Final 2018 MLB Awards Race Odds for MVP, Cy Young, ROY and More
As it turns out, 162 games weren't enough to settle the 2018 MLB season.
The races in both the National League West and NL Central required an extra game, as the Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers jostled for postseason positions.
The Brewers and Dodgers prevailed. The Cubs and Rockies are headed for the do-or-die NL Wild Card Game on Tuesday.
As we await further action, here are the final awards-race odds for both leagues, generated by Bleacher Report—meaning Manager of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and MVP.
AL Manager of the Year
- Bob Melvin (OAK): 1-1
- Kevin Cash (TBR): 3-1
- Alex Cora (BOS): 13-1
- A.J. Hinch (HOU): 13-1
- Aaron Boone (NYY): 13-1
Manager of the Year honors tend to go to the skipper whose team overachieved the most. And no one's squad overachieved more than Bob Melvin's Oakland Athletics in 2018.
A presumed small-market afterthought, the A's snagged the Junior Circuit's second wild-card slot and have a win-or-go-home date with the New York Yankees in the Bronx on Wednesday night.
The Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Cash is an interesting dark horse, as he led his little-regarded club to a 90-72 finish after it sold at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
The Boston Red Sox's Alex Cora, Houston Astros' A.J. Hinch and the Yankees' Aaron Boone will pick up stray votes, but this is Melvin's prize to lose.
NL Manager of the Year
- Brian Snitker (ATL): 1-1
- Bud Black (COL): 3-1
- Craig Counsell (MIL): 3-1
Bud Black and Craig Counsell will garner attention for shepherding the Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers into the postseason.
But NL MOY honors will likely go to the Atlanta Braves' Brian Snitker, in keeping with the overachieving theme.
The Braves are blessed with bushels of young talent but were supposed to be a year or more away from serious contention.
Instead, they won the NL East outright over the favored Washington Nationals and fellow upstart Philadelphia Phillies. In his second full season at the helm, Snitker should get his due credit.
AL Rookie of the Year
- Shohei Ohtani (LAA): 1-1
- Miguel Andujar (NYY): 2-1
- Gleyber Torres (NYY): 10-1
Shohei Ohtani's first MLB campaign has been a thrilling roller coaster. After a rough spring, he burst into the regular season as a fully formed two-way star.
A balky elbow that will require Tommy John surgery derailed his pitching career, but he stuck around as a hitter and finished with 22 home runs and a .925 OPS to go along with a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 51.2 innings.
Durability concerns aside, Ohtani is too unique of a talent to not be the front-runner for AL Rookie of the Year honors.
His chief competition comes from a pair of Yankees infielders: Miguel Andujar (.297 AVG, .855 OPS, 27 HR) and Gleyber Torres (.271 AVG, .820 OPS, 24 HR). They'll grab most of the non-Ohtani vote—especially Andujar—but the generational Japanese sensation should snag this prize.
NL Rookie of the Year
- Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL): 1-1
- Juan Soto (WAS): 3-1
- Harrison Bader (STL): 12-1
- Jack Flaherty (STL): 12-1
As mentioned, the Braves have blossomed ahead of schedule and won the NL East behind a burgeoning young core.
That core is exemplified by outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. The 20-year-old owns a .293/.366/.552 slash line with 26 home runs and 16 stolen bases, and he could garner stray MVP votes.
He has competition from 19-year-old Nationals rookie Juan Soto (.292/.406/.517, 22 HR). But the fact that Acuna's Braves are charging into October while Soto's Nats stay home should tip the scales.
Oh, and a cap tip to the St. Louis Cardinals' duo of outfielder Harrison Bader and right-hander Jack Flaherty, who warrant mention but haven't matched the hype of Soto or Acuna.
AL Cy Young Award
- Blake Snell (TBR): 3-2
- Justin Verlander (HOU): 4-1
- Corey Kluber (CLE): 4-1
- Chris Sale (BOS): 4-1
Blake Snell paces the AL with a 1.89 ERA. He's struck out 221 in 180.2 innings and owns a 21-5 record, if that's worth anything these days. He's the poster boy for the shockingly good underdog Rays.
The Tampa Bay southpaw has competition from the Astros' Justin Verlander (2.52 ERA, 214 IP, 290 SO), the Red Sox's Chris Sale (2.11 ERA, 158 IP, 237 SO) and the Cleveland Indians' Corey Kluber (2.89 ERA, 215 IP, 222 SO).
That's a trio of decorated studs with impressive track records and multiple Cy Youngs between them.
They could be measured against their past excellence, however, whereas Snell has that intoxicating new-ace smell.
NL Cy Young Award
- Jacob deGrom (NYM): 1-1
- Max Scherzer (WAS): 3-2
- Aaron Nola (PHI): 9-1
The Senior Circuit Cy Young chase features three NL East arms whose clubs whiffed on the postseason.
There's New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom, who led both leagues with a 1.70 ERA while striking out 269 in 217 innings.
There's three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who led baseball with 330 strikeouts and posted a 2.53 ERA for the Nationals.
Lagging behind that pair but still worth mentioning: Philadelphia Phillies righty Aaron Nola (2.34 ERA, 224 SO, 212.1 IP).
DeGrom has the edge for winning the ERA crown and amassing the highest WAR total, according to FanGraphs' measure (8.8 to Scherzer's 7.2). But don't be shocked if Mad Max adds another piece of hardware to his trophy case.
- Mookie Betts (BOS): 3-2
- J.D. Martinez (BOS): 3-1
- Francisco Lindor (CLE): 8-1
- Jose Ramirez (CLE): 8-1
- Mike Trout (LAA): 8-1
The AL MVP race comes down to a pair of Red Sox.
Mookie Betts led both leagues with a .346 average, clubbed 32 home runs and paced baseball with 10.2 WAR.
His teammate J.D. Martinez outdistanced the field with 130 RBI, swatted 43 home runs and hit .330.
Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez (.272 AVG, 39 HR, 34 SB) belongs in the conversation. You could make a case for Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (.277 AVG, 38 HR, 25 SB). And oh, by the way, Mike Trout did Mike Trout things (.312 AVG, 39 HR, 24 SB) for the also-ran Angels.
All things considered, Betts' batting title and the fact that he posted 20 defensive runs saved in right field while Martinez was primarily a designated hitter should tip the scales.
- Christian Yelich (MIL): 1-1
- Javier Baez (CHC): 3-1
- Nolan Arenado (COL): 3-1
Christian Yelich's quest for the Triple Crown fell just short after Game 163.
After the tiebreaker against the Cubs, the Brewers outfielder led the NL with a .326 average. He hit 36 home runs, one behind the Rockies' Nolan Arenado. And he tallied 110 RBI, one fewer than the Cubs' Javier Baez.
Not coincidentally, Baez and Arenado are vying for NL MVP honors.
For now, Yelich has the edge after rising from star to superstar, guiding his team to a division title and twice hitting for the cycle in 2018.