This year’s MLB postseason awards race is very competitive; there really is only one slam dunk, probably-going-to-be-unanimous winner — the one about which Mets fans care the most. So here’s my take; the following represents my top three votes on my ballot for the IBWAA awards.
All season long this looked like a two-man race between last year’s winner Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger. Then a fellow named Anthony Rendon added his name to the mix. He is my choice — finishing third in hitting at .319 with 34 home runs and an NL league-leading 126 RBIs. A late season injury likely derailed Yelich’s chances, although he did end up tied for the league lead in hitting at .329 with 44 homers and 97 RBIs. I have Bellinger third (47/115/.305.). Having said all of that, Bellinger will probably win because he led the league in WAR, and a lot of voters kneel at the altar of WAR even though they have no idea what goes into the cockamamie formula.
Mike Trout also suffered a late season injury, but it will not derail his chances for a third MVP. He was second in the AL with 44 homers, and batted .291 with 104 RBIs. I have Alex Bregman second (41/112/.296) second and Nelson Cruz third (41/108/.311).
NL Cy Young
I have written in detail why I voted for Jacob deGrom this year after shunning him last season, so I won’t go into it here. deGrom just had the best overall numbers — a league-leading 255 strikeouts with a 2.43 ERA, second in the league to go along with his paltry 11 wins. He will win his second straight Cy Young award. Stephen Strasburg had the traditional Cy Young year — a league-leading 18 wins and second in strikeouts with 251. But his ERA was 3.32. Still good, but a lot higher than deGrom. I have Hyun-Jin Ryu and his league-leading 2.32 ERA third.
AL Cy Young
You can’t go wrong with either of the top two choices –Astros teammates Gerrit Cole or Justin Verlander. I gave the nod to Cole because his numbers were a bit better. Cole led the league with a 2.50 ERA; Verlander’s 2.58 was second. Cole led the league in strikeouts with an incredible 326; Verlander was second with a still impressive 300. Cole went 20-5 while Verlander was 21-6. I think Verlander will ultimately win though, again because of stupid WAR. I have Shane Bieber (15-8, 3.28, 259 Ks) third.
NL Rookie of the Year
Here’s the slam dunk. Pete Alonso hit 53 home runs and 120 RBIs — what more do you need? Mike Soroka had a fine year (13-4 with an NL third best 2.68 ERA). But did I mention Alonso hit 53 home runs? I have Fernando Tatis, Jr. third.
AL Rookie of the Year
Another one where you can’t go wrong with either of the top two candidates. I went with Yordan Alvarez (27/78/.313 in just 313 at bats). But Elroy Jimenez (31/79/.267) is a fine choice as well. I have Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. third.