Michael Trout remains firmly in control of the American League MVP Award race. Even with Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and Jose Ramirez having monstrous seasons, Trout continues to lead our writers poll by a wide margin.As for the National League race, it couldn't be more wide open, as six players
Michael Trout remains firmly in control of the American League MVP Award race. Even with Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and Jose Ramirez having monstrous seasons, Trout continues to lead our writers poll by a wide margin.
As for the National League race, it couldn't be more wide open, as six players received first-place votes. Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado overtook Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman for the top spot in the overall NL voting.
Arenado moves into first place at a time when the Rockies have sprinted into the All-Star break with a 13-3 run that has them within two games of the first-place Dodgers in the NL West.
Arenado has won virtually every other personal award except Most Valuable Player. He's a four-time All-Star and a five-time Gold Glove winner at third base. He finished fifth in NL MVP voting in 2016 and fourth in '17.
Arenado entered the break with 21 doubles, 23 home runs and a .981 OPS. At 27, he has long since established himself as one of baseball's elite talents.
Meanwhile, Trout got 28 out of 35 first-place votes in the AL, with Martinez getting four and Betts three. Ramirez was the only other American Leaguer to receive votes.
1. Mike Trout, Angels (159 points)
Trout leads the Majors with a .454 OBP, but his name is dotted along the leaderboard in virtually every category, including total bases, home runs, etc. He leads the bigs with 17 intentional walks.
2. Mookie Betts, Red Sox (73 points)
Betts hasn't closed the gap on Trout in the voting. Statistically, though, he has passed Trout in wRC+, slugging, OPS and wOBA. Betts, Trout and Ramirez are tied at 6.5 WAR, according to FanGraphs. Betts also leads the AL with a .359 batting average.
3. J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (45 points)
Martinez leads the Majors with 29 home runs, 80 RBIs and 228 total bases as he enters the second half of another huge season. Since being traded from the Tigers to the D-backs a year ago Thursday, he leads the bigs with 58 home runs and a 1.065 OPS in 154 games.
Others receiving votes: Ramirez, Indians
1. Nolan Arenado, Rockies (108 points)
Arenado has been so good for so long -- averaging 40 home runs and 131 RBIs over the previous three seasons -- that an NL MVP Award probably is a better question of when, not if. He's batting .323 during the Rockies' hot streak.
2. Freddie Freeman, Braves (90 points)
Freeman's power numbers dropped off a bit, with one home run in 99 at-bats leading into the break. But his batting average hasn't dropped below .300 since late April, and his 3.9 WAR is second only to Arenado's 4.1 in the NL.
3. Lorenzo Cain, Brewers (61 points)
Cain's 3.5 WAR is third in the NL, reflecting the defensive contributions that are part of his overall game. He's tied for the top spot in Defensive Runs Saved in the NL. Cain is hitting .337 since June 5 and has multihit games in 13 of his past 24 contests.
Others receiving votes: Jesus Aguilar, Brewers; Eugenio Suarez, Reds; Jacob deGrom, Mets; Javier Baez, Cubs; J.T. Realmuto, Marlins
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.