Breaking Down This Season’s MVP Races

The MLB is full of stars, young and veteran. Teams are going through tight races for the Wild Card spots, along with a close competition for divisional titles. The stars leading these teams are also fighting to be named Most Valuable Player for their league. These include Mookie Betts, JD Martinez, and Jose Ramirez.

Jose Ramirez has transformed as a hitter this year. During the 2017 season, Ramirez boasted a .318 with 83 RBI’s. This year, he has become a power-hitting and RBI producing machine. With 38 HR and 101 RBI, he has certainly become a more clutch slugger this year, as opposed to 29 HR last year. He has also just accomplished a 30-30 season, meaning that he has 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. This, coupled with a good average (.282), shows that he is a very well-rounded player. Along with solid defensive play at third base, Ramirez is a very valuable player for the Indians, and will be a huge factor for them in the playoffs.

Mookie Betts is also a growing, young hitter. He has 29 HR, and leads the Majors in AVG with a .337 mark. His speed and defensive prowess have helped the Red Sox to an amazing season. He currently leads the American League in average, and is top three in OBP and SLG. He is also chasing a 30-30 season just like Jose Ramirez, currently with 29-28 (HR-SB). He holds two Gold Glove awards as well, and could win his third this year. Ramirez, while a solid defensive third baseman, does not have any Gold Gloves, giving Betts an edge in this category.

JD Martinez, Betts’ teammate, is having the best season of his career. He leads the league in RBI, SLG, total bases, and hits. He is also chasing the triple crown award, where someone leads their league in HR, RBI, and AVG. He currently has a .328 AVG (#2), 41 HR (#2), and 122 RBI (#1). However, even if he succeeds in winning the triple crown, he would have to overcome the obstacle of being a designated hitter, where he does not normally play in the field. No one whose primary position was DH has ever won the AL MVP award, which is a definite disadvantage for Martinez. However, his phenomenal season could give him a chance against Betts in the voting.

The National League also has a close and competitive MVP race. The top candidates in this race are Matt Carpenter, Nolan Arenado, and Christian Yelich.

Christian Yelich has been having one of his best seasons of his young career. He has 31 home runs, is batting .318/.385/.570, and is having a great defensive season as well. He already has a gold glove and a silver slugger award, and could be looking at another gold glove season. He is also leading the Brewers in their search for the divisional title, where they are currently 2.5 games back from the Cubs. He is one of the best contact hitters in the NL right now, and has performed best when the game is on the line, giving him a good chance at winning MVP.

Nolan Arenado is also a defensive star. He has won the gold glove for third baseman 5 years in a row, and won the platinum glove award last year, which is the NL’s best defensive player award. He also has 3 silver sluggers in a row, and is second in the NL with 34 HR’s. He is hitting .297/.37/.558, with the third highest OPS in the NL. While he might not win the gold glove again this year, Arenado could be the new MVP.

Matt Carpenter has been on fire. He had a slow start to the season, but since May he has dominated pitchers. He now has 35 HR’s, which leads the National League. His defense is also a great weapon, since he has played all over the infield. However, he does not have many RBI’s to show for all of the homers, with only 77. For comparison, most other with that many home runs have around 90, even 100 RBI’s. His batting average also sits down at a meager .265. If he starts to get on a hitting streak, that could go up, giving him a better shot at the MVP award.

I think that Arenado has the best all around stats in the NL, and coupled with his established defensive skills, it’s hard to argue against him. I think that the AL race will be closer, coming down to the two Red Sox stars, Mookie Betts and JD Martinez. With about 2 weeks left in the season, I still think that it is too close to call for them.

Joey Mailloux is a Sophomore and a member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

Categories: Sports

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