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Whit, Keller, Mondesi receive KC top honors

January 23, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- Second baseman Whit Merrifield was named the Royals' Player of the Year (Les Milgram Award) for 2018, with rookie Brad Keller earning the distinction of the team's Pitcher of the Year (Bruce Rice Award). Shortstop Raul Mondesi received the honor of Special Achievement Player of the Year

KANSAS CITY -- Second baseman Whit Merrifield was named the Royals' Player of the Year (Les Milgram Award) for 2018, with rookie Brad Keller earning the distinction of the team's Pitcher of the Year (Bruce Rice Award). Shortstop Raul Mondesi received the honor of Special Achievement Player of the Year (Joe Burke Award).
The awards were voted on by the Kansas City chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA).
Merrifield led the Major Leagues in hits (192) and stolen bases (45) while hitting .304 with an .806 OPS.
"It's an honor to be named Player of the Year with the Royals," Merrifield told MLB.com. "Individually, I work diligently to continue to improve day by day, and year by year. It feels great to get an award that represents that hard work."

Keller, a Rule 5 Draft pick, emerged as the Royals' best starter in his first Major League season, going 9-6 with a 3.08 ERA.
"It means a lot," Keller told MLB.com, "but without the guys behind me on defense and the catchers, I wouldn't have had half the success. Those guys played hard all year long. So it's a credit to the whole defense. But I'm really happy to receive this award."

Mondesi eventually claimed the starting shortstop position in August and assembled his best season in the big leagues, batting .276 with an .804 OPS in 75 games. He also hit 14 home runs and stole 32 bases.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.