Magic's Caleb Jonkman, Leps' Rhed Take Home MVP Honors
NEW CARLISLE - Throughout last month, the 2018 season awards were announced on the official ORWBL twitter account (@ORWBL). All awards were voted on by the 14 Managers of the league.
The 2018 Most Valuable Player awards were handed out to two very deserving candidates in Maple City's Caleb Jonkman and Lynn Street's Bailey Rhed. Both players played huge roles in the success of their teams.
Starting out with the American League, it was the Champion: Maple City Magic's starting Left-Fielder Caleb Jonkman who took home his first ORWBL MVP trophy. After winning American League Rookie of the Year in 2017, Caleb came back this season with improved numbers as he helped lead his Magic to back to back ORWBL World Series titles.
Jonkman's number spoke for themselves this past season as he spent the summer flirting with Noah Shail's single season batting average mark (.687), but ultimately settled with a league leading .658 mark. The reigning National Player of the Year truly took things to new heights this year both at the plate and out in the field.
Jonkman also managed to lead the American League in Home Runs with 36 and was second in the AL in RBIs with 48. Caleb narrowly missed hitting for the AL Triple Crown as he was just 2 RBIs shy of the lead in that category, only behind his brother and teammate Jared Jonkman.
Caleb was the definition of a five-tool player for the Magic this season as his hands in left were as big of a help to the Magic as his bat. His range and sure hands in the field left him in contention for a Gold Glove as well, which speaks to his all-around play. On top of his play, there is no doubt that his leadership has helped transform the Maple City culture into a Championship culture that should sustain for a long time to come.
In just 2 years in the league, Jonkman now has been named to the AL All Star team twice while also winning a Rookie of the Year award, an AL MVP award, a 2018 ORWBL World Series Co-MVP while also helping lead the Maple City Magic to Back to Back ORWBL World Series Championships.
At the end of the day, Jonkman's combination as an excellent two-way player, leadership, and team success made this one of the easier MVPs to vote for in years as Jonkman ran away with the voting. Caleb figures to be a frontrunner heading into next year as he will look to help the Magic become the first team in ORWBL history to win 3 consecutive titles.
Moving onto the National League, it was the Lynn Street Leprechauns' Bailey Rhed who was awarded with an MVP award of his own. In one of the more surprising and feel-good stories of the year, Rhed led his Leps to a much improved 10-14 season.
While some might argue that 10-14 is nothing to cheer about, this is a franchise that combined for 7 wins in their first 2 years in the league. Lynn Street took a major step forward in 2018 and the leader was undoubtably Bailey Rhed.
Bails' clubbed his way to the top of the ballots by having a much improved 2018 season. After hitting in the low .400s in each of his first few ORWBL seasons, Rhed exploded this summer, hitting .592 with 33 HRs and 45 RBIs in just 18 games. Bailey's big bat finally matched his loud personality as he was also voted as an All-Star starter for the first time in his career.
Rhed's season with the Leps was huge for the young franchise as this is the first time the Leps organization has finished the season with an award-winner. With an MVP-winner to their name, it will be interesting to see if Lynn Street will be able to draw in future big name players like Rhed as the Leprechauns continue to build and trust the process.