The main portion of awards season is set for next week, but this week is for revealing the top-3 vote getters for each of the awards this year. The Brewers were expected to have two main candidates for these awards this offseason, and as expected, they were both named in the top-3 for their individual awards.
The top 3 vote-getters for NL Manager of the Year (alphabetically)— BBWAA (@officialBBWAA) November 5, 2018
Bud Black, Rockies
Craig Counsell, Brewers
Brian Snitker, Braves
Winner announced Nov. 13, 6 p.m. ET
The top three vote-getters for NL MVP (alphabetically)— BBWAA (@officialBBWAA) November 5, 2018
Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Javier Báez, Cubs
Christian Yelich, Brewers
Winner announced Nov. 15, 6 p.m. ET
Craig Counsell is in the top three for manager of the year after leading the Brewers to a 96-67 regular season record, just beating out the Cubs in game 163 to finish with the best record in the National League. It’s a 10 win improvement over 2017 and a 23 win improvement over his first full season in 2016. Since taking over a month into the 2015 season, Counsell has improved the Brewers year by year, and with the core of the team set to return in 2019, they are positioned to becoming a perennial contender in the NL Central and the National League and MLB as a whole.
Competition here will be tough, though. Braves manager Brian Snicker led the Braves to a 90-win season in his second full season as manager, 18 more wins than 2017. Meanwhile, Bud Black of the Rockies is in his second season as manager of the Rockies, and led the team to a second straight postseason appearance with a five-win improvement in 2018.
Christian Yelich was also named as a finalist for the NL MVP award, which doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. His hot second half of the season put him not only into the conversation, but also going from one of the candidates to one of the top candidates to the top candidate. Yelich finished the season leading the league in batting average (.326) and was in the top 3 in home runs (36) and RBI (110). In the second half alone, he had a batting line of .367/.449/.770/1.219 with 25 HR, 67 RBI and a 220 wRC+, and in September/October, he hit .370/.508/.804/1.313 with 10 HR, 34 RBI, and a 240 wRC+.
While he is the favorite, he does have some good competition behind him. Nolan Arenado led the league in home runs (38) and tied for second in RBI (110), while Javier Baez led the league in RBI (111) and was seventh in home runs (34). However, neither was nearly as hot as Yelich was in the second half. with Arenado only posting a 112 wRC+ and Baez posting a 128 wRC+.
The official award winners will be announced next week. The Manager of the Year vote will be revealed on November 13, which the MVP Award revealed on November 15.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs.