With most teams in Major League Baseball past the midway point of their schedules, it’s time to start looking at players who might be flying under the radar with regards to Most Valuable Player honors.
Traditionally, the award goes to reward a good/great player on a good/great team.
For instance, last season Miguel Cabrera won his second straight American League MVP award after leading the Tigers back to the postseason, putting up some even more impressive numbers than he did in his Triple Crown-winning 2012 season.
And Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen was honored in the National League for helping the Buccos dig out of their 21-year string of consecutive losing seasons and land a playoff berth.
The last time a player from a team with a losing record was named MVP was in 2003, when Alex Rodriguez won the AL award for a .298/.396/.600 season with 47 homers and 118 RBI for a last-place Texas Rangers squad.
There are two active players who have won multiple MVP awards—Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels, who took three MVPs as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, and Cabrera, who has won the last two in the AL.
But we’re not looking for the names we already know here. Instead, here are eight players—four from each league—who are quietly putting together MVP-worthy seasons, but may not be well known nationally. To qualify for inclusion on this list, a player can’t have finished in the top three in any previous MVP voting.