The American League is full of sluggers who can hit for power and average. Many of the league’s top hitters are showing their abilities at the plate, and on the field, while helping their clubs storm away from the rest of their divisions. The AL hasn’t been as competitive as the NL in the playoff races, but the competition for the MVP race will be fun to watch as September progresses.
It won’t be division races to watch as the season winds down, but rather the players in competition for the season-ending awards. With that said, let’s look at the five AL players worthy of consideration for the AL MVP Award.
1 Mookie Betts- Boston Red Sox
2018 stats: 29 HR, 71 RBI, .335 AVG
Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts looks to be the favorite to win the AL MVP Award at this point in the season, and rightfully so. After a down year in 2017, Betts has rebounded as the best hitter in the league and helped the Red Sox secure the best record in baseball at 97-44. His 29 home runs are two shy of his career high, but his .335 batting average is the best of his career by a wide margin and ties him with teammate JD Martinez for the AL lead.
Betts has been stellar on defense too, posting a .996 fielding percentage and committing one error. The speedy outfielder has done it all with the bat and glove and is a big reason the Red Sox are on their way to a third straight AL East title. The 25-year-old isn’t even in his prime years yet, so one can only imagine what he’ll be capable of five years from now.
2 Mike Trout- Los Angeles Angels
2018 stats: 31 HR, 63 RBI, .305 AVG
The day Mike Trout isn’t in the conversation for MVP will be the day the earth stands still. Trout is having another phenomenal season even though he missed a good portion of August with a wrist injury. Trout leads the Angels in just about every offensive category and continues to show off his skills to the rest of the league nightly.
Trout has a WAR of 8 this season, which is also the best on the Angels and third in all of baseball behind Betts and Washington Nationals starter Max Scherzer. The Angels may not make the playoffs once again, but Trout is the best player in the game. It's really no surprise he's in the MVP conversation once again.
3 Jose Ramirez- Cleveland Indians
2018 stats: 37 HR, 96 RBI, .287 AVG
Cleveland Indians infielder Jose Ramirez is adding on to his career year from last season when he hit 29 home runs and drove in 83. He’s passed those numbers easily with less than four weeks to go in the season and has been a key contributor to the Indians' success since 2016. Ramirez will take over second base duties with third baseman Josh Donaldson joining the club soon, but that shouldn’t stop Ramirez from producing with the bat.
His 37 home runs and 96 RBI are third in the AL and he ranks fourth in OBP and OPS. The Indians have had a hard time getting consistent in what’s been a weak AL Central, but Ramirez has been the key piece to the club's success. With the Indians more than likely winning their third division title in a row, it’s hard to pass on Ramirez as a potential MVP candidate, especially if the Indians find themselves in the World Series once again.
4 JD Martinez- Boston Red Sox
2018 stats: 39 HR, 115 RBI, .335 AVG
Between Betts and JD Martinez, it’s hard to argue against either player in the MVP talks. Martinez is having another incredible season and is in the mix to win the AL Triple Crown. He’s second in home runs behind Oakland A’s slugger Khris Davis, but he’s tied with Betts for the league lead in hitting and has a comfortable lead in the RBI department.
With the Red Sox about to clinch their third consecutive AL East title, Martinez has been one of the biggest contributors to their MLB best 97-44 record. Though a 116 win season doesn’t seem likely, the Triple Crown is not out of the picture. Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera was the last hitter to achieve the feat in 2012 while also leading his team to the World Series. If Martinez can pull away in the final three weeks of the season, a Triple Crown Award should put the icing on the cake in the MVP race.
5 Alex Bregman- Houston Astros
2018 stats: 29 HR, 96 RBI, .298 AVG
Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman has been brilliant all season long. April was a slow month, but Bregman has hit .305 with 28 home runs since May 1 and has helped the Astros stay in first place in a fierce AL West. Even when Jose Altuve landed on the DL, Bregman’s bat kept the Astros in the race and at the top of the division.
Bregman was also the MVP for the All-Star Game this summer and has been the healthiest Astros player all season. Thanks to him, the Astros look to have a third playoff appearance in four years on the horizon, but the division title is still up for grabs. If Bregman can continue to tear the cover off the baseball for the rest of the season, an MVP trophy could also be added to his list of career accomplishments.
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