Trout and Bellinger have been atop all four of our polls, and Trout remains on track to win his second AL MVP Award by sweeping all 34 first-place votes from our reporters.
In the NL, Bellinger got 24 first-place votes, with Yelich getting 10. This is a significant increase since he’d gotten a total of seven first-place votes in our three previous polls combined.
Yelich’s and Bellinger’s numbers show why the race has tightened, as they were almost statistical equals entering play on Wednesday. Bellinger led in fWAR (6.3 to 6.0), but Yelich led in homers, OPS, wRC+ and wOBA.
No one is likely to catch Trout, who in just his ninth season -- one shy of Hall of Fame eligibility -- has already achieved a 71.0 bWAR to pass an assortment of Hall of Famers in the category, including Johnny Mize (70.9), Alan Trammell (70.7) and Ron Santo (70.5). He’s on track to pass Reggie Jackson (74.0) by the end of this season.
Here’s a closer look at the leaders:
Mike Trout (34 first-place votes) -- Trout recently became the sixth AL player with at least eight home runs and 18 RBIs in a seven-game span, joining a list that includes Babe Ruth (1930), Hank Greenberg (1938), Don Mattingly (1987), Manny Ramirez (1998) and Josh Hamilton (2012). He’s on his way to becoming the first player in history with 250 home runs and 200 steals before his age-28 season. Only nine other AL players have reached those marks in their entire careers: Alex Rodriguez, Reggie Jackson, Jose Canseco, Joe Carter, Don Baylor, George Brett, Derek Jeter, Rickey Henderson and Robin Yount.
Xander Bogaerts (0 first-place votes) -- He has been insanely hot since the All-Star Break, entering play on Wednesday with a .403 batting average, 1.180 OPS, six home runs and 16 RBIs in that stretch. Among the 26 AL players with at least 20 home runs, his .315 batting average trailed only teammate Rafael Devers (.329) at the start of play on Wednesday.
Alex Bregman (0 first-place votes) -- Only Trout has drawn more walks this season. Bregman has swung at just 17.5 percent of pitches outside the strike zone, which is the lowest mark in MLB. He has MLB’s third-lowest swing rate regardless of location (35 percent) and has a 91.7-percent contact rate on swings at pitches in the strike zone.
Cody Bellinger (24 first-place votes) -- He began Wednesday with 98 home runs and 199 walks in 398 career games. Ryan Howard reached 100 home runs and 200 walks faster than any player in history (343 games), with Ralph Kiner (376), Joey Gallo (382), Eddie Mathews (397) and Willie Mays (418) next on the all-time list.
Christian Yelich (10 first-place votes) -- He has had one of the best months of his career, beginning play on Wednesday with a .361 batting average and seven home runs and a 1.140 OPS in 21 games, and overall he led the Majors in home runs (36), total bases (259) and a .432 on-base percentage.
Anthony Rendon (0 first-place votes) -- He began play on Wednesday leading all MLB third basemen in OPS (1.017), slugging percentage (.613) and on-base percentage (.404). He’s the third player in Nats/Expos franchise history with four straight seasons of at least 20 home runs and 80 RBIs, joining Bryce Harper and Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero.