Top 10 MLB MVP candidates
As we head towards the final month of the regular season, the pennant races in baseball are heating up, and so are the awards races. The MVP races in both leagues are looking very intriguing as we get into crunch time.
In the American League, there are several worthy candidates, though two teams are heavily represented. The National League race is even more wide open, with no clear standouts — a factor that could open the door to a pitcher winning the award for the first time since 2014.
Here’s a look at the top five MVP candidates in both the American and National League.
5) Francisco Lindor, Indians
Lindor finished fifth in last year’s voting and he’s having an even better season than he did last year. Hitting just shy of .300 and with his second consecutive 30-home run season in sight, the Cleveland shortstop’s candidacy will be bolstered not just by his offensive numbers, but because he plays quality defense at one of the most important positions on the field. Despite this, he’s viewed as a longshot, as his offensive numbers lag behind those of his key competitors.
4) J.D. Martinez, Red Sox
One of the biggest problems with the Red Sox in 2017 was their lack of power on offense. Bringing in Martinez late in the offseason pretty much solved that problem. The outfielder has taken the league lead with 37 home runs and is almost a look to have his second consecutive 40-homer year. The perception is that he has been a key factor in making Boston’s one of the most feared lineups in the league, and that will earn him consideration. There may be some vote splitting thanks to Mookie Betts, though, and those who consider defense to be vital will likely punish Martinez.
3) Jose Ramirez, Indians
Ramirez had a case last year to win AL MVP, and the third baseman’s argument may be even stronger in 2018. A .300 hitter at the hot corner, he’s right on pace with Martinez in the home run department and plays better defense at a more important position. He also adds the speed element, topping the AL charts with 27 stolen bases. He even has a .409 OBP. He has a very strong argument.
2) Mike Trout, Angels
Trout will continue to test those who believe that playoff contention is vital to any MVP candidacy. He’s put together his usual elite campaign, with a mind-boggling .459 on-base percentage, a would-be career high. He’s already past 30 home runs, on pace to hit .300, is second in OPS, and remains a strong and steady defender in center field. Unfortunately for him, the Angels look set to miss the playoffs again, and his dominance is almost becoming expected. Both factors, plus a wrist injury, may hinder him when it comes time to vote.
1) Mookie Betts, Red Sox
Betts may well have the best combination of numbers that will make him too good to ignore for MVP voters. He lacks the OBP of Ramirez and Trout, but his .350 batting average leads the league. He has 23 steals and speed is a big part of his repertoire. He’s on his way to 30 home runs. Right field isn’t the most important position on the field defensively, but he plays it outstandingly. He’s also remarkably versatile, and he’s the face of the best team in the sport. He’ll be tough to vote against.