2020 AL MVP Breakdown
Our shortened season is coming to a conclusion in the next two weeks, and it's time to look at the MVP candidates. I won't rank these players, merely show you their stats and let you decide. First up, the American League.
Below are the cumulative stats for the top four batters this year:
José Abreu (1B Chicago White Sox)
Abreu has become the thump of the White Sox order. This has been Abreu's best season by far with a career best slash line with the most hits in the league as well as RBI's. The RBI's are obviously an indicator of Abreu's great team (Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, and Eloy Jimenez to name a few). Pitchers are most likely exhausted by the time they get to Abreu and he's taken advantage of every opportunity.
Luke Voit (1B New York Yankees)
Currently, the home run leader (a nice 63 HR pace), Luke Voit has crushed the ball all season. You can't use the old Yankees short porch excuse either, given his shortest homer of the year was a 362' oppo taco. Going into the season, Voit shed some pounds which has kept him healthy throughout, unlike most of his teammates.
Mike Trout (CF Los Angeles Angels)
I feel like not much needs to be said about the universally agreed on best position player in baseball. I will mention that his defense has taken a decent step back, but hey, he just had a kid.
Nelson Cruz (DH Minnesota Twins)
Depending on how you feel about DH's winning MVP awards, I would say Nelly certainly qualifies. Out of the above players, Cruz has the BA and OPS advantage over his competition. The 40 year old masher cements a decent lineup of hitters of Donaldson, Buxton, and Sano, but voters may see the lack of field time as a negative.
Typically, MVP's go to batters, especially with the Cy Young Award going to the best pitcher of the year. However, the tear that Shane Bieber is on needs MVP consideration:
What really strikes me as amazing is that in 72.1 IP, Bieber is top 10 all time in strikeouts per/9 with a minimum of 72IP. This list is full of relivers, and rightfully so given the shortened season. He barely edged out Gerrit Cole's 13.8 SO/9 from last year as the only two starters in the top 10. Just check out this overlay his fastball and curve:
Good luck hitting that!