The MLB Most Valuable Player awards feature two very different races, with one league being much more competitive than the other.

While it seems likely Kris Bryant has run away with voting for the National League award, it was difficult to even narrow the American League options down to three candidates. Of the three remaining, each has a legitimate claim to the prestigious award.

Each league’s winner will be announced on Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. on MLB Network, but here is a breakdown of the two contests with predictions for each award.


National League

Nolan Arenado has a legitimate argument to be a finalist after leading the majors with 133 RBI. He also had 41 home runs and a .294 batting average. However, voters don’t seem to respect the numbers he put up for a team that plays its home games at Coors Field and failed to reach the playoffs.

Of course, it’s hard to discredit Daniel Murphy or Corey Seager, both of whom greatly exceeded expectations in 2016.

Most knew Seager was an elite prospect coming into the season, so his status as the Rookie of the Year favorite is unsurprising. Still, his .308 batting average, 26 home runs and 40 doubles as a middle-of-the-order threat for the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers proved he was truly a star.

As for Murphy, he had shown plenty of ability in his career with the New York Mets, but his first season with the Washington Nationals featured career highs in batting average, home runs, doubles, RBI, OPS and pretty much everything else you could list.

A man with a .288 batting average in his first seven years in the league broke out with a .347 mark that fell just short of the batting title. In most seasons, this would be enough to bring home the MVP award. And yet, neither Murphy nor Seager should be able to match Bryant.

It’s not even that Bryant’s numbers were far and away the best in the league. Last year’s Rookie of the Year led the league with 102 runs to go with his 39 home runs, 102 RBI and a .292 batting average.

Chris Emma of CBS Chicago noted the larger effect of the 24-year-old player:

Bryant was mostly a third baseman, but also spent time at first base and both corner outfield spots in addition to one inning each at center field and shortstop. He did whatever was asked of him for a team that won 103 games and eventually the World Series.

Additionally, Bryant does all the little things to help a team win, from showing great instincts on the basepaths to helping advance runners. The Cubs were the best team in baseball all season long, and this man was the biggest reason why.

Prediction: Kris Bryant


American League

David Ortiz didn’t earn one of the top three spots in his final season despite outstanding numbers, but his Boston Red Sox teammate Mookie Betts has a legitimate chance to take home the award.

Tom Verducci of MLB Network even calls him the favorite:

Betts had a solid 2015 season but truly broke out this year with a .318 batting average, 31 home runs, 26 stolen bases and 113 RBI. 

Additionally, he is the only one of the three finalists to actually make the playoffs as part of the first-place Red Sox. With Ortiz clearly not splitting all that much of the vote, Betts has a serious chance to win this award.

Jose Altuve might have a tougher time despite winning the batting title with a .338 average. It was also the third year in a row he led the league in hits.

Interestingly, the diminutive second baseman doesn’t seem to care about what happens in the voting.

“If I win, it’s going to be great,” Altuve said in October, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. “If not, I’m going to feel proud because I feel like I did what I had to do to help my team. I don’t want to stop here. Like I’ve said before, and I can say it 100 times, I want to keep getting better.”

It’s difficult for Mike Trout to get much better than he has been already in his career, as noted by Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times:

Trout is as consistent as they come in the sport, posting a triple slash line of .315/.441/.550 while adding 29 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Thanks to his ability to fill up the stat sheet and play excellent defense, he easily led the majors in wins above replacement, per

However, the Los Angeles Angels star has only won one MVP award. He won in 2014, placed second to Josh Donaldson last year and finished behind Miguel Cabrera in 2012 and 2013. The theme for all of these is team success. Trout has only gone to the playoffs in 2014, while Donaldson and Cabrera each participated in the postseason in years they won the award.

With the Angels not even competitive this season, plenty of voters will overlook his numbers and turn once again to a playoff participant. Betts, with similar numbers on the season, helped his team win a division title and will likely bring home the MVP award.

Prediction: Mookie Betts


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