On Monday, the Baseball Writers Association of American (BBWAA) announced the three top vote-getters — i.e., the finalists — for the major individual awards for 2018. Before we dig in, here’s a quick explainer on how the BBWAA vote works for individual awards …
Now here’s a look at the last men standing (players listed in alphabetical order) …
AL Manager of the Year
Kevin Cash, Rays – Guided Tampa Bay to first 90-win season since 2013 and a 10-game improvement over 2017.
Alex Cora, Red Sox – In Cora’s first season, the Red Sox won a franchise-record 108 games in the regular season and then won the World Series despite having to face the Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers in the playoffs.
Bob Melvin, Athletics – The surprise A’s won 97 games in the tough AL West (a 22-game improvement) and claimed a spot in the AL Wild Card Game.
This one’s a bit hard to figure, as all three will likely have their supporters. Given the extent to which the A’s surprised us all in 2018, Melvin is likely the narrow favorite to win the award for the second time in his career (he also has an NL Manager of the Year award to his credit).
NL Manager of the Year
Bud Black, Rockies – The Rockies reached the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time in franchise history. The 91 wins was the second-most in franchise history.
Craig Counsell, Brewers – Milwaukee under Counsell upset the Cubs in the NL Central and pushed the Dodgers to seven games in the NLCS.
Brian Snitker, Braves – The Braves arrived ahead of schedule and won the NL East over the heavily favored Nationals. It was Atlanta’s first division title since 2013.
Snitker seems likely to win the award. The Braves coming into 2018 were thought to be still coming out of a deep rebuild, but instead they stunned baseball by comfortably winning the NL East.
AL Rookie of the Year
Ohtani is widely regarded as the favorite, what with the value he provided at the plate and on the mound (all while, of course, taking up only a single roster spot). Even though Ohtani was limited by elbow troubles, he still had a strong debut season that exceeded most expectations.
NL Rookie of the Year
This one’s a compelling race all around, and you could plausibly argue for any of the three finalists. The guess here, though, is that Acuna takes the vote thanks to his well-rounded game. He hits, fields and runs the bases well, and that’s reflected in his lofty WAR, which he compiled in just 111 games.
AL Cy Young
From the outside, this one looks like it’ll come to do Verlander against Snell. Snell, though, figures to win somewhat comfortably given that sub-2.00 ERA. For Verlander, he’ll likely be a Cy Young runner-up for the third time in his career.
NL Cy Young
Middling win total aside (he went 10-9 thanks mostly to bad run support and bad bullpen support), deGrom is the obvious and indisputable choice here. Expect him to win with ease. This is a much stronger field than what you saw in the AL.
Surprised not to see J.D. Martinez? There’s no disputing his brilliance at the plate, but it’s hard for a primary DH to crack the top of the vote. (Something tells us that World Series ring will provide ample consolation for Mr. Martinez.) As for the names above, Betts, like Trout and Ramirez, did it in every phase of the game. He figures to be the modest favorite over Trout. That would make the fourth time in eight seasons that Trout has finished runner-up in the AL MVP balloting.
Thanks in part to his stretch-drive surge, Yelich is the heavy favorite in this one. Did Lorenzo Cain (6.9 WAR) suffer from a “split the Milwaukee vote” dynamic? He’s certainly got a case to be among the top three. Arenado has ensured his highest ever finish in the NL MVP vote.
The winners of those aforementioned awards will be announced live on MLB Network at 6 p.m. ET according to the following schedule:
- Rookie of the Year: Monday, Nov. 12
- Manager of the Year: Tuesday, Nov. 13
- Cy Young: Wednesday, Nov. 14
- MVP: Thursday, Nov. 15
So … who ya got?
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