MLB awards: Way-too-early 2019 award predictions

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: National League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer speaks during the 2018 Baseball Writers' Association of America awards dinner on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at the Sheraton Times Square hotel in New York City. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: National League Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer speaks during the 2018 Baseball Writers' Association of America awards dinner on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at the Sheraton Times Square hotel in New York City. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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AL Cy Young: Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians

Trevor Bauer finished just outside the top-five in American League Cy Young voting in 2018, but he will continue to come into his own as he enters his prime. As a former first-round draft pick, Bauer’s talent has never been in question, but the results have not been quite there. That is, until 2018.

Bauer enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2018, as he posted the second-best FIP in the majors (first in the AL), second-best ERA in the AL, and third-best WAR among AL starting pitchers. Although he was not a finalist for the AL Cy Young Award, you could make the case that he deserved to be.

In 2019, Bauer should be able to improve even further. He certainly does not lack the talent and is among the most intelligent players in the league. It feels like he has been in the league forever, but he is still just 27 and entering his prime.

If the Indians trade Corey Kluber and/or Carlos Carrasco, as they are reportedly considering, Bauer will step into a larger role. Fortunately for Cleveland, he is capable of being an ace and may be the best pitcher in the American League in 2019.