MLB Awards 2019: Which Red Sox are candidates?
The Red Sox took home plenty of hardware in 2018 to go along with a World Series trophy.
Mookie Betts earned an MVP award, Gold Glove, and Silver Slugger, J.D. Martinez earned a Silver Slugger of his own (two, actually), and Jackie Bradley Jr. got his long-overdue Gold Glove.
Those three are expected to be contenders for more accolades in 2019, but there are more candidates where that came from inside the Boston clubhouse.
Here are the Red Sox’ leading candidates for this year’s end-of-season American League awards. . .
Betts’ MVP season will be a tough act to follow. The 26-year-old hit .346 with 32 homers and a whopping 1.078 OPS in 2018. But as one of baseball’s premier superstars, there’s no reason to believe he isn’t capable of putting up those numbers again.
Betts finished sixth in AL MVP voting in ’16 and was the runner-up in ’17 before winning the award last year. You can expect him to be in the mix this time around, and for years to come.
Martinez finishing fourth in AL MVP voting last year makes it hard to believe he’ll ever be a serious candidate. He said it himself earlier in spring training, “For a DH to win MVP, they’re going to have to walk on water.”
Still, he has to at least be mentioned. Martinez has evolved into one of the best all-around hitters in the game, and his impact on the rest of the Red Sox lineup is unprecedented.
It isn’t a matter of whether Sale will perform at a Cy Young award level, it’s a matter of whether the left-hander can stay healthy for a full season. Sale was cruising toward the AL Cy Young award in 2018 before being missing most of the second half with shoulder inflammation.
He’s placed sixth or better in Cy Young voting each year since 2012, and he’ll keep that streak going through ’19.
Price hasn’t been Cy Young-caliber since joining the Red Sox in 2016, but he has won the award before (’12 with Rays) and finished as the runner-up twice. Maybe the confidence gained from a World Series title will help Price return to form as one of the premier pitchers in the American League.
Obviously not nearly as likely as Sale or Price, but still worthy of being considered a candidate after winning the award in 2016. Porcello improved last year following a disastrous ’17 campaign, so we might see him continue to trend back toward where he was three years ago.
Rookie Of the Year
Chavis probably won’t get the playing time necessary to be considered for the Rookie Of the Year award. However, as the team’s top prospect, he needs to at least be mentioned.
The 23-year-old slugger’s best path to the majors is via an injury or rough patch for second baseman Dustin Pedroia or third baseman Rafael Devers. If he does get more playing time than expected, Chavis could turn some heads at the plate just as he did throughout spring training.
Comeback Player Of the Year
The veteran Red Sox second baseman missed all but three games last season after undergoing surgery on his left knee. If he can stay on the field for 120 games or so and produce at even close to the level he’s produced over the years, it’s hard to imagine many candidates being more deserving.
Manager Of the Year
The amount of talent on the Red Sox roster kept Cora from winning the Manager Of the Year award in his inaugural season. The award typically goes to the manager of a team that wasn’t expected to be successful. That’ll make it tough for Cora to win it in ’19 coming off a World Series title, though if the Red Sox win the division with the bullpen as currently constructed, he’ll have to be considered.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Arguably the flashiest center fielder in the game, JBJ is an obvious candidate. He won the award for the first time last year, and he has a great shot at making it two in a row.
The right fielder has won the Gold Glove award in each of the last three seasons. Four in a row seems likely.
Unlike Bradley and Betts, Benintendi doesn’t have a Gold Glove award on his resumé. He was, however, a finalist last year and will look to help the Red Sox complete the outfield Gold Glove sweep in 2019.
If he’s healthy, the 2018 AL MVP is a shoo-in for another Silver Slugger.
Martinez took home not one, but two Silver Slugger awards (DH and OF) in 2018. It’s safe to predict he’ll win at least one this year.
A two-time Silver Slugger award winner, Bogaerts is more than capable of making it happen again in 2019.