The Boston Red Sox took home their ninth championship as the Major League Baseball postseason comes to a close. The baseball community is left with a parting gift in the form of the annual award announcements, recognizing the top rookie, pitcher and overall player in the American and National Leagues. Every winner, by season’s end, had cemented his case as the favorite to take home the hardware. So, without further ado, here are this year’s award winners:

In the American League, Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels earned the rookie of the year honors. The field came down to Ohtani, the Japanese pitching and hitting phenom, and Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, two slugging infielders who will be fixtures in the Bronx for years to come. Although the Yankees made it to the second round of the playoffs and the Angels faltered, the team performance was not enough to quell Ohtani’s credentials. He flashed skills not seen since Babe Ruth a century ago, blowing batters away with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball while hitting tape measure home runs from the batter’s box. The 24-year-old finished the year with  a 3.31 ERA and 63 strikeouts over 51 2/3 innings as a pitcher and a 0.285 average, 0.925 OPS, 22 home runs, 61 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 367 plate appearances as a batter — a rare statline that could not possibly be ignored.

In the National League, Ronald Acuna of the Atlanta Braves beat out Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals as top rookie. Acuna received the bulk of the hype coming into the season, with some analysts already dubbing him a future hall-of-famer. Acuna finished the season with a 0.293 average, a 0.917 OPS, 26 home runs, 64 RBIs and 16 stolen bases in 433 plate appearances, a 0.923 OPS, 22 home runs, 70 RBIs and 5 stolen bases in 414 plate appearances. Although these seasons are fairly comparable, the two factors that set Soto apart are his team’s success and his huge second half. 

The American League Cy Young race featured a tough fight between Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays, Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians, and Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros. Snell would end up edging out the competition on the merit of his microscopic, 1.89 ERA, as well only allowing 5.6 hits per nine innings and striking out 221 batters, across 180 2/3 innings. His 21 wins were the cherry on top of an outstanding season, making him MLB’s first 20-game winner since 2016. 

The National League, had a clear-cut winner in Jacob DeGrom, of the New York Mets. Although the Phillies’ Aaron Nola and the Nationals’ Max Scherzer are deserving of praise, DeGrom’s excellence was simply historic. His 1.70 ERA was by far the best in the NL and was the sixth lowest since the league lowered the mound in 1969. In addition, he set MLB records for consecutive quality starts and consecutive starts of three or fewer runs.

Last, but not least, the MVP. In the American League, Mookie Betts won the award over Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. Betts led the Boston Red Sox on their amazing run to 106 wins and a World Series championship. A year after coming in second to Trout for the award, Betts further improved at 26 years old, winning the batting title with a 0.346 average as well as accumulating 47 doubles, 5 triples, 32 home runs, 129 runs, 80 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. He also earned his third straight Gold Glove Award. Betts is the definition of 5-tool talent and will rival Trout for years to come for this award.

After a strong end to the season, Christian Yelich, of the Milwaukee Brewers, overtook Nolan Arenado, of the Colorado Rockies, and Javier Baez, of the Chicago Cubs, for the National League MVP. Yelich was a force, helping the Brewers surge in September with a 0.770 slugging percentage after the All-Star break. He became the first batting champion in team history with a league best of 0.326 average and led the NL in slugging with 0.526 and OPS with 1.000. Similar to Betts and Trout, Yelich signifies the new wave of dynamic outfielders who make an impact on all facets of the game. 

 – Brian Inker