As the end of the first half of the season approaches, it’s time to revisit MVP races.
We asked our panel of MLB.com experts to rank their top three American League and National League MVP contenders. The players received a total of points on a 5-3-1 scale (5 points for a first place vote, 3 for a second place vote and 1 for a third place vote).
The last time we did this poll, at the end of April, Angels superstar Mike Trout and Braves phenomenon Ronald Acuña Jr. took first place. But a lot has changed in the past two months.
Who would be each league’s MVP right now? Here are the results. (Statistics are through Friday’s games.)
1) Shohei Ohtani, DH / SP, Angels (23 of 28 votes for first place)
If he’s not an Angels superstar, quite another. The trout was our first choice AL MVP, and now Ohtani takes its place. The two-way sensation leads the major leagues with 30 home runs after hitting two on Friday night, while also pacing the majors with a 0.705 slugging percentage. And he’s got a 3.60 ERA in 12 starts as a pitcher, with 83 strikeouts in 60 innings. He is in the middle of a historic season.
2) Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B, Blue Jays (5 votes for first place)
This is the big breakthrough from Vlad Jr. that everyone has been waiting for. In his third season in the major leagues, the 22-year-old slugger lives up to the hype. Guerrero leads the Majors with 1,118 OPS, and he hits .338 / .442 .676 with 27 homers and 69 RBIs. That’s why he’s the AL’s starting first baseman for the All-Star Game.
3) Carlos Correa, SS, Astros
The Astros are number one in the AL West, and their star shortstop is a big reason why. Correa hits .295 / .393 / .521 with a .914 OPS, 15 home runs and 50 RBIs. He was the top hitter on a team filled with great hitters like Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel.
4) Alex Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox
What Correa is to the Astros, Bogaerts is to the surprising Red Sox, who have 21 games out of .500 and in first place in the AL East ahead of the Rays, Blue Jays and Yankees. Bogaerts has just been named the AL starting shortstop for the second time in his career, as he hits .324 / .388 / .543 with a .930 OPS, 13 homers and 25 doubles at the top of the AL.
The Oakland first baseman is having a huge year at home and a huge rebound from 2020. Olson has already hit 20 home runs, putting him on the verge of surpassing his career high of 36 in 2019. His batting average of 0.284 is also a career best after hitting under the Mendoza line a year ago (0.195).
1) Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres (15 of 28 votes for first place)
One phenomenon is passing the NL MVP baton to the next in our new poll. While Acuña is still a deserving candidate, Tatis stole the show in the National League. The 22-year-old Padres shortstop leads the NL with 26 homers and 1.089 OPS, and he leads the NL with a 0.702 slugging percentage. He will start his first All-Star Game this month.
2) Jacob deGrom, SP, Mets (12 votes for first place)
A launcher for MVP? Yes, deGrom is so good. The Mets ace has a best Major League ERA of 0.95 over 14 starts, and he challenges Bob Gibson’s historic 1.12 mark of 1968. deGrom has racked up 136 strikeouts in 85 innings – a better MLB of 14.4 for nine innings – thanks to its Cursor and change of ball fast and wipeout at 100 mph.
3) Ronald Acuña Jr., OF, Braves (1 vote for first place)
Acuña didn’t quite retain the top MVP spot, but he would still be a finalist according to experts at MLB.com. The 23-year-old is heading into the All-Star Game as the first of the NL’s three starting outfielder, and it’s well deserved. Acuña has 22 homers, 16 stolen goals and 64 points scored at the top of the National League.
4) Nick Castellanos, OF, Reds
Second All-Star starter in the NL outfield, Castellanos’ huge season for the Reds made him an All-Star for the first time in his career. Castellanos leads the Majors with 104 hits and 27 doubles, and he also leads the MLB batting race with .344. He also hit 16 home runs.
5) Kevin Gausman, SP, Giants
Another ace thrower is part of our MVP vote. Gausman at the helm is one of the keys to the Giants’ surprising run for first place in the NL West ahead of the Dodgers and Padres. The veteran right-hander is 8-2 with a 1.68 ERA in 16 starts and 116 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings.