With every MLB team having played at least 40 games in 2019, it’s officially past the quarter-mark of the season. As always, several players and teams have surprised fans to start the year, whether good or bad. Five members of the BIGPLAY staff submitted votes for their early-season award winners.
AL MVP – George Springer
The only unanimous choice for any award was George Springer’s AL MVP nod, and it’s for a good reason. The 29-year-old leads baseball with 39 runs scored while leading the American League with 16 homers, 40 RBI, and 55 hits. In 200 plate appearances, his slash line is a ridiculous .320/.400/.651 and the Houston Astros are steamrolling the AL West. His teammate Michael Brantley also earned a top-three finish as he’s tied with Springer with 55 hits and owns a .329 average.
NL MVP – Cody Bellinger
The fact that Cody Bellinger narrowly missed a unanimous victory while Christian Yelich is also making history just shows how great of a season he’s having. He leads the MLB with 41 RBI, 61 hits and a .401/.481/.770. Combine that with 15 long balls and seven stolen bases and Bellinger has a 4.4 WAR, over a win better than any other player.
AL Cy Young – Justin Verlander
The AL Cy Young vote was the only award where more than two players got a first-place vote. However, the top choice seems fairly obvious. Verlander somehow continues to get better as he gets older. The 36-year-old righty owns a 2.38 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 64.1 innings, going 7-1 in the process. The only knock on him is that he’s allowed 1.5 HR/9, the highest rate of his career. Still, he leads the AL with a minuscule 0.79 WHIP.
NL Cy Young – Luis Castillo
The NL Cy Young was the closest of all the votes, with Luis Castillo taking the top spot over Hyun-Jin Ryu by just one point. Castillo has been absolutely dominant in his breakout campaign, striking out 11.1 batters per nine innings with a 1.90 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in just over 61 innings. He’s allowed two or fewer runs in nine of ten starts this year and owns a 5-1 record.
AL Rookie of the Year – Brandon Lowe
Brandon Lowe leads all AL rookies with eight homers and 22 RBI, making him a popular choice for this award. His OPS is over .850 and he plays strong defense at second base. The 24-year-old was hitting .311 after May 7, but a little slump has brought his average down to .285 in 137 at-bats.
NL Rookie of the Year – Pete Alsonso
Pete Alonso has done nothing but rake since the start of the season. He’s clocked 12 homers and 32 RBI, both best among all rookie batters. Despite a relatively unimpressive .261 average, the 24-year-old slugger owns a .907 OPS. Chris Paddack isn’t too far behind with his sub-2.00 ERA and solid strikeout numbers.
AL Manager of the Year – Rocco Baldelli
The Minnesota Twins were expected to compete this season, but not many saw them having the second-best record in baseball this late in the year, especially with a rookie manager. Last season, they were bottom-10 in the MLB with 166 home runs; they’re third this year with 80 and it’s not even June. Led by Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi (third and fourth in AL Cy Young voting), the team’s 3.88 ERA is nearly a half-run better than league-average.
NL Manager of the Year – Gabe Kapler
Philadelphia had a big offseason, bringing in names such as Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, and Jean Segura. Despite the poor starts from Harper and ace Aaron Nola, the team is 24-19, leading the NL East. Gabe Kapler has led this team to a great start despite lack of production from his stars; once they settle in and heat up, Philadelphia might run away with the division.