Angels outfielder Mike Trout was named the AL MVP Award for the third time in his nine-year career by the Baseball Writers Association of America on Thursday night. Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger won the NL MVP for the first time.
Trout hit a career-high 45 home runs for the Angels, leading the AL in on-base percentage and slugging and grading as an above-average defender in centerfield. He has now finished first or second in MVP voting in seven of the last eight seasons.
By winning his third AL MVP Trout is joining exclusive company. He becomes just the 11th three-time winner in baseball history and the second player to win three MVPs before his age-28 season, joining Stan Musial, who won his final MVP award in 1948.
Trout played in 134 games, the third fewest of his career, and he was a shut down in September after undergoing surgery on his right foot. After the announcement, he said on MLB Network he was playing with the injury for about a month before undergoing the procedure.
Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger took home the award in the NL. The 24-year-old Bellinger finished the year with career-highs in almost every statistical category, including runs, hits, home runs, RBIs and stolen bases. He ranked fourth in the majors with 47 homers, breaking the Dodgers’ single-season franchise record.
Bellinger won the Gold Glove in rightfield, but he also played a lot of centerfield and first base. He won the NL Rookie of the Year Award only two years ago, and by adding an MVP on Thursday, he became the 18th former NL Rookie of the Year to also win an MVP.
Last year’s NL MVP, Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich finished second in the NL voting while World Series champion, Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, finished third.
Trout received 17 of the 30 first-place votes, edging out the Astros’ Alex Bregman, who earned the remaining 13 first-place votes. Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien finished third.