The first month of the baseball season is now over and it has been an exciting one. The Washington Nationals have proven themselves to be the best offense in baseball and Eric Thames enjoyed a torrid start to the year after spending the past five years in Korea. Many star players are off to a strong year, while some have some work to do if they want to contend for some awards at the end of the year. There have also been some players that have been playing out of their mind and I will try to limit the amount of times I include a player like that since they will likely fall back to Earth shortly.
American League Most Valuable Player:
- OF Mike Trout- It seems like he is the favorite to win MVP every single year and he has failed to disappoint so far. He isn’t leading the league in any sole category, but his name is scattered across multiple leaderboards. Trout is third in the AL with a .355 batting average, third in runs scored, ninth in RBI’s, and fifth in home runs. Barring catastrophe or another player having a year for the ages, Trout should be able to lock up his third MVP award in four years.
- OF Aaron Judge- Judge has slugged the Yankees to a 19-9 record, albeit the fact that he is only a rookie. He won’t be able to keep crushing the ball out of the park on a regular basis like he has been doing, but he should be able to continue to play well. However, if he is able to sustain his numbers and performance, Judge could become only the third rookie ever to win MVP.
- SP Chris Sale- The change of scenery hasn’t affected Sale’s play after he traded in his white socks for red ones. Practically a shoe-in for the CY Young Award, Sale is leading the majors with 63 strikeouts and has a 1.38 ERA as well. It is very difficult for a pitcher to win MVP, but if Sale eclipses 300 strikeouts and keeps his ERA below 2.00, he should have a chance.
Honorable Mention: SP Ervin Santana- It could be argued that Sale has been the most dominant pitcher in the league so far, but no one has been able to match how well Santana has done on the bump. Not only is he tied for the lead-league with 5 wins, but he had an astounding 0.66 ERA before he faced the Red Sox. Both Sale and Santana will duel tonight and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. The reason he isn’t higher up on this list is because of the fact that his track record suggests that he is unable to sustain this level of play.
Other Honorable Mentions: 3B Manny Machado, OF Nelson Cruz, SP Jason Vargas
National League Most Valuable Player:
- OF Bryce Harper- Harper won National League MVP two years ago, and it looks like he could be headed towards receiving another one. He has hit 9 homers, batted in 27 runs, and had an one-base percentage above .500. Those are insane numbers, but if anyone could keep them up it’s Harper.
- 1B Freddie Freeman- The only knock on Freeman here is that he plays for an Atlanta Braves team that has struggled out of the gate. However, none of the blame can be attributed to him since he hit 10 home runs and owns a .347 batting average.
- 1B Eric Thames- As I said earlier, Thames has spent the last five years playing in Korea after starting out his professional career in the MLB. He has smacked 11 balls out of the park and is hitting the ball at a .304 clip. He has fallen back to Earth slightly in the past week, and it will be interesting to see how he does the rest of the year.
Honorable Mention: 1B Ryan Zimmerman- He has enjoyed an other-worldly start to the year, but based on his track record, his numbers will likely start to regress. Nevertheless, Zimmerman arguably the best hitter since the start of the season and could continue to make some noise if he stays hot.
Other Honorable Mentions: 3B Nolan Arenado, OF Charlie Blackmon, SP Clayton KershawFollow @jackstatsblog