Latest MVP poll shows rare battle brewing in NL

May 21st, 2024

It’s been nearly 25 years since two teammates finished first and second in their league’s MVP Award voting, but we might be headed in that direction this season.

If our latest MVP poll is any indication, a razor-thin MVP battle is brewing between a pair of teammates in the National League. Meanwhile, in the American League, a clear frontrunner has emerged.

As usual, experts were asked to rank their top five MVP picks in each league, based on what's happened so far and what they expect will happen the rest of the season. Players received vote points on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale -- five points for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote and so on, with 43 voters participating. Here are the results.

All stats are through Monday.


1. , OF, Yankees (28 first-place votes)
Soto deserves a lot of credit for helping transform New York’s lineup after being acquired from the Padres in the offseason. One year after scoring the sixth-fewest runs in the Majors, the Yankees have one of the highest-scoring offenses in baseball, ranking fifth with 4.84 runs scored per game. Soto has appeared in all 48 of New York's games and is slashing .316/.415/.551 with 11 homers, 37 RBIs and more walks (33) than strikeouts (32).

2. , OF, Astros (six first-place votes)
Tucker was already one of MLB’s best players over the past three years, but he has taken his game to another level in 2024. The left-handed slugger ranks second in MLB with 15 homers and leads the AL in on-base percentage (.421) and slugging (.618) over 47 games. He has been especially hot lately, slashing .326/.500/.870 with seven homers, 13 RBIs and 16 walks over his past 14 games to help Houston get back into the postseason race.

3. , SS, Orioles (two first-place votes)
Even on an O’s team that’s loaded with young talent, Henderson manages to stand out. After winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2023, Henderson has made a huge leap this season, helping Baltimore keep pace with the red-hot Yankees in the AL East. The shortstop leads the Majors in homers (16) and has notched a .962 OPS, 148 points better than his mark from last year.

4. , OF, Yankees (three first-place votes)
So much for that slow start. After slashing .197/.331/.393 through May 2, Judge has put together a sizzling stretch over his past 16 games, hitting .436 (24-for-55) with seven homers, 10 doubles, 14 RBIs and a 1.563 OPS. He now ranks second among AL qualifiers with a .988 OPS on the year, behind only Tucker.

5. , SS, Royals (two first-place votes)
The centerpiece of a surprising Royals team, Witt is tied for third in the AL with 3.0 WAR (per Baseball-Reference) this season, having produced a .295/.357/.511 slash while providing top-notch glove work and elite speed. The shortstop is in the midst of a power outage right now -- he's hit just one homer in his past 36 games -- but with how strong his quality-of-contact metrics are, he should see an uptick in that department soon enough.

Others receiving votes: Salvador Perez, Royals (one first-place vote); Adley Rutschman, Orioles; Ryan Jeffers, Twins (one first-place vote); Jose Altuve, Astros; José Ramírez, Guardians; Steven Kwan, Guardians; Marcus Semien, Rangers; Seth Lugo, Royals


1. , SS, Dodgers (23 first-place votes)
What Betts is doing on offense at the age of 31 while handling a new position (shortstop) is simply incredible. The veteran, who won AL MVP honors in 2018 and has finished second in the NL voting twice (2020 and 2023) since joining the Dodgers, leads all players with 3.4 WAR and is hitting .335 with eight homers, eight steals, 41 runs scored and a .978 OPS over 49 games. He edged his teammate Shohei Ohtani by a single vote point in our poll. If either player ends up winning NL MVP honors, he’d join Hall of Famer Frank Robinson as the only two players to be named MVP in both leagues.

2. , DH, Dodgers (18 first-place votes)
Ohtani isn’t pitching this year while recovering from right elbow surgery, but that isn’t stopping him from making a strong play for his third MVP Award in four years. The superstar slugger is off to the best start of his career on offense, leading MLB in batting average (.353), slugging percentage (.653), OPS (1.077), hits (67) and total bases (124) and is second in the NL in homers (13). He also has 11 steals, making him the only player across MLB to have double-digit totals in both home runs and stolen bases.

3. , C, Brewers (one first-place vote)
Where would the first-place Brewers be without Contreras? The 26-year-old is hitting .332 with seven homers, 37 RBIs and a .931 OPS over 47 games this season, and he’s done all of that while catching more innings than all but one backstop in MLB. If you factor in his nine starts as the designated hitter, he hasn’t taken a single game off all year.

4. , SS, Reds (one first-place vote)
De La Cruz has cooled off at the plate lately, but he has continued to run wild on the bases and remains on pace to become the fifth player (ninth occurrence) in the Modern Era (since 1900) to record 100-plus steals in a season. The speedster is also on track to reach the 30-homer mark. Only three players -- Ronald Acuña Jr. in 2023, Barry Bonds in 1990 and Eric Davis in 1987 -- have even had as many as 50 steals in a 30-homer campaign. De La Cruz could go 30-100.

5. , DH, Braves
The Braves’ offense this year has paled in comparison to the one that tied the AL/NL record for homers and led all of baseball in runs scored last season. Ozuna, though, has been even better than he was in 2023, when he finished with 40 homers, 100 RBIs and a .905 OPS. The slugger has produced 14 homers and 43 RBIs over 44 games in 2024, slashing .327/.405/.642 to boot.

Others receiving votes: Bryce Harper, Phillies; Alec Bohm, Phillies; Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves; Shota Imanaga, Cubs; Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres; Ketel Marte, D-backs; Jurickson Profar, Padres; Ranger Suárez, Phillies; Dylan Cease, Padres; Freddie Freeman, Dodgers