The calendar year has flipped to 2019 as the start of another exciting MLB season is just around the corner. As we wait during the quiet time of the MLB offseason, it gives everyone a chance to look back at the exciting 2018 MLB season from big time MVP production from some of the games top stars to breakout performances from the next wave of future stars of the game to poor performances across the MLB schedule all leading to one team winning the 2018 World Series.
MVP Caliber Production
The list of players who put together MVP caliber production in 2018 features the likes of Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Christian Yelich, Javier Baez and Nolan Arenado to name just a handful. Betts would take home the AL MVP award in the American League after leading MLB with a .346 batting average to go with 32 home runs and 80 runs batted in. Meanwhile Yelich would take home the NL MVP award after leading the NL with a .326 batting average to go with 36 home runs and 110 runs batted in. Other strong performances included Trout (.312 batting average, 39 home runs and 79 runs batting in while missing 22 games), Baez (NL leading 111 runs batted in to go with 34 home runs) and Arenado (NL leading 38 home runs to go with 110 runs batted in).
Top Rookie Performances
Every MLB season will produce a new crop of young talent and the 2018 MLB season did exactly that led by the Japanese two way star Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels. Ohtani despite joining an American League club elected to pitch and be a part of the everyday lineup while not on the mound. Ohtani pitched in just 10 games after dealing with issues finished with a 4-2 record while striking out 63 batters over just 51.2 innings. Despite the injury, Ohtani still managed to play in 104 games for the Angels hitting .285 with 22 home runs and 61 runs batted in while taking home the AL rookie of the year award. Meanwhile in the National League, Ronald Acuna would take home the NL rookie of the year award after hitting .293 with 26 home runs and 64 runs batted in. Other strong rookie performances included Miguel Andujar (.297 batting average, 27 home runs and 92 runs batted in) and Walker Buehler (2.62 earned run average, 8-5 record and 151 strikeouts).
American League 2018 Recap
The American League put together a strong performance led by the World Series Champions the Boston Red Sox who won a league high 108 games during the regular season. Led by MVP winner Mookie Betts as well as MVP candidate JD Martinez the Red Sox offense was as good as any team in both the American or National League (league high 876 runs scored) while their pitching allowed the fourth fewest runs (647 runs allowed). While the Red Sox dominated the American League, the Houston Astros finished with the second best record 103-59 led by an All-Star pitching staff that included Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole while young stars at the plate Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve paced the offense. Other strong performances in the AL included the Cleveland Indians rising to the top of the AL Central while the impressive run by the Oakland A’s and New York Yankees landed them in the postseason as wild card favorites.
As the top of the American League looked really good, the bottom looked really bad led by the Baltimore Orioles. A solid playoff caliber team over the previous five plus seasons saw the wheels fall off as they lost a franchise high 115 games leading to the departure of manager Buck Showalter as well as general manager Dan Duquette. These struggles led to a fire sale that saw the club trade away stars Manny Machado, Johnathan Schoop and Zach Britton. The Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox were the only other two teams in the American League to record 100 losses.
National League 2018 Recap
All the fireworks were on display in the National League in 2018 as we saw some dramatic finishes around the game leading into the postseason. Some of those fireworks included a second half run from the Los Angeles Dodgers to help them overtake the Colorado Rockies for the best record in the National League West division. Meanwhile the Central division took a game 163 to crown a champion as the Milwaukee Brewers broke their postseason streak with a 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs. The win gave the Brewers the division while landing the Cubs as the second wild card team to join the Colorado Rockies. Along with the impressive performance from the Brewers, the young exciting Braves led by Acuna rose to the top of the NL East.
Meanwhile in the bottom of the National League the Miami Marlins despite having new ownership led by Derek Jeter finished with a league high 98 losses. Along with the Marlins, the Cincinnati Reds (95 losses) and San Diego Padres (96 losses) also finished with 90 plus losses.
The question now is how exciting will the 2019 MLB Season be? Which teams will continue to win and which teams will fall to the back of their divisions?