Third baseman Anthony Rendon, who helped lead the Washington Nationals to their first World Series championship, is a finalist for the National League Most Valuable Player award.
The three candidates for each of Major League Baseball’s top eight individual honors — American League and NL MVP, AL and NL Cy Young Award, AL and NL Rookie of the Year and AL and NL Manager of the Year — were announced Monday evening.
Voting for all of the awards was completed prior to the postseason, which culminated with the Nationals beating the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series.
Rendon and one of the NL Cy Young Award candidates, Houston Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole, are two of the top free agents on the market this winter.
In the race for NL MVP, Rendon is vying with last year’s winner, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich, and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger.
Rendon topped the majors with 126 RBIs and tied for an NL-high with 44 doubles while batting .319 with 34 homers. Bellinger was third in the NL with 47 homers and seventh with 115 RBIs to go with a .305 average and a Gold Glove for his play in right field. Yelich topped the NL with a .329 average, a .429 on-base percentage and a .671 slugging percentage. He also added 44 homers and 97 RBIs before his season ended Sept. 10 due to a broken kneecap.
The AL MVP candidates are Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout, a two-time winner and four-time runner-up; Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and Oakland A’s shortstop Marcus Semien.
Bregman hit .296 with 41 homers (tied for third in the AL) and 112 RBIs (fifth) while leading the majors with 119 walks.
Trout sustained a season-ending foot injury on Sept. 7 but still wound up leading the AL with a .438 on-base percentage and a .645 slugging percentage to go with a .291 average, 45 homers (second in the AL) and 104 RBIs.
Semien, who has never made an All-Star team, posted career highs with a .285 average, 33 homers and 92 RBIs.
Cole and Astros teammate Justin Verlander are joined by Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Charlie Morton as the finalists for the AL Cy Young Award. Verlander won the award in 2011 while with the Detroit Tigers.
Cole finished 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, going 16-0 with a 1.78 ERA over his last 22 starts. He also topped the majors with 326 strikeouts. Verlander led the majors in wins while going 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA and 300 strikeouts (second to Cole), and he led the majors with 223 innings pitched. Morton went 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA in 33 starts and a career-high 240 strikeouts.
The NL Cy Young Award nominees are Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer, New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom and Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu. The 2018 honor went to deGrom while Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young winner (one in the AL with the Tigers and two in the NL with the Nationals).
Scherzer went 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA and 243 strikeouts in 172 1/3 innings. DeGrom posted an 11-8 record with a 2.43 ERA (second in majors) and a league-best 255 strikeouts in 204 innings. Ryu was the NL ERA champion at 2.32 while going 14-5 in 29 starts.
The Astros also have a candidate for AL Rookie of the Year, designated hitter/outfielder Yordan Alvarez, along with Rays second baseman/outfielder Brandon Lowe and Baltimore Orioles left-hander John Means.
Alvarez ranked second among AL rookies in both homers (27) and RBIs (78) while batting .313 with a .655 slugging percentage after arriving in the majors on June 9. Lowe hit .270 with 17 homers and 51 RBIs in just 82 games. Means led AL rookies in wins by going 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA.
The 2019 major league home run champion Pete Alonso, the New York Mets first baseman, is among the finalists for NL Rookie of the Year. Alonso’s 53 home runs set a single-season record for rookies. The other NL Rookie finalists are Atlanta Braves right-hander Mike Sorotka and San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.
Soroka finished tied for second among NL rookies in wins, going 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA (third overall in NL). Tatis hit a team-high .317 with 22 homers, 55 RBIs and 16 steals.
The AL Manager of the Year finalists are first-year Minnesota Twins skipper Rocco Baldelli as well as the New York Yankees’ Aaron Boone and the Rays’ Kevin Cash. The NL Manager of the Year finalists are the Brewers’ Craig Counsell, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Mike Shildt and the Atlanta Braves’ Brian Snitker.
Baldelli guided the Twins to a 101-61 record and the AL Central title. Boone’s Yankees went 103-59 despite having a major-league-record 30 players spend time on the injured list. Cash’s Rays went 96-66 and earned a wild-card playoff berth.
Counsell led the Brewers to a 89-73 record and a wild card despite the loss of Yelich in September. Shildt’s Cardinals won the NL Central with a 91-71 mark. Snitker steered the Braves to a 97-65 record and the NL East crown.
—Field Level Media