Now we move on to the highest of honors: the Most Valuable Player award. Several players have been extremely valuable to their respective teams this year, but the following lists contain a few players who have gone above and beyond.
Jose Altuve, Houston: Altuve is a true all-around player. He can hit for power, steal bases, hit for average, and displays Gold Glove-caliber defense. We didn’t think it could get any better from the Astros’ second-baseman, but he’s having a career year–an MVP year. He’s currently the AL batting champion with a .341 clip and has 14 long balls, 51 RBIs, and 23 stolen bases (second in the AL only to Rajai Davis). Altuve also has 4.3 fWAR, fourth best in the AL.
Mike Trout, Los Angeles: It wouldn’t be a true AL MVP conversation if it didn’t include Mike Trout. The last four years, he’s been the recipient of the award once and runner-up three times. With a .319 batting average, 18 HRs, 58 RBIs, 68 runs, and 15 stolen bases, he’s having himself another great year. He leads the AL with 5.5 fWAR and is tied for second in wRC+.
Josh Donaldson, Toronto: The defending MVP could be the early favorite right now in the tight AL MVP race. He’s second only to Trout with 5.4 fWAR, tied for second with Trout in wRC+, third in the AL in HRs with 23, first in runs scored with 81, and has 64 RBIs. He’s also third in OBP and second in SLG.
Manny Machado, Baltimore: Another third baseman is having a great year–Manny Machado. Machado is tied for fourth in the AL with 4.3 fWAR. Machado has a .317/.374/.568 clip, 19 HRs, 53 RBIs, and 63 runs scored. However with a BABIP of .347, he’s bound to regress, even slightly, in the second half of the year.
David Ortiz, Boston: Big Papi is having a farewell season like no other. By the end of the year, he could possibly have his best year of his career at the age of 40. Papi has 3.3 fWAR, tied for fourth in HRs with 22, second only to Encarnacion with 72 RBIs, 42 runs scored, and second only to Altuve in BA with .331. He also leads the AL in OBP, SLG, and wRC+ in a ridiculous final year of his illustrious career.
Kris Bryant, Chicago: As an encore to his Rookie of the Year season in 2015, Bryant is putting himself near the top of young phenoms along with Trout and Harper with a brilliant year. Bryant is leading all NL position players with 5.0 fWAR. Bryant leads the NL in HRs with 25 and runs with 74. He’s also third with 65 RBIs and owns a .285/.383/.574 clip.
Daniel Murphy, Washington: Murphy is having a career year in the Capitol. Murphy has 3.7 fWAR, good for fourth among NL position players. He’s third with 157 wRC+, first in batting average with .348 and second in RBIs with 66. Murphy has also hit 17 HRs and scored 53 times.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles: Kershaw has already come away with one MVP award in his career, and he’s putting together a spectacular season that is so far worthy of another one. Kershaw leads all NL players with 5.5 fWAR. He’s 11-2 with a NL-leading 1.79 ERA and 145 strikeouts. He has a 1.70 FIP and a 10.79 K/9 rate. He also leads the NL in WHIP with 0.73 and has 3 complete games.
Anthony Rizzo, Chicago: Besides Bryant, the other half of Bryzzo is having a stellar year as well, perhaps overshadowed by Bryant’s monstrous year. Rizzo has 3.5 fWAR this year and leads the NL in wRC+ with 163. He has 21 HRs, 55 runs, and 63 RBIs. Rizzo also owns a .298/.414/.590 clip.
These are just some of the MVP-worthy candidates in the MLB this year. Both the NL and the AL have plenty of deserving candidates in what figures to be tight races come time for crowning in November. Who do you think is the favorite for these awards?