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One-on-one: Who will win the AL MVP?

Tim Anderson – By Alex Staab, Contributor

The Chicago White Sox are “the best team in the American League,” according to their star shortstop Tim Anderson. Anderson may be right, but he should also end up as the best player in the American League, an honor that would give the South Siders back-to-back AL MVPs, with Jose Abreu taking it home for the 2020 season. 

Anderson often finds himself in the midst of a heated debate within Chicago as to who the better shortstop is: Anderson or the Cubs’ Javier Baez. 

On one side of the ball, Anderson has made a name for himself at the shortstop position. Not only did his .967 fielding percentage tie a career-high, but it’s also a .015 jump from 2019. 

In the three games against the Oakland Athletics last postseason, Anderson did all he could, totaling 11 bases in 14 plate appearances for a .643 on-base percentage.

Anderson’s power will be something to keep an eye on as well in 2021. With the 2020 season shortened, he was on pace for a career-high of about 30 home runs. While it may be a “would have, should have, could have” type situation, it’s definitely a potential stat that pops out. 

It doesn’t always have to be on-field attributes. The sixth-year player has shown a lot of swagger and a lot of overall confidence in both himself and the franchise, and that has worked dividends. One player starts it and it has translated to the remainder of the clubhouse. All in all, you could say it has been a full rebrand of White Sox baseball, and Tim Anderson has been a big part of that culture. 

There are all sorts of facets that baseball fans can love about Tim Anderson — the swagger, the defender, the powerful bat. Take your pick, but the ultimate pick for the American League’s Most Valuable Player should be a member of the Chicago White Sox for back-to-back seasons. First, Jose Abreu, and in 2021, Tim Anderson.

Mike Trout – By Colin Davern, contributor

The race for the American League MVP has only a few real candidates this year, unlike the National League. Jose Abreu, Aaron Judge and Tim Anderson have a chance at winning the award, but Mike Trout is a clear step above all of those players. 

The Angels superstar has only finished below second in MVP voting twice since 2011, and he still finished top five in both of those years. 

At this point, it’s hardly a shock anymore that he dominates statistically at the plate, regularly being at or near the top of the major leagues in average, on-base percentage, slugging, home runs, RBIs, etc. He also consistently does his job in center field, and it’s quite surprising that he’s never won a gold glove in his career so far. 

Trout has been soaring up the lists of career RBIs, home runs and WAR, and there’s no sign that he’ll slow down anytime soon. With his remarkable consistency in dominating the sport, the main competition for him isn’t other modern day stars, but past legends like Joe DiMaggio and Ken Griffey Jr. 

Trout is the clear favorite to win MVP once again this year considering he isn’t any different from years past. Unfortunately, what’s also the same from years past is the Angels’ inability to put his talent to use, and his production will likely be wasted once again in a season of no playoffs in Anaheim.

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