The Baseball Writers’ Association of America have announced the finalists for Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, Most Valuable Player, and Manager of the Year awards. No St. Louis Cardinals were among the finalists.
That is not to say that no Cardinals were in consideration. Harrison Bader made a decent case in 2018 for Rookie of the Year, putting up 3.5 fWAR in 427 plate appearances. His mediocre 106 wRC+ was primarily bolstered by strong centerfield defense and smart baserunning. Jack Flaherty probably also warranted consideration with 2.3 fWAR. In his first full season with the Cardinals he finished with a 3.34 ERA and 3.86 FIP striking out 29.6% of batters while walking 9.6% in 151 innings. Bader and Flaherty were not far behind the three National League finalists: Ronald Acuña, Jr. (Atlanta Braves), Walker Buehler (Los Angeles Dodgers), Juan Soto (Washington Nationals). The American League finalists are Miguel Andújar (New York Yankees), Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels), Gleyber Torres (Yankees).
The Cardinals top pitcher this season was Miles Mikolas, who led the staff with 4.3 fWAR and a 2.83 ERA against a 3.28 FIP. The Cy Young finalists this year were in a class of their own, however. For the NL: Jacob deGrom (New York Mets), Aaron Nola (Philadelphia Phillies), Max Scherzer (Nationals). For the AL: Corey Kluber (Cleveland Indians), Blake Snell (Rays), Justin Verlander (Houston Astros).
There was much said about Matt Carpenter’s MVP chances, but a rough ending to the year set him, and the Cardinals as a team, really, back in their respective races for MVP and the playoffs. Carpenter finished the year with 5.0 fWAR and a 138 wRC+, but it just was not enough to stay in the fold with the NL finalists: Nolan Arenado (Rockies), Javier Báez (Chicago Cubs), Christian Yelich (Brewers). The AL finalists are: Mookie Betts (Red Sox), José Ramírez (Indians), Mike Trout (Angels).
For manager of the year, Mike Shildt probably did not have chance since he was only manger of the club for sixty-eight games. He did go 40-28 in those games, though, and was at the helm when the team came back from the brink of irrelevance. It apparently just was not enough of a story to surpass the NL finalists: Bud Black (Colorado Rockies), Craig Counsell (Milwaukee Brewers), Brian Snitker (Braves). The AL Manager of the Year finalists are: Kevin Cash (Tampa Bay Rays), Alex Cora (Boston Red Sox), Bob Melvin (Oakland Athletics).
So that is that. Who will win? Those answers will be revealed November 12 through 15.
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