Outfielder Christian Yelich is a finalist to become the fourth player to score league MVP honors in Milwaukee Brewers history, and Craig Counsell has a chance to be the franchise’s first manager of the year when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America hands out its hardware next week.
Yelich was revealed as a finalist on Monday with the Cubs’ Javier Baez and the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado for the National League MVP Award. Counsell is up for the BBWAA’s NL Manager of the Year Award with Bud Black of the Rockies and Brian Snitker of the Braves.
Yelich, 26, would join Rollie Fingers (1981), Robin Yount (‘82 and ‘89) and Ryan Braun (2011) as the only league MVPs in Brewers history. He led the NL with a .326 average to become the Brewers’ first batting champion, tied for third with 36 home runs (two shy of Arenado’s league lead) and tied Arenado for second with 110 RBIs behind Baez’s 111.
Yelich also led the NL with a .770 slugging percentage, 1.000 OPS and 343 total bases.
Under Counsell, the Brewers heavily utilized the bullpen in an unorthodox strategy that helped the starting pitching-deficient squad go 96-67 in winning the third division title in franchise history, also matching the franchise record for victories.
Also on Monday, Oakland Athletics executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane was announced as the winner of the voting for the inaugural Major League Baseball Executive of the Year award.
Tampa Bay general manager Erik Neander and Milwaukee general manager David Stearns tied for second, MLB said Monday at the annual GM meetings, without announcing the totals. Each team had one vote, which had to be submitted by the end of the regular season.
Beane, 56, has headed baseball operations for the A's since after the 1997 season, first as general manager, and in his current role since after the 2015 season.
Oakland had the fourth-best record in the major leagues this year at 97-65 and lost to the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card game. The A's had the 28th-highest payroll as of Aug. 31 at $77.8 million, ahead of only the Chicago White Sox ($71.3 million) and Tampa Bay ($70.5 million).
AL MVP finalists include Red Sox’s Mookie Betts, Indians’ Jose Ramirez and Angels’ Mike Trout.
AL Manager of the Year finalists include Rays’ Kevin Cash, Red Sox’s Alex Cora and Athletics’ Bob Melvin.
NL Cy Young finalists include Mets’ Jacob deGrom, Phillies’ Aaron Nola and Nationals’ Max Scherzer. AL Cy Young finalists include Indians’ Corey Kluber, Rays’ Blake Snell and Astros’ Justin Verlander.
NL Rookie of the Year finalists include Mets outfielder Ronald Acuna, Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler and Nationals outfielder Juan Soto.
AL Rookie of the Year finalists include Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar, Angels pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani and Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres.
Today’s Hall nominees
Late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, former managers Lou Piniella, Davey Johnson and Charlie Manuel, and six players headed by Lee Smith are on the 10-man ballot for the Hall of Fame’s Today’s Game Era committee to consider next month.
Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser and Joe Carter also are on the ballot for the 16-man committee, which meets Dec. 9 at the winter meetings in Las Vegas. The committee considers candidates from 1998 to the present, and a candidate needs at least 75 percent of the vote to be elected.