The 2018 MLB season is officially in the books with the announcement of the end of season awards. In case you missed all the excitement, highlighted below will be the award winners in each league for Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP. So, kick back, relax and enjoy reading about the players who had the largest impact on the 2018 MLB season!
Rookie of the Year Award Winners
American League Rookie of the Year: Shohei Ohtani (Angels)
One of the more controversial selections was that of Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, due to Ohtani experiencing a torn ulnar nerve part way through the season that led to Tommy John surgery. However, it was how well Ohtani did while he played this season that ultimately earned him the award. Joining Babe Ruth as the only two players in MLB history with 10 pitching appearances and 20 home runs in a season, Ohtani finished the 2018 season with a 3.31 ERA striking out 63 batters in 51 2/3 innings of work. Additionally, he batted .285 with 22 home runs, 61 RBI’s and even stole 10 bases in 367 plate appearances. What really set Ohtani apart from the rest was the fact that even after having Tommy John surgery recommended to him, he came back for the final month of the season to hit .310 with a 1.003 OPS and added 7 more home runs to his season total.
National League Rookie of the Year: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Braves)
Ronald Acuna Jr. put up very impressive numbers in 2018, more than enough to earn him the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Hitting his first career home run in the major leagues the day after his MLB debut was just the start to an amazing first season for Acuna Jr. On top of that, Acuna Jr. made history by becoming the youngest player since 1908 to homer in 5 consecutive games, 3 of which he hit in a row as the first batter of the game for the Braves. He would go on to finish the 2018 season with a .293 batting average, 64 RBIs and 26 home runs in 487 plate appearances.
Cy Young Award Winners
American League Cy Young: Blake Snell (Rays)
Blake Snell dominated on the mound in the 2018 season, enough to earn him the AL Cy Young Award in a tight race against Justin Verlander (Astros), who won the award the previous year. 2018 was a great year for Snell, who made his first All-Star game appearance, and earned the Warren Spahn Award which is given annually to the game’s best left-hand pitcher. Snell finish 2018 with a 21-5 record, and a 1.89 ERA while striking out 221 batters in 180.2 innings pitched.
National League Cy Young: Jacob deGrom (Mets)
The decision of who would be the 2018 National League Cy Young was a unanimous one as Jacob deGrom became the 6th Cy Young Award winner in Mets history. Even after hyperextending his right elbow 5 weeks into the season and being placed on the 10-day disabled list, deGrom would inevitably transform into the best pitcher in baseball by recording an MLB-record 29 straight outings of three runs or less. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that deGrom would win the Cy Young in 2018 as he finished the season with a 10-9 record, and a 1.70 ERA while striking out 269 batters in 217.0 innings pitched.
MVP Award Winners
American League MVP: Mookie Betts (Red Sox)
2018 was a busy and successful year for Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, as he took home the AL MVP Award, won a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Award, and ultimately helped the Red Sox bring home a World Series trophy to the city of Boston. In addition to all the awards earned by Betts, he also set career highs in basically all categories possible. Finishing the season with 32 home runs, 47 doubles, 129 runs scored and 30 stolen bases, all leading to a .346 batting average. Betts is just the second Red Sox player to have a 30-30 season; a true 5-tool player.
National League MVP: Christian Yelich (Brewers)
Fans in Milwaukee must be able to see the future as they would chant “MVP! MVP! MVP!” each time Christian Yelich would come to the plate or make a spectacular play in the field throughout the second half of the season. Yelich managed to hit 25 home runs in the second half of the season, more than he had hit in any of his prior five seasons with the Marlins. On top of that, his .770 slugging percentage after the All-Star break was the best the game had seen in 14 years. Winning the NL MVP Award in a near-unanimous decision, Yelich finished the 2018 season with a .326 batting average, 36 home runs and 110 RBIs, collecting 178 hits in 574 at-bats.
These 6 players did more than just perform well during 2018, they made the game of baseball fun and exciting to watch. One of the more anticipated events of the season was the MLB debut of Japanese player Shohei Ohtani, which brought baseball fans together on a worldwide scale. With the numbers in attendance at baseball games declining slightly over the years, it was truly great to see how these players sort of sparked the interest in baseball fans again in the closing moments of the 2018 season. Here’s to hoping it continues in the 2019 season!
One last thing – Congratulations to the 2018 World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox!
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