With less than a month remaining in regular season play, the AL MVP is in an arms race. The NL appears to have a front-runner but will be competitive until October. Here’s a fresh take on potential MVP candidates for both leagues.
Mike Trout, outfield, Los Angeles Angels: .325, 27 homeruns, 88 RBI
Trout, as he so often does, is stirring up debate in the MVP race. While not putting up numbers to match all his 2015 stats, Trout’s OBP and OPS surpass that of his MVP competition. It’s hardly fair not to note his WAR of 9.2 and 133 RC on the season. While he is inarguably his team’s most valuable asset, due to L.A.’s team woes, Trout could be passed by.
Jose Altuve, second base, Houston Astros: .346, 22 homeruns, 92 RBI
The number that catches the eye in regards to Altuve’s MVP campaign is his .346 average, having fallen to that in the past week. In addition to stealthy base running, his consistent defense has served the Astros well. It is also worth noting he remains in the lead across the MLB for recorded hits.
Josh Donaldson, third base, Toronto Blue Jays: .294, 34 home runs, 92 RBI
While Donaldson’s team record puts him in a great position to clinch the AL MVP title for a second consecutive year, one could argue that his .294 average isn’t enough to get the job done against the likes of Trout and Altuve. With other numbers holding him up and an impressive defensive campaign, Donaldson is still among the contenders.
Kris Bryant, third base, Chicago Cubs: .302, 36 home runs, 91 RBI
It appears that Bryant could become the first player since Dustin Pedroia to transition from Rookie of the Year to MVP. There are other players in contention for the title, but with his NL-leading run total, home runs and a top-five OBP, he has the résumé to bolster his case.
Corey Seager, shortstop, Los Angeles Dodgers: .318, 24 home runs, 65 RBI
Seager has been a standout in his second year in the majors, putting up numbers that make him a viable candidate for MVP at a young age. With a WAR line at 5.7, he leads the Dodgers in runs, hits and is second only to outfielder Andrew Toles in OPS. It doesn’t appear Seager’s upward trend will slow down any time soon.
Daniel Murphy, second base, Washington Nationals: .340, 25 home runs, 98 RBI
It could be argued that Daniel Murphy is having an exceptional year in a major market, thus gaining traction in the NL MVP race by simply exceeding expectations. However, it’s difficult to overlook the raw numbers: .980 OPS, .594 SLG and aforementioned stats. His downside: Murphy continues to be a defensive liability.