The season of the homer has come and gone, capped by a most unusual World Series and a surprise champion. Now we take a look back at the season that was to identify its most outstanding performers. At this point, I’ll hand things over to Dr. Doom, who starts with a rundown of candidates for NL MVP. More after the jump.
Hello, HHSers! Dr. Doom here. It’s been a long time since I’ve been around. Well, I have been around, actually, reading all the posts and most of the comments. I just haven’t been commenting myself. I don’t know… work’s been busy, my three-year-old takes a lot of my attention. It makes things tough.
But enough about that. Instead, I’m here to do what I’ve done the past two years: awards voting posts. We’ll start things off in the senior circuit with the MVP (in this post), wend our way to some minor votes, and end with the AL MVP. So let’s begin!
Last year’s runaway MVP, Christian Yelich won a second-straight batting title, banging out a league best 169 OPS+ from .329/.429/.671, each of those slash marks topping the league and improving on his 2018 MVP numbers. Yelich also improved from 36 to 44 home runs, leading the league in taters at the time of his injury. However, given that he only played 130 games and the Brewers played their best ball without him, does he have a shot at a second straight MVP?
From the beginning of the season, Cody Bellinger was a story. Playing RF, CF, and 1B, Bellinger led the NL in TB (351) and was arguably the game’s most feared hitter, leading the majors with 21 intentional walks. A .305/.406/.629 batting line doesn’t hurt things either, especially playing in a notorious pitcher’s park. Plus the Dodgers won 100 games, giving him team success to match his individual numbers.
The NL’s HR leader was Pete Alonso, the Mets’ rookie sensation. Batting .260/.358/.583, Alonso was a triple short of Bellinger’s TB lead, while setting a new MLB record for rookie HR. Without Alonso, it’s doubtful the Mets would have even made it to .500, much less been in the race for the Wild Card right up until the season’s final week.
The only other player with more HR than Bellinger was Eugenio Suarez, whose 49 bombs were the most by a Red since George Foster in 1977. Suarez’s other numbers were basically the same as he put up last year (identical doubles and triples, one fewer RBI) when his season was written off as a fluke. It was no fluke. Suarez, a launch angle devotee, is now one of the NL’s premier power threats, to the tune of a .271/.358/.572 line. One of the lone bright spots in a dark season for the Redlegs, Suarez may be deserving of a spot on your ballot.
It’s also worth highlighting a couple of Braves, Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna, Jr., who made their own MVP statements. Freeman continued to hit like… well, Freddie Freeman, with a .295/.389/.549 supplemented by 38 HR, 113 R (4th) and 121 RBI (2nd) (he and Bellinger were the only two players to finish in the top 4 in the latter two categories). Acuna built on his sensational 2018 RoY season by leading the league with 37 stolen bases and blasting 41 homers to become the NL’s youngest 30-30 man (and the youngest 35-35 man in either league). Oh, and his 127 runs were the NL’s highest league-leading total for a 21-and-under player since Vada Pinson tallied 131 sixty years ago.
Last year’s RoY runner-up, Juan Soto (.282/.401/.548) continued his development in 2019 before shining on the big stage in October. Soto both scored and drove in 110 runs this season, one of only 4 NL players to do so. One of those others was his teammate Anthony Rendon, who posted league-leading marks in RBI (126) and doubles (44), to go with 1.010 OPS and 153 OPS+, both third best in the league.
There are other good choices out there – Ketel Marte (4th in OPS and OPS+), the Rockies’ trio (Nolan Arenado/Trevor Story/Charlie Blackmon), Jeff McNeil, among others – so make sure you do your research.
Among the NL’s pitchers, no one had a record-setting-type season. But, as per usual, Max Scherzer had a great season, plus was flanked by two teammates roughly as good in Patrick Corbin and Stephen Strasburg. And, don’t forget Jacob deGrom who followed up his 2018 CYA with another very strong showing (2nd in Pitcher WAR, ERA and WHIP). So, perhaps one of them will merit a vote. Rules are below – happy voting!
Rules: Vote by making a comment below and numbering your choices with 1 being the MOST preferred candidate, and 10 being your LEAST preferred candidate of your ten choices. Your ballots will be EXACTLY ten places for each award, just as the BBWAA does. You must vote for 10 players. Scoring will be 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, just as the BBWAA does. You are not required to vote in all elections; only vote in the ones you would like to vote in. You may make vote changes, if the discussion so moves you. If you change your vote, please do so in a new comment, not as a reply to your original comment (it’s a lot easier to find new comments than replies to old ones). Please don’t vote strategically; we’re trying to get the best result, not to manipulate the vote totals based on what others have done. Voting will remain open about one week. When players are tied, tiebreakers go as follows: first tiebreaker is number of ballots on which players were named; second tiebreaker is highest placement on a ballot; third tiebreaker is the first player to be named (as this usually only happens when a bunch of players are tied for last). Results will be posted when balloting closes.