2018 Players Choice Awards Outstanding Player Finalists
The 2018 season’s highlights included historical performances by the six finalists for the 2018 Players Choice Awards Outstanding Player of the Year.
Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and José Ramírez represent the AL finalists, and Javier Báez, Trevor Story and Christian Yelich are the NL finalists.
All six earned a roster spot as a 2018 All-Star and made an appearance in the postseason.
Winners of the Outstanding Player award will receive a $20,000 grant from the Major League Baseball Players Trust to donate to a charity of their choice. Runner-up and third-place finisher will receive $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.
The finalists for Comeback Player, Outstanding Rookie and Outstanding Pitcher were previously released. The Player of the Year finalists will be announced Tuesday (Nov. 6), and the three finalists for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year will be announced Nov. 13.
All 10 Players Choice Awards winners will be announced on Tuesday Nov. 27.
AMERICAN LEAGUE OUTSTANDING PLAYER FINALISTS
MOOKIE BETTS, Boston Red Sox
Mookie Betts, a dynamic 5-foot-9 right-fielder from Nashville, Tenn., was catalyst offensively and defensively for the 2018 World Series champions, batting a league-leading .346 with 32 homers, 129 runs, 80 RBIs and a 1.078 OPS. A three-time All-Star, the 26-year-old Betts also stole 30 bases in 36 attempts in his fifth season with the Red Sox and his 10.4 fWAR was the best in baseball.
J.D. MARTINEZ, Boston Red Sox
After signing a five-year deal with the Red Sox as a free agent last offseason, J.D. Martinez promptly helped lead his new club to a World Series title in 2018. He compiled 5.9 fWAR while slashing .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs and leading the majors with 130 RBIs and 358 total bases. Splitting time between corner outfield positions and designated hitter, the 31-year-old South Florida native was also named to the second All-Star Game of his eight-year career.
JOSÉ RAMÍREZ , Cleveland Indians
José Ramírez has emerged as a switch-hitting, superstar third baseman for Cleveland the past two seasons. The 26-year-old Dominican batted .270 with 39 homers and 105 RBIs to lead the Indians to an AL Central championship. Ramírez, who can also play second base, hit 38 doubles and stole 34 bases in 40 attempts to become only the third 30-30 player in franchise history. He started in the All-Star Game for the second straight season.
NATIONAL LEAGUE OUTSTANDING PLAYER FINALISTS
JAVIER BÁEZ, Chicago Cubs
Only 25, Javier Báez is aptly nicknamed “El Mago” – The Magician – for his one-of-a-kind wizardry offensively, defensively and on the base paths. In 2018, he helped lead the Cubs to the postseason with his all-around play – slashing .290/.326/.554 with 34 homers, 111 RBIs and 21 stolen bases and nine triples. The graceful, sure-handed Báez plays primarily second base, but has also shifted seamlessly over to shortstop and third as necessary and has won the Fielding Bible’s “Multi-Position” award the past three seasons.
TREVOR STORY, Colorado Rockies
Trevor Story helped lead the Rockies to the postseason and emerged as one of the NL’s elite all-around players in 2018, joining Alex Rodriguez as the only shortstop to hit at least 30 homers with 100 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in a season. Only 25, Story made the All-Star team for the first time and slashed .291/.348/.567 with 37 home runs, 42 doubles and 27 stolen bases, making him the first shortstop in MLB history to reach 40 doubles, 30 home runs and 25 steals in a season. He also set the record for the longest home run of the Statcast era with a 505-foot shot in September.
CHRISTIAN YELICH, Milwaukee Brewers
Christian Yelich joined the Brewers in a trade this winter and powered the club to the NL Central title with a second-half surge. The 26-year-old outfielder from Southern California made a strong run for the Triple Crown and ended up as the Brewers’ first batting champion (.326) while hitting 36 homers and driving in 110 runs. He led the NL with a .598 slugging percentage and a 1.000 OPS. In 2018, Yelich twice hit for the cycle and was selected for his first All-Star Game.
The winners of each of the 10 Players Choice Awards will be announced on the evening of Nov. 27.
About the Major League Baseball Players Trust
Through the Players Trust, Major Leaguers contribute their time, money and celebrity to call attention to important causes. Each year the Players Trust distributes more than $1.5 million in annual grants and programs. For additional information, please visit www.PlayersTrust.org, @MLBPlayersTrust