Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts won the American League MVP last season, and one of his teammates is making a compelling case for the award in 2019.
Xander Bogaerts is the hottest player in Major League Baseball right now. The Red Sox shortstop is batting .600 (12-for-20) with four home runs, nine RBI and seven runs in the five games since the All-Star break.
Overall, Bogaerts is batting .312 with 21 homers, 74 RBI and a .399 on-base percentage. He's been Boston's most productive hitter and he's on pace to set several career highs.
Bogaerts deserves to be in the AL MVP conversation, and the stats in the tweet below help create a compelling case for the young star.
Xander Bogaerts ranks among AL leaders with:— Red Sox Notes (@SoxNotes) July 17, 2019
51 XBH (T-1st)
74 RBI (2nd)
74 R (T-2nd)
.312 AVG (4th)
.399 OBP (4th)
.575 SLG (2nd)
.974 OPS (2nd)
30 2B (2nd)
21 HR (T-9th)
110 H (6th)
He has 5 HR in his last 7 games and has recorded 3 hits in each of his last 3 games.
The leading candidate for AL MVP is -- surprise, surprise -- Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout, who's finished first or second in the voting for this award in six of the last seven seasons.
Here's where Trout ranks among AL players in the same categories listed in the tweet above.
51 XBH (T-1st)
75 RBI (1st)
74 runs (T-2nd)
.305 avg (8th)
.666 SLG (1st)
.455 OBP (1st)
1.121 OPS (1st)
20 2B (T-19th)
30 HR (1st)
95 hits (T-22nd)
One factor that could help swing the voting is the postseason races. Both the Red Sox and Angels don't have much of a chance to win their respective divisions, but an AL wild-card berth certainly is possible for each club. The Red Sox are three games behind the second wild-card spot, while the Angels are 4.5 games back. Trout has been to the playoffs only once in his career, and he'd probably have more than two MVP awards if the Angels had been more competitive earlier in his career.
Bogaerts needs an incredible second half of the year to win AL MVP, but there's no question he deserves to be mentioned as a legitimate candidate right now.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.