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MVP Poll: Historic hitters beginning to run away

Trout, Bellinger's incredible seasons make them award favorites
@RichardJustice
June 18, 2019

The Angels' Mike Trout and Dodgers' Cody Bellinger remain comfortably atop the latest polls for the American League and National League Most Valuable Player Awards as the season nears its halfway point. Trout and Bellinger each received 30 of 34 first-place votes in their respective leagues when MLB.com reporters were

The Angels' Mike Trout and Dodgers' Cody Bellinger remain comfortably atop the latest polls for the American League and National League Most Valuable Player Awards as the season nears its halfway point.

Trout and Bellinger each received 30 of 34 first-place votes in their respective leagues when MLB.com reporters were asked to rank their top three choices, with players receiving five points for a first-place vote, three for second and one for third.

Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich, the 2018 NL MVP, has been second in all three polls conducted this year, while slugging Pirates first baseman Josh Bell was third for a second straight time.

There was some movement in the AL, as Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco got the other four first-place votes and was second. In three polls, he has climbed from fourth to third to second.

However, Trout continues to cement his status as the best player of his generation. Since the beginning of the 2012 season, his 68.8 fWAR leads every other Major Leaguer by a wide margin (Buster Posey is next at 46.6).

Trout leads the AL with a 1.096 OPS and .461 OBP and is on track for a 44-homer, 38-double, 142-walk season. In seven seasons, he has been the AL MVP twice and finished second four times.

Bellinger is having an impressive season, leading the NL with a .355 batting average and on track for 31 doubles and 51 home runs in addition to 102 walks.

Bellinger has been so good that he has taken a big lead over Yelich, who has been even better than he was during his 2018 MVP season. Yelich is on pace for roughly 32 doubles and 59 home runs.

Here’s a breakdown on the top three in each league:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

1. Mike Trout (30 first-place votes): Trout continues to collect impressive milestones. He’s the sixth AL player to hit 250 home runs before his age-28 season and is about to become the first in MLB history with both 250 home runs and 200 steals before his age-28 season. Trout also has 17 career home runs in the seventh inning or later that have either tied a game or given the Angels a lead.

2. Jorge Polanco (4 first-place votes): Polanco has reached base in 31 straight games and is closing in on the Twins record of 34 set by Brian Dozier in 2017-18. He entered play Tuesday leading the big leagues with 91 hits and is second in the AL with 21 doubles, as the Twins have won 22 of 31 to to take control of the AL Central.

3. Alex Bregman (0 first-place votes): Bregman set out to improve his defensive metrics at third base and is now second among all AL third basemen with five Defensive Runs Saved, one behind Oakland’s Matt Chapman. At the plate, Bregman has maintained his discipline at a time when the Astros lineup has been hit hard by injuries. He is leading the AL with 16 walks in June and has a .437 on-base percentage this month.

Others receiving votes: Joey Gallo, George Springer, Justin Verlander and Xander Bogaerts

NATIONAL LEAGUE

1. Cody Bellinger (30 first-place votes): Bellinger has reached base in 66 of 70 games and is batting .355 with runners on base. His stunning breakout season is built around his success against left-handed pitching. Bellinger hit .226 against lefties last season with a .681 OPS. This season: .348 with a 1.179 OPS.

2. Christian Yelich (4 first-place votes): Yelich has enjoyed 11 of the best months any player of this generation could possibly dream of. In 133 games since July 14, 2018, he had 51 home runs, 33 doubles, a .358 batting average and 1.198 OPS. Yelich entered Tuesday with a 14-game hitting streak and .456 batting average this month. He leads the NL in homers, stolen bases and OPS, and in 14 games this month, he has 10 multi-hit games.

3. Josh Bell (0 first place votes): Bell isn't just having a breakout season. He’s off to one of the best starts in club history. He entered his off-day Monday leading the Majors with 27 doubles, 65 RBIs and 49 extra-base hits, which are the most for a Pirates hitter in 70 games in 87 years. Bell's 65 RBIs are the most since 48 years for a Pirates hitter in that span.

Other receiving votes: Nolan Arenado, Anthony Rendon, Javier Baez, Freddie Freeman and Zack Greinke

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.