The pomp and circumstance of the 2019 MLB All-Star Game is complete and meaningful regular season games will return later this week. When they do, 20 of the 30 teams will be within five games of a postseason spot.

With 55.3 percent of the 2019 regular season is in the books — 1,345 of 2,430 regular season games have been played — and the All-Star break entering its dark period, this is as good a time as any to dole out midseason awards. After all, those first half games counted too.

To hand out our midseason awards, our five CBS Sports MLB scribes (R.J. Anderson, Katherine Acquavella, Mike Axisa, Dayn Perry, Matt Snyder) each cast a hypothetical ballot for each award (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie and Manager of the Year). Our rules:

  • Our individual ballots for each award were only three names deep. In reality, the MVP ballot is 10 players deep and the Cy Young ballot is five players deep. Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year each include three slots.
  • The scoring system: Three points for a first place vote, two points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote. Most points wins. Nice and easy.

Below are our 2019 midseason award voting results as well as a short blurb on the MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie and Manager of the Year races. Away we go …

AL MVP: Mike Trout, Angels

Even with the Angels sitting 6 1/2 games out of a postseason spot, the game’s best player is also the American League’s most valuable player. At age 27, Trout has already achieved Mariano Rivera god-like status, meaning every year a player or two puts up Mike Trout numbers, but no one has been able to sustain it over the long-term. I’ve certainly claimed someone else may soon be the best player in baseball, foolishly. Trout is a legend and our unanimous midseason MVP.

The team’s place in the standings does still factor into the MVP voting for some, and my hunch is LeMahieu would get a lot of MVP support if the season ended today. He’s been the most consistently excellent player on the team with the league’s best record, and his production with runners in scoring position has been off-the-charts good. I can’t say I’m certain Trout will win the actual MVP award in a few months. Bregman and LeMahieu have strong cases. But I do know this version of Trout is the best to date.

AL Cy Young: Mike Minor, Rangers

A surprise winner, to be sure. Not that Minor was bad last season. Not at all. I’m just not sure anyone expected him to be this good this season. He leads all American League hurlers in WAR by nearly two full wins, and he’s second in ERA. Plus Minor is third in innings, so after years of battling injuries, he’s settled in as a workhorse ace for the surprisingly contending Rangers. 

Morton leads the league in ERA and has been everything the Rays could’ve expected when they made the rare foray into free agency. Giolito’s breakout has been one of the best stories in baseball this year and Verlander is, well, Verlander. Not-so-bold prediction: Gerrit Cole will pitch his way into the top three of the Cy Young voting before the end of the season.

AL Rookie of the Year: Brandon Lowe, Rays

Brandon Lowe 2B •

It seems like everyone is waiting for Blue Jays wunderkind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to go on a big hot streak that vaults him to the top of the Rookie of the Year race. It hasn’t happened yet, so not only did Vlad Jr. not win our midseason award, he didn’t receive a single vote. Instead, the slugging Lowe is our midseason Rookie of the Year despite being among the league leaders in strikeouts because, well, no one really cares about strikeouts these days.

Means is one of the few (maybe the only?) bright spot on a dreadful Orioles team. The afterthought prospect has become one of the top pitchers in the league after revamping his changeup over the winter. Turnbull has had a sneaky excellent season with Detroit — he is their John Means, that bright spot on an otherwise awful team. Chavis has given the BoSox a nice shot in the arm and figures to make a real run at the AL Rookie of the Year award in the second half.

AL Manager of the Year: Rocco Baldelli, Twins

Player First Place Second Place Third Place Points

Rocco Baldelli, Twins

4

1

14

Aaron Boone, Yankees

1

4

11

Chris Woodward, Rangers

5

5

A few weeks ago Boone had strong Manager of the Year hype as the Yankees lost seemingly a player a day to injury, yet remained in the hunt. That has faded a bit as they’ve gotten healthy and zoomed to the top of the AL East standings. Baldelli took over a team that won 78 games a year ago and is on pace to win 102 games this year. Year-to-year improvement like that often leads to Manager of the Year love. The longer Texas stays in the race, the better Woodward’s chances at the award. 

NL MVP: Cody Bellinger, Dodgers

The offensive numbers are so similar it’s eerie. Bellinger and Yelich have been the two best players in the National League this year and I don’t think you’ll find anyone who argues otherwise. The edge goes to Bellinger thanks to his defense and also the fact he put up those numbers in a tougher hitter’s environment. Make him and Yelich switch home ballparks and their offensive numbers wouldn’t be all that close. As with the American League, our National League MVP pick is unanimous.

Right now, the most wide open race is for third place behind Bellinger and Yelich in our MVP voting. Five different players received a third place vote and I strongly considered a few others (Ronald Acuna, Pete Alonso, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rendon, Hyun-Jin Ryu, etc.) before ultimately giving my third place vote to Scherzer. Third place is the race to watch in the MVP voting at midseason.

NL Cy Young: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers

Player First Place Second Place Third Place Points

Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers

4

1

14

Max Scherzer, Nationals

1

3

1

10

Luis Castillo, Reds

1

3

5

Walker Buehler, Dodgers

1

1

When you have the lowest ERA in baseball by more than half-a-run, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to get a ton of Cy Young support, and that’s exactly what happened with Ryu. (You can blame me for Ryu not being unanimous. I gave my first place vote to Scherzer.) Ryu has allowed no more than two earned runs in 16 of his 17 starts this year and no more than one earned run in 11 of 17 starts. He has been outrageously good.

Scherzer may have had the best month of his career in June and Castillo, my goodness, what a fun pitcher. I know we were all waiting for him to have this big breakout season last year. It came this year instead. That’s okay. Development isn’t always linear. Sometimes there are bumps in the road. The important thing is Castillo has indeed blossomed into a bone fide ace the Reds can build around.

NL Rookie of the Year: Pete Alonso, Mets

In a very good crop of National League rookies, Alonso was a very easy call for our midseason Rookie of the Year award. He’s going to challenge — if not smash — the rookie home run record (52 by Aaron Judge in 2017) and he’s been one of the best players in the Senior Circuit overall, rookie or otherwise. Tatis is ridiculously fun, and good enough that I suppose he could make a run at the Rookie of the Year award before the season’s out. Others who deserve a mention here include Carson Kelly, Kevin Newman, Chris Paddack, Bryan Reynolds, and Alex Verdugo.

NL Manager of the Year: Dave Roberts, Dodgers

Player First Place Second Place Third Place Points

Dave Roberts, Dodgers

4

1

14

Brian Snitker, Braves

1

4

11

Andy Green, Padres

2

2

Dave Martinez, Nationals

2

2

Torey Lovullo, Diamondbacks

1

1

Well, when you have the best record in baseball and a 5-1/2 game lead over every other team in the league — and a 13 1/2-game lead (!) in the division — I struggle to come up with a reason not to give you my Manager of the Year vote. Roberts has done what he’s needed to do, and that’s not screw up the most talented roster in baseball. Keep an eye on the Nationals. They’ve already stormed back into the postseason picture and Martinez will get more Manager of the Year support the longer they stay in the race.

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