Seeing how it has been three whole years since Mike Trout was last named the American League Most Valuable Player, we sort of hate to spoil the surprise for him.
OK, what the heck. Trout seems virtually certain to be named AL MVP for the third time in his eight full seasons. About that, there’s not much doubt.
There’s some clarity in the National League race as well, with Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Cody Bellinger remaining solidly in front of Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich.
Those are the three most important takeaways from MLB.com's latest MVP poll. Here’s how consistent MLB.com reporters have been in their assessment: Trout is 7-for-7 in finishing atop the AL poll, while Bellinger and Yelich have been first and second every time.
Trout got all 32 first-place votes in the AL, while Bellinger got 29 of 32 NL first-place votes, with Yelich, the defending NL MVP, getting the other three.
Alex Bregman of the Astros and Rafael Devers of the Red Sox finished second and third, respectively, in the AL, while Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. got third place in the NL.
In compiling this poll, MLB.com reporters were asked to rank their top three choices in each league, with five points awarded for a first-place vote, three points for second place and one point for third.
1. Mike Trout (32 first-place votes): He would be just the 11th player to win three MVP Awards. Only Barry Bonds, with seven, has more than three. Trout has tied his career high with 41 home runs and is on pace for 50, which would break the Angels’ franchise record of 47 by Troy Glaus in 2000.
2. Alex Bregman (0 first-place votes): He’s having an insane month, entering play on Monday with a .442 batting average and a .540 on-base percentage in August. He’s the sixth player in franchise history with multiple 30-homer seasons. He has struck out once in his last 54 plate appearances before Monday and has swung at just 18.4 percent of pitches outside the strike zone, the second-lowest mark in MLB. His 87 percent contact rate is ninth overall.
3. Rafael Devers (0 first-place votes): He’s hitting .350 since the All-Star break and overall leads the Majors with 167 hits, 101 RBIs, 46 doubles and 76 extra-base hits. He joins Ted Williams as the only Red Sox player with at least 70 extra-base hits in a season at the age of 22 or younger.
1. Cody Bellinger (29 first-place votes): His 100th career home run on Aug. 2 made him the fastest Dodger to 100 home runs. He did it in 401 games, breaking the record of 422 by Mike Piazza. In the last 10 seasons, only Joey Gallo (377) and Giancarlo Stanton (400) have needed fewer games to reach 100.
2. Christian Yelich (3 first-place votes): He begins the week with 41 homers and is on track to break Prince Fielder’s franchise record of 50 in 2007. Yelich leads the NL with a .335 batting average and leads the Majors with a 1.122 OPS. He and Bellinger are tied for the NL total bases lead (294) entering Monday.
3. Ronald Acuña Jr. (0 first-place votes): He’s one stolen base from becoming the second player to have a 30-homer, 30-steal season before his 22nd birthday. Mike Trout was in his age-20 season when he had 30 homers and 49 steals in 2012. Acuna was 21 years and 215 days old when he hit his 50th career home run on July 21. Only three players hit 50 homers at a younger age: Mel Ott, Tony Conigliaro and Andruw Jones.