MLB's All-Star break is a critical point in the season. It allows the players to rest, and everybody else can analyze the first half of the season. Thus, here's a look at some of the top candidates for the MVP award in each league, as they prepare for the last half of the season:
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
The reigning MVP is making another strong case for the award with an AL-best 5.9 WAR, .614 slugging, 68 runs, and 26 home runs. He’s even putting up the best numbers of his career at the halfway point, so it seems as of now that he holds the MVP lead. Trout is among the league’s most complete players, hitting for power with great speed and excellent defending.
Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays
Donaldson is one of the major reasons the Blue Jays have scored the most runs in the MLB, with 65 runs and 60 RBIs. His combined total of those two stats is the best in the AL, and he is in the top seven in home runs, doubles, and hits. However, he has plenty of competition for the award, including at his own position, so he will need to continue this success.
Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
There has been an incredible power surge in Manny Machado, as he already has 19 home runs this year. Considering his career high is 14, that’s extremely noteworthy. He's batting .298 with an OPS just under .900 and is considered one of the best fielders in the MLB.
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Up until his injury, Miguel Cabrera seemed destined to headline a midseason MVP list. However, his six-week injury recovery will give several other strong players plenty of time to plead their case. He leads the AL in batting average (.350), OBP (.456), and OPS (1.034). Cabrera has won two MVPs in his career, and he has been putting up those caliber numbers so far.
Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians
As Jason Kipnis reaches the halfway mark of the season, there is plenty of wonder to how much better he has been this year than in the past. That doesn’t help his case, as there will be plenty of questioning to how consistent he can remain. But, he’s batting .323 with an MLB-best 27 doubles, in addition to an OPS higher than Donaldson and Machado. His lack of home runs also pits him lower among these players, as all of them have at least 15. Like Machado though, he also bats leadoff.
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Everything about Bryce Harper sticks out, and he’s been the hottest player in the MLB this year. His stats so far have been arguably historic, with a 6.2 WAR and 1.168 OPS. He has become one of the league’s most feared hitters, as he’s been hitting for incredible power, including a .704 slugging. That’s .090 better than Mike Trout. The MVP is Harper’s if he continues to play this well.
Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Paul Goldschmidt’s season has been MVP caliber, except Bryce Harper has been beyond great. While he holds a slight lead in average, RBIs, and runs scored, he is behind Harper in slugging, OPS, and WAR, but just barely. He also adds speed with 16 stolen bases and great defense at first base, but there is a pretty significant gap in OPS, which is really making a major difference right now.
Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
Primarily playing catcher adds much to Posey’s value, as he has become an incredible young leader on a team that has faced pitching issues all season. He won the MVP award in 2012 and is outperforming some stats there, but his batting average and doubles are down. He doesn’t seem to be much of a threat to Goldschmidt or Harper right now, with a 4.2 WAR, but Posey is still an incredible all around player.