A primer on the postseason awards that are voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America before the end of the season that will be announced this week:
NL Manager of the Year: Yes, it was a bonehead admission by the voters not to have the Nationals’ Davey Martinez among the final three, given that he led the team to a wild card postseason spot after starting 19-31. This award has vague standards, but the Cardinals’ Mike Shildt is on because his team was an overachiever. Craig Counsell is in the top three because the Brewers were a wild card team even though they had a thin rotation and played nearly the final month without the injured Christian Yelich. Atlanta’s Brian Snitker won the NL East with a chaotic bullpen that had five different closers. WHO SHOULD WIN: Snitker.
NL MVP: This race shouldn’t be as close as it looks. The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger (.305-.406-47-115) is considered the favorite, but Washington’s Anthony Rendon (.319-.412-34-126) played premium defense and was more consistent than Bellinger. Rendon hit .304 in the first half, .336 in the second. Bellinger had an explosive April, but then tailed off as the season wore on. He hit .336 in the first half, .263 in the second. Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich hit .329 with a .429 on-base percentage with 44 home runs and 97 RBIs. He missed most of September with an injury and the Brewers still made the postseason. WHO SHOULD WIN: Rendon.
NL Cy Young: This race has intrigue because the Mets’ Jacob deGrom started slow in the first six weeks, the Nationals’ Max Scherzer missed time with second-half injuries and the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu had a six-start stretch when he had a 6.00 ERA. Still, Ryu led the league with a 2.92 ERA. deGrom had a 1.39 ERA after May 22 and led the NL in strikeouts with 255. Scherzer had 243 strikeouts even though he didn’t have his usual dominating stuff in the second half. WHO SHOULD WIN: Ryu.
NL Rookie of the Year: Even in an era when home runs are a dime a dozen, the Mets’ Pete Alonso is the favorite because he hit 53. Considering he almost didn’t make the team because of his defense, this is quite an accomplishment. But Atlanta pitcher Mike Soroka had a 2.68 ERA and pitched 174 innings - even though he’s pitched just 25 big league innings in 2018. And the Padres’ 20-year-old shortstop, Fernando Tatis Jr. was injured after displaying flashy defense and an electric bat that produced a .317 average with 22 home runs to go along with 16 steals. Tatis had all the intangibles, but injuries cost him. WHO SHOULD WIN: Tatis.