Cue the inevitable water-cooler arguments about who was robbed of being named a finalist for Major League Baseball’s 2018 awards.

Many names came as no surprise – Jacob deGrom for National League Cy Young, for example. But the award snubs are usually as notable as the finalists. Here are the biggest names that were left out of the running for awards.

AL MVP: J.D. Martinez, Red Sox

Maddie Meyer / Getty Images Sport / Getty
AVG OPS HR wRC+ WAR
.330 1.031 43 170 5.9

No free-agent addition had a greater impact on his new team than Martinez. The slugger, who arrived in Boston with a fairly spotty injury history, stayed on the field and crushed baseballs at an epic clip. While his home runs showcased his prodigious power well, he also smacked a career-high 37 doubles. Martinez also proved that he could pull through regardless of where the game was held as he hit .326 at Fenway Park and .334 on the road.

In the AL, he ranked first in RBIs, second in home runs, batting average, and slugging, and third in runs scored, OPS, and OBP.

In many ways, his omission is simply a testament to how strong the MVP field was in the American League. Cases can also be made for Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, both of whom were worth more wins above replacement than Martinez – though being a designated hitter does him no favors in that regard.

NL MVP: Jacob deGrom, Mets

Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport / Getty
W-L ERA WHIP FIP WAR
10-9 1.70 0.91 1.99 8.8

Robbery, plain and simple. No, it’s not good enough that deGrom is in line for the NL Cy Young Award, he deserved consideration here as well. When Clayton Kershaw won the MVP in 2014, he was 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and 1.81 FIP. The only egregious gap is in win-loss record, and it’d be a total sham if that is what ultimately held deGrom back.

The Mets ace allowed four earned runs in an April 10th start. He followed that with 29 consecutive starts where he allowed three or fewer runs, including an eight-inning, two-hit outing against the Atlanta Braves to close out his season. The 30-year-old constantly put his team in a position to win. His offense let him down and deGrom is unfathomably going to have to settle for the NL Cy Young.

AL Cy Young: Chris Sale, Red Sox

Jim Rogash / Getty Images Sport / Getty
W-L ERA WHIP FIP WAR
12-4 2.11 0.86 1.98 6.5

Shoulder inflammation put Sale on the disabled list in late July and a surefire award-winning campaign was irreparably derailed. Despite making only five starts after the beginning of August and never going deeper than five innings in any of them, his chances were shot. But that ignores how impressive he was when healthy. Sale’s 13.5 K/9 was better than any of the finalists and his FIP was better than deGrom’s. Somehow, Sale has never won a Cy Young despite finishing in the top five in voting for five straight seasons.

NL Cy Young: Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images Sport / Getty
W-L ERA WHIP FIP WAR
11-7 3.15 1.05 2.47 6.3

Corbin should’ve taken the third spot over Aaron Nola. The Philadelphia Phillies ace was outstanding, true, but he may have gotten preferential treatment because he won more games (17). Corbin had a better strikeout rate (11.07 K/9 vs. 9.49), issued walks less frequently, and allowed fewer home runs.

AL Rookie of the Year: Joey Wendle, Rays

Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images Sport / Getty
AVG OPS HR wRC+ WAR
.300 .789 7 116 3.7

You know else who thinks Wendle was snubbed? His teammate, and Cy Young finalist, Blake Snell was riled up about Wendle’s absence as a top rookie finalist.

“If Joey played for the Yankees, do you think Joey would have been on there? Joey would have been on ESPN every day. The man is special. For him not to be on there, I’m sad … I thought he was going to win it,” Snell said, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

Wendle finished with more WAR than any other AL rookie, so Snell has a point.

NL Rookie of the Year: Harrison Bader, Cardinals

Dilip Vishwanat / Getty Images Sport / Getty
AVG OPS HR wRC+ WAR
.264 .756 12 106 3.5

Bader’s offense, while not bad, paled in comparison to finalists Ronald Acuna Jr. and Juan Soto. His 19 defensive runs saved led all outfield rookies and were good for fourth overall despite being outpaced in terms of innings played. It seemed to go unnoticed across the board because he didn’t even get a nomination for a Gold Glove. He’ll enter 2019 with a chip on his shoulder.

AL Manager of the Year: A.J. Hinch, Astros

Elsa / Getty Images Sport / Getty

No big deal, the Astros followed up a World Series victory by winning 103 games – second only to the Red Sox. Hinch’s squad dealt with a flurry of injuries to Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer throughout the season and yet they still won the AL West by six games. Expectations rule the roost, though, and after winning a championship, the Astros probably had to do something extraordinary to earn their skipper a nod.

NL Manager of the Year: None, they got it right

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The three finalists for NL Manager of the Year – Craig Counsell (Brewers), Brian Snitker (Braves), and Bud Black (Rockies) – are the right choices. All three teams outperformed expectations en route to playoff berths when they were each dark horses (at best) entering the regular season. Bravo!

(WAR courtesy: FanGraphs)

Menu