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Houston BBWAA announces annual awards

Bregman, Verlander, Stassi and Morton Among Recipients

HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America has announced their annual awards for the 2018 season: 

Astros MVP: IF Alex Bregman
Astros Pitcher of the Year: RHP Justin Verlander
Astros Rookie of the Year: C Max Stassi
Darryl Kile Good Guy Award: RHP Charlie Morton
Houston Area (non Astro) Player of the Year: IF Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Fred Hartman Long and Meritorious Service Award: Willie Berry

HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America has announced their annual awards for the 2018 season: 

Astros MVP: IF Alex Bregman
Astros Pitcher of the Year: RHP Justin Verlander
Astros Rookie of the Year: C Max Stassi
Darryl Kile Good Guy Award: RHP Charlie Morton
Houston Area (non Astro) Player of the Year: IF Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Fred Hartman Long and Meritorious Service Award: Willie Berry

Additionally, the chapter also announced that Brian McTaggart of MLB.com will serve as the Chairman for 2019.

This is Alex Bregman's first career Team MVP Award, an honor he received after recording a record-breaking season in 2018. The third baseman earned his first All-Star Team selection, and was named the All-Star Game MVP, the AL June Player of the Month and the AL Player of the Week for the week of June 25-July. Bregman led the Astros in runs (105), hits (170), doubles (51), homers (31), RBI (103), walks (96), on-base percentage (.394) and OPS (.926), and at 24-years-old became the youngest player in Astros history with a 30 homer season. He led the Majors with 51 doubles, joining Lance Berkman as the only players in Astros history with a 50-double, 30-homer season. He also became the Astros first 100-RBI hitter in almost a decade, becoming the first player to reach that total since Carlos Lee in 2009 (102 RBI). Bregman joined Lou Gehrig (1927) as the only players in Major League history to record a season with at least 50 doubles, 30 homers, 90 walks, and 10 stolen bases. He finished the regular season by reaching base safely in 55 consecutive road games, a new franchise record. 

RHP Justin Verlander won his first Team Pitcher of the Year Award following one of the best seasons of his illustrious 14-year career. The 35-year-old went 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA (60ERA/214.0IP) and 290 strikeouts in 34 starts, posting career-highs in strikeouts (290) and WHIP (0.90), which was the third-lowest WHIP for an AL starter in last 50 seasons (min 175IP). He was named to his seventh All-Star Team and is a top contender for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. Verlander led the AL in strikeouts (290), strikeout to walk ratio (7.84), WHIP (0.90) and opponent OBP (.242). He was named the AL May Pitcher of the Month, and also received the AL Player of Week twice for the weeks of April 9-15 and September 10-16. Verlander finished the season strong, going 4-0 in five September starts with a 1.09 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 33.0 innings. He posted 10-or-more strikeouts in each of his final four starts of the season. 

C Max Stassi had a strong first full season in the majors, leading all Astros catchers with 64 starts, the most by an Astros rookie catcher since Mitch Meluskey in 2000 (88). His 21 extra-base hits were the third-most in club history by a rookie catcher behind only Meluskey (35 in 2000) and Mark Bailey (26 in 1984). Stassi was one of the top pitch-framing catchers in the Majors according to Baseball Prospectus, ranking third in MLB in framing runs above average at 14.9. Stassi led Houston's catchers in runners caught stealing with 10 and ranked fourth among AL catchers in fielding percentage at .997. 

The Darryl Kile Award, which has been awarded to RHP Charlie Morton, is also called the "good guy award," in memory of the late Darryl Kile, a former Astros standout pitcher. It is presented to the player chosen as the most affable with teammates, fans and the press. The first-time AL All-Star had a fantastic season in his second year with the Astros. Morton led the Majors in winning percentage (.833) with a 15-3 record, while also recording a career best in strikeouts (201), games started (30), wins (15), ERA (3.40), quality starts (18), WHIP (1.16) and strikeouts per 9.0 innings ratio (10.83).

IF Paul Goldschmidt was named the Houston Area Player of the Year (non-Astro). He had another phenomenal season with the Diamondbacks in what was his eighth season with the club, hitting .290 with 33 home runs, 83 RBI and a .922 OPS en route to his sixth-consecutive NL All-Star nomination. This marks his fifth time winning the Award (2013, 2015-18). Goldschmidt played high school baseball at The Woodlands and in college for the Texas State Bobcats.

Longtime Astros groundskeeper Willie Berry, this year's winner of the Fred Hartman Long and Meritorious Service to Baseball Award, has enjoyed a remarkable career with the Astros that started in early 1970's, when he started working for the Astros at the Astrodome as a janitor. The longest-tenured groundskeeper on the Astros staff, Berry has worked for the Astros for over 45 years and is best known for his meticulous maintenance of the Astros pitchers mound.

-ASTROS-
 

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