The MLB All-Star break is several games past the official halfway point in the season, but it’s the right spot to break up the year into the first half and the second half. A lot will happen now through September, but these are the 2019 MLB award favorites at the All-Star break.
MVP: Mike Trout, Angels
Mike Trout doesn’t win AL MVP every year, but 2019 looks like a season for the best player in the game to run away with the award if the first half is any indication. Trout’s .301 average is just 12th in the American League, but he’s walked a league-leading 76 times, leads the AL in on-base percentage (.453) by .035 points, and leads the AL in slugging percentage (.646) by .090 points. And we all know about Trout’s intelligence, base-running, and ability on defense. There isn’t a more consistent player in baseball than Trout, and he should be an easy AL MVP pick this season barring an injury or a scorching finish by someone else in the second half.
Cy Young: Charlie Morton, Rays
Despite pitching in the American League East, Rays pitcher Charlie Morton leads the AL with a 2.32 ERA, and he has a 10-2 record for the best winning percentage among AL starters. Morton has given up more than three runs just twice in his 19 starts, and he’s allowed two runs or fewer in 15 of those starts. Astros starter Justin Verlander has a strong case for first-half Cy Young, as he has an insane 0.81 WHIP with batters hitting .168 against him, but Morton is the pick right now.
Rookie of the Year: John Means, Orioles
AL Rookie of the Year is probably the toughest choice of any award after the first half, and it comes down to a couple of American League All-Stars. Rays slugger Brandon Lowe has 16 home runs and has been a key member of a Tampa Bay squad that’s leading in the AL wild-card race. However, John Means has pitched so well that he has a 7-4 record on the worst team in baseball. With a 2.50 ERA, the 26-year-old Means has been steady and knows how to get guys out.
Comeback Player of the Year: Hunter Pence, Rangers
Comeback Player of the Year in the American League is pretty tough, too, as there are a number of options including Mike Minor, Gary Sanchez, and Marcus Stroman to this point. The injury bug hit Pence last month, forcing him to miss last night’s All-Star Game as the starting designated hitter; but he’s had an excellent bounce-back year, hitting .294 with 15 homers in 55 games after hitting just .226 with four homers in 97 games in 2018 with the Giants.
Manager of the Year: Rocco Baldelli, Twins
This should be a tight race that could be a toss-up at the end of the season. Aaron Boone has led the Yankees to the best record in the American League despite a plethora of injuries, so he’s a deserving choice. However, the Twins are right there with the Yankees near the top of the AL, and Rocco Baldelli should get recognition for his role in this season’s breakout team at the halfway mark.
MVP: Christian Yelich, Brewers
Flip a coin for National League MVP, as both the Brewers’ Christian Yelich and the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger are having sensational seasons. Their stats are so identical—.329 average with 31 homers and 67 RBI for Yelich, and .336 average with 30 homers and 71 RBI for Bellinger, while they are No. 1 and No. 2 in both on-base and slugging—that you might believe Bellinger should get the nod because he’s leading the best team in the majors, but I’ll go with Yelich because of his baserunning (19 stolen bases this season).
Cy Young: Hyun-jin Ryu, Dodgers
Even with stellar seasons from other National League pitchers, Hyun-jin Ryu will be impossible to deny the NL Cy Young if he keeps up this first-half pace. Ryu is 10-2 with a 1.73 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP. Yes, Ryu gets to play for the Dodgers, which helps, and Max Scherzer (2.30 ERA, 181 strikeouts) is among those that’ll likely be on his tail in the second half, but Ryu should be the choice in mid-July.
Rookie of the Year: Pete Alonso, Mets
As a rookie, Pete Alonso is putting up power numbers that almost everyone in the MLB would be thrilled with for an entire season, as he’s hit 30 bombs with a solid .280 average for the Mets. Alonso’s 30 home runs ties Aaron Judge’s pre-All-Star-break rookie record set a couple of seasons ago, and Alonso also leads all rookies in RBI, slugging, on-base percentage, extra-base hits, runs, hits, multi-hit games, and walks.
Comeback Player of the Year: Sonny Gray, Reds
The favorite for NL Comeback Player of the Year after the first half comes down to a couple of Reds starting pitchers, as Sonny Gray and Tanner Roark have both bounced back from last season to lead what has been a surprising Cincinnati staff. Because of all the media and fan criticism he received playing for the big-market Yankees last season, Gray (3.59 ERA after a 4.90 ERA last season) gets the slight edge over his teammate.
Manager of the Year: Dave Roberts, Dodgers
The Dodgers and the Braves are the only two NL teams among the top ten teams in the majors in terms of record at the All-Star break. Braves manager Brian Snitker just won the award last season, so Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is the favorite heading into the second half after his team won 60 games.