Are any players from outside of Boston and Cleveland worth considering? Sure, but it would be a stretch to consider any of them the favorite.
Looking at the AL leaderboards, we find Mike Trout‘s name at or near the top of most categories. Many still consider him the best player in baseball and rightfully so. However, his current stint on the disabled list will inevitably cost him in the counting stats. His Los Angeles Angels are hopelessly out of the playoff race, mitigating the value of his production. Trout would have to blow everyone else away with his production in order to warrant the MVP for a .500 ballclub and that isn’t happening.
A case could be made for Alex Bregman, who has been the steadiest of the star player from the reigning champion Houston Astros. Matt Chapman would become a longshot candidate if the Oakland A’s win the west. He’s 5th in the league with 6.8 WAR, although much of his value stems from his stellar defense. He doesn’t have the offensive numbers to overtake the other contenders. Khris Davis and his 36 home runs are more likely to garner attention if the A’s warrant a candidate but he really doesn’t deserve to be in this conversation.
As for the New York Yankees, Aaron Judge was a candidate until he landed on the DL. He suffered a setback that will cost him more time than expected, crushing his MVP chances. Giancarlo Stanton is heating up in the power department with 32 homers but his slow start to the season may have buried him too far in this race. Aside from the home runs, none of his stats pop out as MVP-caliber and he ranks a distant 14th with 3.9 WAR. That puts him behind teammate Aaron Hicks and Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who both have 4.1 WAR.
There’s still over a month left in the regular season to shape this debate but in all likelihood, one of the four candidates from the Red Sox and Indians will win the MVP. How they perform in games featuring other MVP candidates has only a marginal impact on the race but it certainly couldn’t hurt for Betts and Martinez to come up big while the Indians are in town.