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Ranking the top players of this postseason

@paul_casella
October 10, 2020

Major League Baseball doesn't hand out an overall postseason Most Valuable Player Award, but that didn't stop us from ranking all the candidates for the hypothetical hardware. With the League Division Series in the books, MLB.com asked its reporters and analysts to fill out a ballot for the postseason MVP

Major League Baseball doesn't hand out an overall postseason Most Valuable Player Award, but that didn't stop us from ranking all the candidates for the hypothetical hardware.

With the League Division Series in the books, MLB.com asked its reporters and analysts to fill out a ballot for the postseason MVP to this point. Voters ranked their top five 2020 postseason performers, with all players eligible, including those from eliminated teams.

10 star players who weren't stars a week ago

Votes will be re-tallied after each round, and with the American League Championship Series set to begin on Sunday, here are the MLB.com picks for the postseason MVP (so far):

1) Carlos Correa, Astros (12 first-place votes)
Correa has picked up his game on the postseason stage, especially during Houston's ALDS victory over Oakland. The Astros' shortstop hit .500 (7-for-14) in the ALDS, with three homers and 11 RBIs in four games. Correa has four home runs in six games this postseason after hitting just five in 58 games during the regular season.

2) Randy Arozarena, Rays (2 first-place votes)
Arozarena cooled off in the final two games of the ALDS, but he's still had quite the breakout performance in the 2020 postseason. The 25-year-old outfielder went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles in Tampa Bay's Wild Card Series-clinching win over the Blue Jays, then started the ALDS with three consecutive multi-hit games against the Yankees -- all while homering in each of those three outings. Overall, he's hitting .444 (12-for-27) this postseason with six extra-base hits (three homers, two doubles and a triple) and a 1.426 OPS.

3) Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees
Stanton started the postseason by homering in five consecutive games, setting a franchise record in the process. That stretch included a grand slam that sealed the Yankees' Game 1 victory before their eventual ALDS loss to the Rays. After injuries limited him to just 23 games during the regular season, Stanton posted a .308/.387/1.083 slash line, with six homers and 13 RBIs in New York's seven postseason games.

4) Ian Anderson, Braves
Anderson has emerged as a much-needed frontline starter for the Braves, who lost ace Mike Soroka to a season-ending Achilles injury after just three starts this season. The 22-year-old Anderson has racked up 17 strikeouts while allowing only five hits over 11 2/3 scoreless innings in his two starts this postseason. That comes after he put up a 1.95 ERA in six regular-season outings and made his MLB debut Aug. 26.

5) Travis d'Arnaud, Braves (1 first-place vote)
Freddie Freeman is a leading candidate for the National League MVP Award this season, but it's d'Arnaud -- not Freeman, Ronald Acuña Jr. or Ozzie Albies -- who has been Atlanta's leading offensive force in the postseason. d'Arnaud is hitting .421 (8-for-19) with a 1.342 OPS to go along with two homers and seven RBIs in five games. He also must be doing something right behind the dish, with Atlanta tossing shutouts in four of its five playoff games.

6) Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Kershaw was lights out in the Dodgers' NL Wild Card Series-clinching Game 2 victory over the Brewers, but he wasn't quite as dominant in his NLDS outing against the Padres. After striking out 13 over eight scoreless innings against Milwaukee, Kershaw followed it up by holding San Diego to three runs over six innings in a second consecutive win. He's 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 14 innings in two starts this postseason.

T-7) Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
Bellinger is responsible for the highlight of the 2020 postseason to this point, robbing Fernando Tatis Jr. of what would have been a go-ahead two-run homer in the Dodgers' dramatic NLDS Game 2 victory over the Padres. Bellinger also homered earlier in that same contest, and he then went 2-for-5 with a triple and three RBIs in Los Angeles' series-clinching win the following night. He has at least one hit in all five games this postseason, hitting .316 overall.

T-7) Gerrit Cole, Yankees
Cole certainly lived up to the expectations on the big stage, but he ended up on the wrong end of a remarkable pitchers' duel in the Yankees' winner-take-all loss to the Rays in the ALDS. Still, Cole finished his first postseason in pinstripes with a 2.95 ERA and 30 strikeouts over 18 1/3 innings. He's the only pitcher in Yankees history with at least eight strikeouts in three consecutive postseason starts.

9) Framber Valdez, Astros
With Cole (now with the Yankees) and Justin Verlander (Tommy John surgery) unavailable for the Astros this postseason and Zack Greinke struggling for much of the past month, Valdez has been the one to step up on the mound. After tossing five scoreless innings in Houston's postseason opener against the Twins, Valdez allowed just two runs over seven innings in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Athletics. He has a 1.50 ERA to go with a 0.83 WHIP in his two postseason starts.

10) Mookie Betts, Dodgers
Betts has yet to deliver the big swing this postseason, but he's been a consistent force for the Dodgers. He has at least one hit in all five games -- and five of his seven hits have gone for extra bases (five doubles, two singles). Betts has also scored six runs, driven in four others and swiped a base.

Others receiving votes: Mike Brosseau and Nick Anderson (Rays), Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres), Julio Urías (Dodgers), Michael Brantley and George Springer (Astros), Marcus Semien (Athletics), Max Fried (Braves), Trevor Bauer (Reds), Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres (Yankees), Ronald Acuña Jr. (Braves)

Paul Casella is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.