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Surging Yelich, Betts have big MVP poll leads

Strong September puts Milwaukee slugger on top for first time
September 27, 2018

Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts has dominated the MLB.com American League Most Valuable Player Award poll virtually the entire season, and that's where he'll remain, finishing the regular season on top by a comfortable margin over Michael Trout of the Angels.As for the National League, it's Christian Yelich of

Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts has dominated the MLB.com American League Most Valuable Player Award poll virtually the entire season, and that's where he'll remain, finishing the regular season on top by a comfortable margin over Michael Trout of the Angels.
As for the National League, it's Christian Yelich of the Brewers in first place with a sizable lead over Javier Baez of the Cubs. But reflecting the splintered nature of NL MVP Award voting, Yelich is atop the poll for the first time and only reached the top five in our most recent survey of MLB.com's members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
BBWAA voters throughout the sport will cast their official ballots at the end of the regular season and before the start of the postseason. At this point, Betts and Yelich appear to have solid front-runner status.
Betts received 27 of 38 first-place votes, with Trout getting nine and Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez two. In the NL, Yelich got 29 of 35 first-place votes with Mets ace Jacob deGrom getting four and Baez two.
Seven AL players received votes while 12 NL players were named on at least one ballot. The BBWAA will announce the winners of the official voting after the World Series.

Here's a breakdown of the voting:
AMERICAN LEAGUE
1.Betts, Red Sox (217 points)
Betts leads all MLB players with a 10.1 Wins Above Replacement and also is atop the leaderboard in batting average (.346), slugging (.643) and runs (126). His 32 home runs and 30 stolen bases make him only the second 30-30 player in Red Sox history, joining Jacoby Ellsbury (2011).

2.Trout, Angels (167 points)
Trout's 64.2 career WAR is the highest for a player through his age-26 season, passing Ty Cobb (63.4). He's on pace to finish with a 10-plus WAR for the third time in his career. Only Babe Ruth (9), Willie Mays (6) and Rogers Hornsby (6) have accomplished that.
3. Martinez, Red Sox (91 points)
Martinez is the 11th Red Sox player to hit 40 home runs in a single season and could become the ninth with at least 125 RBIs. David Ortiz (2016) was the last to do it.
4. Jose Ramirez, Indians (65 points)
Ramirez is just the fourth player with at least 30 homers and 20 steals in his team's first 100 games, joining Alex Rodriguez (1998), Jeff Bagwell ('99) and Alfonso Soriano (2006).
5. Alex Bregman, Astros (46 points)
Bregman is the first player to have 50 doubles and 30 homers in a season while playing the majority of his games at third base. He's just the fifth player with a 50-double, 30-homer season before turning 25 years old. Jose Pujols (2003-04), Rodriguez (1996) and Lou Gehrig ('27) are the others.
Others receiving votes:Francisco Lindor, Indians; Matt Chapman, A's.
NATIONAL LEAGUE
1. Yelich, Brewers (227 points)
Yelich is leading the NL in WAR (6.9), batting average (.321) and OPS (.978). He's hitting .346 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs in 23 games this month.

2. Baez, Cubs (127 points)
Baez could be the first Cub to lead the NL in RBIs since Sammy Sosa in 2001 and the first to lead it in total bases since Derrek Lee in '06. He's one behind Trevor Story for the NL lead in extra-base hits.
3. Matt Carpenter, Cardinals (50 points)
Carpenter leads the NL with 36 home runs and could become the eighth Cardinal to do that, most recently Albert Pujols in 2010. Between June 15 and July 21, he had 17 home runs and a .366 batting average in 32 games.
4. deGrom, Mets (49 points)
One of the great pitching seasons in 50 years has moved deGrom beyond just NL Cy Young Award talk and into the NL MVP Award conversation. He has a 1.70 ERA with 269 strikeouts and 46 walks. Since 1908, only Christy Mathewson and Pedro Martinez (2000) have had seasons with numbers that good in all three categories.
5. Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs (44 points)
One of Goldschmidt's slowest starts has given way to one of his fastest finishes. Since May 25, he's hitting .330 with 27 doubles, 27 homers and a 1.028 OPS in 107 games.
Others receiving votes:Lorenzo Cain, Brewers; Freddie Freeman, Braves; Nolan Arenado, Rockies; Max Scherzer, Nationals; Ronald Acuna Jr. Braves; Aaron Nola, Phillies; Anthony Rendon, Nationals.

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.