The 2018 AL MVP results were announced on Thursday, and as expected the winner did not come from the Oakland A’s. However, of the 24 players who received votes, four A’s did make the cut. The last time there were that many green-and-gold names on the MVP list was 2002.
The league’s Most Valuable Player is determined by a panel of 30 writers from the BBWAA. Each voter submits 10 names, from first place down to 10th. The four A’s who received votes, in order of their final ranking (click here to see full results):
- 7th: Matt Chapman, 3B
- 8th: Khris Davis, DH
- 15th: Blake Treinen, RHP
- 20th: Jed Lowrie, 2B
Chapman led the way with a pair of 3rd-place nods (one from Susan Slusser, and the other from a Seattle writer), and he also appeared on every single ballot. Khrush showed up as high as 7th in the eyes of one Houston writer, and one person from Baltimore put Treinen 8th. Lowrie “only” got a 9th and a 10th, but even that is enough to make this list and put an exclamation point on a career-best season that also saw his first All-Star berth.
For Treinen, this is yet another affirmation of his own incredible performance. The All-Star closer tied for 6th place in the Cy Young voting, placing as high as 3rd on one ballot. He also finished ahead of Edwin Diaz in both the Cy and MVP tallies, making Treinen the top closer in the league in both cases. Only three other AL relievers in the previous four years got any MVP votes at all, and none since 2016 (Zach Britton ‘16, Wade Davis ‘15, Greg Holland ‘14).
For Khrush, this is his second straight season receiving some MVP attention. Last year he showed up at the very end of one ballot, which was enough to put a footnote on his Baseball-Reference page (footnotes fly forever!). This time around, after becoming the 25th player ever to hit 40+ homers in three straight seasons, he moved up the MVP rankings into the top 10. As a DH he doesn’t measure up in WAR, but six of his dingers could be considered game-winners and he’s the most consistent hitter in history.
Of course, Chapman had the busiest award season of anyone on the A’s this year. He won every fielding award that exists in baseball, and along the way he was named the best defender at his position in the AL (Gold Glove), best at his position in MLB (Fielding Bible), best overall in the AL (Platinum Glove), and best overall in MLB (Wilson DPOY). Furthermore, he got those various nods from everyone including coaches, sabermatricians, objective stat formulas, and a fan vote. All of that, plus one of the 10 best bats in the league, helped him rack up 8.2 bWAR and 6.5 fWAR.
Before Khrush’s stray downballot vote in 2017, the last time an A’s player had received MVP consideration was 2014 (Josh Donaldson, 8th). Chapman’s 7th is the highest finish since 2013 (Donaldson again, 3rd), and Treinen is the first reliever since 2005 (Huston Street). The last time there were four Oakland players named was 2002, when Miguel Tejada won and was joined by Barry Zito, Eric Chavez, and Billy Koch. The last time there were two A’s in the top 10 was 1992, when Dennis Eckersley won and Mark McGwire finished 4th. Here are the last 20 years:
1999: Giambi (8), Stairs (17), Jaha (18)
2000: Giambi (1), Hudson (15), Tejada (16)
2001: Giambi (2), Mulder (13), Tejada (19), Zito (21)
2002: Tejada (1), Zito (13), Chavez (14), Koch (18)
2003: Tejada (11), Foulke (15), Chavez (17)
2004: Kotsay (14), Durazo (23), Chavez (30)
2005: Chavez (21), Street (23)
2006: Thomas (4)
2012: Cespedes (10), Reddick (16)
2013: Donaldson (4), Coco (15)
2014: Donaldson (8)
2017: Khrush (22)
2018: Chapman (7), Khrush (8), Treinen (15), Lowrie (20)
Congrats to all four A’s on some well-earned MVP love!