One month remains in the regular season, which means the playoffs are just around the corner. Divisional races are getting tighter and tighter and each game becomes pivotal for teams fighting for a playoff spot. Many teams continue to scratch and claw through the dog days of August in hopes to become the next World Series champion. Several divisional races are separated by just a few games, but the closest race in the MLB may not be what you expect. The race for the Most Valuable Player seems to be just as intense.
My top 3 players for MVP are as follows:
#3 Mike Trout
In Mike Trout standards, he is having an off year. The former Most Valuable Player has notched 22 homeruns, 75 RBIs and is hitting a solid .311. The 25 year-old phenom is always going to be in the MVP conversation. Trout is as well rounded as you can possibly get. He hits for power, average, is a wizard in the field, and has above average speed, accumulating 19 stolen bases in just 21 attempts. Trout has shown how brilliant of a ballplayer he is from past years, finishing either first or second in the MVP voting each of the past 4 years. In 2014 Trout won the MVP, totaling 36 homeruns and 111 RBIs. Clearly, Trout’s stats are down from a few years ago, but his numbers are nothing to scoff at. Unfortunately, he is surrounded by an abysmal team that is going nowhere. This limits Trout’s chances of taking home his second MVP title.
#2 Mookie Betts/ David Ortiz
I couldn’t decide between which Red Sox player to put on the list so I had to include both. Ortiz and Betts are having years for the record books. Betts, who just had his second 3 homerun game this season, has surprised everybody with how much pop he has in his bat. In just his second full season in the Bigs, Betts has amassed 26 homeruns, 84 RBIs, and a .313 Average. To put this in perspective, Betts ranks in the top 10 in homeruns, the top 5 in RBIs and is in the top 3 for Average. Betts also is no slouch on the bases, stealing 18 bags in just 21 attempts.
It is startling to see Mookie at the age of 23 and Ortiz almost double his age, at 40 years old, have such productive seasons. Ortiz has been consistent year round, hitting 27 homeruns, knocking in 92 RBIs, and accumulating a .312 Average. Not too shabby for a 40 year-old man. If I were to put Betts against Ortiz in an MVP discussion I would have to give the edge to Betts. Mookie shows his brilliance in many other ways than just with his bat. He continues to grow as an outfielder and could quite possibly be considered one of the best Right Fielders in the game. Ortiz on the other hand, brings just his bat to the table, which is certainly not a problem for those Red Sox fans out there. Betts can do things that Ortiz simply cannot do, which is why I’d be more inclined to vote Mookie for MVP.
#1 Jose Altuve
This guy is an absolute freak! Standing at just 5 feet and 5 inches tall, Altuve has shown how he doesn’t back down from any pitcher. This year the second baseman has hit 19 homeruns, knocked in 73 RBIs, and has hit an outrageous .362, absolutely stunning numbers from the shortest active player in the MLB. Altuve’s .362 batting average is .048 points better than Yunel Escobar, who ranks second. Not only does Altuve do it in the batter’s box, but he also impresses on the base paths. Altuve has swiped 26 bags, putting him in the top three in stolen bases.
Between Betts and Altuve, the race is extremely close, but the edge as of right now has to go to Altuve because of his batting average. In today’s game, hitting over .330 is unheard of. Altuve is showing that the impossible may just be possible. With about a month and a half to go in the season, any of these four players could be named MVP. We will have to sit back, crack open a cold one and watch THE tightest race in baseball unfold.