Clear MVP Candidates in Both Leagues
Image courtesy of Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY SportsThe American League Finalists for MVP
Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
Betts was a key cog in Boston’s dominant regular season run in the American League. He led the American League in batting average with an outstanding .346 mark. He wasn’t just about the average though as he led the big leagues in slugging percentage (.640) and runs scored (129). He was a record-setter this year as well. He became the first batting champion to have 30 or more steals and home runs. Betts is also one of the best defenders in the league and this helped him to have the top WAR total according to both versions of WAR (FanGraphs and Baseball Reference)
Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
Ramirez joined an elite club during the 2018 campaign. He became just the fifth third baseman to join the 30-30 club. He also compiled a lot of other statistics the voters like to see, with 100 runs scored and 100 RBIs. Only 25 players have been members of the 30-30 club while scoring over 100 runs and driving in over 100 runs. Ramirez and the Indians beat up on the AL Central and he played a large role in the club winning their third straight division title.
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Trout has been the game’s best player for most of the last decade. That being said, he has only been awarded two AL MVP awards during that time (2014, 2016). The Angels have struggled during his career and this has likely cost him the opportunity to win other MVP awards. Even with the Angels posting an under .500 record, Trout notched career highs in OPS (1.088) and on-base percentage (.460). It seems like the award will be handed to Betts and Trout will be the runner-up for the fourth time in the last seven seasons.
Cody’s American League MVP Ballot
10. Whit Merrifield, Royals
9. Gerrit Cole, Astros
8. J.D. Martinez, Red Sox
7. Justin Verlander, Astros
6. Matt Chapman, Athletics
5. Francisco Lindor, Indians
4. Alex Bregman, Astros
3. Jose Ramirez, Indians
2. Mike Trout, Angels
1. Mookie Betts, Red Sox
The National League Finalist for MVP
Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
Arenado has been a rock for the Rockies over the course of his career and he is headed for his highest MVP finish. He’s arguably the best defensive third baseman in the National League. However, defense isn’t the only story with Arenado. He led the league in home runs and he had an OPS over .900. Colorado was a surprise team this season and Arenado is the face of the franchise. It seems likely that he will win an MVP at some point in his career, but this doesn’t seem like the year.
Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
Baez logged over 20 games at three different defensive positions this season as Joe Maddon took advantage of his versatility. He seemed to fill up almost every part of the stat sheet. His 111 RBIs lead the National League and he finished second in extra-base hits. Overall, he finished with 40 doubles, over 30 home runs, and over 20 steals. He was a fantasy owner’s dream with all of those stats. Chicago ultimate fell short of their goal, but Baez helped them to stay neck and neck with Milwaukee.
Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
Much like Betts in the American League, Yelich led the National League in both versions of WAR. Also, he won the batting title (.326) and finished first in OPS (1.000) and total bases (343). During the middle of the season, there was some talk about Jacob deGrom being the front-runner for this award. Yelich put most of those whispers to rest as he dominated in September and pushed the Brewers to the NL Central title. During that final month, he posted a 1.312 OPS, so he can probably start preparing his acceptance speech.
Cody’s National League MVP Ballot
10. Trevor Story, Rockies
9. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
8. Lorenzo Cain, Brewers
7. Max Scherzer, Nationals
6. Freddie Freeman, Braves
5. Anthony Rendon, Nationals
4. Jacob deGrom, Mets
3. Javier Baez, Cubs
2. Nolan Arenado, Rockies
1. Christian Yelich, Brewers
Who would be on your ballot? Should deGrom have been a finalist for the MVP? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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