We just polled the MLBTR readership regarding the state of the American League Most Valuable Player race. There’s a clear preference for Mike Trout, even if he’s going to miss the last few weeks of the season.
Injuries could well impact the state of the National League MVP voting as well. Not long before Trout hit the shelf, reigning NL player-of-the-year Christian Yelich went out of commission. Javier Baez might also have staked a claim with a big run down the stretch, but he has been out for a while.
Despite his recent injury, Yelich still has a great case to be made to repeat with the top honors. He’s pacing the National League with 7.7 fWAR and a 173 wRC+ while also carrying top-of-the-class counting stats (44 home runs, 30 steals).
The other top candidate is Dodgers stud Cody Bellinger, who has added value with the glove both at first base and in the outfield. He actually leads Yelich handily in rWAR, with an 8.2 to 7.1 advantage. Bellinger is also quite likely to end up with more dingers and is playing for the National League’s best team.
What of the National League’s leader in batting average, Anthony Rendon? The exceedingly quiet star has elevated his game in all respects this year; his .333/.417/.629 batting line has crept past Bellinger’s and Rendon has swatted a career-best 34 home runs. He also plays a mean third base. Oh, and if you want to place added weight on performance down the stretch, Rendon leads the pack in second-half fWAR and wRC+.
If there’s a dark horse, it’s … probably not one of the Braves’ several stars. The club has received big-time output from Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna, and Josh Donaldson. But none has performed quite to the individual level of the surprising Ketel Marte, who’s the fourth National League player to carry seven or more wins above replacement by measure of Fangraphs. Marte may not quite have the stature to vault past these better-known players, particularly since more of his value is tied up in his glove, but he’s sitting on an excellent .326/.387/.589 batting line (149 wRC+) with 32 homers.
Who’s your favorite? (Poll link for app users.)