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The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the finalists for the MVP, Cy Young, Manager of the Year and Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year awards on Monday, with the winners to be announced next week.
The Rookies of the Year will be revealed on Monday, Nov. 12, followed by the Managers of the Year on Nov. 13, the Cy Young winners on Nov. 14 and the MVPs on Nov. 15.
Below, we’ll take a look at the finalists for each award.
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American League Finalists: Mookie Betts, OF, Boston Red Sox; Jose Ramirez, 3B, Cleveland; Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
National League Finalists: Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers; Javier Baez, 2B, Chicago Cubs; Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
Betts is the front-runner in the American League, while Yelich and Baez each present a strong case in the NL.
Betts was superb in 2018, leading the AL with a .346 batting average and tying with Francisco Lindor for the most runs scored (129). He added 32 homers, 80 RBI and 30 steals for good measure while winning a Gold Glove for his play in right field, making him the clear leader in the clubhouse.
As for the AL’s other two finalists, Trout was again outstanding in 2018, hitting .312 with 39 homers, 79 RBI, 101 runs and 24 steals. His 1.088 OPS led the AL, narrowly beating out Betts’ (1.078). Ramirez, meanwhile, blasted 39 homers, tallied 105 RBI and scored 110 runs.
The biggest surprise is J.D. Martinez not being a finalist after leading the league with 130 RBI to go along with a .330 average (second in the AL) and 43 homers (second), making him a legitimate Triple Crown candidate for much of the season.
In the National League, Yelich and Baez distanced themselves from the field. Yelich led the league in batting average (.326) to go along with 36 homers, 110 RBI, 118 runs and 22 stolen bases. Baez was equally impressive, hitting .290 with 34 dingers, an NL-leading 111 RBI, 101 runs and 21 stolen bases.
Dan Cohen @DanCohenWREX
The @Cubs @Brewers rivalry carries over into the National League MVP conversation – Javier Baez and Christian Yelich are finalists for this year’s award.
A distant third is Nolan Arenado, who led the NL with 38 dingers and added 110 RBI while winning a Gold Glove at the hot corner.
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American League Finalists: Blake Snell, SP, Tampa Bay Rays; Justin Verlander, SP, Houston Astros; Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland
National League Finalists: Jacob deGrom, SP, New York Mets; Max Scherzer, SP, Washington Nationals; Aaron Nola, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
Snell was absurd in 2018, finishing 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 221 strikeouts. While his career is on the rise, the ageless Verlander may pitch forever, finishing his age-35 season with an incredible 2.52 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and a league-leading 290 strikeouts.
They’re the favorites, though Kluber was no slouch, posting a 2.89 ERA, 0.99 ERA and 222 strikeouts.
The National League, meanwhile, was always a three-man race.
Mike Puma @NYPost_Mets
The NL’s 3 Cy Young finalists: deGrom, Nola and Scherzer. … but you knew that a few months ago.
DeGrom is the favorite (1.70 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 269 strikeouts), while Scherzer (2.53 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, league-leading 220.2 IP and 300 strikeouts) is nipping on his heels. Nola was amazing as well, finishing with a 2.37 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 224 strikeouts.
Rookie of the Year
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American League Finalists: Shohei Ohtani, SP/DH, Los Angeles Angels; Miguel Andujar, 3B, New York Yankees; Gleyber Torres, 2B, New York Yankees
National League Finalists: Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves; Walker Buehler, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers; Juan Soto, OF, Washington Nationals
What didn’t Ohtani do this season?
He impressed on the mound (3.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 63 strikeouts in 10 starts) before needing Tommy John surgery. He also impressed at the plate, hitting .285 with 22 homers and 61 RBI. It’s been a long time since baseball has seen a player who could make an impact as a pitcher and a hitter. While the pitching has been shelved for a while, he’s more than dangerous enough at the plate to make a difference for the Angels.
Bill Shaikin @BillShaikin
Shohei Ohtani (#Angels) is one of the three AL Rookie of the Year finalists. The other finalists: Miguel Andujar (Yankees), Gleyber Torres (Yankees). Winner announced next Monday. I don’t have a vote. If I did? Gotta be Ohtani: https://t.co/GPjvwF0mil
After Ohtani comes a pair of Yankees. Torres hit 24 homers and 77 RBI in just 123 games, while Andujar was just as impressive, blasting 27 dingers and recording 92 RBI.
In the NL, good luck distinguishing these three candidates, as each were magnificent in 2018. Acuna is probably the slight front-runner after hitting .293 with 26 homers and 64 RBI, but both Buehler (8-5, 2.62 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 151 strikeouts) and Soto (.292 with 22 dingers and 70 RBI) are deserving of the award.
Manager of the Year
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American League Finalists: Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays; Alex Cora, Boston Red Sox; Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics
National League Finalists: Bud Black, Colorado Rockies; Craig Counsell, Milwaukee Brewers; Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves
Cash and the Rays didn’t make the postseason, but they did win 90 games with the second-lowest Opening Day payroll in baseball. The lowest payroll? That belonged to the Athletics, who won 97 games and reached the postseason.
And then there’s Cora, who led the Red Sox to 108 wins, the most in baseball and a franchise record. Boston’s World Series title won’t factor into this award, but Cora did enough during the regular season to justify winning it.
There aren’t any surprises in the NL, either, with Snitker and Counsell leading their clubs to surprising division titles this season (and Counsell leading the Brewers to a franchise-record 96 wins), while Black got the Rockies to the postseason for the second straight year.