Awards week officially came to a close on Thursday with the grand finale. Both leagues awarded their Most Valuable Player awards, and baseball’s best team was voted to have been home to the American Legue’s most valuable player. It wasn’t much of a surprise in the end, but Mookie Betts came out on top and won his first career MVP. He received 28 first place votes, with Mike Trout and J.D. Martinez getting the others.
This is the perfect end to a magical season for the Red Sox, with their best player being given the top individual honor in the sport. Mookie Betts showed his true and full potential throughout the 2018 season, putting together one of the best seasons in franchise history and in recent baseball history. Boston’s brightest young star athlete posted a .346/.438/.640 line, good for a 185 wRC+ (meaning he was 85 percent better than league-average), with 32 homers, 129 runs and 30 stolen bases. He was also the first 30-30 player to also lead the league in batting average. On top of the otherworldly offense — he was second only to Mike Trout in wRC+ — Betts was one of the best defensive outfields in the sport while navigating Fenway’s massive right field for half of his games and used his athleticism and sky-high baseball IQ to once again provide huge value on the bases. The Red Sox offense was a behemoth all year long, and Betts was right at the top of it, leading the charge every step of the way.
Trout ended up finishing second in this award, which in a way feels unfair because he seems to fall just short year after year, generally not deserving it. I believe Trout had a better case than many gave him credit for this year, but ultimately even if you believe the MVP should just be awarded to the player who had the best season (and I believe that to be true) it was close enough between the two that you can’t call this another robbery of Trout. Betts is going to have his work cut out for him to win more of these awards in the future as long as Trout is in the American League, but after what we saw in 2018 the sky truly is the limit for the Red Sox right fielder.
In addition to Betts winning, J.D. Martinez finished fourth, Xander Bogaerts finished 13th and Chris Sale received one 10th place vote. You can see the voting results in their entirety here.