As the season is heading toward the final stretch and teams start thinking of the playoff picture, fans also start talks of who should be winning the AL and NL MVP. This award, which is given to the most valuable player in both leagues, is very well known and coveted by players around the MLB. Each year, fans are used to seeing baseball’s most exciting and talented players heat up and make the final decision very difficult.
Last year, the two winners were Josh Donaldson of Toronto, and Washington’s Bryce Harper. These two beat out names like Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt, and Jake Arrieta, to name a few. Though the 2015 race did have big names, mostly everyone could agree that the two winners were deserving. This year, on the other hand, the race is a little bit tighter.
My two picks to win the AL and NL MVP would be Mookie Betts and Daniel Murphy, respectively. Both players are having amazing seasons, putting up numbers that are hard to believe. Though both are leading in their respective league’s batting title, their dominance and talent show much deeper.
Mookie Betts would be my pick for the American League MVP. Call me a crazy biased Red Sox fan, but you can’t deny the numbers that he puts up against the heavily favored Jose Altuve. Betts leads the AL in total bases as well as extra base hits. He also has a 1.4 dWAR compared to Jose’s mere 0.3. Mookie also has 28 home runs, compared to Altuve’s 19. Though Jose has been having an insane season, it cannot compare to what Mookie has been doing as of late. Though Altuve leads the AL in hits, mookie is second, and those hits are proving to be more valuable, as he has collected 15 more RBI and 18 more total bases. Also, keep in mind that Betts has been doing this all while batting lead-off until about a week ago.
Runner Up: For me, Jose Altuve was an obvious choice for runner up, as he makes practically every aspect of the game look easy. He leads the league in AVG. (.362) and OPS+ (172), and also posses outstanding speed and fielding to back up his bat. At first look, Altuve does not look anything like a star. The 5’5” second basemen looks more like a horse jockey than a ball player, and about the size of David Ortiz’s leg. Despite his stature, he proves to be one of the MLB’s best this season.
On the NL side, the decision was a little harder. Most Chicago fans believe that half of their lineup should be in consideration, yet at first glance nobody exactly pops out. Superstars like Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, and Clayton Kershaw have all been plagued by injuries and slumps this season, including Stanton not making the All-Star team, despite winning the Home Run Derby. Due to this, I chose to go with a bit of a sleeper; Nat’s Daniel Murphy. He very quietly leads the NL in AVG. and OPS. with .348 and 1.0003, respectively, while also slugging .616 (an MLB best). His defense is average yet solid, but his bat clearly takes the title. Some can make the case that one of the NL’s pitchers could take home the honor, however, in today’s style of play where offense is heavily hyped up, a pitcher would need to have a completely dominant season, like Kershaw’s in 2014.
Runner Up: As of now, Murphy’s consistent hitting and displays of power should be enough to take home the award over NL power hitters like Nolan Arenado, my runner up. Nolan is also a very good hitter, yet his hits come in clumps, showing a bit of uncharacteristic inconsistency, as he has a 28 game hit streak under his belt from 2 years ago. However, this season he’s one of those guys that will either get 3+ hits one day, and then go hit-less his next two.
It is unclear who will actually win, as there is still a lot of baseball yet to be played. However, at this point of the season when talks begin to heat up, if I had a vote, Mookie Betts and Daniel Murphy.