There have been too many historic baseball seasons to count. The 2018 season presented fans some things that likely do not seem historic now but will many years ahead. Looking back on the 2018 Major League Baseball season, here is what most likely will be remembered.
The New Babe
There hasn’t been a player since Babe Ruth who could both pitch and hit at an elite level. Shohei Ohtani proved that he was much more than a novelty. The Los Angeles Angels signed the Japanese star with the intention of letting him do both … and he did.
Ohtani won the American League Rookie of the Year award after surpassing most everyone’s expectations. The 6-foot-4-inch, 205-pound right-hander went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA on the mound. Ohtani would have done more if not for an elbow injury that ended his pitching in 2018. That was okay for the Angels as Ohtani hit .285 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs before learning that he would need Tommy John surgery on that elbow.
For Ohtani, he either returns and becomes the future of baseball, the new two-way player. Or, he might never be the same and no one will ever do what he did in 2018 again.
One hundred years ago, World War I ended and the Boston Red Sox won their last World Series of the 20th century. In 2018, the Red Sox were simply baseball’s best. Boston became the 12th team in history to win 108 games in a season. Then, the Red Sox had to navigate the most difficult postseason in MLB history.
Boston beat the 100-win New York Yankees, their storied rival, before beating a 103-win Houston Astros team coming off a World Series in 2017. In the World Series, Boston beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, winners of five straight NL West Division titles. Boston beat each soundly, winning 11 of 14 postseason games. The 2018 Red Sox could go down as one of the greatest champions of all time.
deGrom’s Ultimate Baseball Trivia
New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom might be a future Jeopardy answer. If deGrom had played for any other team in the Mets’ division – save for Miami – he likely would have pushed 20 wins. Instead, deGrom sported a rather mediocre 10-9 record while recording a 1.70 ERA. Yes, 1.70!
deGrom pitched 217 innings and struck out 269 batters. He allowed just 41 earned runs and just 48 total. The four-year veteran was absolutely dominant even though his team was not. For his efforts, deGrom earned the National League’s Cy Young award … yes … with a 10-9 record!
Ever watch an MLB All-Star game? One guy pitches the first inning, another comes on in the second, and so on. That just might be the future of baseball. For Tampa Bay, it may become the norm. The Rays used a traditional starting pitcher in about half of their regular season games. In the other half, they started the game with a relief pitcher. Tampa Bay’s best right-handed reliever, Ryne Stanek, started 29 games. Ryan Yarborough started just six games but finished with 16 wins.
The Milwaukee Brewers embraced the philosophy in a one-game playoff to make the postseason. The Brewers used relievers first in parts of their division series and then again in taking the Los Angeles Dodgers to seven games in the NL championship series. It’s a trend that may continue and it all started in 2018.
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