The MVP award is about as prestigious as an award gets for a position player in baseball, as it essentially tells the world that you were the best player in the game for the entire season, and it could make or break potential Hall of Fame candidates and their applications to the Hall. There are many greats who have never won the honor, but when you look at the landscape of today's MLB, the ones who stand head and shoulders above the rest have been lucky and good enough to hold this award high above their heads. So lets take a look at those who will and those who won’t be lucky enough to be considered Most Valuable at one time or another throughout their career.
(Note: This only applies to active Major Leaguers who have yet to win the MVP award)
15 Will: Giancarlo Stanton
It’s amazing to think that a player with such defensive prowess and once-in-a-generation power has never won an MVP award, but many believe he would have in the 2015 season, if not for a gruesome eye injury suffered when he was hit by a pitch. Playing in a losing environment certainly doesn’t help, but you have to imagine that if Stanton keeps up his incredible numbers, he’s going to have to win one regardless of team success. Miami however, looks like they are on an upswing, and with a 13 year, $300 million+ deal in place, Giancarlo will be staying put. Even if the team never quite reaches the World Series, they will have his solo success to look upon.
14 Won’t: Byron Buxton
Byron Buxton has been one of the most highly touted players in the Minor Leagues in recent years. In his up-and-down stint at the Major League level he has shown great promise, but also a great need for major improvements in certain areas. It may still be early on, and Buxton hasn’t even proven himself to be a consistent player at the major league level yet, but similar to other entries on this list, won’t be able to stack up against the likes of Trout and Betts in the American League. The Minnesota Twins have been struggling for years, but Buxton finally gives the team hope, and even if he doesn’t win MVP or bring the Twins back to prominence, he should have a great, consistent career.
13 Will: Carlos Correa
For many years, the Houston Astros were bottom feeders in whatever league they played in, and this led to a lot of high draft picks, which thankfully for them turned into players like the young, 20 year old Correa, who has separated himself and become a leader for this team very early in his career. He has power, contact, speed and a great glove at shortstop, and being so successful so early on in his career, it’s hard to imagine that such potential even has limitations moving forward. He is one of a few shortstops to feature on this list, as the position is again producing many stars, and if he can keep his smooth-as-silk combination with Jose Altuve up the middle in Houston, he could be the best of a very bright bunch coming up in the Majors today.
12 Won’t: Xander Bogaerts
Xander Bogaerts has had a very up-and-down Major League career so far, as there were many other players ahead of him for the Red Sox shortstop/third base job early on, but his talent has shone through, and he managed to outlast all of them, becoming one of the most well rounded shortstop’s in the game. With that being said, he may stand out on an individual level, but with the incredible competition for MVP in the American League, he won’t ever be able to take home such a prestigious award. That’s not as bad as it sounds, as there are many players, especially at the shortstop position that have had fantastic, illustrious careers without winning an MVP, so don’t be too disappointed, Red Sox fans.
11 Will: Brandon Crawford
Brandon Crawford has had an elite glove ever since entering the league in 2011, and has many Gold Gloves to show for it, but in the past few years, he has stepped up his hitting, to the point where he won both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in 2015. With former MVP Buster Posey in the lineup in front of him, Crawford will only get better with age, and that bodes well for his chances of contending for, if not winning some MVP awards of his own. We know the Giants always seem to contend in even years too, and if Crawford can keep up his consistent level of play on both sides, he will definitely hoist an MVP, and maybe another World Series trophy.
10 Won’t: Jose Abreu
When Jose Abreu burst onto the scene in 2014 with his record-breaking rookie campaign, it seemed that nothing would get in the way of him becoming one of the best players in the MLB, but after starting off so hot, he has plateaued and found himself unable to take the next step into superstardom, even if his numbers have remained fairly impressive. There are many obstacles in the way of Abreu winning an award such as the MVP, and although he may be incredibly talented as a hitter, he just doesn’t match up against the upper echelon of stars in the American League. The White Sox don’t look to be a contender in the next few years, so maybe if Abreu opts for greener pastures he could contend for the award. The way it sits now, it will always elude his grasp.
9 Will: Mookie Betts
Many feel that after the amazing year the Red Sox lineup had, it should have been Betts who won his first MVP award in 2016, but it was not to be, as the always amazing Mike Trout took that honor, but if he can continue to improve and take on a bigger role now that David Ortiz has retired, we will see Betts as a candidate for many years to come. Mookie plays amazing defense in center field, and his hitting has improved out of sight, going from a speedy player to a middle-of-the-order, five-tool star that the Red Sox need. Don’t be surprised if you see Betts in the MVP race at the end of this year, as Boston looks to take that next step in becoming a strong dynasty.
8 Won’t: Francisco Lindor
In 2016, the wounded Cleveland Indians surprised everyone when they went to the World Series, and a major part of their success was the rise of young shortstop Francisco Lindor, who showed poise and maturity beyond his years throughout the playoffs. This, however, won’t be enough for the young Puerto Rican star to make it to the MVP level, despite him being the most valuable piece the Indians have as they look to build a solid team for long term success. For a player to be considered at an MVP level, they must hit for power, average and play great defense, and so far in his career, Lindor has done all of those well, but not excelled in one area, making him a top level talent. Unfortunately, that won’t translate into something similar to the individual success of some of his peers.
7 Will: Jose Altuve
Due to his miniscule size, many believed that Altuve was never going to become more than a hitter who plays good defense in the MLB but would only be good for seventh to ninth on the batting order. Yet he has transformed himself into one of the best in the game, hitting for both average and surprising power, with his defense amazing as always. He will no doubt have some incredibly strong competition, but after his stellar 2016 campaign (which many people think should have netted him the MVP award), you have to imagine it will be in his grasp within the next few years. Along with individual success comes team success for the Astros, as they finally look primed for a deep playoff run, and if that is to occur, than Altuve and his partner in crime Carlos Correa will be right at the heart of it.
6 Won’t: Jackie Bradley
Early on in his minor league career, Bradley was very highly thought of in the Red Sox organization, but when he came to the majors he struggled mightily, and ended up floating between the AAA level and the majors. He then managed to turn it around, and in 2016 had a career year, both at the plate and in the field, cementing himself as one of the brightest young players in the game, and one of the top center fielders in the American League. Unfortunately, there is just way too much talent in the A.L for him to truly be able to put together a definitive MVP season, but you can expect the young core consisting of Bradley, Betts and Bogaerts to perform at a very high level for the Red Sox for a number of years.
5 Will: Corey Seager
Corey Seager snagged the Rookie of the Year in the National League after an incredible 2016, as he has all 5 tools, including power that is practically unmatched (at least in the NL anyway) among shortstops. With his Dodgers team being so consistent throughout the regular season over the past number of years, it’s easy to imagine that Seager will be at the heart of more consistency, and thus in the MVP conversation. At the ripe young age of 21, barring injury, Seager could lead this Dodgers team to some extended success over the next decade, and it would be shocking to any baseball fan to not see Seager have some huge personal success along with it.
4 Won’t: Anthony Rizzo
Whether Anthony Rizzo wins this award (he arguably has had good enough performances to win one already) or not, he already has an amazing career, as he was lucky enough to catch the ball that won the Cubs their first World Series in 108 years. Unfortunately, Rizzo will have a similar problem to Mookie Betts in 2016, as his team is currently way too stacked with talent to the point where he just won’t stand out as valuable as the stars in the National League such as Bryce Harper, Corey Seager and Giancarlo Stanton, who all play bigger roles in their teams. MVP awards are definitely important in the long run for a players career, but whether Rizzo manages to get one or not, he might be Hall of Fame bound one day.
3 Will: Gary Sanchez
Playing in less than half the season in 2016, Yankees stud catcher Gary Sanchez almost won the Rookie of the Year, which speaks to the incredible talent he is both behind the plate and with the bat in his hand. He hit a record breaking 23 Home Runs in his first 50 games, which is an incredible pace matched by few in the history of the Majors, and he could win this award multiple times if he can improve as he ages. The Yankees look like they are building a very impressive roster of young stars too, and if Sanchez can manage to be the leader that the team needs, a plethora of awards such as this one could be coming his way very, very soon.
2 Won’t: Freddie Freeman
A few years ago when the Atlanta Braves were still consistently in the playoffs, a young Freddie Freeman looked like he would turn out to be one of the top players in the game, but with less protection in his lineup and less team success around him, it seems that Freeman may not live up to those lofty expectations. His comparative lack of success isn’t completely his own doing, as he has gone from hitting around players like prime Jayson Heyward and Chipper Jones to being the only star in the lineup, which has definitely hurt his output. Freddie could be a major asset to another team if he and the Braves ever decided to part ways, but if he remains loyal to the struggling Braves, don’t expect him to be winning this award.
1 Will: Nolan Arenado
We have known for several years that Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado were two of the best fielding third basemen in the entire league, but since 2015 they have taken their hitting to another level entirely. Arenado has the edge however, as he plays in the much more hitter-friendly Coors Park, and plays in the National League which gives him a much better chance to win the MVP award that he almost won in 2016. With the Rockies improving in this past offseason, it is becoming increasingly likely that Nolan will get the award in 2017, provided he can keep his play at such an incredibly level. There is also great competition at the top in the National League, but he should be able to take his game to the next level in 2017 and beyond, making him the definitive top third basemen in baseball.