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Trout, Freeman remain atop latest MVP polls

MLB.com @RichardJustice

Freddie Freeman made his first All-Star appearance five years ago just as one spectacularly successful era was ending for the Braves. He was the face of the franchise during four transition seasons in which they averaged 90 losses.

That Freeman is having maybe his best year -- .327 batting average, 15 home runs -- feels right at a time when Atlanta is again one of baseball's most interesting teams and attempting to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Our National League Most Valuable Player Award balloting continues to reflect that status.

Freddie Freeman made his first All-Star appearance five years ago just as one spectacularly successful era was ending for the Braves. He was the face of the franchise during four transition seasons in which they averaged 90 losses.

That Freeman is having maybe his best year -- .327 batting average, 15 home runs -- feels right at a time when Atlanta is again one of baseball's most interesting teams and attempting to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Our National League Most Valuable Player Award balloting continues to reflect that status.

Freeman received 21 of 28 NL first-place votes in our latest poll of MLB.com's Baseball Writers' Association of America members. Meanwhile, Mike Trout remains the runaway leader in American League voting.

Trout received 28 of 29 AL first-place votes, with Jose Altuve, who finished fourth overall, getting the other one. Mookie Betts and Jose Ramirez are again second and third.

In the NL, three other players -- Max Scherzer (4), Nolan Arenado (2) and Jacob deGrom (1) -- also received first-place votes. But Freeman was the runaway winner, finishing in front of Arenado and Max Scherzer, who were second and third.

In all, seven AL players and eight NL players received at least one vote. Players receive five points for a first-place vote, three for a second-place vote and one for a third-place vote. So Trout received 143 of a possible 145 points, and Freeman got 117 of a possible 140.

Here's a look at the breakdown:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
1. Mike Trout, Angels (143 points)
Trout is on his way to becoming the 11th player to win three MVP awards, and he has also finished second three times. This is his best season, one in which he's leading the AL in home runs, walks, OBP and OPS. Still only 26, Trout is on his way to becoming one of the 10 best position players of all time.

Video: ARI@LAA: Halos score 3 on error, Trout's 2-run single

2. Mookie Betts, Red Sox (51 points)
Betts has elevated his game from good to great in his fourth full season. When he finished last season with 24 homers, 26 steals and an .803 OPS, it was portrayed as disappointing by some. For the Red Sox to be great, Betts would have to rebound. He has done that so far this season, with the AL's highest slugging percentage and a chance for 40 doubles, 40 home runs and 30 steals.

Video: SEA@BOS: Betts robs Haniger with snag at the wall

3. Jose Ramirez, Indians (44 points)
Ramirez's rise from prospect to elite player has happened almost overnight. After 56 doubles, 29 home runs and a .957 OPS in 2017, it was OK to wonder if opposing pitchers would adjust. They still haven't figured him out. Ramirez has a chance to finish with 40 doubles, 50 home runs and 100 walks.

Video: DET@CLE: Ramirez rips a solo homer, ties MLB lead

Others receiving votes: Altuve, J.D. Martinez, Francisco Lindor, Justin Verlander.

NATIONAL LEAGUE
1. Freddie Freeman, Braves (117)

Because Atlanta hasn't been to the postseason since 2013, Freeman at times got overlooked in the conversation regarding baseball's best players. He's performing only a bit better than he has in recent seasons, but the Braves have surrounded him with talent that has put a spotlight on his greatness.

Video: BAL@ATL: Freeman rips a 2-run single in the 1st

2. Nolan Arenado, Rockies (55)
After finishing in the top eight in NL MVP Award voting the past three seasons, Arenado has elevated his game yet again with a reasonable shot at a fourth consecutive season of at least 30 home runs and 30 doubles and a career-high 80-plus walks. His defense at third remains elite.

Video: NL Player of the Week is Nolan Arenado

3. Max Scherzer, Nationals (41 points)
In the past 50 seasons, only one pitcher -- Clayton Kershaw in 2014 -- has won the NL MVP Award. Scherzer is very much in the conversation this season as he steamrolls toward a third consecutive -- and fourth overall -- NL Cy Young Award. The Nats have won 12 of his 16 starts, and he's leading the NL in innings, strikeouts and WHIP. Only deGrom has a lower ERA (2.09 vs. 1.69).

Video: BAL@WSH: Scherzer K's 9 over 7 innings of 2-run ball

Others receiving votes: Lorenzo Cain, deGrom, Matt Kemp, Scooter Gennett, Brandon Belt.

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