TODAY'S PAPER
64° Good Morning
64° Good Morning
SportsColumnistsDavid Lennon

David Lennon's MLB awards: Jacob DeGrom gets NL Cy Young, Mookie Betts is AL MVP

Mookie Betts is the best player on a Red Sox team that was the sport's best nearly wire-to-wire, as the Red Sox carried a franchise-record 107 wins into the final weekend.

Mets righthander Jacob deGrom has had a Cy

Mets righthander Jacob deGrom has had a Cy Young-worthy season. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

As the 2018 season winds down, along with the celebration of David Wright’s greatly- respected-yet-too-short career in Flushing, it’s worth taking one final trip through the BBWAA awards brackets before the winners are officially announced on Nov. 14. Only the regular season counts in the voting, with the ballots due before the first pitch of the NL wild card game Tuesday night. Then you have six weeks to wait, with a month that’s conveniently occupied by the 10-team pursuit of a World Series title. Since we like to track the awards all the way through, and believe in accountability, this list includes my preseason picks, as well as the updated choices for the first half. It’s also important to mention that I’m voting for the National League MVP this year (the award duties rotate yearly among BBWAA members) so I can’t reveal my choice for that category. Instead, I included my first two, with a brief commentary. And the winners are ...

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Most Valuable Player

MOOKIE BETTS -- Red Sox

(Preseason, Francisco Lindor. First half, J.D. Martinez)

In the end, there was no reason to overthink this. Betts is the best player on a Red Sox team that was the sport’s best nearly wire-to-wire, as the Red Sox carried a franchise-record 107 wins into the final weekend. Ultimately, Betts edged Martinez for his more-balanced attack, a 32-HR, 30-SB outfielder with a 1.079 OPS through Friday, second only to Mike Trout. He was the high-motor engine for the Red Sox during a historic season.

Cy Young

BLAKE SNELL - Rays

(Preseason, Justin Verlander. First half, Chris Sale)

Don’t @ me, Kate Upton (this vote doesn’t count anyway) but Snell emerges from an extremely tight field, with Sale unable to finish the job after twice going on the DL with shoulder issues in the second half (only 17 innings since July 28). I know we’re not supposed to count wins anymore, but Snell’s 21-5 mark pairs nicely with his AL-best 1.90 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and .177 OBA. Snell should also get MVP votes for being the only real starter on a Rays’ team that went the “opener” route this year.

Manager of the Year

KEVIN CASH - Rays

(Preseason, Alex Cora. First half, Scott Servais)

This was another tough call, with Cash edging the A’s Bob Melvin by virtue of the Rays twice gutting their team — once before spring training, and again at the trade deadline — only to reel off the most wins (34) since Aug. 1. Cash not only had to groom a whole new crop of minor-leaguers, but also was saddled with running the Rays’ radical “opener” pitching plan, which creates a lot more moving pieces during the course of a game. The Rays also stayed alive in the playoff hunt until the final week, despite knocking heads with the Yankees and Red Sox all year in the AL East.

Rookie of the Year

SHOHEI OHTANI - Angels

(Preseason, Dustin Fowler. First half, Gleyber Torres)

Turns out, we had the wrong Yankee in mind, because it was Miguel Andujar who wound up taking this competition down to the wire. But the nod has to go to Ohtani, a modern-day Babe Ruth, even though he a torn UCL forced him to surrender half of his remarkable two-way ability. Even as a DH, Ohtani built a convincing case, leading all rookies with a .930 OPS to go with 22 home runs through Friday. Anjduar has more homers, runs and RBIs — along with playing more games. But Ohtani also went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 11 strikeouts per nine innings in 10 starts during a historic season that should get him the award.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Most Valuable Player

CHECK BACK IN NOVEMBER

(Preseason, Bryce Harper. First half, Nolan Arenado)

All we’ll say about this award is that the suspense is deserving. Too close to call.

Cy Young

JACOB deGROM - Mets

(Preseason, Noah Syndergaard. First half, deGrom)

As impressive as deGrom was before the All-Star break, he was maybe even more so in the second half, based on the fact that he had to continue to grind with meager run support from the Mets. DeGrom will be a landmark case in the devaluation of pitcher wins, as his 10-9 record was Exhibit A in the overriding importance of run prevention. The Mets’ ace lapped the field with a 1.70 ERA (Aaron Nola was next closest at 2.45) and also set the MLB record with 24 straight quality starts.

Manager of the Year

BRIAN SNITKER - Braves

(Preseason, Mickey Callaway. First half, Gabe Kapler)

OK, so Callaway was a pretty big whiff on my part, although he seemed to get his feet under him by season’s end. And Kapler’s bumpy finish took him out of late contention. But not many people saw Snitker coming, even with the Braves entering the season with a boatload of young talent that matured even faster than expected. Atlanta was coming off three straight 90-loss seasons before Snitker piloted this club to 90 wins on the final weekend — and their first NL East title since 2013.

Rookie of the Year

RONALD ACUNA JR. - Braves

(Preseason, Acuna, Jr. First half, Juan Soto)

Had the names right all along. And this race is so close, neither choice would be wrong as the stellar plate production was nearly identical. Acuna, 20, gets the nod for being a better defender and pivotal part of the Braves’ division-title team, with a rookie-best 26 homers and 16 stolen bases through Friday. But Soto, 19, narrowly edged him in batting average (.295) and OPS (.921) through Friday. And if you’re looking for a pitcher coming on the outside rail, there is the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler, who was 7-5 with a 2.76 ERA and 10.19 K/9 ratio.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports