Four Astros named finalists for 2019 BBWAA awards

Alvarez, Bregman, Cole and Verlander are vying for the MLB’s most prestigious season-long awards

Four Astros named finalists for 2019 BBWAA awards
Astros (Source: KPLC)

HOUSTON, TX — The Baseball Writers Association of America announced tonight that outfielder Yordan Alvarez has been named a finalist for the American League Rookie of the Year Award, third baseman Alex Bregman has been named a finalist for the American League Most Valuable Player Award, and right-handed pitchers Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander have been named finalists for the American League Cy Young Award.

The 2019 BBWAA awards will be announced live on MLB Network at 5:00 p.m. CT on the following dates: Monday, Nov. 11 (Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards), Tuesday, Nov. 12 (Manager of the Year Awards), Wednesday, Nov. 13 (Cy Young Awards) and Thursday, Nov. 14 (MVP Awards). In addition to the BBWAA Awards, the 2019 Louisville Silver Slugger Awards will be announced on Thursday, Nov. 14, while the Wilson Defensive Awards will be announced on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

Alvarez was named one of three finalists for the AL Rookie of the Year Award, along with infielder Brandon Lowe of the Tampa Bay Rays and right-handed pitcher John Means of the Baltimore Orioles. The 22-year-old Alvarez put together a historic rookie season in 2019, establishing a new Major League record for OPS by a rookie in a single season (1.067, min. 350 plate appearances), surpassing Shoeless Joe Jackson’s record of 1.058 set in 1911. Alvarez led all AL rookies in OPS, extra-base hits (53), on-base percentage (.412) and slugging percentage (.655), while batting .313 with 27 home runs and 78 RBI. He set an Astros franchise record for home runs by a rookie, topping Carlos Correa’s record of 22 set in 2015. From June to August, Alvarez won three-consecutive AL Rookie of the Month awards, becoming the first player in Astros history to do so and the first Major League rookie since Aaron Judge in 2017. Among his many accolades in 2019, Alvarez set Major League records for RBI within a player’s first 45 games (51), surpassing Ted Williams’ record of 47 set in 1939, and RBI within a player’s first 30 games (35), surpassing Albert Pujols’ record of 34 set in 2001.

Bregman is one of three finalists for the AL MVP Award, along with shortstop Marcus Semien of the Oakland Athletics and outfielder Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. Bregman was an All-Star for the second-consecutive season in 2019, leading all American League players in WAR (8.4, Baseball-Reference) and walks (119), while ranking second in OBP (.423,), third in OPS (1.015), third in slugging percentage (.592), tied for third in home runs (41), fourth in runs (122), fifth in RBI (112) and sixth in strikeout rate (12%). The 25-year-old became the fifth player in MLB history to reach 41 homers, 119 walks and 37 doubles in a season while posting 83 strikeouts-or-fewer, joining Barry Bonds (1993), Ted Williams (1949), Lou Gehrig (1936) and Babe Ruth (1924, 1921). In addition to his elite offensive performance, Bregman was a strong defender in his 99 games at third base and career-high 65 games at shortstop, as he ranked third among AL third basemen in defensive runs saved (7), and third among AL shortstops in fielding percentage (.986, min. 50 games).

Cole and Verlander were named finalists for the AL Cy Young Award along with their former teammate, right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Cole was the most overpowering pitcher in the Majors in 2019, as he led the Majors with 326 strikeouts, a new Astros single-season record and the most strikeouts by a pitcher since Randy Johnson struck out 334 batters in 2002. Cole led the AL in ERA (2.50) and opponent OPS (.579), while ranking second in opponent batting average (.186), WHIP (0.89), wins (20), opponent OBP (.237) and opponent slugging (.339). He ended the season on a 16-game winning streak, a new franchise record streak and the longest single-season winning streak since Roger Clemens’ 16-game run in 2001. Cole posted a franchise-record 21 double-digit strikeout games on the year, and finished the season by posting double-digit strikeouts in nine consecutive games, setting a new MLB record streak. Cole was named the AL Pitcher of the Month in June, July and September.

Verlander had an historic season, leading the Majors in wins (21), opponent batting average (.172), WHIP (0.80) and innings pitched (223.0) while ranking second in strikeouts (300). Among AL pitchers, his 2.58 ERA ranked second only to Cole. In addition to starting the All-Star Game, Verlander recorded his third-career no-hitter on Sept. 1 at TOR, reached 3,000 strikeouts for his career and posted his first-ever 300-strikeout season at the age of 36. With his no-hitter, he joined an elite group of five other pitchers to amass three no-hitters, joining Nolan Ryan (7), Sandy Koufax (4), Bob Feller (3), Cy Young (3) and Larry Corcoran (3). His 0.80 WHIP on the year was the third-best single-season mark in baseball’s modern era (since 1900), behind only Pedro Martinez (0.74 in 2000) and Walter Johnson (0.77 in 1913).

Copyright 2019 KPLC. All rights reserved.