It's the dog days of August in Major League Baseball, but with nearly 50 games left in the season for most teams, there's plenty of time to shake things up in most awards races. Let's take a look around the league to see who should be favored in each of the major races in both leagues.
1. Mike Trout, Angels
2. Matt Chapman, Athletics
3. Alex Bregman, Astros
I’m not going to waste your time with 1,000 words on why Mike Trout is great. This award isn’t even remotely close at this point, and it would take a huge injury to shake things up.
Immediately starts knocking on wood as hard as possible.
Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, maybe the best ever, and leads the AL in home runs, RBI, walks, OBP, SLG, OPS (duh), and WAR (no one is within 2 WAR of him). Bregman is really good and Chapman is underrated as the only AL player in the top 10 of both offensive and defensive WAR, but this is a wrap. Next.
1. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
2. Christian Yelich, Brewers
3. Anthony Rendon, Nationals
Let’s be honest, for as great as Rendon is, this is a two-horse race. Bellinger and Yelich have both been incredible this season, and may even challenge Trout if either played in the American League.
Instead, we get to enjoy a legendary NL MVP race between the two home run leaders. Yelich has Bellinger beat in steals, but Bellinger has Yelich topped in defensive metrics.
Bellinger also plays for the far superior team, which likely gives him the edge. Plus, Yelich won last year, and voters love giving their support to a newcomer. This is Bellinger’s time.
AL Cy Young
1. Justin Verlander, Astros
2. Charlie Morton, Rays
3. Shane Bieber, Indians
Another race with an easy first pick that gets much more difficult as you go down the ballot. Verlander leads the AL in ERA, wins, and WHIP, and he’s second in strikeouts. The Astros ace doesn’t walk batters (fourth-best BB/9) and while he does lead the league in home runs allowed, it hasn’t hurt him.
Morton continues to enjoy a late-career breakout, and Shane Bieber may have a Cy Young in his near future, but Verlander continues to be the cream of the crop in the American League.
NL Cy Young
1. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers
2. Max Scherzer, Nationals
3. Jacob deGrom, Mets
Ryu’s run prevention has literally been historic, and that combined with Scherzer’s injury and deGrom’s slow start is enough to put the man with a 1.53 ERA atop the leaderboard.
That said, Ryu is a couple of bad starts away from a more normal ERA, and if Scherzer comes back soon from his back injury it won't surprise anyone to see him surpass Ryu quickly. And all of a sudden deGrom is starting to look like his 2018 self again.
No surprise these three lead the NL in WAR among pitchers.
AL Rookie of the Year
1. Brandon Lowe, Rays
2. John Means, Orioles
3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
Lowe is dealing with slight injury troubles and Means hasn’t been nearly as good since the All-Star break, so “Vladito” actually looks like the best bet to ultimately win this award.
Still, for right now, Lowe and Means have built up enough of a lead over Guerrero to stay ahead of the Toronto phenom at the moment. It won’t last long if Guerrero continues to hit 450-foot home runs in every stadium he visits, though.
NL Rookie of the Year
1. Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
2. Pete Alonso, Mets
3. Mike Soroka, Braves
Both the Padres and Mets should be commended for playing Tatis and Alonso from Opening Day this season, rather than play the service time game and hold down their best players in April to gain additional years of team control. Both players look like future/current superstars and have been among the best players in baseball all season long.
Of course, it’s Soroka with the best chance of playing in the postseason in 2019. Even if the order of the top three feels pretty set, this is a really, really strong group that fans should appreciate getting to watch.
AL Manager of the Year
1. Rocco Baldelli, Twins
2. Kevin Cash, Rays
3. Bob Melvin, Athletics
This award always goes to the most-overachieving team each season, which puts these three names ahead of the pack. The Twins have been the most-discussed overachiever in the AL, but the Rays looked like the best team in baseball at one point while the A’s are keeping the AL West closer than they have any right to.
Still, Baldelli is probably the favorite, considering how dominant the Twins have looked for much of the season.
NL Manager of the Year
1. Torey Lovullo, Diamondbacks
2. Brian Snitker, Braves
3. Bruce Bochy, Giants
Again, this award is earmarked for the biggest overachiever. In the Senior Circuit, that looks like Arizona, who was supposed to be one of the worst teams in baseball but instead finds themselves in second in the NL West.
Snitker is also a strong possibility, given how great the Braves have been. It was supposed to be a jumbled mess in the NL East, but instead, Atlanta is running away with it.
And don’t rule out Bochy. If the Giants’ hot streak continues, he could find himself getting some lifetime achievement votes in his final season.
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