The Dodgers and Angels didn’t play for a World Series title in 2019 but each club had players selected Monday as finalists for baseball’s most prestigious individual awards.
For the Dodgers, Cody Bellinger is one of the three finalists for National League most valuable player and Hyun-Jin Ryu is one for the NL Cy Young Award. The Angels’ entry is a familiar one: Mike Trout is a finalist for American League MVP for the seventh time in his first nine seasons.
Trout could win his third MVP award, and first since 2016, despite sitting out the final three weeks of the season because of a foot injury. The 28-year-old center fielder topped the AL in slugging percentage (.645), on-base-percentage (.438) and FanGraphs’ version of WAR (8.6) and finished second with 45 home runs.
His competition for the award is Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, who finished second to Trout in fWAR and OBP for a 107-win team, tied for third in the AL in home runs (41) and was third in slugging percentage (.592). Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien is the third finalist.
Bellinger, 24, rebounded from a frustrating 2018 season to bat .305 with a 1.035 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 47 home runs, 115 runs batted in and 15 steals in 156 games. His 7.8 fWAR, buoyed by his plus defense as a right fielder, center fielder and first baseman, was tied for first in the NL with Milwaukee Brewers right fielder and fellow finalist Christian Yelich.
Bellinger won an NL Gold Glove on Sunday as a right fielder. Clayton Kershaw was the Dodgers’ last MVP, in 2014.
Like Trout, Yelich sat out the final chunk of the season because of an injury. He ranked first in the NL in batting average (.329), OBP (.429) and slugging percentage (.671) in 130 games. Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon is the third finalist after batting .319 with 34 home runs and a league-leading 126 RBIs.
Ryu, a 32-year-old left-hander, led the majors with a 2.32 earned-run average and 1.18 walk rate. His 3.10 FIP was fourth in the NL. His 182 2/3 innings were his most since his rookie year in 2013.
Ryu would be the 14th Cy Young Award winner in franchise history and the first since Kershaw in 2014.
Max Scherzer of the Nationals is a three-time Cy Young Award winner. He will finish in the top three of voting in his league for the fourth consecutive season and in the top five for the seventh consecutive year.
He was second last year to New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom, who this season was second in the majors to Ryu in ERA (2.43) and second in the NL to Scherzer in FIP (2.67), and led the NL with 255 strikeouts in 204 innings.
Dave Roberts managed the Dodgers to 106 victories, the most in franchise history, and the best record in the NL, but is not one of three finalists for manager of the year in the league. Craig Counsell of the Brewers, Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves and Mike Shildt of the St. Louis Cardinals are up for the award.
Roberts won the award in 2016, his first season with the Dodgers.