WITH nearly 20% of the new baseball season done and dusted we have a reasonable sample size to determine who’s on track for an MVP calibre season in 2017. Everyone usually lists their top five or ten candidates, but f*ck the system right? I’ve listed three fringe guys, plus the four who are at the top of the food chain in both leagues so far. Spoiler alert the list is filled with the names you expect, but a few lesser known studs are making their cases to be included in the conversation.
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Outside Looking In: Kris Bryant, Eugenio Suarez, Nolen Arendo
4. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
WHILE the Atlanta Braves (11-20) may be in store for another 90 loss season, it will be through no fault of Freddie Freeman’s. The franchise cornerstone turned in an impressive April and currently possesses the 2nd best OPS (1.200) in the majors and a lethal .336 average. Fingers crossed the Braves can get a few more W’s to help Freeman’s MVP case.
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3. Eric Thames, Milwaukee Brewers
THROUGH the 30ish games each team has played one of the biggest surprises is the form of Eric Thames. The Brewers slugger is in a share for the top of the league with 13 homers and seems poised to rack up big numbers in the rest of 2017. It seems like a stint in Korea was the best thing for the former league flameout.
2. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
THE only Zimmerman isn’t number 1 on the list is (spoiler alert) because his teammate beat him out. Currently he is the MLB leader in hits (48), RBI’s (34), home runs (13), batting average (.393), slugging percentage (.820) and OPS (1.251). Need I say more?
1. Bryce Harper
SO far this season Bryce Harper is the Most Valuable Player on the best team in the National League, maybe in all of baseball. The Nats have scored 209 runs so far this season with Harper contributing a league leading 37 of those. Combine that with and a .372 batting average (2nd only to Zimmerman), an impressive 28 times walked and a MLB leading on base percentage (.496) you have your NL MVP through two months of the season.
The Field: Manny Machado, Mookie Betts, Chris Sale
4. Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
ALREADY owning an overflowing trophy cabinet Jose Altuve is doing his best to add a World Series title to it, and may be able to include an MVP if he keeps going the way he is at the moment. Altuve is tied for the AL lead in stolen bases while hitting a stellar .295/.370/.459. It’s a great start to what could be a great year for what could be a special year in Houston baseball.
3. Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros
I debated for a fair amount of time whether to have Dallas Keuchel in 3rd or 2nd. The Astros pitcher is looking like the ace we thought he could be a few years ago. After winning the Cy Young award in 2015, Keuchel had an average follow up campaign in 2016. However, he is back to his elite best in 2017 with an WHIP under one (0.85) and an ERA (1.88) under two resulting in five wins and no losses so far.
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2. Aaron Judge
NEW York Yankees newest hero Aaron Judge has quickly burst onto the MLB scene. The gentle giant has recorded a record 13 home runs in his first 25 games as a rookie, with the Yankees leading the AL in runs scored. He is literally and figuratively a big part of their 21-10 record so far and will continue to impose his will on the league over a full season.
1. Mike Trout
MIKE Trout can be found atop AL MVP ladders around the globe, but only on days ending in Y. The LA Angels centre fielder and dual MVP winner has started where he left off recording eight home runs, five stolen bases, while hitting .355/.446/.700. Trout has finished either first or second in every year of AL MVP votes since his first full season in 2012 and there is going to be very little difference this season, barring anything catastrophic.
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