Factory Alum Christian Yelich Named NL MVP and Rest of MLB Awards Recap
Last night, Major League Baseball rounded out MLB Awards week with the announcement of the American and National League’s Most Valuable Player awards and Baseball Factory alum, Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers was named NL MVP.
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In his first season with the Brew Crew, Yelich posted career highs across the board, including homers (36) and RBI (110), in addition to National League-bests in average (.326), slugging % (.598) and OPS (1.000). Yelich received 29 of 30 first-place votes. Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez and Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado finished second and third, respectively. A Thousand Oaks, CA native, Yelich wore an LAFD hat during his interview with MLB Network after winning, in support of the fire fighters battling the Woolsey Fires near Los Angeles. Christian attended a Baseball Factory National Tryout in Azusa, CA back in July of 2007.
On the American League side, Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts received honors, helping to lead the Red Sox to a 108-win season and a World Series championship. In winning his first MVP award, Betts led all major leaguers with a 10.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) according to FanGraphs.com, while Baseball-Reference had him at a 10.9 WAR, the second-highest for a position player (Barry Bonds 11.8 in 2002). Betts led all of baseball with a .346 average and 129 runs scored, with 32 homers, 80 RBI and 30 stolen bases.
Other winners this week included a tight race in both the American and National League Rookie of the Year race as Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani and Atlanta Braves outfielder, Ronald Acuna Jr., won in each league, respectively. Ohtani received 25 first place votes and is the fourth Japanese-born player to take home Rookie of the Year honors. In the National League, the 20-year old Acuna received 27 first place votes, beating out another superstar teenager, Washington Nationals outfielder, Juan Soto.
American League Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin (Oakland Athletics) – Melvin becomes the eighth manager in major league history to win the award three times. This is the second time he has won it as the manager of the A’s (also 2012). Oakland had 97 victories in 2018 and made it to the Wild Card game against the New York Yankees.
National League Manager of the Year: Brian Snitker (Atlanta Braves) – Snitker helped to guide the Braves to an NL East Title with a 90-win season in 2018 before losing in the first round of the post season to the eventual World Series runner-up, Los Angeles Dodgers.
American League Cy Young: Blake Snell (Tampa Bay Rays) – In a very tight race for the AL award with Baseball Factory alum, Justin Verlander coming in a close second, the 25-year old Snell quickly became the ace of the Tampa Bay staff, helping to propel the upstart Rays to a 90-win season in 2018. Snell won an AL-high 21 games, along with an AL-best 1.89 ERA, striking out 221 hitters in just 180 2/3 innings, doing all of this despite missing much of July with left shoulder fatigue. Snell had 17 first place votes to Verlander’s 13. Snell’s ERA is the third-lowest by an American League starter since the designated hitter was implemented in 1973.
National League Cy Young: Jacob deGrom (New York Mets) – It was amazing season for deGrom, who won just 10 games this season for New York, but you need to look deeper past just wins and losses. deGrom’s 2018 season with regard to ERA is up there with players who have graced the Hall of Fame, like, Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver and Greg Maddux to name a few. His 1.70 ERA is the sixth-lowest since MLB lowered the mound five inches to give hitters a better advantage in 1969. deGrom is the Mets’ sixth pitcher to win Cy Young honors, and received all but one first place vote in this year’s race. He set career highs in innings pitched (217.0) and strikeouts (269), both second behind Cy Young runner-up, Max Scherzer.