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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?

2019 MLB American League Awards

Major League Baseball will start handing out the hardware for the 2019 season next week.  The finalists for all the major awards have also been announced.  The Blowhard has his opinions, and the finalists in real life won’t necessarily be the finalists in this “vote”.  We will list out our picks like it was a real ballot.  Meaning, 10 choices for MVP, 5 for Cy Young, etc.  And let’s please remember, the postseason results don’t count.  Real life ballots are finalized once the regular season ends.  Let’s dive right in:

Most Valuable Player:

  1. Mike Trout, LA Angels
  2. Alex Bregman, Houston
  3. DJ LeMahieu, NY Yankees
  4. Xander Bogaerts, Boston
  5. Nelson Cruz, Minnesota
  6. George Springer, Houston
  7. Marcus Semien, Oakland
  8. Rafael Devers, Boston
  9. Carlos Santana, Cleveland
  10. Jorge Soler, Kansas City

This is what I wrote last year:  “There will be at least one person upset that I put Trout third.  Mikey may still yet be the best player in baseball.  But again, for those who don’t remember, I am an advocate for giving the MVP award to the “most valuable” instead of the “best player”.  You will see from the list above that there are no players from bad teams and only one (Trout) from a mediocre team.  I know, these guys are only one of nine on the field at the same time.  And it’s hard to “carry” a baseball team by yourself.  But look at the difference J.D. seemed to make in the Boston lineup and maybe one player can?”

Welp, I give up.  Trout is the best player in baseball.  He looked like he was on his way to his best season before being shut down in early September with a foot injury…and by “best season”, that is really saying something with the career he has had.  It may have been his best season anyway.  His team still sucked, that is nothing new.  It will always make one wonder how “valuable” he actually is to the team.  But that matters not anymore.

Alex Bregman would be the only other real option.  But how “valuable” was he to his team?  Well, he had some great numbers and showed his defensive versatility when he played a great deal of the season at shortstop.  But he also had guys like Jose Altuve, George Springer, Yuli Gurriel, Carlos Correa to go along with a top rookie and 2 Cy Young candidates that we will talk more about later.  So even though Houston won 107 games, Bregman had a lot of help.

So Trout is the choice.  Some people (Pete?) would say that is abundantly clear and always has been.  Perhaps that is true…but moving on…

Semien is the third finalist in real life.  Helluva a year for him for sure.  But 3rd seems to be a stretch.  LeMahieu is my choice.  DJ wasn’t even going to necessarily have a full-time job when he first started the season with the Yanks.  And, silly me, I thought once he left the cozy confines of Coors Field, his numbers would take a hit.  Wrong again.  With all of the Yankee injuries, DJ was out there every day and his numbers, specifically his power numbers, were the best of his career.

Maybe Xander is a little high at 4th, and if you switched him and Semien…I don’t know.  X was 5th in the AL in OPS and as a shortstop, I felt like that meant something.  We likely would have had Cruz and Springer higher than X, but they both missed about 40 games, so we pushed them back a bit.

8-10 could have been anyone.  Per usual.  I thought the three here should be recognized for their awesome seasons.  Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Austin Meadows, Yoan Moncada, Jose Altuve, Matt Olson, a couple of pitchers…if you put any of those guys at the back of the top 10, I would not argue with you.

Cy Young:

  1. Justin Verlander, Houston
  2. Gerrit Cole, Houston
  3. Charlie Morton, Tampa Bay
  4. Shane Bieber, Cleveland
  5. Lance Lynn, Texas

It’s really Verlander 1A and Cole 1B.  It was THAT close.  I guess the tiebreakers included Verlanders’ lower WHIP and more consistent year.  Cole started a little slow and then dominated from June on in.  But if you gave the award to either you wouldn’t be wrong.  Morton is a distant 3rd.  Bieber could have made that spot as well.  I can’t believe I am writing Lynn into the last spot.  But who else would it be?  Mike Minor?  Lucas Giolito?  Eduardo Rodriguez?  A closer like Roberto Osuna?  I don’t know.  Does it matter?

Rookie of the Year:

  1. Yordan Alvarez, Houston
  2. Eloy Jimenez, Chi White Sox
  3. John Means, Baltimore

Alvarez only played 87 games.  But his numbers were so off the charts, he wins in a landslide.  Eloy had a better year than people think.  And Means actually made the All-Star team.  Though, yeah, someone had to go from the Orioles.

There were some other exciting rookies in the league this year.  But they either didn’t do as well as expected (Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Oscar Mercado) or didn’t play enough (Bo Bichette).  Brandon Lowe was an All-Star and is up for the real award, but he missed the majority of the second half.  And didn’t have the numbers Alvarez had anyway.  Michael Chavis also contributed as a rookie then he himself missed the last several weeks.  Solid group here going forward though.

Manager of the Year:

  1. Rocco Baldelli, Minnesota
  2. Aaron Boone, NY Yankees
  3. Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay

I was tempted to give this to Boone with the way he had to navigate all the injuries the team had this year.  But they are the Yankees.  And have enough resources to combat injuries in the first place.  It’s also impossible to ignore a 23 win improvement in your first year as manager, as the Twins did under Baldelli.  Cash could win this every year.  His team doesn’t spend and he has to have “bullpen games” like 3 days a week.  Not to mention, his best starter, Blake Snell, missed significant time this year.  But Cash always seems to keep the Rays in the mix.  Bob Melvin deserves consideration for the job he did with the A’s as well.  AJ Hinch gets penalized for his team being too good in the first place, unfortunately.

Next:  The National League

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.

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