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#pounditTuesday, December 1, 2020

Top 10 MLB MVP candidates

Mike Trout

The MLB season gets underway on Thursday, so the focus will inevitably be on the playoff race and who is contending for a World Series title. There is another worthwhile subplot to watch out for, and that is the race for the Most Valuable Player award in each league.

There are many players who could win it, but we’ve narrowed it down to five big candidates in each league. Of course, there are other worthy candidates, and this certainly doesn’t rule out a dark horse candidate emerging and putting together a season worthy of award recognition.

Here are ten big preseason candidates for the Most Valuable Player awards in both the American and National League.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

1) Mike Trout, Angels

Trout is pretty much atop this list in perpetuity. His fourth-place finish in last year’s MVP voting was actually his worst since catching on as a full-time player, but that had more to do with missed time due to injury than production. He still hit .306 with a career-best 1.071 OPS, plus 33 home runs. He’ll be heavily featured in the conversation as long as he stays healthy, even if the Angels aren’t a huge factor in the playoff race.

2) Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees

If Stanton could win an MVP on the Miami Marlins with little help or team success, just imagine what he might be capable of in a loaded Yankees lineup. Stanton hit 59 homers and drove in 132 runs last year. He’s moving to a more favorable ballpark and into a better lineup. The Yankees should be very good, and Stanton has the potential to put up huge numbers at Yankee Stadium.

3) Jose Altuve, Astros

It wouldn’t be fair to exclude the reigning MVP from the discussion. Altuve won his second straight batting title in 2017, hitting .346 with 24 home runs and 32 stolen bases. He’s regarded as the face and driving force behind the Astros, which won a World Series to cap off a remarkable season. Altuve has been the mark of consistency for Houston, and he has a real chance to make it back-to-back MVP awards.

4) Francisco Lindor, Indians

It feels like a matter of when, not if, Lindor will ultimately win an MVP award. He turned 24 last November and already has two top-ten finishes to his name. His batting average dropped to .273 last year, but he had a power surge to the tune of 33 home runs, and he plays outstanding defense. The Indians should be in contention again, which will give a boost to his potential candidacy.

5) Carlos Correa, Astros

Jose Altuve isn’t the only Astros who could win the hardware in 2018. Correa, still just 23, showed improvement across the board in 2017, hitting over .300 for the first time with a career-best 24 home runs. It also saw him nab his first top-20 finish in MVP voting. There should be many more to come for the star shortstop, including many better finishes.

See the National League on Page 2

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