Sabathia Earns Player Of The Year Nod

Brewers lefthander carried team to the playoffs

DURHAM, N.C.—Lefthander C.C. Sabathia, who led the Milwaukee Brewers to the postseason for the first time since 1982 after a midseason trade, is Baseball America's 2008 Major League Player of the Year, as selected by the magazine's staff.

2007 Alex Rodriguez, 3b, Yankees
2006 Johan Santana, lhp, Twins
2005 Albert Pujols, 1b, Cardinals
2004 Barry Bonds, lf, Giants
2003 Barry Bonds, lf, Giants
2002 Alex Rodriguez, ss, Rangers
2001 Barry Bonds, lf, Giants
2000 Alex Rodriguez, ss, Rangers
1999 Pedro Martinez, rhp, Red Sox
1998 Mark McGwire, 1b, Cardinals
Sabathia, 28, becomes the first Brewer to win the award, now in its 11th season. He's the third pitcher to win, joining Johan Santana (2006) and Pedro Martinez (1999).

Sabathia won the American League Cy Young Award while with the Indians in 2007 but arguably had a better year in 2008, when he led the majors with 35 starts, 10 complete games, five shutouts and 253 innings pitched while ranking second in strikeouts (251) and fourth among qualified starting pitchers in ERA (2.70). Eleven of his 17 victories came after his July trade to the Brewers, and he dominated the National League, going 11-2, 1.65 with seven CGs in 17 starts.

More than any pitcher in recent memory, Sabathia carried his team on his back, making his last three starts on three days' rest. The Brewers split the first two games before Sabathia threw a complete-game four-hitter to beat the Cubs in Game 162. Coupled with a Mets loss, the victory gave the Brewers the National League's wild-card berth.

"It's probably the greatest two-and-a-half month performance you've ever seen from a professional athlete, in any sport," interim manager Dale Sveum said in the wake of Sabathia's performance.

Sabathia was the Indians' first-round pick (20th overall) in the 1998 draft out of Vallejo (Calif.) High. He made his big league debut in 2001 and has compiled a career record of 117-73, 3.66 in 254 starts.

Baseball America magazine, based in Durham, N.C., has presented a Major League Player of the Year award since 1998.