Who was your favorite team's 2018 MVP?

September 26th, 2018

From familiar faces like , and to relative newcomers to the spotlight like , and , there was certainly no shortage of star power to go around the league in 2018.
Whether they were fueling postseason pushes, serving as veteran leaders on young teams or captivating fans with breakout campaigns, these standouts provided baseball fans around the country with the most exciting storylines of the regular season.
Here's a look at every team's 2018 MVP, in the words of all 30 MLB.com beat writers:
Blue Jays:
Smoak wasn't quite able to replicate his breakout 2017 campaign, but the veteran slugger has been the Blue Jays' most consistent hitter from start to finish. The 31-year-old entered play on Wednesday with the team lead in home runs (25), RBIs (77) and OPS (.814). He was at the heart of Toronto's lineup all year, and another solid season has all but officially guaranteed that his $7 million option for next year will be picked up by the Blue Jays.
On a team decimated by trades and searching for an identity, Mancini has provided a second-half lift. The second-year player -- who finished third in AL Rookie of the Year Award voting last year -- entered Wednesday batting .278 with 11 homers in 59 games since the All-Star break, one long ball shy of his total from the first half, which spanned 91 games.
Snell has a chance to do something only five other pitchers have done in the live-ball era (since 1920): finish with 21 wins and a sub-2.00 ERA at age 25 or younger. He would join Dwight Gooden, Vida Blue, Denny McLain, Dave McNally and Hal Newhouser. The lefty has made 26 starts this season in which he has allowed two runs or fewer and 20 starts of one run or fewer -- both most in the Major Leagues, excluding "openers."

Red Sox:
So much for those who thought Betts had reached his peak two years ago when he finished second in the AL MVP Award voting to . After a tick downward in 2017, Betts has raised his game to the highest level of his career and taken the Red Sox with him for the ride. He has impacted his team in every way possible, hitting for average and power, stealing bases, playing brilliant defense and becoming a young leader in the clubhouse. Betts is a shoo-in to win his first batting title and has already achieved a career high in homers. He trails only Trout in on-base percentage and OPS. Betts also leads MLB in FanGraphs WAR.
Yankees: Didi Gregorius
Championed as "the captain of the infield" by manager Aaron Boone, Gregorius has provided the Yankees with leadership as well as above-average play on both sides of the ball. He has hit a career-high 27 homers, shattering his own record for the most by a Yanks shortstop, while committing just five errors. Gregorius slumped in May (.149 average) after a sensational April (1.156 OPS), but his numbers steadily improved each month thereafter.
This designation could go to either Ramirez or , and both could wind up in the top five in voting for the AL Most Valuable Player Award for the second straight year. Ramirez joined Joe Carter (1987) and Grady Sizemore (2008) as the only 30/30 players in Indians history. He also joined Barry Bonds, Jeff Bagwell and Bobby Abreu as the only hitters in MLB history to have 100 walks, 100 RBIs and 100 runs to go along with the 30 homers and 30 steals. Ramirez has rated as baseball's top baserunner, and for the second year in a row, he has bounced between third base and second base defensively.

Royals: Whit Merrifield
Merrifield has emerged as one of the most dynamic offensive weapons in the league. He'll likely win his second straight stolen-base title, and he has a chance to lead the AL (maybe even the Majors) in hits. All that athleticism shows up defensively as well, as Merrifield has turned into a premier super-utility man, ranging from center field to second base to first base. He's a manager's dream because of his versatility.
Considering what was around him in the Tigers' lineup, Castellanos had one of the best seasons in a Detroit uniform since 's prime. He not only has career bests in average, slugging, on-base, OPS, hits and runs scored, but he's also put himself among the AL's top 10 in total bases, runs created, weighted on-base average, and nearly there in win probability added. Castellanos has taken Cabrera's seat as the center of Detroit's offense.
Rosario had a breakout season offensively and was the Twins' best all-around player, hitting .288/.323/.479 with 24 homers, 31 doubles and 77 RBIs in 138 games before suffering a season-ending quad injury in mid-September. He was also a solid defender in left field, using his strong arm to rack up nine outfield assists. Rosario still has room to improve his plate discipline, but is among the best bad-ball hitters in baseball with a Major League-high 10 of his homers coming on pitches out of the zone, per Statcast™.

White Sox:
For the first time in Abreu's five years with the White Sox, the first baseman failed to reach at least 25 home runs, 100 RBIs and a .290 average. Abreu lost all but six games after Aug. 20 due to surgery to relieve pain from testicular torsion and an infection in his right thigh, but he still was the most consistent force in the White Sox lineup. Abreu knocked out 22 homers and 36 doubles and drove in 78 runs to go along with a .473 slugging percentage and a .798 OPS.
Angels: Mike Trout
The best player in baseball keeps finding ways to get better. Trout, a two-time AL MVP Award winner, is having his best season to date, leading the Majors in on-base percentage, OPS and intentional walks, and ranking second in slugging percentage and WAR. Trout also made a concerted effort to improve his defense in center field and continues to be a burner on the basepaths. The 27-year-old star is a perennial AL MVP Award candidate, but his case this year will likely be hurt by the fact that the Angels are set to miss the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season.
With 2017 AL MVP Award winner  not able to duplicate his tremendous numbers from a year ago, Bregman emerged as the Astros' most dangerous offensive player with a historic season at the plate. He joined Lance Berkman as the only Houston players to reach 50 doubles, 100 RBIs and 100 runs in a season and is the first player in MLB history to have at least 50 doubles and 30 homers while playing the majority of his games at third base.
Davis no longer plays the field, but the impact he has on the A's lineup as designated hitter is invaluable. He's their main power source -- they went lifeless at the plate when he was on the DL this year, going 3-6 without him -- and he just so happens to be baseball's home run leader, making him worthy of AL MVP Award consideration. Davis, who has launched more long balls since the advent of 2016 than any other player, at least belongs in the conversation.

Mariners: Mitch Haniger
While a case certainly can be made for closer 's value, given that he's saved two-thirds of the wins for a team that made a living on one-run victories for much of the year, Haniger emerged as Seattle's best everyday player with a breakout season. The first-time All-Star kicked his game up further with a strong stretch run both offensively and in right field, where he's tops in the Majors with 12 assists. The 27-year-old is the second Mariners outfielder with 35-plus doubles, 25-plus homers and 90-plus RBIs in a season, joining Ken Griffey Jr. (1992 and '93).
Choo was an All-Star for the first time in his career and the Rangers' only representative. His high on-base percentage and ability to hit anywhere in the order were big assets to Texas' lineup. Joey Gallo had big home run and RBI totals, but Choo set the tone for the Rangers' offense, played solid defense so that could DH and emerged as a strong clubhouse leader on a young team.
Braves: Freddie Freeman
As great as Ronald Acuna Jr. was in the second half, his six-week stretch of dominance did not trump the overall value of Freeman, who was arguably the leading NL MVP Award candidate before entering a three-week slump in mid-August. Freeman's power production dropped over the final few months, but his consistency maximized the value produced by and , fellow All-Stars who also produced MVP-caliber production during the first half.

Marlins: J.T. Realmuto
The last remaining core player from an explosive 2017 lineup, Realmuto not only by default became the face of the franchise, but he's also made the case that he's the best catcher in the Majors. The 27-year-old leads his position in many major statistical categories. Realmuto was named to his first All-Star Game this year, and playing on a last-place team, the Oklahoma native embraced a leadership role on a young squad.
The likely NL Cy Young Award winner, deGrom will appear on many NL MVP Award ballots as well. He is on pace to lead the NL in ERA by more than half a run, after posting the most consecutive quality starts in a season in Major League history. No NL hitter is close to deGrom in either FanGraphs' or Baseball Reference's calculation of WAR.
Nationals: Max Scherzer
The Nationals have endured injuries and inconsistencies from so much of their roster, but Scherzer remained the one steady presence every fifth day. He is one of the front-runners for the NL Cy Young Award and, like deGrom, will appear on some NL MVP Award ballots after leading the NL in wins and strikeouts and becoming just the sixth pitcher since 1990 to record 300 strikeouts in a single season.

The Phillies had the second-best record in the NL and held first place in the NL East as late as Aug. 11 mostly because of their starting pitching. Nola led the way, establishing himself not only as the Phils' ace, but as one of the best starting pitchers in baseball. Entering Wednesday, Nola's bWAR (9.4) was fifth in the Majors. Only Betts (10.7), Trout (10.1) Scherzer (9.7) and deGrom (9.6) had higher marks.
Traditional numbers, newer numbers or narrative -- by nearly any definition, Yelich is the guy, not just for the Brewers, but perhaps in the whole NL. He's had a career year at the plate, hitting for average, hitting for power and getting on base. He's also played strong defense, contributed as an exceptional baserunner and carried a contending team for stretches of the season.

Cardinals: Matt Carpenter
No player was more integral to the Cardinals' second-half surge than Carpenter, whose white-hot summer pulled them back into contention almost single-handedly. St. Louis' leadoff hitter rebounded from a horrible start to put himself squarely in the NL MVP Award conversation. Carpenter leads the NL in homers and ranks among the leaders in a slew of major categories, including runs, slugging, OPS, wRC+ and WAR.
Baez began this season batting eighth for the Cubs, quickly moved up and now finds himself one of the top NL MVP Award candidates. He has set career highs in nearly every offensive category, and has done so while moving around the infield. Manager Joe Maddon says Baez is the best second baseman in the NL -- and he may be the best shortstop, too. He is the Cubs' quarterback. "El Mago" has had a magical year.
The Pirates have their ace. After a few rough outings early in the season, Taillon has put together 21 straight starts of three earned runs or fewer, a stretch surpassed by only deGrom this season. The former No. 2 overall pick leads Pittsburgh with 4.3 bWAR, and his emergence -- along with the success of -- gives the Bucs hope heading into next season.

Signed to a seven-year, $66 million contract extension in March, Suarez backed it up with his biggest season yet, and is among the NL leaders in home runs and RBIs. In July, he tied a franchise record with home runs in five consecutive games. Besides having a career year at the plate, the 27-year-old was again exceptional defensively at third base and could make both the routine and superlative plays. Suarez's numbers might have been more robust had he not missed 16 games in April with a fractured thumb. He was certainly missed, as Cincinnati went 3-13 without his contributions.
You could have gotten really good odds on May 22 that Arizona's MVP would be anyone other than Goldschmidt, as the six-time All-Star was hitting .198 at the time. Since then, though, he's gone on a tear and will finish the year with his usual outstanding numbers. Beyond the offensive numbers, Goldschmidt brings Gold Glove defense at first base and is an adept baserunner.
Turner missed the first six weeks with a broken wrist and wasn't whole for another six weeks. That said, since the All-Star break, he's been the real Justin Turner, the most consistent offensive bat and a leader in the clubhouse. On a team that platoons almost everywhere, he is one player manager Dave Roberts hates to leave out of the lineup.

Though Crawford fell short of his peak offensive production, he was San Francisco's top hitter early in the season, before the club began to struggle at the plate collectively. Crawford was torrid in May (.412/.446/.618) and June (.326/.425/.584) to help the Giants finish 29-26 in that span. Left knee soreness hampered Crawford at the plate and in the field, though the three-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop continued to make captivating plays throughout the season.
The Padres' offense has been inconsistent, and the few hitters who have starred have done so in limited plate appearances. The rotation, meanwhile, has been in a state of flux with rookie after rookie debuting. Through it all, Yates has been the anchor to one of the league's best bullpens. He's upped his strikeout rate, lowered his walk rate and honed his splitter to the point where it's been nearly unhittable this season.
Yes, this one is outside the BBWAA box, but given the 26-season history of baseball at a mile high, it makes total sense. Reading Freeland's stats is like playing that game with the fortune cookie message. Read, then say either "for the Rockies" or "at Coors Field." Going into Friday night's final regular-season start against the Nationals, he had a 2.84 ERA (club record: , 2.88 in 2010), a 2.36 home ERA and is 8-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 13 starts after the All-Star break. And how's this for picking up his teammates? Freeland hasn't given up an unearned run, meaning he doesn't let miscues become costly.