The first wave of honors in the baseball awards season were announced on Thursday, as Baseball Digest revealed the winners of its Player, Pitcher and Relief Pitcher of the Year, with Mookie Betts, Jacob deGrom and Blake Treinen receiving each, respectively.deGrom received all 15 first-place votes from the blue-ribbon committee
The first wave of honors in the baseball awards season were announced on Thursday, as Baseball Digest revealed the winners of its Player, Pitcher and Relief Pitcher of the Year, with Mookie Betts, Jacob deGrom and Blake Treinen receiving each, respectively.
deGrom received all 15 first-place votes from the blue-ribbon committee for Thursday's honor. It's also the first tangible case made for his candidacy for the National League Cy Young Award, for which voting was completed earlier this week. That honor will be presented in November.
deGrom is considered the favorite for the NL's most distinguished pitching award, and his case has been bolstered by more non-traditional stats and contexts than perhaps ever before. deGrom won his last two starts to finish 10-9 with a 1.70 ERA, but until the final days of the regular season, there was a chance that he might finish with a losing record, a mark that nearly manifested by receiving an average of just 3.57 runs of support per game from the fourth-place Mets. Should deGrom win the Cy Young, his 10 wins would be the fewest ever by a winning starting pitcher. The current low is 13, set by the Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela in 1981. deGrom is the first pitcher in MLB history to start 20 or more games in a season with an ERA of 1.70 or below and record 10 wins or fewer.
In its release, Baseball Digest cited deGrom as its winner in part due to his run as the only pitcher in the modern era to have a season with at least 260 strikeouts, 50 walks or fewer, 10 home runs allowed or fewer and a sub-2.00 ERA, as well as his active streak of 24 straight quality starts, which is the longest such streak in MLB history.
Betts is the first Red Sox position player to win Baseball Digest's award in its 50 seasons. In its release, the publication credited Betts becoming the first big leaguer to win a batting title in a 30-30 season (Betts finished with 32 homers and 30 steals). Betts, who is the favorite for the American League MVP Award, also led the Majors in fWAR (10.9) and slugging percentage (.640, more than 100 points higher than his previous career best). Betts received 12 of the 15 first-place votes, with teammate J.D. Martinez, Cubs infielder Javier Baez and Angels center fielder Michael Trout receiving one first-place vote each. Betts also received one second-place vote and two third-place votes.
Treinen, the anchor for the A's bullpen that helped drive Oakland to its first postseason appearance since 2014, set career marks in saves (38), innings (80 1/3), strikeouts (100) and ERA (0.78), the latter of which also led all MLB relievers. Treinen gave up just one earned run over his final 27 outings in the regular season dating to July 24. Treinen received 35 total points in his vote tally, narrowly edging out Mariners closer Edwin Diaz, who received 30.
The Baseball Digest Awards were made by independently submitted votes of a 15-member blue-ribbon panel made up of longtime baseball observers Greg Amsinger (MLB Network host), Matt Baker (MLB Network researcher), Bob Costas (MLB Network host and play-by-play announcer), Jim Duquette (SiriusXM and former Major League general manager), Mike Fitzpatrick (Associated Press, BBWAA), Alyson Footer (MLB.com, BBWAA), Brian Kenny (MLB Network host), Bill Madden (New York Daily News, BBWAA), Sean McAdam (Boston Sports Journal, BBWAA), Scott Miller (Bleacher Report, BBWAA), Eduardo Perez (SiriusXM host and former Major Leaguer), Steve Phillips (SiriusXM and former MLB general manager), Harold Reynolds (MLB Network analyst and former big leaguer), Phil Rogers (MLB Network correspondent, BBWAA) and Christopher Russo (SiriusXM and MLB Network).
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.