Welcome to the final edition of theScore's 2020 Most Valuable Player rankings, where we pick the top players from each league. The home stretch will decide who gets the hardware.
5. Luke Voit, Yankees
If the hard-charging New York Yankees had a face for their late-season success, it wouldn't be one of their high-profile sluggers. It'd be Voit, who now leads MLB with 20 homers after hitting six over his last six games.
The team looked flat without Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. Voit's contributions kept New York in the playoff hunt during their absence and propelled the Yankees back into the divisional race.
4. Jose Abreu, White Sox
Abreu is headed to the postseason after largely being underrated throughout seven grueling seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The three-time All-Star leads all of baseball in hits, RBIs, and total bases. He should easily add another Silver Slugger to his mantle, but is there room for an MVP as well?
3. Tim Anderson, White Sox
The White Sox will have a ton of players deserving of MVP consideration if they wind up winning the AL Central. In addition to Abreu, budding superstar Luis Robert is primed to take Rookie of the Year honors, and prolific young slugger Eloy Jimenez is posting some remarkable numbers at the plate.
However, Chicago's leadoff hitter has been the face of this team's success. Anderson is setting the table with a better on-base percentage than all but three other players in the AL despite still being a free swinger. His .422 BABIP - while lucky, perhaps - indicates he's hitting it where they ain't. That high BABIP can be at least partially attributed to Anderson's 95th-percentile sprint speed since he can beat out infield hits better than an average runner. Even though his .422 mark isn't sustainable over a 162-game season, that doesn't matter when you're this good over 60 contests.
2. Mike Trout, Angels
Trout is unimaginably good but apparently not great enough to drag the hapless Los Angeles Angels into the postseason, even when the league increases the number of playoff teams. The eight-time All-Star is looking for his first back-to-back MVP and is currently staring down his fourth consecutive season with an OPS higher than 1.000. However, will the Angels' disappointing record once again hurt Trout's odds?
1. Shane Bieber, Indians
Bieber did what aces do Thursday by halting the Cleveland Indians' eight-game losing streak while tossing yet another gem. Over his last 11 starts, the right-hander has never allowed more than three runs - allowing zero in five of them - reached double-digit strikeouts in seven games, and tossed at least six innings in all but one. Cleveland wouldn't be in a playoff spot without Bieber, who leads the AL in ERA, FIP, strikeouts, and wins.
5. Juan Soto, Nationals
Don't let Soto's relative lack of plate appearances fool you: He's a legitimate MVP contender. The 21-year-old leads all hitters in slugging and OPS, owns an NL-best 197 wRC+, and has 11 homers and 22 extra-base hits despite playing in only 34 games due to his early-season COVID-19 absence. He's also within striking distance of leading the NL in all four slash-line categories, provided he gets enough plate appearances down the stretch.
Soto remains the Washington Nationals' engine, yet it's remarkable that he's positioned to challenge for an MVP considering all that he's been through this year. Even without as much playing time as his peers, Soto's putting up a season to remember.
4. Mike Yastrzemski, Giants
Where would the San Francisco Giants be this season without Yastrzemski? The 29-year-old's turned himself into one of baseball's best hitters in just his second major-league season while showing that he's more than just a famous baseball name. Yastrzemski is tied for the NL's sixth-highest WAR and ranks tied for 10th in wRC+ (153). He's made up for a lack of power by recording 26 extra-base hits, good for fourth in the NL. Yastrzemski's also been dependable on defense, tallying two defensive runs saved while not committing an error. His play, combined with a likely playoff appearance for San Francisco, gives Yastrzemski a legitimate chance to match his Hall of Fame grandfather, Carl, in the MVP department.
3. Mookie Betts, Dodgers
Betts has been everything the Los Angeles Dodgers could have hoped for and then some. In addition to his NL-leading 15 homers, he ranks among the league leaders in slugging, steals, total bases, runs scored, and hits. Betts leads all NL outfielders with nine defensive runs saved, and he's trying to add some versatility to his repertoire by playing second base on occasion.
Los Angeles' unbelievable lineup depth makes it easy to look past Betts, even though he's one of baseball's best all-around players. However, he's quickly established himself as the Dodgers' most important piece. Only the great Frank Robinson has won an MVP award in both leagues; this could very well be the year Betts joins him.
2. Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
Tatis has taken the majors by storm in only his second big-league season. He's played in all of his team's games; he either owns or shares the NL lead in homers, runs scored, and WAR; ranks among the top 10 in nearly every other important offensive category; and plays Gold Glove-caliber defense. Oh yeah, and he's just 21 years old. Considering Tatis is about to lead the San Diego Padres to the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, there's a very good chance he'll become the youngest MVP in the award's history come November.
1. Freddie Freeman, Braves
Freeman has come back stronger than ever after missing most of summer camp while dealing with COVID-19. The 31-year-old leads the NL in average, OBP, OPS+, total bases, doubles, and RBIs through 50 games. He's walked more than he's struck out for the first time in his career. And he remains the leader of a dominant Atlanta Braves team that's poised to make noise in the postseason. That's the recipe for an MVP, no matter how long or short the season might be. Freeman might not be the sexiest choice for this award, but he's the correct one.