The winners of the Most Valuable Player award in the American League and National League will be announced by MLB on Nov. 14.
For the majority of the regular season, the NL MVP was viewed to be a two-man race between outfielders Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers and Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon quietly put together just as compelling a case before surging into national consciousness during their World Series run.
As for the AL MVP, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout has again been in the conversation despite missing the final 19 games this season. Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman stands the best chance at challenging the winner of the 2014 and '16 trophies.
Below is a closer look at odds and predictions for both league's MVP races.
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout: -140 (bet $140 to win $100)
Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman: +100
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger: -200
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich: +175 (bet $100 to win $175)
Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon: +800
Odds via Sports Betting Dime and current as of Oct. 3.
Should Trout win the MVP as expected, it will be his third. The 28-year-old would then have as many MVP awards as postseason appearances since debuting in 2011.
By contrast, Trout's main competition just competed in his second World Series in three years. Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman wrote his name in MLB record books on two occasions during the World Series, though Houston fell to Washington in seven games.
Unfortunately for Bregman and fortunately for Trout, the regular season is the only thing that is supposed to matter to voters when choosing an MVP.
Trout's last game of the 2019 season was on Sept. 7 due to season-ending foot surgery. Prior to that, the eight-time All-Star established himself atop several key statistical categories. Trout led MLB in offensive wins above replacement (8.3), on-base percentage (.438), adjusted OPS+ (185) and adjusted batting wins (6.0).
Trout finished second to Kansas City's Jorge Soler in the AL with 45 home runs, while Bregman led the AL in walks with 119 on a 17.2 percent walk rate.
Depending which statistics are under consideration, it was a wash between Bregman and Trout (especially pertaining to WAR, with Bregman's 8.4 narrowly edging Trout's 8.3):
As fielders, both were nominated for a Gold Glove but did not win.
In terms of which player holds more value to his team, the Angels went 5-14 without Trout to close the season. However, Bregman almost single-handedly carried the Astros during a particularly injury-heavy stretch earlier in the campaign:
It is difficult, though, to evaluate Bregman's and Trout's impact on their team side-by-side because the Angels and Astros are so different. The Angels don't have much to speak of besides Trout, while the Astros are stacked at every position.
If this was an award that encapsulated both regular and postseason, it would favor Bregman. But ultimately, Trout is a generational talent in every facet of the game. It's hard for anybody, even Bregman in his best year, to compete with that.
Winner: Mike Trout
Yelich could become the first back-to-back MVP in MLB since Miguel Cabrera in 2012 and 2013, or Bellinger could one-up his 2017 NL Rookie of the Year honor with his first career MVP.
Those seem to be the only two possible outcomes in the NL, even though Rendon also made a compelling case.
Bellinger, Yelich and Rendon were clumped atop most NL statistical categories in varying orders.
Bellinger finished third with 47 home runs, with Yelich's 44 ranking fourth. While Rendon finished 18th in home runs with 34, he topped the NL with 126 RBI. Yelich's .329 batting average tied for first with Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Ketel Marte; Rendon was next in line behind them at .319.
When it came to on-base percentage and OPS, Bellinger, Yelich and Rendon occupied the top three slots:
1. Yelich (.429)
2. Rendon (.412)
3. Bellinger (.406)
1. Yelich (1.100)
2. Bellinger (1.035)
3. Rendon (1.010)
Yelich maintained either atop or high across several leaderboards despite his season ending early on Sept. 10 with a fractured kneecap. Overall, Yelich played 130 games compared to Rendon's 146 and Bellinger's 156.
Like Bregman, Rendon would benefit from the postseason counting toward MVP voting as he spearheaded the group that won Washington's first-ever World Series one year removed from Bryce Harper choosing to leave for Philadelphia:
But with only the regular season to consider, this mark may be the most important: Bellinger's 9.0 overall wins above replacement led MLB.
Winner: Cody Bellinger