Now that the finalists have been announced for the 2019 American League MVP (Mike Trout, Alex Bregman and Marcus Semien), it's never too early to wonder who will emerge as next year's AL MVP.
A lot could happen from now until then, including one hopeful candidate switching leagues via trade, but here are four players who all have a legit shot to win the award in the upcoming 2020 MLB season.
4. Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees
Aaron Judge fell just short of winning the 2017 AL MVP in his rookie season (losing out to Jose Altuve), when he hit a then rookie record 52 home runs to go with 128 runs and 114 RBI. While Judge has failed to reach those lofty levels since, he has also been hampered by injuries that have cost him 110 games over the past two seasons. When fully healthy, Judge is one of the most feared sluggers in the game with great on-base skills. He will likely need to push his batting average closer to .300 to be seriously considered for the award, but if Judge can improve in that area while swatting 45+ homers, he can potentially add another trophy to his mantle in 2020.
3. Mookie Betts, OF, Boston Red Sox
Mookie Betts has made headlines recently, and not for a reason Red Sox fans are hoping for. Betts has been involved in trade rumors, as he enters the last year of his contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2021. It's crazy to think the Sox would deal the 2018 MVP, who is coming off another great season in which he hit .295/.391/.524 with 29 homers, 135 runs and 80 RBI. If Betts does stay in Boston, or is moved to another competitive AL team, he is always in play for the AL MVP, thanks to his tremendous skills on offense and defense. Betts won his third Silver Slugger and fourth Golden Glove awards this year, and will be entering his age 27 season in 2020.
2. Alex Bregman, 3B, Houston Astros
A strong contender to win the 2019 AL MVP, Alex Bregman is coming off a tremendous year in which he hit .296/.423/.592, to go with 41 homers, 122 runs and 112 RBI. Bregman is simply one of the best all-around players in baseball, and has already won his first Silver Slugger award this season. Helping Bregman's cause is that he plays for the Houston Astros, one of the league's best teams and a perennial 100-game winner. Bregman will need to prove that this year's power surge was no fluke, as he catches some flack for the distance of his long balls. Regardless, Bregman plays a premium position and will be in the AL MVP conversation for years to come.
1. Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
The conversation for AL MVP always starts with Mike Trout, who is currently in contention to win his third AL MVP trophy and first since 2016. An eight-time All-Star and seven-time Silver Slugger, Trout posted another stellar batting line this season of .291/.438/.645, while swatting a career-high 45 homers to go with 110 runs and 104 RBI. Trout's numbers would have been even better had he not ended his season early with a foot injury, which resulted in him playing just 134 games this season. Trout has actually failed to eclipse 140 games for three straight years, and may need to put together a full season of baseball to win his third MVP, as the Angels' postseason shortcomings is already a strike against arguably the best player in baseball.
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