The regular season of baseball is done for 2019. Yes, it’s a sad time, though at least we have October baseball to tide us over until spring next season. As we wrap up the campaign, I thought it would be a good time to do two things. First, I gave my thoughts on the fantasy baseball awards in 2019. Second, I asked you, yes you, who you thought the major award winners in 2019 should be for the AL/NL MVP and Cy Young awards. Who did you choose?
THE FANTASY BASEBALL AWARDS
Last week I did the final regular season podcast of the 2019 Fantasy Baseball season. In that podcast, I gave out the Fantasy Baseball awards. Who was the best hitter? The best pitcher? The best reliever? I also spent time list the best bargains at each position giving two names that greatly outpaced their preseason cost.
Give that sucker a listen – and let me know what you think in the chatroom.
THE AWARD WINNERS
As I’m want to do, I ran a couple of polls on Twitter asking you who you thought should win the four major awards this season. The results are listed below, along with some commentary by yours truly.
Some general rules…
1 – I think award winners should be the best players.
2 – I don’t care if a guy was on the better team or not. Often times, the best teams have more than just one good player, which is why they are the best teams.
3 – Games in May matter as much as the ones in September, so I don’t buy the line of thought that suggests that a strong final month means more.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CY YOUNG AWARD
This award is pretty impossible to discern a clear-cut winner between the two Astros. Let’s give it a go.
1 – Colewent 16-0 with a 1.78 ERA his final 22 starts. He struck out 226 batters over those 146.2 innings.
2 – Verlander led the AL in wins (21), hits allowed per nine (5.53), K/BB (7.14).
3 – September numbers for both.
Cole: 49 K, 4 BB, 12 hits, 3 ER in 29 IP
Verlander: 40 K, 6 BB, 13 hits, 4 ER in 28 IP
4 – Here are the season long numbers.
*The best mark in baseball history.
You cannot go wrong if you choose either guy. You can easily make the case for Verlander, but I would lean toward Cole by the slightest of margins. Think what you will about wins and loses, but to go loss-less over 22-straight outings is amazing. He also set the all-time K/9 record, and the advanced measures (xFIP, SIERA, WAR) favor him as well. Verlander has had his day. This time, it’s Cole.
RAY’S FINAL THREE: Cole, Verlander, Morton
NATIONAL LEAGUE CY YOUNG AWARD
The case for each man is solid, so I’ll just list some numbers.
What part does the record play? At this point, I think most are beyond it, but Strasburg does stand out with his 18 victories.
In the ERA column, Strasburg loses as the only fella in the three’s.
All guys WHIP marks are virtually identical.
Ryu is the only man under 10 per nine in the K column.
Ryu dominates the walk column, with a mark a full point better than Strasburg and Flaherty.
xFIP favors Scherzer. Ditto SIERA.
deGrom leads in WAR.
I think you could make an argument for all three of these guys.
Ultimately, the best decision seems to be to go with deGrom as he posted elite numbers in everything but the W-L columns. That would be a second straight Cy Young award for deGrom who posted the following numbers in his 13 no-decisions this season: 1.70 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 5.25 K/9 with a .200/.258/.282 slash line.
RAY’S FINAL THREE: deGrom, Strasburg, Flaherty
AMERICAN LEAGUE MVP AWARD
This one if kinda like the NL award in that the top-2 vote getters are likely to be one guy with a full season of games and one guy with a month of missed time.
Let’s look at the overall numbers.
Bregman: .296-41-112-122-5 in 690 plate appearances
Trout: .291-45-104-110-11 in 600 plate appearances
Bregman: .296/.423/.592 with a .418 wOBA and 168 wRC+ and
8.5 WAR (Fangraphs)
Trout: .291/.438/.645 with a .436 wOBA and 180 wRC+ and 8.6 WAR
Damn close across the board.
Bregman played 99 games at third base (91 starts), and when Carlos Correa was injured, yet again, he stepped up he also spent 65 games at shortstop (59 starts).
You cannot go wrong with either player but I would, and I took a long and hard look at this one, go with Bregman for the fact that he plays the infield and answered the call at two spots. Trout will either win his third MVP award, or he will finish second for the fifth time. He truly is a remarkable player.
RAY’S FINAL THREE: Bregman, Trout, Chapman
NATIONAL LEAGUE MVP AWARD
I’m surprised that Yelich wasn’t the winner in the vote. What I most often heard was (A) Yelich missed time and (B) the Brewers dominated in September without Yelich (as if that somehow diminishes what Yelich did). As I noted above, I don’t read much into the team argument. Let’s talk about the players.
Bellinger had 660 plate appearances, Yelich 580. That matters, but enough to tilt things to the Dodger?
Yelich bettered Bellinger in AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS, wOBA and wRC+.
In fact, Yelich didn’t just better Bellinger in those six categories, Yelich led the Nationals League in all six of those categories. Mike Trout has never done led the league in AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS. Mookie Betts – never. Albert Pujols – never. Miguel Cabrera did it once, back in 2013. Guys just don’t do it.
Even though Yelich appeared in 26 fewer games, Yelich led the NL in offensive WAR (7.3) while Bellinger was third in the league (6.6).
I would also like to point out that Bellinger’s season was the tale of two distinct pieces. From Opening Day through the end of May, Bellinger was the best hitter in baseball as he went .379-20-52-50 with a .483 wOBA and 207 wRC+ in 56 games. Over his final 100 games, not so much. Bellinger was at .262-27-63-71 with a .375 wOBA and 136 wRC+. Add it all up and he was great, but he was only truly great the first two months. The rest of the time he was Max Muncy.
RAY’S FINAL THREE: Yelich, Bellinger, Rendon
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday-Thursday 8-10 PM EDT, and Friday’s from 10-12 PM EST and Sunday’s at 9-11 pm EST on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). Follow Ray’s work on Twitter (@baseballguys) and be sure to listen to his podcast work too.