While there is almost always a battle for who should win each league’s MVP award, Major League Baseball’s winners usually become obvious with a closer inspection of the numbers.
Not in 2012.
After a full season of action, two stars in the American League and National League have separated themselves from the pack, but were unable to separate from each other in the pursuit of the MVP award.
All of the following players deserve serious consideration from their respective leagues, but only two will walk away at the end of the season with the MVP hardware.
NL MVP Race
Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants
After missing the majority of the 2011 season with a devastating leg injury, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey has returned to the MLB this year with a vengeance.
In 148 games, Posey is hitting a league-best .336 batting average, drove in 103 RBI and added 24 home runs. Not to mention his defensive skills behind the plate.
Add in the fact that the Giants won the NL West division, and the clear favorite for NL MVP has to be Posey.
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Despite the Pittsburgh Pirates missing the playoffs this year, it had nothing to do with the stellar play of outfielder Andrew McCutchen. If there were more offensive pieces around him, not only would the team have been better, but his already impressive numbers would also have gone up even more.
In 157 games, the fourth-year player finished the season with the third-best batting average (.327), 31 home runs, 96 RBI and 20 stolen bases.
If it wasn’t for McCutchen’s terrible team, he would have made an even more convincing case for NL MVP.
Predicted Winner: Buster Posey
AL MVP Race
Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers
As close as the NL race will be, it has nothing on the AL MVP debate. The most likely winner is Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, not just because of his Triple Crown win—the first since 1967—but because his team made the postseason.
Detroit won the Central Division this year on the bat of Cabrera, who led the AL in batting average (.330), home runs (44) and RBI (139).
While Mike Trout’s 2012 was impressive, a Triple Crown winner on a playoff team should never lose a MVP race.
Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
Despite being buried under a historic season from Miguel Cabrera, Los Angeles Angles star outfielder Mike Trout proved that he could be one of the best players in the game with all the different skills the young star possesses.
Besides dominating at the plate—hitting for a .326 batting average, 30 home runs and 83 RBI—Trout had 39 stolen bases and was one of the most impressive center fielders in the league.
With all five tools in his arsenal, Trout will not win MVP in 2012, but will be a star with many more chances at the award in the years to come.
Predicted Winner: Miguel Cabrera
Check back for more on the Major League Baseball as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s MLB page to get your fill of all things baseball.