In 2018, Alex Bregman came in fifth in balloting for the American League MVP Award. Coming back in 2019, he expanded on that resume with the best season of his career. And despite a tremendous late-season run, he fell short in the 2019 AL MVP race, coming in second to three-time winner Mike Trout of the Angels. Trout garnered 17 first place and 13 second place votes. Bregman had the exact reverse with 13 first place and 17 second place votes.
There were plenty of good reasons to vote for both players. Trout remains the class of the American League, but Bregman is rapidly approaching his greatness. Their numbers were similar, but Bregman's hopes at an MVP were riding on the fact that Trout missed the last month-plus of the season while the Astros third baseman surged.
Bregman's numbers speak for themselves. He hit 41 home runs with 112 RBIs and 119 walks. His slash line of .296/.423/.592/1.015 is made even more impressive by the fact that he was one of the best third baseman in the league and played in 156 games on a team that had some injury troubles and still managed to have the best record in baseball.
It's also remarkable when you consider he played shortstop when Carlos Correa went down with an injury, and didn't seem to miss a beat.
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In the end, Trout's utter brilliance, even if he only played in 134 games on a mediocre Angels team, put him over the top. But considering Bregman's ascendance from fifth to second, it isn't difficult to imagine he'll be hoisting that trophy at some point in the not-too-distant future.