Mookie Betts Named 2018 AL MVP
Mookie Betts just keeps winning.
Betts, one of the stars of Boston’s record-setting 2018 World Series team, was named the American League MVP Thursday evening, as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He received 28 first-place votes, beating out perennial MVP candidate Mike Trout (who finished second for the fourth time) and Indians star Jose Ramirez.
Betts, too, has cemented himself among the annual contenders for the award.
Runner-up to Trout in 2016, Betts scuffled at times in 2017. One of Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s first moves was to move Betts to the leadoff spot this season, and it didn’t take long for the rewards to start rolling in -- nor did they ever really stop.
Betts, 26, was baseball’s batting champ (.346) and tied for the league lead in runs scored (129). He stole 30 bases. He amassed a 10.9 bWAR and a 10.4 fWAR, the highest marks since 2004 and 2002 respectively, according to Baseball America correspondent and Boston Globe beat writer Alex Speier. Betts was also baseball’s best right fielder, winning his third straight Gold Glove.
He entered as the odds-on favorite for the award, no easy task considering Trout’s strong candidacy as well. Betts was a constant five-tool threat this season, impacting the game with a tantalizing blend of power and speed on a team that won a franchise record 108 games.
Betts’ 13-pitch at-bat against the Blue Jays in July, which culminated in a grand slam over Fenway Park’s Green Monster, will go down as one of the season’s most memorable moments amid Boston’s summer-long surge.
Some of Baseball America’s past coverage of Betts includes:
- Betts was at the forefront of the 2014 Minor League Team of the Year
- How a swing change unlocked star prospect potential for Betts
- Coach Mookie? Betts enjoys his time in Jupiter
- He was identified as this season’s MVP frontrunner back in June
Trout, 27, is already a two-time MVP winner (2014, 2016) and somehow continues to get better. He hit .312/.460/.628 with 39 homers and 24 steals -- all while missing time with an injured thumb. Trout also made strides defensively in centerfield this year after a subpar year in 2017, according to defensive metrics.
Ramirez, 26, turned in the best WAR (8.0) by an Indians position player since 1953. He posted career highs in homers (39), on-base percentage (.387), steals (34) and walks (106).