Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

MVP Poll: Here are this year's favorites

@RichardJustice
September 11, 2020

One is Mike Trout, the best player of his generation with three American League Most Valuable Player Awards and four second-place finishes to prove it. In 10 seasons, the 29-year-old Angels center fielder’s greatness has become the gold standard for every other player. As for the other, that’s Fernando Tatis

One is Mike Trout, the best player of his generation with three American League Most Valuable Player Awards and four second-place finishes to prove it. In 10 seasons, the 29-year-old Angels center fielder’s greatness has become the gold standard for every other player.

As for the other, that’s Fernando Tatis Jr., a breathtakingly gifted 21-year-old who has taken his sport by storm in his second season while helping the Padres to the threshold of their first postseason appearance in 14 years.

Tatis and Trout represent Major League Baseball at its best in 2020, and they’re atop MLB.com's NL and AL MVP polls. Tatis is a runaway leader, having gotten 28 of 30 first-place votes. Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts got the other two NL first-place votes.

Trout is in a closer race, with five players getting first-place votes. He led the way with 13, but was followed closely by Indians ace Shane Bieber, who got 11. Nelson Cruz, Tim Anderson and José Abreu also got first-place votes.

There were 30 voters in total. Reporters were asked to rank their top five choices in each league, with five points awarded for a first-place vote, four for second, etc.

Here’s a breakdown of the leaders:

(Statistics through Wednesday.)

AMERICAN LEAGUE

1) Mike Trout (13 first-place votes): He was tied with Cruz for the AL home run lead before hitting his MLB-leading 16th homer on Thursday and is second to Cruz in OPS+ (179) and OPS (1.045). Trout became the 11th-youngest player to join the 300-home run club last week. He has reached base in 34 of 40 games this season, and his 10 home runs in the Angels' first 25 games is a franchise record.

2) Shane Bieber (11): He has allowed zero runs in five of nine starts and given up three in his past five combined. He has an insane 373 ERA+ and is leading the Majors in ERA (1.25) and strikeouts per nine innings (14.7). The Indians are 8-1 in his nine starts and 18-16 when anyone else takes the ball.

3) Nelson Cruz (2): He has been a huge bright spot for a team that has been unable to repeat last season’s offensive magic. Cruz is leading the AL in a string of offensive categories, including OPS (1.117), OPS+ (201) and slugging percentage (.685). In seven games this month, he’s hitting .500 with a 1.363 OPS.

4) Tim Anderson (1): Batting .350 -- five points behind DJ LeMahieu -- he’s attempting to become the 15th player to win back-to-back batting titles. He could be the first White Sox player to hit .350 or better since Hall of Famer Frank Thomas batted .353 in 1994.

5) José Abreu (3): He drove in 40 runs in his first 40 games this season, becoming the first White Sox player to do that since Jim Thome had 41 in 40 games in 2006. He was named AL Player of the Month for August by hitting .330 with eight doubles, 11 home runs and 29 RBIs.

Others receiving votes: Teoscar Hernández, Luis Robert, Luke Voit, Kyle Lewis, Lucas Giolito, Zack Greinke.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

1) Fernando Tatis Jr. (28 first-place votes): He’s hitting .433 with runners in scoring position, which is one of several ways to explain how good he has been. He leads the NL with 27 extra-base hits and is third with eight stolen bases. He’s tied for third in the NL with 16 multi-hit games.

2) Mookie Betts (2): He has been exactly what the Dodgers hoped he’d be. That is, incredibly consistent, having had back-to-back hitless games only twice. He’s hitting .344 this month, and in his past 23 games, he has 10 home runs and nine multi-hit games.

3) Mike Yastrzemski: If anyone thought he couldn’t repeat his rookie season of 2019, he has answered those doubts by getting better across the board. He’s leading the NL in triples with four and has a .402 on-base average and .972 OPS.

4) Ian Happ: He and Freddie Freeman are tied for fourth in the NL in OPS+ (170). His four leadoff homers are tops in the Majors. His 1.022 OPS is seventh-highest in the Majors.

5) Trea Turner: He’s leading the NL with 60 hits and a .359 batting average. He was hitting .238 on Aug. 13, but has batted .433 since with 11 multi-hit games in his past 25. He scored a run in 11 straight games from Aug. 10-22.

Others receiving votes: Yu Darvish, Juan Soto, Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna, Manny Machado, Dominic Smith, Jacob deGrom, Corey Seager, Trevor Story.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.