Daniel Murphy, Corey Seager, and Kris Bryant are finalists for the National League Most Valuable Player Award, announced on Monday by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, with Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, and Mookie Betts the finalists in the American League.
Murphy kept his impossibly hot 2015 postseason going in 2016, leading the NL with a .985 OPS. The Nationals second baseman set a career high with 25 home runs, and his .347 average was a point away from winning the batting title.
Seager is likely to be the unanimous NL Rookie of the Year, and he has a legitimate shot to win the MVP, too. The Dodgers shortstop scored 105 runs, with 26 home runs and a .308/.365/.512 slash line.
The overwhelming favorite, though, is Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who fared well in both the traditional stats (.292 average, 39 HR, 102 RBI) as well as advanced metrics (8 WAR, according to Baseball-Reference).
In the AL, Mike Trout is a finalist yet again, finishing in the top three for the fifth consecutive year, just the third time that’s happened in baseball history (Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols were the last two). The Angels outfielder hit .315/.441/.550 with superlative defense, leading the world in WAR yet again. There’s still a chance that he will have just a single MVP and four second-place finishes over his brilliant career, however.
Altuve led the AL with a .338 batting average and 216 hits, the third straight season in which he’s collected more than 200 hits. He also stole 30 bases and scored 108 runs, while playing well-regarded defense at second.
Betts had one of the better defensive seasons in recent memory, according to advanced stats, and he should get a boost from the voters who prefer to think of the award as the Most Valuable Player on a Contending Team. He hit .318/.363/.534 with 31 homers and 26 stolen bases.
The winners of both the AL and NL MVP Awards will be announced on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.