Mark Clark: Taking a stab at predicting the potential MVPs
A couple of weeks ago, I gave my predictions for which Major League Baseball players I think that have the potential to become Rookie of the Year in their respective leagues. This week I want to let you know which players should be in the running for Most Valuable Players in each league.
The top players in the discussion for Most Valuable Player as the new season begins should be quite obvious. Do the players really change each year? Sometimes, but not lately. Well, let me explain. When you think about the potential MVP for the American League, doesn’t one name stick out? It does for me.
The top name on my list is baseball’s first $400 million man Mike Trout. Isn’t he the first player in the discussion that you think of? In his seven seasons with the Angels, Trout has won two AL MVP Awards, finished second four times and fourth once. The guy is just turning 27 and is at his prime. Last season, Trout batted .312 with 39 homeruns and he stole 24 bases.
The No. 2 player – in my opinion –who deserves discussion when it comes to the MVP Award is Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees. Judge had 52 home runs during his rookie campaign and 27 homers last season in just 112 games. He is the anchor of the most publicized lineup in the sport. If you want to be in the discussion for any award in baseball, sign with the Yankees.
In the third spot of my players to be a part of the discussion for American League MVP is Alex Bergman of the Astros. Bergman had a breakout season in 2018. He batted .281 with 39 home runs, 52 doubles and got his first selection to the All-Star team. He finished fifth in last season’s voting for MVP.
Of this group of players, I think Trout should be the winner of this year’s MVP Award. But, I really feel Bergman will give Trout a run for his money – if anyone can do that against Trout and his $400 million baggage.
Over in the senior league – the National League is the oldest of the two – my top pick for MVP is Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado. Here is another guy who always seems to be in the conversation for the MVP Award, but he has not won one so far. In the last three years, Arenado has moved up in the voting from eighth to fifth to third. He is an offensive and defensive superstar. He has won six straight Gold Gloves, been an All-Star four straight years and has won a Silver Slugger Award four straight times at third base. The Rockies think so highly of Arenado that they gave him a $260 million contract extension during the winter.
My next player to consider in the MVP conversation is St. Louis first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt is yet another player who gets a mention for MVP each season, but has not won one yet. He is a six-time All-Star and batted .290 with 33 home runs for the Diamondbacks. St. Louis traded for Goldschmidt and signed him to a five-year contract extension – showing its faith that Goldschmidt will be a MVP contender.
My final selection for the MVP conversation in 2019 is Philadelphia’s Bryce Harper. For the Nationals last season, Harper batted .249, 34 home runs and had 100 RBIs. He signed a record $330 million free-agent contract. The Phillies hope he will be rejuvenated by a change of teams and a new contract. Harper is a former MVP Award winner, former Rookie of the Year and six-time All-Star.
Should these three guys end up as the top three candidates for the MVP Award, I expect the voting to be close – extremely close. I will go with Arenado to win the award by no more than five votes over Harper and Goldschmidt.
Once again we will now sit back and wait to see which players are selected for the MVP Awards. Just remember there are many, many more players out there who could have breakout seasons that may work their ways into the late-season conservation for the MVP Award. But, then, some of these players in today’s conversation can easily remove themselves from the converstion.
Mark Clark is a local sports writer for
The Citizen of East Alabama.