As the amount of games most teams have played is passing 108, it is time to revisit the current favorites for various MLB awards at this point of the season. Looking back at the leaders following the one-third mark in the 2019 season. While plenty of the players mentioned for certain awards are definitely still in the conversation, some players have had a great past couple months and others have had a poor past couple months, changing the landscape.
Even as playoff races dominate the headlines over the next two months, a few of these closer races will be very exciting to watch unfold in these next 50 or so games. While the Dodgers and Brewers continue to jockey for home-field advantage and a spot in the playoffs, respectively, following Yelich and Bellinger’s race towards 50 homers is definitely entertaining as well. Even as it seems that we know which players are having better seasons at this point, there is still plenty to play out and we may see some surprising runs.
NL Most Valuable Player: Cody Bellinger (LAD)
Just like the May version of this article, Bellinger is in the lead for the National League MVP as he leads the Dodgers to the best record in the league. He is not quite the runaway favorite as he was at that time of the year, but the left-handed power bat has not slowed down much. Recently turning 24 years old, Bellinger has had quite the breakout. So far, he has 6.5 fWAR, 6.6 WARP, and 7.2 bWAR. Those are clearly MVP numbers at this point in the season. His success is both coming at the plate (36 homers, .420 OBP, 181 wRC+, .454 xwOBA) and in the field (Games at 1B, RF, and CF, 6 OAA, 17 DRS, 9 outfield assists, 8.9 UZR). He’s dominated in just about every statistic, has not had even a 20 game stretch with a below-average wOBA, and hasn’t seemed to just benefit from a few more lucky balls falling or a hitter-friendly park. Although we do not know how the rest of his career will go, Bellinger is setting himself up to be a special player.
The reigning MVP Yelich hasn’t gone down quietly, and right now could probably get some first-place votes for the award thanks to his offensive output this summer. His wOBA has only been .003 less than Bellinger’s, and he has had a slightly higher slugging percentage. While his defensive metrics are what creates the gap between the two (as well as adjusting for his hitter-friendly park), Yelich is clearly close. Additionally, Yelich has the best cWPA, a stat that gauges how much a player adds to a teams chances to win the World Series, although not including defense. Chances are one of he or Bellinger takes home the award, but Scherzer having another great season and Ketel Marte breaking out to have 4.7 fWAR and 5.0 bWAR also deserve recognition.
AL Most Valuable Player: Mike Trout (LAA)
Considering the gap he has created for himself and the fact that he has never really had a poor or even average stretch of games, Trout has mostly solidified his chances of taking home his 3rd MVP award at the age of 28. This season will also assuredly mark his 8th of 8 full seasons with a top 4 MVP finish, and that could be true even if he misses time with injury. Trout continues to amaze, as he is tied for the MLB lead in homers, is 2nd in RBIs, 1st in BB%, 1st in ISO, 1st in OBP, 1st in wRC+, 1st in DRC+, and of course every version of WAR. While his team will once again miss the playoffs, considering he is an all-around elite talent, it clearly is despite his presence rather because of his presence.
The Red Sox are coming off a historically great season and World Series victory and have a completely new duo competing for MVP votes in comparison to last season. While that makes their current place in the standings even more disappointing, having the two youngsters in Bogaerts and Devers on the left side of the infield have a wRC+ of at least 139 and at least 4.3 fWAR is a nice silver lining. Bregman is having a second straight top 5 MVP type season, helping carry the Astros as they deal with other injuries on the offensive side. His bWAR is at 4.8 and his fWAR is 4.5, thanks to walking significantly more than he strikes out, as well as tapping into 27 homers already and playing an above-average third base and filling in at shortstop when necessary.