Twenty-four year-old Kris Bryant has been on top of the baseball world for a couple of weeks now. In Game 5 of the World Series with the Chicago Cubs down 3-1 to Cleveland, Bryant homered in the 4th inning to get the Cubs on the board in a 3-2 victory. In Game 6, he homered again in the first inning of a 9-3 victory, helping the Cubbies force a deciding Game 7. Then, in the bottom of the 10th with two men out, Bryant fielded a ground ball, while smiling from ear to ear, and threw the ball to Anthony Rizzo at first, sealing the Cubs first world championship in 108 years. And now he can add an MVP award to his trophy case, becoming the first Cub to win the award since Sammy Sosa in 1998.
Bryant received 29 out of 30 first-place votes, with Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy finishing second (sorry Mets fans), and NL Rookie of the Year Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers finishing third. In the regular season, he hit .292 with 39 home runs (3rd in NL), 102 RBIs (6th), and .939 OPS (4th). Bryant was also the only NL player to finish in the top ten in the WAR category (7.67). There is definitely a lot of promise for years to come on the south side of the Windy City for Bryant and teammates, including Anthony Rizzo who finished 4th in MVP voting.
In the past four seasons, Bryant has been awarded the college player of the year, the minor league player of the year, the NL rookie of the year, and the NL MVP, becoming the first player ever to do so. He is only the fourth player, after Cal Ripken Jr. (’82-’83), Ryan Howard (’05-’06), and Dustin Pedroia (’07-’08) to with the ROY and MVP in consecutive seasons. Oh, and he also was a vital part of a Cubs team that won 103 games and their first World Series in over a century.
For the second time in the last three seasons, Los Angeles Angles center fielder Mike Trout is the American League MVP. Trout ran away with the vote, finishing with 19 first place votes and 356 total points, ahead of Boston right fielder Mookie Betts, who had 9 first place votes and 311 points, and Houston second baseman Jose Altuve, who received 227 points. In his five MLB seasons, Trout has never finished worse than second in the MVP vote, and he is just the 6th player to win multiple MVP awards
Trout finished the season batting .315, with 29 homers, 32 doubles, 100 RBI, while leading the league with 123 runs scored, a .441 on-base percentage, and 116 walks. He became the first player since A-Rod of the 2003 Texas Rangers to win the award while playing for a team with a losing record (74-88, 4th place and 21 GB in the AL West). His victory Thursday adds more fuel to the fire of the argument that the MVP should come from a playoff contending team, or at least one with a winning record, although the league rules state that this is not a requirement.
Speculation has begun to rise that the Yankees are getting the pieces in order to make a deal for Trout, as they traded Brian McCann to the Astros yesterday for a pair of pitching prospects, adding to their already stacked farm system. This is definitely a possibility, as the Angles are in desperate need of a rebuilding. The club finished 2016 at 17th in the majors in runs scored (717), 25th in home runs (156), 21st in team ERA (4.28), 10th in losses among starting pitchers (88), and 11th in runs allowed (676). Letting a once in a generation talent like Trout go is never an easy thing to do, but the pieces he could bring back might be the best move for the team’s long term success.
Photos courtesy of: http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/mike-trout-wins-al-mvp-second-time-angels-los-angeles-111716, http://images.performgroup.com/di/library/omnisport/bd/34/kris-bryant-11316-usnews-getty-ftr_17kwy7igqksy91kquyl76zp2bq.jpg?t=704153344&w=960&quality=70, http://images.performgroup.com/di/library/sporting_news/4e/a6/mike-trout-012816-getty-ftrjpg_1kvpw7xu5wfbo1h1prk4oxjf7u.jpg?t=-1973233646