The 2019 IBWAA Award Ballot

Each year, as a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, I have the opportunity to vote on the group awards for MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, and Reliever of the Year. These are not the same the BBWAA release; we’re the internet step-child of baseball writing.

Here’s my picks for the awards, with a little blurb explaining my picks.


  1. Mike Trout, OF, LAA
  2. Alex Bregman, 3B, HOU
  3. Marcus Semiens, SS, OAK
  4. Mookie Betts, OF, BOS
  5. Justin Verlander, RHP, HOU
  6. Matt Chapman, 3B, OAK
  7. Mike Minor, RHP, TEX
  8. D.J. LeMahieu, 2B, NYY
  9. Jorge Polanco, SS, MIN
  10. Lance Lynn, RHP, TEX

This was tough race after Trout.  I hate the narrative that the MVP has to come from a contender; imagine how bad the Angels would have been without Trout this season (or really any season he’s played).  Bregman was barely the best non-Trout player in the AL, with Semiens right behind him.  This is the first year I can think of where there are 3 pitchers in my top 10. 


  1. Cody Bellinger, OF, LAD
  2. Christian Yelich, OF, MIL
  3. Jacob DeGrom, RHP, NYM
  4. Anthony Rendon, 3B, WAS
  5. Ketel Marte, SS, ARI
  6. Nolan Arenado, 3B, COL
  7. Ronald Acuna Jr. OF, ATL
  8. Stephen Strasburg, RHP, WAS
  9. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, CHC
  10. Pete Alonso, 1B, NYM

Had Yelich not gotten hurt, this would have been a tougher decision.  Bellinger is killing it this year and there’s no doubt at this point he’s the MVP of the league.  DeGrom was pushing both the outfielders for the top spot, but they were far and away more valuable to their team. 

AL Cy Young:

  1. Justin Verlander, RHP, HOU
  2. Mike Minor, RHP, TEX
  3. Lucas Giolito, RHP, CHW
  4. Lance Lynn, RHP, TEX
  5. Gerrit Cole, RHP, HOU

Texas pitchers were pretty good this year; both Texas teams had strong 1-2 punches at the top of their rotations.  Verlander is proving to be ageless and I’m curious to see if more veterans show interest in Houston and the voodoo they work (see Cole, Aaron Sanchez, and Zack Greinke for further examples).  Giolito finally broke out; let’s hope the rest of the White Sox rebuild follows suite next season.

NL Cy Young:

  1. Jacob DeGrom, RHP, NYM
  2. Stephen Strasburg, RHP, WAS
  3. Max Scherzer, RHP, WAS
  4. Jack Flaherty, RHP, STL
  5. Mike Soroka, RHP, ATL

Imagine if DeGrom got some run support; as of 9/25, the Mets have averaged 3.97 runs per game in his starts, ranking 5th worst in the Majors (they average 4.87 runs per game for the season, which is slightly above the league average of 4.85).  Washington could have had Patrick Corbin on the list with Strasburg and Scherzer, but Flaherty has been on a different level during the second half and Soroka is having a great first full season.


  1. Yordan Alvarez, OF, HOU
  2. Eloy Jimenez, OF, CHW
  3. Luis Arraez, 2B, MIN

There is little doubt on this award.  Alvarez has played half a season in the Majors and has hit 27 homers with a 1.100 OPS and 181 OPS+ in that short time.  His 3.9 WAR is more than almost full seasons of Jimenez and Arraez combined.


  1. Pete Alonso, 1B, NYM
  2. Mike Soroka, RHP, ATL
  3. Dakota Hudson, RHP, STL

The Mets deserve some credit with Alonso; many teams would say a player like him need more “defensive seasoning” in the minors before promoting him.  The Mets threw him out there opening day.  The results have paid off as he’s about to set the rookie record for home runs (and a Home Run Derby title).  Soroka and Hudson have been huge parts of their rotations this year and are a large reason both teams are heading to the playoffs.


  1. Kevin Cash, TBR
  2. Rocco Baldelli, MIN
  3. Aaron Boone, NYY

Cash and Baldelli were a toss up and I struggled to justify one over the other.  Cash took a low payroll team that tries new, unconventional ideas to the playoffs.  Baldelli took a low payroll team that was pitching starved to a division title.  I ended up going with Cash because of the innovation and the lack of those star players.  Boone, while leading a big spender, was able to get a very injury prone team to perform as one of the best in the league.


  1. Mike Shildt, STL
  2. Craig Counsell, MIL
  3. Brian Snitker, ATL

This might seem very homer, but hear me out.  The Cardinals are ending their 3 year playoff drought with subpar performances from 2 of their top hitters (Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter), their “ace” being in the bullpen due to injuries, their closer going down with Tommy John, and their #2 pitcher taking a step back.  Shildt has been able to get the most out of Kolten Wong and Dexter Fowler, something their previous manager couldn’t do.  Counsell has been very good leading the Brewers back to the playoffs, as has Snitker.

AL Reliever:

  1. Liam Hendriks, RHP, OAK
  2. Taylor Rogers, LHP, MIN
  3. Aroldis Chapman, LHP, NYY

Reliever is a tricky one to vote for.  Do you go with Save?  Not completely; the closer is something that drives me nuts (which I’ll be tackling this in the off-season).  Hendriks gets the nod because of his usage (lots of innings), his numbers, and his willingness to do what’s best for the team.  Rogers emerged as the late inning pitcher of choice for Baldelli, but he also had more than just saves to offer his team.

NL Reliever:

  1. Josh Hader, LHP, MIL
  2. Will Smith, LHP, SFG
  3. Kirby Yates, RHP, SDP

Hader was my pick last year too, and he wasn’t in the closer role at the time.  His usage and effectiveness were down compared to 2018, but he still had some of the best reliever numbers in the NL.  Smith was right there with him, emerging as the Giants closer at the start of the season; one thing that did hurt him was 4 games where he was the winning pitcher after blowing the save.

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