Selecting Every MLB Team's 2016 Regular-Season MVP

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2016

Selecting Every MLB Team's 2016 Regular-Season MVP

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    The upcoming postseason may be the main focus of the baseball world right now, but as the regular season winds down, the debate over who should win each of the league's major awards generally starts to heat up.

    Kris Bryant looks like the front-runner to win NL MVP honors, while the AL race is still wide-open with Boston Red Sox teammates Mookie Betts and David Ortiz perhaps the co-favorites heading into the final week.

    The following won't focus on each league as a whole, though, but instead on who deserves team MVP honors for all 30 MLB franchises.

    Position players generally tend to get the nod over pitchers when it comes to the league award, with Clayton Kershaw being a rare exception in 2014, but more than a few pitchers walked away with team honors.

    The idea here was to find the player who has meant the most to the success of his respective team here in 2016.

    Sometimes that was the player who led his team in WAR, but by no means was WAR the deciding factor in naming each team's MVP.

    Along with a focus on each team's winner, a full ballot of the top five players was selected for each team to provide a few honorable mentions deserving of recognition as well. 

Arizona Diamondbacks: 1B Paul Goldschmidt

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    The Arizona Diamondbacks have been the most disappointing team in baseball this year, falling well short of expectations to contend for an NL West title after a busy offseason.

    First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has remained one of the game's elite players, though.

    The 29-year-old has not quite produced at the MVP-caliber level he did a year ago when he posted a 1.005 OPS with 33 home runs and 110 RBI, but he's still been one of the game's most consistent producers.

    His combination of batting average, power, base-stealing ability and defense is unmatched at the first base position and did it all for once again with a $5.875 million salary.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. 2B Jean Segura
    3. 3B Jake Lamb
    4. SP Robbie Ray
    5. C Welington Castillo

Atlanta Braves: 1B Freddie Freeman

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    Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Lost in the shuffle of another rebuilding season from the Atlanta Braves has been a career year by first baseman Freddie Freeman.

    The 27-year-old leads the NL with a 160 OPS+ and ranks third in the Senior Circuit with 330 total bases, as he's tied his previous career-high with 43 doubles and set a new personal best with 33 home runs.

    "He's amazing," rookie outfielder Mallex Smith told reporters. "He's a very professional hitter. He's the man. You just kind of stay out of the way and watch."

    Freeman has been at his very best of late, ripping off a 30-game hitting streak and a 46-game on-base streak before an 0-for-4, no walk performance on Wednesday.

    The fact that fact that he's done it all with limited protection in the lineup, especially prior to the addition of Matt Kemp, makes his numbers that much more impressive.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. SP Julio Teheran
    3. RF Matt Kemp
    4. CF Ender Inciarte
    5. RP Jim Johnson

Baltimore Orioles: RP Zach Britton

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Zach Britton was already one of the best closers in baseball entering 2016, having converted 73 of 81 save chances with a 1.77 ERA, 0.944 WHIP and 8.9 K/9 over the past two seasons.

    He's taken his game to another level here in 2016, though.

    The lefty sinkerballer has racked up a ridiculous 79.5 percent ground-ball rate, limiting opponents to just 14 fly balls and 18 line drives all season.

    Britton has allowed just one earned run in 55.1 innings of work since the beginning of May, converting all 47 of his save chances and emerging as a legitimate AL Cy Young candidate in one of the most dominant seasons by a reliever that the game has ever seen.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. 3B Manny Machado
    3. SP Kevin Gausman
    4. RF Mark Trumbo
    5. SP Chris Tillman

Boston Red Sox: RF Mookie Betts

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    Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    If you're looking for the definition of a five-tool player, take a look at Mookie Betts in 2016.

    Average: His .320 average and 211 hits are both good for second in the AL.

    Power: He ranks in the top 10 in doubles (41, fourth), slugging (.538, eighth) and OPS (.903, eighth), and his 31 home runs have more than doubled his career total.

    Speed: He's swiped 26 bases in 30 attempts and has been the most valuable baserunner in the game, according to FanGraphs.

    Arm: With 14 outfield assists, Betts is tied for third among all outfielders.

    Fielding: No one has come close to the 32 Defensive Runs Saved that he's put up this year. That's nine more than any other position player and 11 more than any other outfielder.

    Add that all up and you get a 9.4 WAR season, good for the 12th-best single-season showing ever by a Boston Red Sox hitter.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. DH David Ortiz
    3. SP Rick Porcello
    4. 2B Dustin Pedroia
    5. CF Jackie Bradley Jr.

Chicago Cubs: 3B/OF Kris Bryant

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    David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Kris Bryant was the unanimous choice for NL Rookie of the Year last season, and there's a good chance he'll follow that up by taking home NL MVP honors.

    The 24-year-old slugger has eclipsed his terrific rookie numbers across the board, raising his OPS from .858 to .946 while leading the NL in runs scored (120) and WAR (7.7).

    Already a disciplined hitter who posted an 11.8 percent walk rate as a rookie, Bryant needed to cut down his strikeouts after fanning an NL-high 199 times last year. He's done just that, trimming his strikeout rate from 30.6 to 22.1 percent, and that's been the biggest reason for his monster performance.

    Add in the versatility that he provides manager Joe Maddon with multiple games played at third base (105), left field (59), right field (14) and first base (9), and he's the obvious choice for MVP honors on the best team in baseball.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. SP Jon Lester
    3. 1B Anthony Rizzo
    4. SS Addison Russell
    5. SP Kyle Hendricks

Chicago White Sox: SP Chris Sale

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    David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Props to Adam Eaton who has been one of the league's premier defenders while posting a .792 OPS and 260 total bases en route to a 6.2 WAR that ranks 10th among AL position players.

    Chris Sale is still a pretty easy choice here, though.

    Amid trade rumors and a disappointing season for the Chicago White Sox, the 27-year-old has once again been one of the game's most dominant starters.

    His 23 quality starts, 221.2 innings of work and six complete games are a testament to the workhorse he has become at the top of the rotation, and a fourth consecutive top-five finish in AL Cy Young voting seems like a safe bet.

    There will be no shortage of rumors swirling around Sale and his potential availability on the trade market this winter, but for now he remains the face of the White Sox and by far the best player on the roster.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. RF Adam Eaton
    3. SP Jose Quintana
    4. 3B Todd Frazier
    5. 1B Jose Abreu

Cincinnati Reds: 1B Joey Votto

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Few players got off to a worse start than Joey Votto.

    The 33-year-old was hitting just .213/.330/.404 at the end of May, and it was clear that frustration was setting in for the four-time All-Star. 

    Here's what Votto told reporters in early May about his disappointing start: 

    It’s not something I’m OK with. I’d rather quit and leave all the money on the table than play at a poor level. I’m here to play and be part of setting a standard. It’s something I’ve always taken pride in. I love to play at a really high level. So far this year, it’s not been that. I will not be a very satisfied, happy person if I don’t perform at the level that I expect.

    Votto finally got things going when the calendar flipped to June, and he's been playing out of his mind since the All-Star break with a .410/.495/.663 line over 301 plate appearances.

    His .435 on-base percentage has him poised to lead the league in that category for the fifth time in his career, and he's also pacing the NL in walks (108).


    Remaining Ballot

    2. SP Dan Straily
    3. LF Adam Duvall
    4. SP Brandon Finnegan
    5. CF Billy Hamilton

Cleveland Indians: UT Jose Ramirez

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Jose Ramirez was pushed aside last season when phenom Francisco Lindor arrived on the scene and took over as the Cleveland Indians' starting shortstop, but he's been the team's most valuable player here in 2016.

    The 24-year-old split the first half of the season between third base and left field before taking over as the everyday option at the hot corner after Juan Uribe was released in early August.

    His unexpected production at the plate has gone a long way in offsetting another lost season from All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley, who played a grand total of 11 games while dealing with shoulder and biceps issues.

    Ramirez has hit a team-best .353 with runners in scoring position and stepped into a key run-production role out of the No. 5 spot in the team's lineup, playing a big part in leading the Indians to an AL Central title.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. SS Francisco Lindor
    3. SP Corey Kluber
    4. DH Carlos Santana
    5. 1B Mike Napoli

Colorado Rockies: 3B Nolan Arenado

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    There have been a lot of players over the years who turned in big offensive numbers as a direct result of playing their home games at Coors Field.

    Nolan Arenado is not one of those guys.

    While his 1.032 OPS, 24 home runs and 83 RBI at home this year certainly jump off the page, an .832 OPS with 16 home runs and 48 RBI on the road is nothing to scoff at, and he's proved to be a well-rounded player with elite defense to complement his bat.

    Arenado paced the NL in home runs (42) and RBI (130) a year ago, and he's the leader in both categories once again entering the final days of the season. If he can hold on, he'd be the first player to pull that off in consecutive seasons since Cecil Fielder did it in 1990 and 1991.

    "You raise the bar and the level of expectations is so high, so it’s so difficult for an athlete to maintain that," manager Walt Weiss told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. "What Nolan's doing just speaks to his drive and talent."


    Remaining Ballot

    2. CF Charlie Blackmon
    3. SP Jon Gray
    4. 2B DJ LeMahieu
    5. SP Tyler Chatwood

Detroit Tigers: SP Justin Verlander

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    The Detroit Tigers opened the season with a starting rotation of Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Pelfrey and Shane Greene, hoping to make a run at the AL Central title.

    Fast-forward to September, and things look significantly different.

    Sanchez and Pelfrey have both pitched to ERAs north of 5.00, and Zimmermann has made just 17 starts while battling injury, opening the door for the young trio of Michael Fulmer, Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd to emerge as key contributors.

    The one constant has been Verlander, who is once again pitching at an ace-caliber level and currently leading the AL in strikeouts (246) while ranking in the top 10 in ERA (3.10, fourth), WHIP (1.002, second) and innings pitched (220.2, third).

    Miguel Cabrera is enjoying another standout season, and Michael Fulmer looks like the favorite for AL Rookie of the Year, but it's Verlander who has been the team's most important player.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. 1B Miguel Cabrera
    3. SP Michael Fulmer
    4. 2B Ian Kinsler
    5. RF J.D. Martinez

Houston Astros: 2B Jose Altuve

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Jose Altuve, power hitter.

    It's a description we would have laughed at a few years back when the diminutive second baseman was topping out at seven home runs, but things have changed.

    After launching a career-high 15 home runs last season, Altuve has continued his upward trajectory with 24 dingers this season to go along with a .534 slugging percentage and a .930 OPS that ranks fifth in the AL.

    He hasn't sacrificed anything in the way of batting average either, as a .337 mark has him poised to win his second career batting title, barring a late surge from Mookie Betts (.320) or Dustin Pedroia (.319).

    Altuve won't win AL MVP honors given the likelihood that the Houston Astros will be watching from home when the postseason begins, but he's had an MVP-caliber season and established himself as one of the game's most dynamic offensive threats.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. SS Carlos Correa
    3. RF George Springer
    4. RP Will Harris
    5. C/DH Evan Gattis

Kansas City Royals: SP/RP Danny Duffy

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    Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    The starting rotation has been a weak spot for the Kansas City Royals this season, as they rank 22nd in the majors with a 4.67 starter's ERA.

    Just think of where they'd be without Danny Duffy.

    Slotted in the swingman role to start the season, Duffy joined the rotation in the middle of May, and he's gone 12-3 with a 3.56 ERA and 16 quality starts in 26 games as a starter.

    That includes one of the most dominant pitching performances in Royals history on Aug. 1, when he allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out 16 over eight scoreless innings.

    Duffy will be asked to step into the role of staff ace next season, and with free agency looming after 2017, he'll be looking to position himself for a hefty payday.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. C Salvador Perez
    3. DH Kendrys Morales
    4. RP Kelvin Herrera
    5. SP Ian Kennedy

Los Angeles Angels: CF Mike Trout

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    Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Mike Trout finds himself in the all-too-familiar position of being the best player in baseball on a non-contender, and that could mean once again watching someone else walk away with AL MVP honors.

    That didn't stop manager Mike Scioscia from voicing his support while speaking with reporters:

    I think Mike is the MVP. I think it’s fairly obvious, as the season keeps going he keeps getting stronger and stronger.

    All the numbers he puts up and the defensive part he brings to our club outweighs by a lot the fact that we’re not where we want to be as far as our won-loss record.

    His numbers are incredible. You can’t deny he’s a notch above everybody else.

    All fair points, but he'll likely have to settle for the consolation prize of team MVP honors.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. RF Kole Calhoun
    3. DH Albert Pujols
    4. SS Andrelton Simmons
    5. SP Matt Shoemaker

Los Angeles Dodgers: SS Corey Seager

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    Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Not only is Corey Seager a shoo-in for NL Rookie of the Year honors, but he's the most valuable all-around player on the NL West-winning Los Angeles Dodgers.

    With ace Clayton Kershaw missing significant time and the pitching staff as a whole struggling to find any semblance of consistency, it was up to the offense—led by Seager—to pick up the slack.

    The 22-year-old has looked right at home in the big leagues since shining in a September call-up last season, and he has led the Dodgers in batting average (.311), OPS (.888), hits (192), doubles (40), runs scored (104) and total bases (320) in his first full season.

    Save for Mike Piazza in 1993, there has not been a better rookie performance by a Dodgers position player, and that's saying something for a franchise that has won 16 Rookie of the Year awards. And as good as he's been this season, he's still just scratching the surface of his vast offensive potential.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. SP Clayton Kershaw
    3. 3B Justin Turner
    4. RP Kenley Jansen
    5. SP Kenta Maeda

Miami Marlins: SP Jose Fernandez

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    Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    R.I.P. Jose...

    MIA single-season strikeout record: 253

    MIA career win percentage leader: .691

    Marlins Park career stats: 42 GS, 29-2, 1.49 ERA, 0.918 WHIP, 11.4 K/9


    Remaining Ballot

    2. LF Christian Yelich
    3. 3B Martin Prado
    4. C J.T. Realmuto
    5. SP/RP David Phelps

Milwaukee Brewers: LF Ryan Braun

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    It remains to be seen how much longer Ryan Braun will be wearing a Milwaukee Brewers uniform, but for now he remains the team's best player.

    After a bounce-back season in 2015, he's returned to elite-level production this season with a .909 OPS that ranks 10th in the NL and his first 30-homer season since 2012.

    The 32-year-old will enter the offseason with four years and $76 million left on his contract, which also has a $15 million mutual option with a $4 million buyout tacked onto the end in what will be his age-37 season in 2021.

    That's makes moving him easier said than done, but a return to top-tier performance should mean there are at least a few interested parties this winter. An opportunity to further bolster what has become one of the league's best farm systems could prove too good for the Brewers to pass up.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. SS Jonathan Villar
    3. SP Zach Davies
    4. 1B Chris Carter
    5. SP Junior Guerra

Minnesota Twins: 2B Brian Dozier

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    Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview


    Brian Dozier has quietly been one of the most productive players in baseball for the past three seasons, but there's nothing quiet about what he's done here in 2016.

    With 42 home runs40 of which have come while manning second basehe's become just the fourth second baseman in MLB history to reach 40 homers, joining Rogers Hornsby (42, 1922), Davey Johnson (43, 1973) and Ryne Sandberg (40, 1990).

    He's also slugged his way into the franchise record books, as his 82 extra-base hits and 335 total bases are good for the second- and fifth-best single-season marks, respectively, in team history.

    That four-year, $20 million deal he signed prior to the 2015 season is looking like a stroke of genius on the Twins' part.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. SP Ervin Santana
    3. 1B Joe Mauer
    4. RP Brandon Kintzler
    5. RF Miguel Sano

New York Mets: SP Noah Syndergaard

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    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    The New York Mets' starting rotation was being hailed as one of the best in MLB history heading into the 2016 season, but things have not exactly gone as planned.

    Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz are all watching from the sidelines as the team tries to secure a wild-card spot, and the same goes for Zack Wheeler, who was never able to make his triumphant return from Tommy John surgery.

    That leaves Noah Syndergaard as the last man standing—aside from ageless wonder Bartolo Colon, who deserves some recognition as well—from the vaunted staff that was supposed to help lead the Mets to another NL East title and a potential return to the World Series.

    Syndergaard has built off his stellar rookie showing to rank among the NL leaders in ERA (2.60, third), FIP (2.28, first) and strikeouts (218, fourth), and the team will be leaning on him as the ace of the staff looking ahead to October.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. LF Yoenis Cespedes
    3. SS Asdrubal Cabrera
    4. RP Jeurys Familia
    5. SP Bartolo Colon

New York Yankees: SP Masahiro Tanaka

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    Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    It was tempting to give this one to Gary Sanchez and his 50 games of otherworldly production, but a rock-solid Masahiro Tanaka fronting the rotation is the deserving recipient of team MVP honors for the New York Yankees.

    Still pitching with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow, durability is an ongoing concern for the Japanese phenom, but he's managed to stay healthy this season and pitched like an ace in the process.

    He's been especially good since the All-Star break, going 8-2 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.028 WHIP, and those numbers are inflated a bit by one rough outing (6.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER) at the beginning of August.

    Carlos Beltran was having a productive season before being traded, as was the bullpen duo of Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, but when the dust settles on the 2016 season, Tanaka will be the team's most valuable player.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. C Gary Sanchez
    3. SS Didi Gregorius
    4. RP Dellin Betances
    5. LF Brett Gardner

Oakland Athletics: LF Khris Davis

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    Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    We probably should have seen this coming.

    After all, Khris Davis put together a huge second half last season, ranking third in the NL with 21 home runs in 51 games after the All-Star break.

    A move to the pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum was expected to stunt his power a bit, but instead he's turned in a breakout performance with 41 home runs and 100 RBI in his first season with the team.

    Davis is the first A's player with 40 homers since Jason Giambi in 2000, and he's given the team a much-needed reason for excitement in an otherwise disappointing season.

    The 28-year-old is under team control through the 2019 season, so it will be interesting to see how the A's front office handles its newest attractive controllable asset.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. SS Marcus Semien
    3. SP Kendall Graveman
    4. 3B Danny Valencia
    5. RP Ryan Dull

Philadelphia Phillies: CF Odubel Herrera

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    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    A surprise contributor as a Rule 5 selection last season, Odubel Herrera has continued to impress.

    The 24-year-old represented the Philadelphia Phillies in the All-Star Game this season, as a vastly improved approach at the plate has turned him into a standout everyday player.

    After walking just 5.2 percent of the time as a rookie, he's been considerably more selective at the dish this year, as his walk rate has climbed to 9.6 percent.

    That's resulted in a .364 on-base percentage that ranks 20th in the NL, as he's been a dynamic table-setter in a relatively weak Phillies lineup with 87 runs scored and 25 stolen bases.

    The youth movement has begun in Philadelphia, and alongside third baseman Maikel Franco and a handful of pitchers, it looks like Herrera will be one of the building blocks.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. 2B Cesar Hernandez
    3. SP Jeremy Hellickson
    4. SP Jerad Eickhoff
    5. 3B Maikel Franco

Pittsburgh Pirates: LF Starling Marte

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    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Andrew McCutchen has dominated this honor for the past several seasons, but with the star center fielder suffering through a down season, fellow outfielder Starling Marte has taken the reins.

    A 5.0-plus WAR player each of the past three seasons, Marte is finally starting to get the recognition he deserves on a national level, and he was an All-Star for the first time in 2016.

    His power numbers are down after he slugged 19 home runs and drove in 81 runs a year ago, but he's made up for it with career highs across his triple-slash line of .311/.362/.456 as well as a career-best 47 stolen bases to rank third in the NL.

    As with in years past, much of his value also comes from his stellar defense in the outfield.

    His 16 DRS overall are tied for fifth among all outfielders, and his 18 DRS in left field are tied for the most at the position.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. RF Gregory Polanco
    3. UT Sean Rodriguez
    4. RP Tony Watson
    5. 3B Jung Ho Kang

San Diego Padres: 1B Wil Myers

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    Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    After a pair of injury plagued seasons, Wil Myers has once again shown why he was such a highly regarded prospect coming up through the Kansas City Royals system.

    Myers posted a .763 OPS and played just 60 games in his first season with the San Diego Padres last year, as wrist injuries kept him sidelined and limited him when he was on the field.

    A move from the outfield to first base and a clean bill of health have made all the difference this season, as the 25-year-old was an All-Star for the first time and has become a clear piece of the long-term plans in San Diego.

    Per NBC San Diego, Myers now holds the single-season records at Petco Park for hits (93), extra-base hits (41), home runs (18), RBI (58) and runs scored (60), taming one of the most notorious pitcher's parks in baseball.

    He's also become just the 11th first baseman in MLB history to put together a 20-20 season.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. 3B Yangervis Solarte
    3. RP Brad Hand
    4. 2B Ryan Schimpf
    5. SP Christian Friedrich

San Francisco Giants: SS Brandon Crawford

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    Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Brandon Crawford has not quite matched his power output from a year ago, but his rare combination of run production ability and elite defense is still enough to make him the most valuable player on the San Francisco Giants roster.

    Despite a dip in home runs from 21 to 12, Crawford has nearly matched his total base tally from a year ago (234 to 233) thanks to an NL-leading 11 triples.

    He's also put up career bests in batting average (.272), on-base percentage (.338) and hits (147), proving his 2015 breakout was in fact a step forward in his offensive game and not simply a fluke.

    However, it's his stellar glove work that has been his calling card once again, with 17 DRS and a 21.2 UZR/150 to crack the top three among shortstops in both categories.

    It will be interesting to see how the voting shakes out between Crawford and Addison Russell (18 DRS, 15.6 UZR/150) for NL Gold Glove honors.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. SP Madison Bumgarner
    3. SP Johnny Cueto
    4. C Buster Posey
    5. 1B Brandon Belt

Seattle Mariners: 3B Kyle Seager

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    It's a tough call here between Kyle Seager, Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruzwho have given the Seattle Mariners their most dangerous trio of hitters since the days of Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Edgar Martinez.

    In the end, Seager gets the nod thanks to his stellar defense at third base, where he may be headed for his second career Gold Glove Award if he can beat out Adrian Beltre.

    The 28-year-old has been a steady contributor each of the past four seasons, averaging 33 doubles, 23 home runs and 81 RBI with a .768 OPS, but it's fair to call his 2016 performance a breakout.

    Seager has set new career highs across his triple-slash line (.280/.361/.504) as well as in home runs (30), RBI (99) and runs scored (88) while substantially improving his walk rate from 7.9 to 10.1 percent.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. 2B Robinson Cano
    3. DH Nelson Cruz
    4. RP Edwin Diaz
    5. SP Hisashi Iwakuma

St. Louis Cardinals: C Yadier Molina

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    Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    This was by far the toughest selection, as a number of different St. Louis Cardinals players can make a strong case for the honor.

    Matt Carpenter has been his usual steady self at the top of the lineup, Stephen Piscotty has enjoyed a terrific first full season in the majors, and the unheralded duo of Brandon Moss and Jedd Gyorko has carried the offense for stretches.

    On the pitching side, Carlos Martinez has been a rock-solid ace atop an otherwise shaky starting rotation, while Seung Hwan Oh solidified the back of the bullpen after Trevor Rosenthal faltered early.

    Still, it's impossible to say anyone means more to the team than catcher Yadier Molina.

    Look no further than the pitching staff, which boasts a 3.91 ERA when he's behind the plate compared to a 5.17 ERA in the 228 innings he hasn't caught. The fact that he's strapped on the gear for 84.0 percent of the team's innings this season is impressive in itself.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. SP Carlos Martinez
    3. RP Seung Hwan Oh
    4. RF Stephen Piscotty
    5. 3B Matt Carpenter

Tampa Bay Rays: 3B Evan Longoria

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    Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Evan Longoria didn't receive much fanfare this season with the Tampa Bay Rays slipping to also-ran status relatively early, but he's put together one of the best seasons of his career.

    While the 30-year-old is no longer the defensive standout he was earlier in his career, there is still plenty of thunder in his bat, and he's no doubt benefited from the support of breakout slugger Brad Miller in the middle of the lineup.

    Longoria has set new career highs in home runs (36) and total bases (323) while posting his highest OPS (.839) since the 2013 season.

    With six years and $94 million left on his contract, a return to top-tier power production from Longoria is a good sign for the Rays and the likelihood of that long-term investment paying off.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. 1B/SS Brad Miller
    3. RP Alex Colome
    4. CF Kevin Kiermaier
    5. SP Jake Odorizzi

Texas Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Over the past few seasons, Adrian Beltre has gone from someone whose Hall of Fame worthiness is debated to a legitimate first-ballot selection once he decides to hang it up.

    However, if he keeps playing like he has here in 2016, that won't be for several more years.

    The 37-year-old has posted the fourth 30-homer, 100-RBI season of his career and his first since 2012 while leading a Texas Rangers offense that lost a major run producer in Prince Fielder.

    He's also inexplicably getting better on defense in what should be the twilight of his career.

    His 15 DRS are tied for the most among AL third basemen, and his 12.7 UZR/150 is his personal best since all the way back in 2009.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. SP Cole Hamels
    3. SS Elvis Andrus
    4. CF Ian Desmond
    5. 2B Rougned Odor

Toronto Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    Reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson has a strong case to take home the award once again this season.

    The 30-year-old probably won't match the 41 home runs he hit last season and won't even approach the 123 RBI he tallied, but one can argue that he's been an even better hitter here in 2016.

    His OPS has climbed from .939 to .962, and you can thank a more disciplined approach, as he's raised his walk rate from 10.3 to 15.7 percent for a .406 on-base percentage that ranks second in the AL.

    With Jose Bautista missing time and Chris Colabello suspended, the contributions of Donaldson in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup have loomed even larger as the team tries to chase down a wild-card spot.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. DH Edwin Encarnacion
    3. SP Aaron Sanchez
    4. SP J.A. Happ
    5. RP Roberto Osuna

Washington Nationals: 2B Daniel Murphy

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    Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

    2016 Stats



    MVP Overview

    It's a good thing free agent Ben Zobrist chose the Chicago Cubs and Brandon Phillips refused to waive his no-trade clause.

    Otherwise, the Washington Nationals never would have signed Daniel Murphy to a three-year, $37.5 million deal that now looks like one of the best moves of the offseason.

    Murphy leads the NL in doubles (47), slugging percentage (.596) and OPS (.987), and with a .347 average, he still has a chance to catch DJ LeMahieu (.349) to claim the NL batting title.

    The 31-year-old is probably the biggest competition to Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs for NL MVP honors, and he's perhaps the single biggest reason the Nationals were able to run away with the NL East title.


    Remaining Ballot

    2. SP Max Scherzer
    3. C Wilson Ramos
    4. CF Trea Turner
    5. SP Tanner Roark


    All stats courtesy of and FanGraphs and current through Thursday, Sept. 29.


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