While not every team has a player competing for the American League and National League’s MVP honors, each team has its own most valuable player.
Whether it’s a team at the bottom of the standings with a focus on the future or one of the premier clubs, one player stands out as the critical cog.
For contenders, many of these are players who will find themselves on ballots for the league MVP races. On non-contenders, these are players who could be traded this offseason or they might be reasons for fans to be optimistic for the team’s future.
Here is the MLB MVP for each team this season.
New York Yankees – Luis Severino
While a case could be made for Judge, New York’s MVP is a more consistent player who has been the face of its rotation and is a candidate for the A.L. Cy Young award.
The righty carries a 2.09 ERA with a 0.93 WHIP and 118 strikeouts, and he’s doing some historic things. New York has won 13 of his 15 starts, including 10 straight from April 16 – June 4. When that happens, it’s evident how much of an impact Severino has for the Yankees.
Boston Red Sox – Mookie Betts
A stint on the 10-day disabled list cost Betts the chance to lead the team in home runs and RBI. Now the outfielder is back and poised to prove himself worthy of the league’s MVP award.
He has 18 home runs, 38 RBI, a 1.136 OPS and a .340 batting average. Betts is in the midst in one of the best seasons statistically in years. If Betts can keep it up, he could be the difference maker to push Boston ahead of New York in the standings.
Tampa Bay Rays – Blake Snell
The Rays needed someone to step up in their rotation this season, Snell has given them more than they dreamed of. The southpaw has been stellar in 15 starts this season with a 2.58 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 97 strikeouts in 85 1/3 innings.
This could just be the start of a brilliant career for the young left-handed pitcher. Now Tampa Bay will hope its young prospects can soon come up and help brighten the team’s future.
Toronto Blue Jays – J.A Happ
Things have gone quite badly for the Blue Jays this season. The team is struggling to produce offensively and its rotation is inconsistent. Meanwhile, Josh Donaldson and Marcus Stroman have spent much of the season on the disabled list.
Happ stepped up as Toronto’s top pitcher, especially as of late. In his past six starts, the 35-year-old has a 1.91 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings pitched. Given Toronto’s struggles, Happ will be a coveted rental pitcher come July for contenders.
Baltimore Orioles – Manny Machado
This selection should come as no surprise given one of the league’s worst teams has very few bright spots. Because of it, Machado will be one of the most coveted trade targets in a decade.
Sitting at 53 RBI and 18 home runs this season, the 25-year-old has shown he can be an All-Star shortstop or third baseman with ease. The only thing keeping him from league MVP consideration is Baltimore’s record.
Cleveland Indians – Jose Ramirez
The choice comes down to an everyday player versus a pitcher, with the edge going to Ramirez. The 23-year-old is crushing baseballs this season to the tune of a .288/.382/.607 slash line, 21 home runs, 47 RBI and eight stolen bases.
He is on pace for a 40-20 season and offers the versatility to play third base or second base for Cleveland. We thought last year was his breakout season, but he has taken it to an even greater level this year.
Detroit Tigers – Jeimer Candelario
Detroit needed a reason for hope this season as it started to retool its roster and focus on the future. Candelario, whom the Tigers acquired last season, is the beacon of hope this team needed.
The 24-year-old is second on the team in OPS (.826) and first in home runs (10). He is also second on the team in RBI (29) in 59 at-bats. Detroit has its third baseman of the future, now it needs to find answers for the other lineup spots.
Minnesota Twins – Eddie Rosario
After a slow start in which he held a .231/.263/.396 slash line with three home runs entering May, the 26-year-old is now enjoying tremendous success at the plate.
He leads the teams in nearly every offensive category from batting average (.321), home runs (16), RBI (46), hits (87) and stolen bases (six). At a time when Miguel Sano is struggling and Byron Buxton can’t stay healthy, Rosario is keeping this team afloat.
Chicago White Sox – Jose Abreu
Chicago faces a difficult decision in the next few months. Abreu is in the midst of another strong season and with multiple contenders in need of a first baseman, he would be a coveted trade target.
Yet with a team-leading .284 batting average and .843 OPS, his production is difficult to move. More importantly, he is a leader in the clubhouse on a young team that will have even more rookies coming soon.
Kansas City Royals – Mike Moustakas
Kansas City brought Moustas back on a one-year deal after his free agent market evaporated in a matter of days. That decision is paying off nicely for the Royals, who could now look to trade Moustakas this year.
He leads the team in home runs (13) and RBI (46) this year. Those numbers are more impressive given how bad the Royals’ lineup is this season. Now Kansas City must hope they can trade Moustakas and further aid a thin farm system.
Houston Astros – Justin Verlander
This race for this team’s most valuable player will likely be a battle all season. While Verlander, Jose Altuve and Gerrit Cole have compelling cases, Verlander holds the slight advantage.
More impressive than his 1.61 ERA and 0.76 WHIP this season is his 0.86 ERA in six May starts. The 35-year-old has pitched extremely well this season and is on pace to shatter career-best marks this year. It’s wild to think given where we thought he was at this point last season.
Seattle Mariners – Jean Segura
On a team with Nelson Cruz, Dee Gordon and Mitch Haniger, Segura is the engine of this offense. He leads the majors in multi-hit games and leads the team in batting average (.340), runs scored (52) and hits (98).
He’s the reason why Seattle sits atop the A.L. West and on pace to end its 16-year postseason drought. While he hasn’t received a ton of national attention, there’s no doubt Seattle wouldn’t be here without him.
Los Angeles Angels – Mike Trout
It should come as no surprise to see Trout here. When you’re the favorite to win the A.L.’s MVP award, you belong on this list. Even more so given that he is on pace for 50-plus home runs and 30-plus stolen bases this season.
Los Angeles now needs Trout to carry even more weight for the team. While the loss of Shohei Ohtani will hurt, this time can provide an MVP moment for Trout. Given everything we’ve seen from Trout, he should carry it easily.
Oakland Athletics – Blake Treinen
Oakland struck gold when it bought low on Treinen last season from the Washington Nationals. Now the 20-year-old is turning Oakland’s small investment into massive rewards.
In 34 innings, the righty struck out 40 batters and converted 15-of-17 save opportunities. He also recorded a 1.06 ERA and 0.94 WHIP to tie it all together in those appearances. He is quickly establishing himself as one of the best relievers in baseball.
Texas Rangers – Nomar Mazara
Things are quite ugly in Texas this season. As a result, there will likely be a major shakeup of the roster in the lead-up to the trade deadline. One thing is for certain, Mazara is a player Texas can build around.
The 23-year-old sits at 14 home runs and a team-leading 45 RBI with a .818 OPS this season through 69 games. He posted a .979 OPS in May and with continued improvements, could become a future All-Star by July.
Washington Nationals – Max Scherzer
As he gets older, Scherzer only gets better on the mound. He is tied for the most wins among pitchers (10), and his league-leading 152 strikeouts are 32 more than the next pitcher. Those numbers paired with a 0.84 WHIP and 2.06 ERA helps make him baseball’s best pitcher.
If his numbers hold, Scherzer is poised to win another Cy Young award. If he achieves that, his legacy will be set as one of four pitchers to be a four-time Cy Young recipient.
Atlanta Braves – Freddie Freeman
The 28-year-old continues to demonstrate he can contend for MVP awards when healthy. His .337/.427/.585 slash line is one of the best in baseball and he’s on pace for a 30-homer season.
If Atlanta is to keep up its pace and stay in the playoff hunt, it needs Freeman to keep this going. He has proven he is more than capable of it and this lineup could get even better when Ronald Acuna returns.
Philadelphia Phillies – Aaron Nola
While Jake Arrieta might have been brought in to be Philadelphia’s ace, it’s Nola who now claims the crown. The 25-year-old is now quickly establishing as one of the best under-30 pitchers in the game.
In 14 starts this season, Nola carries a 2.27 WHIP, 90 strikeouts and 0.93 WHIP. He is taking it a step further as of late with going at least 6 2/3-plus innings in seven of his past 10 starts.
New York Mets – Jacob deGrom
Not much has gone right for New York this season. Fortunately, deGrom is providing at least some reason for optimism every five days for the organization and fan base.
He holds the second-lowest ERA (1.55) among qualified starting pitchers and he has gone seven-plus innings in nine of his past 11 starts. New York may consider trading him, which would be great news for him given how badly the team has failed him.
Miami Marlins – J.T. Realmuto
As the Marlins start their rebuild, seasons like this one by Realmuto have to leave the front office feeling optimistic. At a position where many contenders would like to upgrade, Realmuto is proving himself as an elite catcher.
Among catchers with 180-plus plate appearances, Realmuto has the highest OPS (.895) and the highest batting average (.302) at the position. While the run production isn’t there, that would change dramatically with a trade.
Chicago Cubs – Jon Lester
While several of Chicago’s hitters were looked at, it’s a crowded field without a standout candidate. As a result, Lester’s numbers demonstrate why he has been the most impactful player for Chicago this season.
The 34-year-old is rebounding nicely from a down year in 2017. In 14 starts this season, the southpaw carries a 2.28 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with seven quality starts. Given Chicago won 11-of-14 starts, Lester’s impacts can’t be understated this season.
Milwaukee Brewers – Josh Hader
Given the impact made by Christian Yelich this season, a pure closer wouldn’t have the resume to be on this list. What makes Hader special and the most valuable player this season in Milwaukee is his versatility.
Look beyond the 1.18 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 75 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched. It’s his ability to come out of the bullpen in any situation and provide near perfection for Milwaukee over multiple innings. Whether they want him to record the final four outs for a save or cover the seventh and eighth inning, he shuts down opposing lineups.
St. Louis Cardinals – Jose Martinez
It appears St. Louis has finally discovered their replacement for Albert Pujols. Seven years after he left, the Cardinals now have a first baseman leading the team in nearly every offensive category.
Martinez, 29, has a .321/.389/.517 slash line this season with 10 home runs, 42 RBI and a .906 OPS. At a time when Marcell Ozuna is still in a slump and Yadier Molina just returned from a lengthy DL stint, Martinez kept this team alive. Now with more help around him, the Cardinals can fight for the division.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Starling Marte
After a 26-17 start to the season, Pittsburgh is now in the midst of another scuffle. It lost 18 of its past 27 games and seems poised to be a seller at this year’s trade deadline.
If that course of action is taken, Marte will be coveted by nearly every team. The 29-year-old center fielder owns a .285/.339/.469 slash line this season with eight home runs and 13 stolen bases. His work defensively in center paired with his skills in the box and on the basepaths make him a player any team would love to have.
Cincinnati Reds – Joey Votto
After a putrid start to the season in which he posted a .243 batting average in his first 19 games, Votto is now back to his star form. The veteran continues to prove that he has not lost it in his age-34 season.
Since April 22, Votto has slashed .324/.456/.516 with 32 runs scored and 27 RBIs. If he can maintain this level of play and sustain his .900-plus OPS over the rest of the season, then his reputation as one of the game’s best hitters should remain unchanged.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Patrick Corbin
In a rotation headlined by Zack Greinke, Zack Godley and Robbie Ray, expectations for Corbin weren’t high. If he could provide quality innings as a back-end starter, Arizona would be happy.
Instead, it’s Corbin who is serving as the glue of Arizona’s rotation. He leads the team’s starters in innings pitched (93), strikeouts (117), ERA (3.48) and WHIP (1.04) this year. When Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray went down, he stepped up. Now the Diamondbacks are getting healthy and Corbin’s cost in free agency this offseason has skyrocketed.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Matt Kemp
When Los Angeles acquired Kemp, it represented a salary dump to get out of Adrian Gonzalez’s contract. No one expected him to be in Los Angeles for long. Needless to say, no one saw this coming.
In his age-33 season, the veteran outfielder is having his best season since 2011. He is second on the team in home runs (12) and first in batting average (.338) and RBIs (43). Even more impressive, his .953 OPS would be the second-best mark in his career.
The player no one expected to produce is keeping one of this year’s most disappointing teams alive.
San Francisco Giants – Brandon Crawford
It would be an understatement to say Crawford’s season started poorly. He ended April with a .189/.237/.300 slash line, one of the worst marks in baseball. Then the calendar turned and everything changed.
Since May 1, Crawford has been one of MLB’s best hitters. He has hit .386 with a .601 slugging percentage and .441 on-base percentage. He nearly doubled his batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, that is an incredible achievement. Pair it with his defense at shortstop and it becomes evident how critical Crawford is to this team.
Colorado Rockies – Nolan Arenado
Simply put, he is everything Colorado could ask for. In addition to providing the Rockies with Gold Glove defense at the hot corner, Arenado also continues to crush baseballs at the plate.
He has a .310/.401/.551 slash through 65 games, marks that lead his entire team. The 27-year-old might not be a national star, but he is an icon in Denver and a difference maker for the Rockies.
San Diego Padres – Tyson Ross
Kemp is doing his best to turn the N.L. West into a throwback division and Ross is aiding his efforts. The 31-year-old is back in San Diego after injuries derailed him the previous two seasons, which included a failed stint in Texas.
Now he seems healthy and we’re seeing frequent glimpses of the former ace. He owns a 3.51 ERA and 1.20 WHIP this season, while also providing quality innings on a consistent basis.
Given how many performance and durability issues have struck San Diego’s rotation this season, Ross is providing a stabilizing force. Now we must wait to see which contender the Padres ship him off to in July.