Elise Amendola/Associated Press
Major League Baseball put a final bow on the 2018 season by announcing Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox and Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers as this year’s MVP winners.
Per BBWAA.org, Betts and Yelich were named AL and NL MVP, respectively, in landslide votes.
Betts received 28 first-place votes and 410 total points, beating out Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels (one first-place vote, 265 total points) and Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians (208 total points).
Betts is the best.
Your 2018 American League MVP: @mookiebetts. https://t.co/ixotGMXPPj
Betts’ teammate, J.D. Martinez, received the other first-place vote and finished fourth in the AL MVP race.
Yelich became the Brewers’ first MVP winner since Ryan Braun in 2011 after the former received 29 out of 30 first-place votes and 415 total points. Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez (250 points) and Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (213 total points) rounded out the NL’s top three.
Raise a glass. 🍺
@ChristianYelich is your 2018 National League MVP. https://t.co/jRXQ16TdhT
After the Brewers acquired him in a trade with the Miami Marlins in January, Yelich had the best season of his career in Milwaukee. The 26-year-old catapulted the Brewers to their first division title since 2011 by leading the NL with a .326 batting average and .598 slugging percentage.
Yelich earned the MVP award thanks to a brilliant stretch run. He was fine before the All-Star break with a solid .823 OPS but found a different gear with a .367/.449/.770 slash line and 25 homers in 65 games during the second half.
MLB Stat of the Day @MLBStatoftheDay
.@ChristianYelich turned up the heat in the 2nd half …
He led all @MLB qualifiers in AVG (.367), SLG (.770) & OPS (1.219) post-ASB. https://t.co/26xZf7oCxV
“He’s doing special things,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell told MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy in September. “This is what guys in this conversation do.”
Two months after Counsell’s comments, Yelich led the NL MVP conversation by doing something only two other players have done since 2000:
MLB Stat of the Day @MLBStatoftheDay
Few have been able to accomplish what @ChristianYelich did this season. #MVP https://t.co/77sxkuzzNY
Two years after he finished second to Trout in the AL MVP voting, Betts was awarded for having the best season of his career. The 26-year-old led MLB with a .346 batting average, .640 slugging percentage and 10.4 FanGraphs wins above replacement. He ranked second with a .438 on-base percentage and 84 extra-base hits.
Boston Sports Info @bostonsportsinf
Mookie Betts is 1 of 8 players (9 seasons) in MLB history, in a single season, ≤ 25 YO with
BA ≥ .345
OPS ≥ 1.075
HR ≥ 30
XBH ≥ 80
You might have heard of some of the others
Per ESPN’s Sarah Langs, Betts’ WAR total in 2018 was a strong indication he would be named AL MVP:
Sarah Langs @SlangsOnSports
Mookie Betts had 10.9 WAR this year.
Since the BBWAA began voting on MVP in 1931, there have been 12 position players with at least 10.9 WAR in a season, including 2018 Betts.
10 of the prior 11 won MVP.
Only exception: 1964 Willie Mays, had 11 WAR & lost to 6.1-WAR Ken Boyer
In addition to Betts’ unique offensive prowess, the Red Sox superstar is also revered for his defense. He has won three consecutive Gold Gloves and tied for fourth among all qualified players in 2018 with 20 defensive runs saved.
Despite all of his individual success, Betts is still hoping for more:
Alex Speier @alexspeier
Betts is the first AL player ever to win the World Series and pick up an MVP, Gold Glove, and Silver Slugger in the same year. “It’s been a pretty good 2018. … 2019, hopefully we can make it better.”
The Red Sox were the best team in MLB, winning 108 games en route to a World Series title. Betts was their best player and had a historic individual season, making him the franchise’s first MVP winner since Dustin Pedroia in 2008.
In a deep year for MVP candidates in both leagues, Yelich and Betts were the clear standouts. Their individual performances led to big seasons for their respective teams, and they earned the right to have their names etched alongside those of the greatest players in MLB history.