Major League Baseball's award season doesn't roll around until November, but why wait?
With the regular season still fresh in mind, it's time to run through the Eagle-Tribune's hypothetical ballot. Here are Red Sox beat writer Chris Mason's picks for all of the major awards:
1. Mike Trout, Angels
.291 BA, 45 HR, 104 RBI, 1.083 OPS
Yes, he missed the final few weeks of the season, but this might be the best season of Trout's career, and that's saying something. This generation's Babe Ruth is frequently overlooked — it's easy to get Trout fatigue — but he was the best player and deserves the best award accordingly. Even hindered by games played, he was head and shoulders above the rest.
2. Alex Bregman, Astros
.296 BA, 41 HR, 112 RBI, 1.015 OPS
Their lineup is an embarrassment of riches, but no Astro was better than Alex Bregman in 2019. He surpassed former MVP Jose Altuve and World Series MVP George Springer. Still just 25 years old, this will be the first of Bregman's many appearances as an MVP finalist.
3. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
.309 BA, 33 HR, 117 RBI, .939 OPS
An impressive hitter for average and power, Bogaerts wore out the Green Monster this summer, knocking 52 doubles. Lack of team success will hurt Bogaerts' case nationally — he probably won't be Top 3 on too many ballots — but he really couldn't have done any more. The shortstop isn't a pitcher.
AL CY YOUNG
Though this will be the most interesting award come November, you're going to have to wait to hear my two cents on it. The Eagle-Tribune was given a Cy Young nod this season, and voters are sworn to secrecy until winners are announced in mid-November.
Would love to let you guys in on it, but I can't be put on double-secret BBWAA probation and lose future votes.
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
1. Yordan Alvarez, Astros
.313 BA, 27 HR, 78 RBI, 1.067 OPS
I mean, come on. The Astros are already an absolute juggernaut and then they get to throw Alvarez into their lineup, too? Houston traded Josh Fields to the Dodgers for him in 2016, a middle reliever that's no longer in the majors. Suffice to say they absolutely nailed the deal. The 22-year-old Cuban looks like their DH for years to come.
2. Eloy Jimenez, White Sox
.267 BA, 31 HR, 79 RBI, .828 OPS
Outside of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., there was no rookie as hyped as Jimenez, and for the most part he lived up to it. With Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, and Lucas Giolito, the White Sox have a young core that could elevate them to a .500 team as soon as 2020.
3. John Means, Orioles
12-11, 3.60 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
Winning 12 games for Baltimore is impressive in its own right, but all of Means peripheral numbers were great, too. Especially considering he was pitching in the American League East and didn't get to pad his own stats against the Orioles.
AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR
1. Aaron Boone, Yankees
103-59, 1st in AL East
Despite losing superstars as often as Spinal Tap lost drummers, Boone's Yankees won 100 games for the second consecutive season. A steadying voice for most of the season, he gets bonus points for his "bunch of savages" rant, too.
2. Kevin Cash, Rays
96-66, 2nd in AL East
Handed the lowest payroll in baseball, Cash still managed to bring October baseball to Tampa Bay. Fans may be divided on his opener strategy, but the proof is in the playoff berth.
3. Rocco Baldelli, Twins
101-61, 1st in AL Central
Cut from the same cloth as Alex Cora, Baldelli's easygoing managerial style paid dividends, as his Twins ran away with their division. He could have been higher on the ballot, but the 101 wins are inflated by the awful teams at the bottom of the AL Central.
1. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
.305 BA, 47 HR, 115 RBI, 1.035 OPS
Outside of the AL Cy Young, this is the one award you can't really go wrong on. Ultimately Bellinger's durability gives him the edge here, as the Brewers made their postseason push with Yelich on the shelf. Bellinger also led the National League in total bases, and was intentionally walked more than Mike Trout; he's becoming the guy.
2. Christian Yelich, Brewers
.329 BA, 44 HR, 97 RBI, 1.100 OPS
As stated above, Yelich's late-season knee fracture should keep him from winning his second straight MVP. This isn't a Trout-Bregman situation. Yelich and Bellinger are neck-and-neck, and as such, the Dodger deserves the nod for playing an additional 26 games.
3. Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves
.280 BA, 41 HR, 101 RBI, .883 OPS
Love him or hate him, get used to Ronald Acuna Jr. Atlanta's electrifying young superstar became their best player sooner than expected, and at 21 years old, he'll be terrorizing National League pitching for years to come. Acuna led his league in runs and stolen bases, making a real run at the 40-home-run-40-steal club, but finished at 41-37.
NL CY YOUNG
1. Jacob deGrom, Mets
11-8, 2.43 ERA, 0.97 WHIP
DeGrom is readying to win back-to-back Cy Young awards with 21 wins — combined. Still, he's deserved the hardware both times. The right-hander's 255 strikeouts were the most in the National League, and he eclipsed the 200-inning mark for the third straight season.
2. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
18-6, 3.32 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
Remember when Strasburg was the potential-laden kid on an innings restriction? Those days are long gone, as he led the league with 209 innings, and his 251 strikeouts were just behind deGrom's. Plus, when Max Scherzer went down, Strasburg picked up the slack to carry the Nats to a playoff berth.
3. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers
14-5, 2.32 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
The frontrunner for most of the season, Ryu posted a 5.40 ERA in his final seven starts, and wound up just logging 182 2/3 innings on the season. Still, a 2.32 ERA is nasty no matter the circumstances.
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
1. Pete Alonso, Mets
.260 BA, 53 HR, 120 RBI, .941 OPS
The Mets... got one right? They certainly did with Pete Alonso. The first baseman's 53 homers are the most ever by a Met, or any rookie, for that matter. Playing 161 games is impressive, too, as few first year players manage that as they adjust to the major leagues.
2. Mike Soroka, Braves
13-4, 2.68 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
Soroka is a tough-luck loser here. Any other season he's probably taking home Rookie of the Year hardware, but Alonso was simply too dominant. Soroka was particularly impressive at avoiding the long ball. In an era of juiced baseballs, his 0.7 home runs per nine innings was lowest in the NL.
3. Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
.317 BA, 22 HR, 53 RBI, .969 OPS
One of the most highly-touted prospects in baseball, Tatis' first season was living up to it before a back injury derailed things in mid-August. Still, there's a lot for Padres fans to be excited about here.
NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR
1. Craig Counsell, Brewers
89-73, 2nd in NL Central
Similar to Aaron Boone's Yankees, Counsell dealt with a ton of injuries — and his pitching coach's departure — and his Brewers still found a way to make it into the postseason. No Yelich down the stretch, no problem.
2. Brian Snitker, Braves
97-65, 1st in NL East
With the Mets, Phillies, and Nationals drawing a ton of hype before the season, all Snitker's Braves did was go out and win back-to-back NL East titles.
3. Mike Shildt, Cardinals
91-75, 1st in NL Central
Shildt has flown under the radar for most of his first season and a half in St. Louis, but don't expect that to be the case for much longer. All he's done is exceed expectations thus far.