Tag Archives: Christian Yelich

MLB Final 2019 Power Ranking

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Bob Melvin guided the Oakland Athletics into the MLB playoffs for the fifth time in nine years at the helm, and his club finished on top of the regular season Power Rankings

 

Well, we’ve finally reached the end of the six-month long Major League Baseball regular season. The statistics have been tabulated, and it is now time to reveal my final 2019 MLB Power Ranking.

After ascending to the pinnacle of the rankings for the first time all season back in mid-September, the Oakland Athletics have edged out their American League West Division rival Houston Astros for the top spot.

The A’s were the top defensive team in baseball this year based on the qualifying component for that category in the rankings formula (see below.) They were also fifth in pitching and eighth in offense, and were tied for the third-best win-loss record over the last 30 days of the season.

Houston was tied for the best record over those last 30 days. The Astros finished third in both offense and pitching. It was Houston’s 11th-ranked defense that allowed Oakland to slip past them for the top overall spot.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who held the status as top team in the National League for most of the summer before yielding that place to the Atlanta Braves, have finished the year as the NL’s top-ranked ball club.

The Dodgers had the top-ranked pitching staff and the fifth-ranked offense. They also finished with the third-best record over the final month of the season. If the Dodgers have a possible Achilles heel heading into the postseason it would be their 20th ranked defense.

Entering the MLB postseason, the Dodgers are the favorites to three-peat, capturing their third consecutive NL pennant. If the accomplish the feat, Los Angeles will advance as National League champions into the World Series once again.

The Dodgers have not captured a world championship since the 1988 team led by Orel Hershiser and Tommy Lasorda were spurred on to an upset victory over Oakland by Kirk Gibson‘s historic Game One walk-off home run off Dennis Eckersley.

I have seen a number of outlets and writers installing the Astros, who won the first World Series crown in franchise history back in 2017, as prohibitive favorites this year.

The rankings show that Houston indeed deserves to be considered one of the strongest favorites once again. But the statistics and game results reveal that the Athletics deserve to be at least considered as a co-favorite.

One major problem for Oakland? They have to face the Tampa Bay Rays, who finished fourth in these final rankings, in a winner-take-all American League Wildcard Game. And as we all known, anything can happen in just one game.

The Rays will be a tough out. Tampa had the second-ranked pitching staff and were one of those teams tied with Oakland for the third-best record over the most recent 30 days. The two teams should provide some real playoff drama.

The National League Wildcard Game will feature the Washington Nationals hosting the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brew Crew rallied after the loss of NL MVP candidate Christian Yelich for the season due to injury to finish tied with Houston for the best record in all of MLB over the final month.

However, the host Nationals have the sixth-ranked offense and eighth-ranked pitching staff. If they can get past Milwaukee, the Nats will make for a very difficult opponent for the Dodgers in an NLDS.

Two teams who will not be in the MLB postseason this year are the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians. And yet those two clubs finished seventh and eighth-ranked overall, showing that they each had playoff-caliber talent.

Arizona won 85 games, finishing 21 behind the Dodgers in the National League West Division standings. The Dbacks were four games behind Milwaukee for the second NL Wildcard playoff berth.

The Indians won 93 games, but finished eight in back of the 101-win Twins in the American League Central Division. The Tribe also finished three games behind Tampa Bay for the second and final AL Wildcard berth.

The Philadelphia Phillies, my hometown team, slumped to 16th place in the final 2019 MLB Power Rankings. This was after the club had occupied the 14th slot over the last couple of months.

As I have stated during each period, my personal feelings have no bearing on these MLB Power Rankings. Instead, each team’s position is all about actual performance: their results in the standings, as well as in the key statistical categories.

RANKINGS METHODOLOGY

The formula for compiling the rankings is always being researched and evaluated to see if it can be improved upon.

Currently, that formula is made up of the following categories: winning percentageruns-per-gameOPS against, and “defensive runs saved” as measured by Fangraphs.

As each season unfolds, some teams improved dramatically while others slumped badly. In both the Labor Day and mid-September ranking, the season-long winning percentage was replaced by each team’s win percentage over their most recent 30 games. That remains so with this final 2019 ranking.

The ‘Win-Loss’ component reflects each team’s ability to actually win ball games. ‘OPS against’ reflects a pitching staff’s ability to control the game and limit damage.

The runs-per-game component acknowledges that teams play various numbers of games as of the time of each ranking. For example, it wouldn’t be fair to consider a club that had scored 100 runs over 50 games as effective as a club who scored 100 runs over just 45 games.

Each club’s place in the four component categories gets them assigned a 1-30 numerical value. Those are added up to determine a final ranking points total.

Where there are any ties, those are broken using each team’s winning percentage over the last 30, and then by their current overall winning percentage since, in the end, winning is what it’s all about.

2019 SEPTEMBER 16 –  MLB RANKINGS

In parentheses below are each team’s final 2019 total ranking points:

  1. Oakland Athletics (17)
  2. Houston Astros (18)
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers (29)
  4. Tampa Bay Rays (30)
  5. Minnesota Twins (36)
  6. Saint Louis Cardinals (36)
  7. Arizona Diamondbacks (37)
  8. Cleveland Indians (37)
  9. Washington Nationals (39)
  10. New York Yankees (41)
  11. Atlanta Braves (42)
  12. Milwaukee Brewers (44)
  13. Boston Red Sox (45)
  14. Chicago Cubs (50)
  15. New York Mets (55)
  16. Philadelphia Phillies (59)
  17. Los Angeles Angels (72)
  18. Cincinnati Reds (73)
  19. Kansas City Royals (74)
  20. Texas Rangers (75)
  21. San Francisco Giants (76)
  22. Colorado Rockies (78)
  23. Toronto Blue Jays (82)
  24. San Diego Padres (83)
  25. Chicago White Sox (91)
  26. Miami Marlins (91)
  27. Seattle Mariners (93)
  28. Pittsburgh Pirates (94)
  29. Baltimore Orioles (105)
  30. Detroit Tigers (115)

Phillies to spend Memorial Day weekend 2019 at Miller Park in Milwaukee

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Phillies hope to keep Bernie Brewer from sliding much this weekend

The Philadelphia Phillies (29-21) will be spending Memorial Day weekend at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers (29-22), who are currently sitting in second place in the National League Central Division standings.

The Brew Crew trail the Chicago Cubs, against whom the Phillies just split a four-game series, by 1.5 games, three in the loss column. They enjoyed an off-day on Thursday prior to this series, coming off an 11-9 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in their previous game on Wednesday night.
It was just over a week ago that the Brewers captured three of four games between the two teams at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won the opener of that series by 7-4 when J.T. Realmuto and Odubel Herrera produced run-scoring doubles to break up a 4-4 tie game. But Milwaukee roared back to capture the final three games by a combined 22-6 runs margin.
The two clubs have proven very evenly matched in recent years with the Phillies holding a 10-9 edge in their 19 meetings over the three previous combined entering this 2019 season.
The Brewers (250) and Phillies (249) rank 4th and 5th respectively in the NL in runs scored, though Milwaukee has played one more game. The Atlanta Braves (252) are 3rd, and also have one more game than the Phillies.
Milwaukee is a well-rounded, dynamic offensive ball club. The Brewers hitters collectively rank 4th in OPS and 5th in OBP. They lead the entire National League in home runs and are tied for the league lead in stolen bases. No slouch with their gloves, the Brew Crew defenders have committed the 5th-fewest errors in the NL while handling the 2nd-most chances.
After splitting their series at Wrigley Field with the Cubs, the Phillies are now 6-5 during what we have described previously here at Phillies Nation as a 23-game “crucible”, a nearly month-long stretch against top-notch competition from outside the NL East Division. That stretch continues this weekend.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

  • Christian Yelich: clearly the Brewers top lineup threat, the 27-year-old Yelich was last year’s NL Most Valuable Player. He was also a first-time All-Star and captured his second career Silver Slugger Award. Yelich won a Gold Glove back in the 2014 season with the Miami Marlins, for whom he was a first round draft pick at 23rd overall back in 2010. Yelich was obtained by Milwaukee in a January 2018 trade for a four-prospect package. He is currently slashing .325/.440/.732 and leads the club in homers (19), RBIs (41), extra-base hits (26), runs (40) and steals (9).
  • Ryan Braun: still a threat at age 35, Braun is perhaps the biggest “Phillie-killer” in the game today. He was both the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year and the 2011 National League MVP. However, that MVP honor was tarnished when he later admitted to having used PEDs during that season, an infraction that cost him an 80-game suspension. His nine homers and 30 RBIs are both tied for second on the team this season. Braun is slashing .385/.428/.709 over his career against the Phillies across 76 games. His 25 homers and 73 RBIs against the Phillies are his most against a non-divisional opponent.
  • Mike Moustakas: ‘Moose’ was obtained by the Brewers from the Kansas City Royals just prior to last July’s trade deadline. He re-upped with Milwaukee for one year after becoming a free agent this past off-season, with an $11 million mutual option for the 2020 season. The dozen homers off his lefty bat are second on the club and his 30 RBIs are tied with Braun for second. He just recently moved from second base back to his more natural third base to accommodate the rookie you can read about in the below spotlight feature.
  • Yasmani Grandal: after winning four straight NL West crowns as the Los Angeles Dodgers starting catcher, Grandal  also signed a one-year deal with the Brewers as a free agent. He has a $16 million mutual option for next season. One of the top offensive backstops in the game, Grandal’s nine homers are tied with Braun for third on the club. He also holds a fine .374 on-base percentage.
  • Lorenzo Cain: Phillies fans will recall that Cain produced a five-hit game against their team just last week. He has gotten hot beginning with that game, slashing .389/.450/.556 over his last eight games. Now 33-years-old, Cain signed with Milwaukee as a free agent in January 2018 for five years, the dealing taking him through the 2022 season.
  • Jesus Aguilar: Aguilar burst onto the season as a first-time All-Star last year, blasting 35 home runs and producing 108 RBIs. However, he has started the 2019 season very cold, hitting just .200 with three RBIs and seven extra-base hits. He has lost playing time at first base over the last week to Thames (see below.)

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Keston Hiura: the Brewers top prospect was promoted to the big-leagues for the first time during last week’s series against the Phillies. The 22-year-old was Milwaukee’s first round pick at 9th overall in the 2017 MLB Draft out of the University of Cal-Irvine. After ripping minor league pitching at five levels over the next two years, he has slashed .273/.333/.455 with two homers over his first eight games in Major League Baseball and has taken over as the Brewers starting second baseman. He could end up holding the position for years to come.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

  • Chase Anderson: (FRI) 2-0, 2.66 ERA, 1.310 WHIP, 4.27 FIP, 18 hits allowed over 23.2 IP across eight games (three starts) with a 25/13 K:BB ratio. Anderson spent time on the IL at the start of this month with a blister on his right pitching middle finger. He began the season in the bullpen before returning to the starting rotation on April 16.
  • Jhoulys Chacin: (SAT) 3-5, 4.65 ERA, 1.311 WHIP, 5.47 FIP, 44 hits over 50.1 IP across 10 starts with a 36/22 K:BB ratio.
  • Brandon Woodruff: (SUN) 6-1, 3.51 ERA, 1.225 WHIP, 3.23 FIP, 52 hits over 56.1 IP across 10 starts with a 65/17 K:BB ratio. One of the club’s top prospects for a couple of years, Woodruff debuted in 2017 and was a rookie last year when he pitched mostly out of the bullpen. He has finally seized a role in the rotation this season at age 26.

KEY BENCH & BULLPEN PIECES

  • Ben Gamel: a left-hander who turned 27-years-old last week. He has made 27 starts, mostly as a corner outfielder. Since the Phillies are likely to start a trio of right-handers on the mound this weekend, Gamel should see at least one start in place of Braun.
  • Eric Thames: a left-hander who is at least platooning at first base with Aguilar at this point. The 32-year-old veteran has 20 RBIs in just 125 plate appearances.
  • Josh Hader: the closer is one of the toughest left-handers in the game today. He has a dozen Saves with a 2.52 ERA and 0.640 WHIP in 19 games. A first-time All-Star a year ago, Hader has allowed just nine hits across 25 innings with a 49/7 K:BB ratio.
  • Junior Guerra: the club’s primary setup man, Guerra has a 2.39 ERA and 0.911 WHIP, allowing just 13 hits over 26.1 IP with a 22/11 K:BB across 21 games.
  • Jeremy Jeffress: another top righty out of the bullpen, Jeffress was an All-Star a year ago when he spent much of the season as the Brewers closer. This season he has a 2.93 ERA and 1.109 WHIP, allowing 11 hits over 15.1 IP across 14 appearances with a 16/6 K:BB ratio.
  • Alex Claudio: the most effective southpaw out of the pen, Claudio has made more appearances (27) than any Brewers reliever. He has allowed 16 hits over 20 innings with a 16/8 K:BB ratio.

THE SKIPPER

Craig Counsell is in his fifth year at the helm in Milwaukee, having taken over in the middle of the 2015 campaign. He has guided the club to an overall 345-330 record in that time. After his 2017 club missed an NL Wildcard playoff berth by just a single game, he led the team to a division crown last year.
Counsell played for 16 seasons in the big-leagues with five organizations. He played with Milwaukee in 2004 and then over his final five years from 2007-11. He was a teammate of Braun’s when the two faced the Phillies in the 2008 National League Division Series.
As a second baseman with the Florida Marlins, Counsell scored the title-winning run at Pro Player Stadium in Miami in the bottom of the 11th inning of the decisive Game 7 in the 1997 World Series. He reached on an error with one out, then came home three batters later on Edgar Renteria‘s single to center field.

THE BALLPARK

Bernie Brewer makes his slide after each Brewers home run and victory. (Mattingly23)
Miller Park opened as the Brewers home for the 2001 season. The facility features the only fan-shaped convertible roof in the United States, which can open and close in as little as 10 minutes. It holds 41,900 as a normal capacity but has been filled with a record 46,218 for a 2003 game with the rival Cubs.
Two of the unique fun features at Miller Park include the “Sausage Race“, a foot race between five people in “racing sausage” costumes, which takes place in the middle of the 6th inning of each game. And high above left-center field, the mascot “Bernie Brewer” takes off down a long, winding, yellow slide after each home run hit by the Brewers and after each of their victories.
During the traditional 7th-inning stretch, in addition to singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, Brewers fans also sing “Roll Out the Barrel” as a salute to the town’s beer-making history. Fans watching on television can usually spot “Front-Row Amy” sitting just behind home plate. Let’s just say that it’s hard to miss Amy Williams, who has held her $5,670 season ticket there for the last two years.
Following the 2020 season, Miller Park will no longer be known by that moniker. The naming rights to the stadium, which have belonged to the Miller Brewing Company for 20 years, will expire. Beginning with the 2021 season the park will be renamed for the new rights holders, American Family Insurance.

Rhys Hoskins developing into legit NL MVP candidate with Phillies

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Rhys Hoskins is anchoring the Phillies lineup as cleanup hitter

 

The Philadelphia Phillies (24-16) have slowly opened up a lead in the National League East Division standings as mid-May arrives. As opposed to last season, when the club was in first place with a 2.5 game lead in late July, this time around feels much different.
One of the primary reasons that the 2019 version of the Phillies seems capable of sustaining their lead is a much more experienced and talented every day lineup. That is thanks to the additions of J.T. RealmutoJean SeguraAndrew McCutchen and, of course, Bryce Harper.
The starting pitching rotation has also gotten tremendous work over the season’s first seven weeks from Jerad Eickhoff and Zach Eflin. Add in mostly solid performances from veteran Jake Arrieta and the group has been able to weather a slow start from ace Aaron Nola and the loss to injury of Vince Velasquez.
The Phillies bullpen mix has been, well, mercurial might be the best word to describe their performance as a whole. Right-hander Hector Neris and lefty Adam Morgan have been strong most of the season. Based on his most recent performance, Seranthony Dominguez may be rounding into form. That would be a huge lift for manager Gabe Kapler late in ball games.
But of all the reasons that the Phillies are alone in first place and a legitimate playoff contender for the first time in eight years can be found at first base. Rhys Hoskins appears to be flourishing with his return to the more comfortable defensive position. In fact, his numbers say that the 26-year-old is entering his prime as a legitimate National League MVP candidate.
Hoskins is slashing .285/.411/.590 with 11 home runs, and 35 RBIs. His OPS mark of 1.002 is fifth in the league. He is tied for sixth in homers and third in RBIs.

Over the last 14 games as the Phillies opened up their lead, Hoskins has been even better with a .320/.433/.640 OPS. He has eight extra-base hits and 15 RBIs in that span, and the team has gone from two games over the .500 mark with a half-game lead to eight games over .500 and a four-game lead in the loss column.

 

Evan Macy at The Philly Voice pointed out another big reason why Hoskins is so valuable to the Phillies overall attack in a piece earlier this month when he wrote the following:
Hoskins sees the most pitches per plate appearance of anyone in all of baseball with 4.72 and has forced pitchers to throw the second most pitches in total of any batter…There are many reasons why the Phillies’ lineup has been ultimately one of the most successful in baseball (when healthy) and a big part of it stems from Hoskins anchoring thing…He really forces a pitcher to work — which trickles down into the opposing hurler making mistakes, or getting tired or frustrated.
Cody Bellinger got off to a white-hot start for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Last year’s NL MVP, Christian Yelich, is off to another strong season with the Milwaukee Brewers. They are the clear leaders at the front of the conversation right now for National League Most Valuable Player.
But if Hoskins continues to rake as the Phillies cleanup hitter and the ball club remains on top of the division, he will remain one of the main candidates as that discussion really ramps up later in the summer.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Rhys Hoskins anchors Phillies lineup

You can count me out on Manny Machado signing with the Phillies in free agency

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Machado will get hundreds of millions in free agency – hopefully not from Phillies

Just yesterday at Phillies Nation, Editorial Director Tim Kelly wrote a piece on Manny Machado which centered around comments the player had made on his own perceived lack of hustle at times.

In that piece, Kelly reported on a handful of quotes attributed to Machado in an interview conducted by Ken Rosenthal at The Athleticwith the pending free agent shortstop.
One of those quotes stood out enough that Kelly highlighted it in his headline:

“…I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’…That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.”

Well, let me tell what else that is not. That is not going to sell in Philly.
Kelly compared Machado somewhat to former Phillies star shortstop Jimmy Rollins, a franchise icon, the all-time Phillies leader in career hits, and a future Wall of Famer.
Yes, there were times that Rollins did not hustle during his career. In fact, Kelly referenced in his piece the incident well-known to Phillies fans from 2012 in which then-manager Charlie Manuel benched ‘JRoll’ for failing to run out a fly ball.
However, whatever Rollins’ occasional lapses, Phillies fans knew him intimately. They had watched his entire career. They got to see him speed around the bases, sliding head-first into third base for a triple. They got to see him dive into the hole for balls and come up firing the runner out at first base.
Phillies fans watched Rollins proclaim theirs as “the team to beat in 2007, and then deliver an MVP season to back up it up as the club won the National League East Division crown for the first time in 15 years.
They saw him help lead the club to their first World Series championship in 28 years the following season. They roared as Rollins drilled a game-winning and possibly series-saving two-run double in Game Four of the 2009 NLCS against the Dodgers.
The point here is that Rollins was one of our own. We watched him grow from his mid-September debut at Veteran’s Stadium in 2000 through to his final appearance in red pinstripes at Citizens Bank Park in September of 2014.
We forgave him the occasional lapse in hustle or concentration because we saw first-hand the leadership, determination, and toughness over the long haul.
If the Phillies sign Machado this off-season as a free agent, something that up to this point nearly every Phillies fan has been hoping for months if not years, there could be a big problem.
Back in April, Dan Szymborski for ESPN estimated that it would take something along the lines of an eight-year, $300 million contract to land Machado as a shortstop, which is presumably where the Phillies would want him to play.
Now if you, like me, grew up in Philadelphia as a fan of this town’s sports teams, knowing the sports media in place and how involved those fans are with the teams and that media, what do you think? Do you think that a player who is being guaranteed $300 million and who is not hustling all the time is going to go over well here?
A cynic, and we have plenty of those, might say that if Machado is hitting .280-.290 with 40 bombs and 100+ RBI every year while fielding a decent shortstop, then the fans will forgive the occasional lack of hustle. I’m not so sure.
Machado is not home-grown. You pay him that much, you are going to expect that he will come in here and provide more than just his fantasy baseball numbers. Over the first 96 games of this past season, Machado was having a tremendous year. Meanwhile, his Orioles team was baseball’s worst.
Lack of hustle is not the only heavy baggage that Machado would carry with him off the plane at Philadelphia International Airport. There is also a very real “dirty player” label that the now 26-year-old carries along with him.
In last night’s Game Four of the National League Championship Series, that dirty play was on display in front of a national audience. While running through first base on a ground out in the 10th inning, Machado clearly kicked Brewers’ first baseman Jesus Aguilar.
“A dirty play by a dirty player” is how the incident was described by NL MVP favorite Christian Yelich of the Brewers per Gabe Lacques at USA Today. “It absolutely is. I have a lot of respect for him as a player, but you can’t respect someone who plays the game like that.
In the immediate aftermath of the play, former MLB star and current analyst Eric Byrnes put out a tweet that has since been deleted. It was seen, however, by yours truly and reported on by Larry Brown at Yardbarker.

“This dude is the biggest piece of (bleep) I’ve ever seen play the game… He is an absolute embarrassment & represents everything that’s WRONG with baseball. Hopefully future generations can watch & learn how NOT to play the game.” ~ Eric Byrnes

That was the message from Mark Mulder, who pitched for nine years in Major League Baseball and won 103 games in the 2000’s. Mulder is saying a whole lot in a few words with “people think what they do” regarding Machado.
During the NLCS Game Three on Monday, Machado had been involved in a pair of similarly controversial plays. During the postgame show on Fox Sports, former star player Alex Rodriguez, no stranger to controversy himself, was quoted on those incidents and their potential effect on Machado’s potential upcoming huge payday.
“You have 30 owners all want you right now. The whole world is watching baseball. You don’t want four, five owners to sit around and say, ‘Hey, did you see what Manny did? Did you see that? Oh, yeah, yeah, we’re out. We like him, but now we’re out.’ You’re losing tens of millions of dollars by the second if that becomes the narrative.”
I can guarantee you that there are a large number of Phillies fans right now who are hoping and praying that owner John Middleton is among the owners who are out. We may be seeing the Phillies offer to Bryce Harper rising by the day as the postseason moves along, and the Machado antics continue on full display.
As for myself, I don’t need to watch and listen to this kind of garbage for most of the next decade. Machado put up great numbers for the Orioles for most of seven seasons. They got one division title and three playoff appearances with those numbers, advancing past the LDS just one time.
A dirty player who admittedly doesn’t always hustle but may want $300 million? I’m out.

MLB awards: my 2018 IBWAA ballot

IBWAA 2018 MLB awards ballot time
Back in 2009 the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America) was originally, and perhaps fittingly, founded on Independence Day “to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA)” per the organization home site.
At the end of each regular season, each member in good standing receives an awards ballot and is tasked with voting for a top 10 for Most Valuable Player of the National and American Leagues.
We are also tasked with voting in each league for a top five in the Cy Young Award, as well as a top three in each of three further categories: top manager, top reliever, and Rookie of the Year.
This will be the fourth year that I’ve had a vote in the IBWAA annual awards balloting. As with each of the last three years, I’m now publicly releasing my ballot. As always, I’m sure that you would choose differently. I would love to hear your choices for each of the awards. Please feel free to leave a comment below this piece with your own selections.
The IBWAA is scheduled to begin announcing the winners of its awards in mid-November. Our editorial director here at Phillies Nation, Tim Kelly, released his own ballot just yesterday which included some of the reasoning behind his selections.
I’m not going to defend my choices, just simply presenting my ballot for your edification. However, I will let you in on this: I don’t vote for pitchers for Most Valuable Player. I’ve heard, appreciate, and respect all arguments to the contrary. I respectfully disagree with them all.
For me, a player who takes the field every single day to hit and field his position is always going to be more valuable than one who plays every five days. Also, there is a stand-alone award for the best pitcher that is not available to position players.
Also, my MVP votes are always going to be prejudiced towards players whose teams actually win something. Win your division, or at the very least capture a Wildcard playoff berth.
I don’t care if you hit 70 home runs for a last place team. They could have finished in last without your contribution. This is Most “Valuable”, not Most “Outstanding” Player. MLB gives out the Hank Aaron Award to the top hitter in each league. The MVP needs something more to win it on my ballot, and one thing they need is to have helped their team win.
So now it’s time to reveal my own ballot. I’ll first show my top choice to actually win the award, and then the entire ballot for each category.

First-year skipper Snitker guided the Braves to their first NL East crown in five years. (Photo: Bbqsauce13)
NL Manager of the Year: Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves
  1. Snitker
  2. Bud Black
  3. Craig Counsell
AL Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics
  1. Melvin
  2. Kevin Cash
  3. Joey Cora
NL Top Relief Pitcher: Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers
  1. Hader
  2. Wade Davis
  3. Kenley Jansen


Diaz (R) was baseball’s top reliever by a wide margin in the 2018 season. (Photo: Keith Allison)
AL Top Relief Pitcher: Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners
  1. Diaz
  2. Blake Treinen
  3. Craig Kimbrel
NL Rookie of the Year: Ronald Acuna, Atlanta Braves
  1. Acuna
  2. Juan Soto
  3. Jack Flaherty
AL Rookie of the Year: Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees
  1. Andujar
  2. Joey Wendle
  3. Shohei Ohtani

Nola is a worthy NL Cy Young Award candidate and received this vote.
NL Cy Young Award: Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
  1. Nola
  2. Jacob deGrom
  3. Max Scherzer
  4. Kyle Freeland
  5. Jameson Taillon
AL Cy Young Award: Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
  1. Snell
  2. Chris Sale
  3. Corey Kluber
  4. Justin Verlander
  5. Trevor Bauer

Bregman broke out to help the champion Astros remain a top contender. (Photo: Udeezy)
NL Most Valuable Player: Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
  1. Yelich
  2. Javier Baez
  3. Freddie Freeman
  4. Matt Carpenter
  5. Lorenzo Cain
  6. Nolan Arenado
  7. Justin Turner
  8. Paul Goldschmidt
  9. Trevor Story
  10. Anthony Rendon
AL Most Valuable Player: Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros
  1. Bregman
  2. Francisco Lindor
  3. Mookie Betts
  4. Matt Chapman
  5. Jose Ramirez
  6. J.D. Martinez
  7. Aaron Judge
  8. Mike Trout
  9. Whit Merrifield
  10. Didi Gregorius
Originally published by Phillies Nation as “Matt Veasey’s 2018 IBWAA awards ballot