2019 MLB Awards: Preseason Darkhorse Candidates
We are just over a month away from the return of our glorious pastime. This offseason has been especially grueling given the lack of landing spots for the top free agents. Regardless, I will again attempt to predict the darkhorse MVP and CY Young candidates for the 2019 season. Hopefully, I have as much success as last year’s predictions. As a refresher, these speculations attempt to uncover the unlikely heroes of the 2019 season rather than the usual suspects.
AL CY Young: Jose Berrios
2018 was projected to be a breakout year for the young Twins stud but consistency was an issue. Regardless, the Twins have improved in a number of ways alleviating some of the pressure from the 24-year-old ace. Due to the minor-league like nature of the AL central Berrios could put up some monster numbers within the division. Additionally, Berrios is from the same town that produced Javier Baez and Yadier Molina. There must be something in the water in Bayamon Puerto Rico.
Prediction: 18-8/ 2.96 ERA/ 195 innings
NL CY Young: Jack Flaherty
Youth is the trend this year and this young Cardinal is in a great position to impress. The Cardinals made a serious splash in acquiring Paul Goldschmidt which adds an instant spark to their offense. Most of the praise for the starting pitching was given to Miles Mikolas in 2018 providing the perfect cover for a guy like Flaherty to emerge from the penumbra. The National League, and especially the Central, will not make it easy on any of the NL starters but Flaherty has the stuff to keep the bats off balance.
Prediction: 17-10/ 3.17 ERA/ 212 innings
AL MVP: Nick Castellanos
The star of last season’s abysmal Detroit squad is coming off his best season batting .298 with 28 long balls. That is not an easy feat at a park as massive as Comerica. Although it looks like another bleak season in Detroit, I can see Castellanos topping last year giving the Motor city something to get excited about past June.
Prediction: .305/32 HR/108 RBI
NL MVP: Rhys Hoskins
There is a lot of hype surrounding the Phillies this season. Regardless of who signs with them later on, the off-season should still be seen as an overall success with the additions of JT Realmuto, Jean Segura, and Andrew McCutchen. Rhys Hoskins first full season in the majors was a powerful one as he bopped 34 dingers. His downside, if you count this as a downside for a slugger, was his batting average at a mere .246. Now that he has a squad around him I am predicting this number and the others will rise, making him a household name a serious MVP candidate.
Prediction: .276/ 41 HR/ 119 RBI