AL MVP: Mike Trout
I very badly want to say Gleyber Torres here. Very badly. If I was in Vegas and had to put money on it, at Gleyber’s odds, I would pick Gleyber. However, I just can’t bring myself to it.
There’s nothing more I need to say about Mike Trout to try and sell him as American League MVP, so here’s a stat for you. Mike Trout has the most fWAR among batters of any player since the 2004 season. In that span, he has played in 494 less games than anyone else in the top 10 of that list. Oh, and he was also 13 years old in 2004. Enjoy him while he’s still playing, because chances are you can live to 100 and you won’t see another player with this talent. The current 100-year olds have only seen one close.
Honorable Mentions: Gleyber Torres, Alex Bregman
NL MVP: Keston Hiura
Ok, I already teased this in my article yesterday on one MVP candidate for each team. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that knows me. I’ve said a lot of crazy things about this kid in person, over text, and over twitter. So I’m just going to get them all out here.
If Keston Hiura finishes his career with less than 3,000 hits, I will be disappointed. I said this before he was even drafted. He has the second best swing I have ever seen from a minor leaguer, behind only the AL MVP selection on this list. He’s going to have a better 2020 season than Christian Yelich.
Only seven Major League players hit the ball hard at a higher rate than Keston Hiura in 2019. Only one of those, Kyle Schwarber, was in the National League. Yes, he hit the ball hard more often than Cody Bellinger, than Christian Yelich, or than Pete Alonso. His BABIP was high, but that wasn’t a sign of a fluke. He’s that good at the plate.
Honorable Mentions: Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
I really think this is a two horse race. For as much as I like the Rays starters, or Lucas Giolito, I think there is a very clear gap between those guys and Verlander and Gerrit Cole, the other contender. In a 60-game season, with the ability to put foreign substances on the wet rag you bring to the mound *wink wink nudge nudge*, Verlander gets the edge.
Gerrit Cole is going to have to work through some communication issues with a new battery mate and new coaching staff. Justin Verlander has worked with Martin Maldonado before, and while that may not be a massive advantage, anything to separate these guys is going to be taken into account. This is small, but that’s the difference between the two of them right now.
Honorable Mentions: Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Blake Snell, Lucas Giolito
NL Cy Young: Jack Flaherty
It’s very easy to want to pick Scherzer, Strasburg, or deGrom here. I get that. However, when push comes to shove, I really think Jack Flaherty wins the Cy Young this year. For starters, he has looked absolutely electric since Summer Camp started.
The Cardinals have made it a point to build their team around their defense, a call-back to the original “Cardinal Way.” That’s something the Mets, who have quite possibly the worst infield defense in the league, and the Nationals have not done. In a 60-game season, it’s unlikely that sabermetrics or advanced stats differentiate players anywhere near as much as they would in a full season. Therefore, there is going to be a lot more reliance on the “basic” stats, like ERA and WHIP, in voting this year.
That plays straight into Flaherty’s hands, as his defense should lower those numbers instead of raising them.
Honorable Mentions: Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Stephen Strasburg
AL Rookie Of The Year: Nate Pearson
It’s very easy to answer Luis Robert to this question, and I wanted to. However, very rarely do rookies debut in the league, catch fire, and not slow down after a couple weeks. It’s happened before, as last year’s AL Rookie Of The Year is a testament, but it’s not likely. Even one or two bad weeks can doom you here, so I think both Rookie Of The Year awards are won by pitchers, who more than likely won’t be impacted as much.
Pearson didn’t break camp with the Jays for service time reasons, but should only miss one start. He has the best fastball of any pitching prospect since possibly Stephen Strasburg, and his changeup looked absolutely electric in his one tune-up start against the Red Sox, even if he didn’t as a whole.
Honorable Mentions: Luis Robert, Evan White, Jesus Luzardo
NL Rookie Of The Year: Dustin May
For the same reason I didn’t pick Luis Robert to win in the American League, I’m not going to pick Dylan Carlson in the National League. Sure, it’s the popular and sexy pick, I just don’t think it’s the most practical.
I really don’t think there are many good pitching options in the National League to pick for this award, so in a sense, it defaulted to Dustin May. May isn’t going to be on the roster for Opening Day either, but much like Pearson, should be up very quickly, and if his cup of coffee last year was any indication, he’s going to shove.
Honorable Mentions: Gavin Lux, Dylan Carlson, Mitch Keller