Each year, the Houston Sports Authority does a variety of sports awards and honors the winners at a gala the next year. The biggest award is the athlete of the year award.
This year, the five finalists are Simone Biles, Alex Bregman, Deshaun Watson, James Harden, and Justin Verlander. While Biles individual accomplishments are amazing (more on that in a moment), success at the highest level of team competition might be one of the most difficult accomplishments in sports. For our top five, we looked at overall accomplishments relative to competition, postseason success, awards and accomplishments.
With that in mind, here are the top five athletes in Houston sports for 2019:
5. DeAndre Hopkins
While many would argue for Deshaun Watson as the Texans representative on the list, with all due respect to Watson, Hopkins deserves the spot. He is second in the league in receptions, sixth in yards, and remains one of the three best receivers in the game. While you can make an argument that Watson is a top five QB, there is no argument about Hopkins. His postseason performance keeps him lower on the list.
4. Alex Bregman
The straw that stirs the Astros potent offense, Bregman was second in the AL MVP voting and his strong finish helped the Astros to the best record in baseball. He hit .296 with 41 homers, 112 RBI, 119 walks, and struck out just 83 times. He has improved every year and there could easily be an MVP in his future.
3. Gerrit Cole
Yes, he is a Yankee now, but this is for 2019, and Houston fans should appreciate what he did. A 20-5 record, 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts got him oh-so-close to a Cy Young Award. He had one off start in the postseason, but otherwise he was a monster. Just because he is gone, his accomplishments should not be forgotten.
2. James Harden
While the narrative about postseason struggles is more than fair, Harden plays at an MVP level every year. He just missed out on that award last season, and he is on an incredible scoring pace this year, averaging a ridiculous 38.9 points per game. Simply one of the best offensive weapons in basketball and a threat for the No. 1 spot on this list year in and year out.
For the No. 1 athlete in Houston sports, continue reading this story on SportsMap.