ve never heard of him.  I thought Bobby Cox still managed the Braves?  Ok, kidding there, but this was an easy choice.  Kapler didn’t make the real cut, but you can’t ignore the 14 win improvement over the last manager.  Not to mention he had the Phils inexplicably in the mix until a late-season collapse.  Counsell’s team won 10 more games than he did last year, so that gives him third over a real-life finalist, Bud Black.  Black only won 4 more games.

Baseball Hardware…

…so now that the World Series has concluded, Major League Baseball is about ready to announce their award winners.  The Gold Glove awards (yaaaaaaawn) were announced last night.  The Blowhard of course feels like he should add his two cents, starting with the American League…and remember, the postseason does not count:

Most Valuable Player:

  1. Aaron Judge, NY Yankees
  2. Jose Altuve, Houston
  3. Jose Ramirez, Cleveland
  4. Carlos Correa, Houston
  5. Mike Trout, LA Angels
  6. Nelson Cruz, Seattle
  7. Brian Dozier, Minnesota
  8. George Springer, Houston
  9. Josh Donaldson, Toronto
  10. Corey Kluber, Cleveland

Again, a 10 person ballot, so we did what we needed to do here.  Turns out MLB had the same top 3, though it appears there are really only two candidates in Judge and Altuve.  Spots 3 through even 20, I suppose you could have all kinds of different orders.  Since Ramirez had the same OPS as Altuve and was on the best team in the league, I went with him third.

Anyway, back to the top two candidates.  It appears that Altuve may have a leg up on the real ballot, based on what is being talked about nationwide.  And sure, he was consistent all year long, while Judge was miserable in August and not so good in July either.  Altuve hit 62 points higher.  And Judge struck out 124 more times.  But if you take a deeper dive, Judge’s OPS was 92 points higher, he scored 16 more runs (with Altuve being probably in a better overall lineup), walked a ton more and of course…the 52 homers.  For those of you who believe in sabermetrics and the WAR stat, Judge was on top 8.8 to 7.9.

You probably can’t go wrong either way.  But what sealed it for me?  Judge hit .311, with 15 homers, 32 RBI’s and a 1.352 OPS is September as the Yanks made their playoff push.  I know, he may have been hitting some of those bombs against minor league callups.  But one also probably should consider the pressure of a playoff race as a factor as well.  Along with the fact that everyone else is hitting off the same bums too.  Anyway…

As for the rest…the true MVP may well have been Correa if he hadn’t missed over 50 games.  Trout obviously still stakes a real claim to being the best player in baseball.  So despite Mikey missing almost 50 games himself, he’s still gotta be there.  Another member of the “about 50 games missed” club is Donaldson.  His team sucked after having high expectations at the start of the season.  But his numbers were sick in the games he did play.  So I found a place for him.

I felt that someone from that inexplicable Twin playoff team had to be in the Top Ten…so that’s why Dozier is here.  And he won a Gold Glove too…YAAAAY!  Cruz and Springer…I suppose Francisco Lindor, Gary Sanchez, Jose Abreu, Justin Upton, Jonathan Schoop, Edwin Encarnacion or whoever else could have filled those spots.  Lastly, as I’ve said in the past, I don’t love including pitchers in the MVP race.  Once every 5 days for a starter and once every 3 days or so for a closer aren’t the same as playing every single day.  But for one, I included 3 guys that missed about a third of the season here.  And for two, if a pitcher’s performance deserves consideration, then it deserves consideration.  Kluber’s 5-0, 0.84 in September helped him to deserve consideration.

Cy Young:

  1. Corey Kluber, Cleveland
  2. Chris Sale, Boston
  3. Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland
  4. Luis Severino, NY Yankees
  5. Craig Kimbrel, Boston

This race seems pretty cut and dried to me.  As opposed to last year where Kluber, Rick Porcello or Justin Verlander were pretty tight and any one of them could have won.  Porcello did and boy do the voters probably feel foolish about that now.  Maybe not, since each year is different.  But we all know Porcello was horrific this year.  Kind of makes me personally want to take the award away from him last year.

As for this year, Sale had his 300 strikeouts and all and had probably had a healthy lead in this race as the summer wore on.  But Kluber’s stretch run blew him past Sale to take the Cy.  Severino will be third in the real world, as he has already been announced as the third finalist.  I’m going with Carrasco though, maybe for the sole reason that I hate the Yankees, I don’t know.  Kimbrel was pretty dominant this year, so even though I don’t love relievers in this spot, his performance was hard to ignore.  If you put Verlander there, I could live with that.  But Ervin Santana or Drew Pomer…nevermind.

Rookie of the Year:

  1. Aaron Judge, NY Yankees
  2. Trey Mancini, Baltimore
  3. Andrew Benintendi, Boston

There really is no 2nd and 3rd here.  Judge will be unanimous.  Mancini had a higher OPS than Benintendi (.826 to .776), so I went with him 2nd.  Plus, I was continuously furious with Andrew for all the boneheaded plays he made on the bases this season.  Deserves to be knocked down.  There really weren’t any other choices here.  Yuli Gurriel is apparently technically a rookie this year.  But since he is 33 years old, has played professionally since he was about 8 and had exactly 130 at-bats in 2016 (if he had 131, he would not have been considered a rookie in 2017), I’m passing on him for my ballot.  Honorable mention goes to Matt Olson of Oakland here, since he hit 24 bombs in only 59 games and 216 plate appearances this year.  Maybe I should have put him second…

Manager of the Year:

  1. Paul Molitor, Minnesota
  2. A.J. Hinch, Houston
  3. Terry Francona, Cleveland

Hinch’s Astros won the World Series.  Tito’s Indians had the best record in the league.  But Molitor is the ONLY choice here.  The Twins made the playoffs this year after losing 103 games in 2016.  How did they do that?  I have no idea.  Have you seen that squad?

Dozier had a good year.  Miguel Sano was having a good year…until he missed the last 6 weeks or so with some sort of shin problem.  Byron Buxton woke up in the second half (and won a Gold Glove…YAAAAY).  Jose Berrios developed some and Santana had a nice year leading the rotation.

But the rest?  Brandon Kintzler was an All-Star closer for the team…then was dealt to the Nationals at the trading deadline.  The corpse of Joe Mauer is still around…and did hit .305.  Kind of an empty .305 though.  The rest of the pitching staff was pretty horrendous…and they actually gave a 44-year-old Bartolo Colon 15 starts, AFTER he went 2-8, 8.14 in 13 starts for the Braves.

I can’t see how this team finished anywhere near the playoffs.  So Molitor should win this thing unanimously.  Though I’m sure some idiot voted for John Farrell because the Red Sox finished first this year.  After all, Nick Cafardo probably has a vote, eh?

Next:  The National League

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