It\’s that time of the year again. The finalists for National and American league MVP have been named, as the GM Meetings start. In the AL, it\’s Red Sox OF Mookie Betts, Indians 3B/2B Jose Ramirez and Angels OF Mike Trout. In the NL, it\’s Brewers OF Christian Yelich, Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado and Cubs 2B/SS Javier Baez. It\’s also noteworthy to point out that in almost all of the major categories, the MLB leader comes from the American League. This is true for batting average, home runs, RBIs, stolen bases, runs, OBP, slugging percentage, OPS, doubles and hits.
While playing in just 136 games, the lowest amount in his career since 2014, Betts led the league in batting average, posting a .346 number that was 16 points higher than the next person, teammate JD Martinez. Betts was part of the 30/30 club for the first time in his career, placing 21st in the league in homers with 32, and ninth in stolen bases with 30. It\’s also the first time the MLB batting champ was a part of the 30/30 club. He led the MLB in slugging percentage at .640, 11 points higher than Martinez, who was once again in second place. He was also tied with Fransisco Lindor for the league lead in runs with 129.
Despite not leading the league in any major category, Ramirez was tied with Trout for fourth in the league in homers, with 39, and stole 34 bases, becoming just the 25th player ever to join the 30/30 club, and the 100/100 club (RBIs and runs) in the same season. Beating Betts to 30/30 status, Ramirez became the first player since 2012, and just the fourth third basemen to do so.
After finishing fourth in MVP voting in a season where he played in just 114 games, Trout is a finalist again, after finishing top two in voting since his age 20 season, 2012, until 2016. Trout led the league in OBP for the third straight season, OPS for the second, and OPS+ for the fourth. He led the American league in walks for the third time, and hit 39 homers with 24 stolen bases. It\’s also the sixth time he\’s finished with 100 runs, plus leading the league with 122 RBIs.
I think the placing should be Betts, then Trout, following by Ramirez. I\’d actually put Martinez third over Ramirez, but since Ramirez is the finalist, I guess the writers thought he had a better season. Betts led the World Series winners (not that it matters), and should become the 11th Red Sox player (Ted Williams won two) to win MVP, and first since Dustin Pedroia in 2008.
Coming over in an offseason trade from the Marlins, Yelich helped the Brewers reach the NLCS, and coming within a game away from their first National League pennant. He led the National League in batting average (.326), slugging percentage (.598) and OPS (1.000). He was third in OBP, too. Yelich hit 36 home runs, beating his previous career high total by 15. He stole 22 bases, beating Baez by one.
Arenado hit more than 35 home runs in his fourth straight season, leading the NL with 38. While he didn\’t reach the 130 RBI plateau for the fourth consecutive year, Arenado finished a strong 110 RBIs. Oh, and he\’s arguably a top five fielder in baseball.
Baez completely surprised everyone in just his third full season. He led the NL with 111 RBIs, just one ahead of both Yelich and Arenado, and hit 34 home runs, he also swiped 21 bases, while hitting .290. This is also when people weren\’t sure where he was even going to play.
I think the placing should be Yelich, Baez, Arenado, with Freddie Freeman then Joey Votto rounding out the top five. MVP means most valuable player, and Yelich was way more valuable to his team than any other player in the NL, and deserves to win the title, and win the 5th MVP award in Brewers history, and second in the NL (Ryan Braun, 2011).