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Mike Trout and Kris Bryant were born 150 days apart and, relatively speaking, not that many days ago. Both of them played the 2016 season at age 24. But their inherent youth hasn’t stopped them from making history on the field of play and, on Thursday night, in the Baseball Writers’ Association’s Most Valuable Player Awards unveiling.

The Angels’ Trout is now a two-time American League MVP, with the rest of his first five full seasons also well-represented by three second-place finishes. No player has ever had a career start with that much acclaim. And the Angels finishing 21 games out of first place in the AL West didn’t stop Trout from finishing first in the AL MVP.
• All-time MVP winners
And the Cubs’ Bryant followed his unanimous selection as last year’s National League Rookie of the Year in fitting fashion with a near-unanimous selection as the NL MVP, with 29 of 30 voters putting him in first place. Only three other players — Cal Ripken Jr., Ryan Howard and Dustin Pedroia — began their careers with the rookie award and the MVP award in sweet succession, though two others (Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki) did win them simultaneously.
The MLB Awards — following league-specific recognition by BBWAA voters, whose ballots are based on regular-season play — include candidates from both leagues (with postseason performance taken into consideration). MLB Awards are based on votes by retired players, broadcasters/reporters, team executives, Society of American Baseball Research members and fans, with each group accounting for 20 percent of the process. Esurance MLB Awards week concludes Friday on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET. MLB Awards categories include Best Major Leaguer, Hitter, Pitcher, Rookie, Executive and Manager.
Bryant wins 2016 NL MVP Award
Bryant wins 2016 NL MVP Award
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is honored with the 2016 BBWAA National League Most Valuable Player Award
But what’s really special is what Trout and Bryant accomplished together. This marked the first time in history that both MVPs were 24 or younger (Trout didn’t turn 25 until August, so 2016 qualifies as his age-24 season).
“It means a lot to the game,” Trout said. “There’s a bunch of young guys in the league that are making the game good for the fans and exciting. It’s great for baseball.”
NL MVP voting results
Player, Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Points
Kris Bryant, Cubs 29 1 415
Daniel Murphy, Nationals 1 11 10 6 1 245
Corey Seager, Dodgers 11 10 7 2 240
Anthony Rizzo, Cubs 3 4 10 10 202
Nolan Arenado, Rockies 3 6 6 11 199• Complete voting results
The Cubs were the best team in baseball, steamrolling the NL Central with 103 wins en route to the franchise’s first World Series title in 108 years. So it was no surprise to see one of their own honored.
Bryant became the ninth Cub and the first since Sammy Sosa in 1998 to win the MVP. Bryant beat out fellow finalists Daniel Murphy of the Nationals and Corey Seager of the Dodgers. Bryant led the Cubs in home runs (39), runs (121), hits (176) and OPS (.939) while leading the NL in Baseball Reference’s Wins Above Replacement calculation (7.7). His versatility had tremendous value, as he became the first player in history to win the MVP in a season in which he started games at four different defensive positions (third base, left field, right field and first base).
The only first-place MVP vote that didn’t go to Bryant went to Murphy. Bryant would have been the first player in history to win both the Rookie of the Year and the MVP awards unanimously. He’ll have to “settle” for being the first player ever to win, in succession, the Golden Spikes Award, the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year award, the Rookie of the Year honor and the MVP.
Oh, and he mixed in that World Series title, too.
“It’s all downhill from here,” Bryant joked. “I look forward to really enjoying this this whole offseason. I don’t know if this whole year will ever happen again.”
Bryant finished with 415 points in the MVP vote, with Murphy finishing second at 245 and Seager at 240. Bryant’s teammate, Anthony Rizzo, finished fourth in the voting (202 points), and the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado (199), the Braves’ Freddie Freeman (129), the Reds’ Joey Votto (100), the Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes (45), the Dodgers’ Justin Turner and the Nationals’ Cy Young winner Max Scherzer (39) rounded out the top 10. Bryant, Murphy, Seager, Rizzo and Arenado were the only players listed on all ballots.
• Complete 2016 Awards coverage
Far more intrigue resided in the AL, where it was an open question whether the voters would side with Trout by virtue of his astounding individual numbers or defer to Boston’s Mookie Betts out of respect to his impact on a division winner.
Trout a two-time MVP winner
Trout a two-time MVP winner
Mike Trout earned his first AL MVP award after a stellar 2014, and after starring again in 2016, Trout picked up his second MVP honor
Trout’s Angels won just 74 games, and that “stat” was the only real knock on his candidacy. He led the Majors in runs scored (123), walks (116), on-base percentage (.441) and WAR (10.6). He finished second in the AL in OPS (.991) and tied for second in steals (30).
Entering the announcement on MLB Network, Trout didn’t know what to expect. The surprise when he won registered in his reaction.
“At the end of the season, a lot of people were asking me, ‘If your team has a losing record, is it going to hurt you in the MVP?’” Trout said. “With this MVP, I guess it doesn’t matter.”
Nineteen voters were unaffected by the standings, and they allowed Trout to become the first member of a non-postseason entrant to win the AL MVP since Alex Rodriguez (Rangers) in 2003.
AL MVP voting results
Player, Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Points
Mike Trout, Angels 19 8 1 1 356
Mookie Betts, Red Sox 9 17 4 311
Jose Altuve, Astros 2 15 11 2 227
Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays 2 9 7 6 200
Manny Machado, Orioles 5 7 150• Complete voting results
Trout, a five-time All-Star who also won the AL Rookie of the Year prize in 2012, is now the sixth player to win two MVPs before the age of 26, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He joins Barry Bonds as the only players to finish first or second in the MVP voting in five consecutive seasons. Bonds finished second to teammate Jeff Kent in 2000 then rattled off four straight NL MVPs from 2001-04.
“It humbles you, it’s an unbelievable honor,” Trout said. “Just a little bit ago, I as a little kid in high school. Now the chance to win a second MVP, it means a lot to me and my family.”
To claim his second MVP, Trout had to beat out Betts, who garnered nine first-place votes and 311 points to Trout’s 356. Betts tied his teammate Pedroia for second in the AL in batting average (.318) and was second in hits (214), tied for third in doubles (42) and fourth in RBIs (113). He trailed only Trout in WAR (9.6), and there was some thought that playing for the AL East champs might push Betts ahead of Trout in the voting.
The Astros’ Jose Altuve finished third in the voting with 227 points. The Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson (200), the Orioles’ Manny Machado (150), the Red Sox’s David Ortiz (147), the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre (135), the Mariners’ Robinson Cano (79), the Indians’ Francisco Lindor (56) and the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera (56) rounded out the top 10, with Trout, Betts, Altuve, Donaldson, Machado and Ortiz named on every ballot.
Ortiz, whose Major League-leading 1.021 OPS finished his career with a flourish, joined Beltre as the only players not named Trout or Betts to receive a first-place vote. They received one apiece.
But Trout and Bryant were the story. This was a night in which youth was served.
“We’ve got some older guys going out like David Ortiz,” said Bryant, “and it’s up to us to fill their shoes.”

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Shohei Ohtani didn’t throw a pitch for Japan during four exhibition games against national teams from Mexico and the Netherlands at the Tokyo Dome. He still was the talk of the weekend — to no one’s surprise.

Ohtani, the Nippon Ham Fighters’ pitcher/designated hitter dynamo, is one of the world’s most sought-after baseball players — in both roles. Major League Baseball executives are eager for the Fighters to post Ohtani, which is unlikely to happen until after the 2017 season at the earliest.
MLB Now on Shohei Ohtani
MLB Now on Shohei Ohtani
On MLB Now, the crew talks about Shohei Ohtani and his chances of getting a $300 million contract in MLB
In the meantime, the 22-year-old Ohtani is preparing to star for Japan at othe upcoming World Baseball Classic. On Sunday, that meant hitting a baseball into orbit … or at least a hidden region of the Tokyo Dome’s roof. When the ball didn’t return to Earth, the play was ruled a ground-rule double.
Ohtani, appearing as a designated hitter and pinch-hitter, finished the weekend 5-for-11 with one home run, three doubles, three walks, five runs scored and many new admirers.
Ohtani’s versatile skill set
Ohtani’s versatile skill set
The Hot Stove crew breaks down Japanese star Shohei Ohtani’s versatile skill set as a pitcher and hitter
“The hype on Ohtani is off the charts, but he is the real deal,” Mexican manager Edgar Gonzalez told me. “He ran a 3.9 [seconds] to first on a ground ball, and he has major power.”
Gonzalez’s younger brother was impressed, too; Adrian Gonzalez made the trip with the Mexican national team, even though the Dodgers didn’t clear him to play. And the five-time All-Star left Ohtani with a gift:
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
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Puro Beisbol @PuroBeisbolUSA
What a great detail from @Adrian_ElTitan to Japan’s star, Shohei Otani, by giving him his autographed jersey with a message included.
11:51 AM – 12 Nov 2016 · Mérida, Yucatán
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More highlights from Japan
Japan earned a pair of extra-inning victories over the Netherlands and went 1-1 against Mexico. Dodgers No. 3 prospect Alex Verdugo starred for Mexico, going 1-for-4 with an RBI double in Thursday’s victory and also homering on Friday.
Verdugo, a second-round Draft pick in 2014 from Tucson, Ariz., posted a .743 OPS at Double-A Tulsa this year. He projects to be Mexico’s center fielder in the World Baseball Classic.
“Verdugo has been very impressive,” Edgar Gonzalez said. “He never gets cheated when he swings. He is always ready to hit and at the same time is able to stay on offspeed pitches. I thought his weakness would be [inside], but [on Friday] he pulled his hands on an inside fastball and turned on it [for the home run].”
Verdugo on time at Fall League
Verdugo on time at Fall League
Dodgers prospect Alex Verdugo discusses his professionalism and approach at the plate during his time at the Arizona Fall League
Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar was the most recognizable MLB name on the Dutch roster; he started at shortstop on Saturday and second base on Sunday, going a combined 2-for-8 with two runs scored.
The Netherlands’ WBC infield should be dynamic; Andrelton Simmons, Xander Bogaerts, Didi Gregorius and Jonathan Schoop are eligible to compete, in addition to Profar.
Impact of Arenado’s decision
Nolan Arenado will play for Team USA, as first reported Sunday by MLB.com’s Thomas Harding, in a choice that will impact roster construction for both the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Traditionally, Team USA has not carried more than one everyday player at a given position. So with Arenado’s commitment, it’s difficult to envision Josh Donaldson or Evan Longoria on the team unless one is comfortable in a DH role. Similarly, Kris Bryant likely would need to play an outfield corner — where he started 48 times this year for the Cubs (36 in left, 12 in right).
Arenado to compete for Team USA
Arenado to compete for Team USA
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado reveals he will play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic
Third base might’ve been the toughest position for general manager Joe Torre and manager Jim Leyland to evaluate. Kyle Seager and Justin Turner surely merited consideration, too, coming off brilliant seasons. Just think how difficult the decision might’ve been if Manny Machado — born in Hialeah, Fla. — hadn’t decided to play for the Dominican Republic.
Arenado also was eligible to play for Puerto Rico, which pursued him determinedly, but manager Edwin Rodriguez can be quite satisfied with his existing infield options. Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor could be the double-play combination, with Carlos Correa at third base and Kennys Vargas or T.J. Rivera at first.