2018 Wrap Up: Fantasy AL MVP
To wrap up the 2018 Fantasy Baseball season, Ray Flowers will break down a series of winners from the season. He will be writing a column with six entries, three for the National League and three for the American League. He will name the Fantasy MVP, the Fantasy Cy Young and the Fantasy Rookie of the year for both the Senior and Junior Circuits. Yes, the fantasy winners, not the fellas that will be taking home the hardware when the BBWAA votes on the actual MLB winners of the six awards.
*NOTE: The rankings are based on a 5x5 fantasy setup.
AMERICAN LEAGUE MVP
5 – Mike Trout, OF, Angels (.312-39-79-101-24): The best player in baseball had another historically good season. Only injury, limiting him to 140, was a negative, as he fell two homers short of a career best. For the fourth straight season his walk rate went up, and he posted a 0.98 BB/K ratio, which is nearly unheard of in this day and age of the strikeout. That discerning approach allowed him to post a career best - and a massive number - of .460 in the OBP column. Trout also posted a 1.088 OPS, the best mark in baseball. Add in the speed that enabled him to come up one homer and one steal short of a 40/25 season, and you had yet another season of dominance from the most consistently excellent producer in the game.
4 – Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians (.277-38-92-129-25): It’s amazing to think that the season Lindor posted wasn’t even the best one posted by an infielder on the Indians. Lindor was supposed to have a solid bat, but he’s morphed into a dominant offense force. For the third straight year he upped the homer total (12, 15, 33 and 38). And for the third straight season he also upped the RBI total (51, 78, 89 and 92). He scored 129 runs to tie Betts for the most in baseball. He also stole 25 bases leaving him two homers short of a 40/25 effort. As a middle infielder those numbers are flat out epic. By the way, he was the only player in baseball with 30 homers, 90 RBI and 120 runs scored.
3 – J.D. Martinez, OF, Red Sox (.330-43-130-111-6): JDM was third in the AL with a .427 wOBA, second with a .330 batting average, second with a .629 SLG, second with 43 homers and first with 130 RBI. He even swiped six bases for good measure. Alas, his overall stupendous work just wasn’t enough to capture him the top fantasy award in the American League because of the lack of steals. As great as the bat was, and it was stupendous, the six steals just can’t keep up with the two men ahead of him on the list who both swiped 30 bases.
2 – Jose Ramirez, 2B/3B, Indians (.272-39-106-110-34): He came into the season as a dual position star. He left the season as a superstar, no matter the positions he qualifies at (he only appeared 16 times at second base). His season was all the more remarkable when you consider that he hit .223 in the second half. A homer and steal short of a historic 40/35 season, Ramirez was the only player in baseball to go 35/30. He was one of just four players in the AL with 100 RBI and 100 runs scored. He was the only one of the four to steal more than 10 bases. Just a tremendous overall effort from the Indians infielder.
1 – Mookie Betts, OF, Red Sox (.346-32-80-129-30): As a rookie he went 18/21. In year two it was 31/26. In year three it was 24/26. In 2018 he went full on superstar with a 32/30 effort. Though he had a three season low in the RBI column with just 80, Betts was the singular dominant overall force in the AL. Despite playing just 136 games, Betts led the AL with a .346 average, a .640 slugging percentage, 129 runs scored and a .449 wOBA. He had a 1.118 OPS at home and a 1.045 mark on the road. He had a 1.207 OPS against lefties and a 1.037 mark against righties. He had a 1.139 OPS in the first half and a .995 mark in the second half. No matter the situation he excelled, period.