Updated MLB 2019 awards model predictions

August 13, 2019

Injured Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer jokes with Atlanta Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson from the dugout during a baseball game Friday, July 19, 2019, in Atlanta. The three-time Cy Young Award winner, will not come off the 10-day injured list to start for Washington against Atlanta this weekend. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

We rolled out the first version of this year’s awards model predictions at the All-Star break, when the talk around baseball was whether Max Scherzer’s dominant season would put him in the National League MVP conversation. Now, with consecutive minor back injuries that have limited him to just one start since July 6, the entire dynamic has changed.

Scherzer’s absence has tightened the field considerably, putting that award very much up for grabs once again. Cody Bellinger finally came back to Earth at the same time Ronald Acuña caught fire, potentially giving us a three-man race for the NL MVP. And while Mike Trout continues to put distance between himself and the field in the American League MVP race, the Cy Young remains potentially available to a number of hurlers.

A reminder: The model is based on relative performance in a number of statistical categories that awards voters use in their decision-making. The results are intended not to declare who is “best,” just who is expected to win each award. Here’s the race as the model sees it through the games of Sunday, Aug. 11.

AL Cy Young

Justin Verlander — 100

Gerrit Cole — 98.95

Shane Bieber — 91.57

Lance Lynn — 91.55

Charlie Morton — 88.91

Verlander jumped back in front in this race, but Cole is slated to pitch the back end of a doubleheader Tuesday night and could easily reclaim his spot with a good start. It’s that close up top.

AL MVP

Mike Trout — 100

Rafael Devers — 86.22

Xander Bogaerts — 84.06

Alex Bregman — 82.51

Mookie Betts — 79.33

Believe it or not, Devers has actually closed the gap slightly over the last month. That’s a testament to the excellent season he is having, but it’s more a reflection of just how big the gap is between first and second place. Trout still leads the league in WAR, HR, OBP, SLG and RBI.

NL Cy Young

Hyun-Jin Ryu — 100

Max Scherzer — 97.34

Jacob deGrom — 87.91

Stephen Strasburg — 87.60

Luis Castillo — 83.05

Considering the lead he had a month ago, it’s stunning to see Scherzer drop to second, even if it’s only by the margin of the historical kicker that Ryu is enjoying, with his current 1.45 ERA. But that same kicker paved the way for a correct prediction for deGrom last year. Speaking of, look who’s made his way into the top 3 since pitching to a 0.95 ERA in six starts since the break.

NL MVP

Christian Yelich — 100

Cody Bellinger — 97.88

Ronald Acuña — 90.88

Freddie Freeman — 86.08

Anthony Rendon — 84.47

Yelich put a little distance between himself and Bellinger since our last update, but not much. Both remain clear front-runners, though an absolute monster tear from Acuña — .367/.415/.898 with eight HR in 11 games in August — has him within striking distance. With 33 homers and an NL-leading 28 stolen bases, he could become the first 40-40 player since Alfonso Soriano in 2006, and just the fifth ever.

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