It is the MLB Awards portion of the offseason. And since the top awards will be announced next week. It is time for the Laracuente Ledger to announce it’s vote for each award. So without further ado here are our picks for AL and NL Most Valuable Players. Also be sure to take a look back at our preseason MLB Awards Predictions to see if we made the right calls.
Now just to set some ground rule for the selections. We will be using the same three finalists as have been announced by MLB. So while JD Martinez deserved real consideration as the AL MVP, he was not one of the final three. And I will also reveal who I believe the BBWAA will actually choose as the winner.
Laracuente Ledger’s Pick for National League MVP: Javier Baez
With a Cubs team loaded with “Superstars” not would carry the team. It would, however, be a brazen showman that would carry the Cubs all season and into the NL Wildcard game. Without Javy Baez, the Chicago Cubs don’t make it to the NL Wildcard, plain and simple. Baez would play in nearly every game for the Cubs in 2018. And as he does every season, Baez would play multiple positions. Javy would hit for a career-high slash line of .290/.326/.554. Baez would also achieve career-highs in Hits (176), Home Runs (34), RBI’s, and Stolen Bases (21). Javy’s biggest competition for the NL MVP will be Christian Yelich, but if I had a vote Javier Baez would be the 2018 NL MVP.
Estimated Actual Winner for NL MVP: Christian Yelich
The Milwaukee Brewers made a splash in the 2017-2018 offseason by acquiring Christian Yelich from the Miami Marlins. And as it would turn out, Yelich would go on to have an incredible season for the Brew Crew. Christian would finish the season with career highs in Hits (187), Home Runs (36), RBI’s (110), Stolen Bases (22). And slash for a career-best .326/.402/.598. Yelich would have some stiff competition throughout much of the season in Javier Baez and Nolan Arenado. But ultimately, Yelich would help the Brewers enter into the playoffs and will more than likely win the NL MVP.
Laracuente Ledger’s Pick for American League MVP: Mike Trout
For most of the great players in the MLB you refer to them as a perennial Allstar, yet for Mike Trout, he is a perennial MVP. And the 2018 season was no different. Trout would produce yet another 10 Win season (according to Baseball Reference WAR.) Mike Trout is without a doubt separating himself in the discussion of greatest player of this generation. His performances and ability year in and year out are second to none. And while the 2018 season would give him some competition, Trout would more than answer the call. In 2018 Trout would hit for a slash line of .312/.460/.628. In addition to that slash line, Trout would have 147 Hits, hit 39 Home Runs, with 79 RBI’s and 24 Stolen Bases. Trout would also separate himself by drawing 122 Base on Balls. Mike Trout is the greatest player of this era and should win his third AL MVP.
Estimated Actual AL MVP Winner: Mookie Betts
As previously stated, Mike Trout would have some competition this season for the MVP. That competition would come in the form of Mookie Betts and JD Martinez. Yet as we mentioned in the open of this piece JD Martinez would somehow be left out of the final three voting with Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians taking hold of the spot. Mookie would have an absolutely incredible year. Betts would surpass Mike Trout by .7 WAR by hitting 32 Home Runs with 80 RBI’s to go along with 180 Hits and 30 Stolen Bases. Mookie would also slash a remarkable .346/.438/.640. And it would be this separation that will more than likely net Mookie the AL MVP award.
But it has to be made note that Mookie’s great season came with the protection of JD Martinez. JD would have 188 Hits with 43 Home Runs, 130 RBI’s and a slash line of .330/.402/.629. Thus the protection JD provided Mookie allowed him the opportunity to succeed.
Mike Trout was without protection for much of the season, as Trout’s second-best offensive weapon would have an oWAR (Offensive Wins Above Replacement) of 3.9 (Andrelton Simmons). Trout would have an oWAR of 9.2. Mookie would have an oWAR of 8.7 which would be more closely followed up by JD Martinez’s 6.8. The separation of Trout to Simmons (5.3) and Mookie to JD (1.9) is a Wins Above Replacement difference of nearly 3.5. While the numbers may confuse some, the difference between to two sets of teammates was equivalent of 2018 season for Joey Votto. Mike Trout would have a truly great season without much protection. And therefore is my choice of AL MVP.