By John Shea @real_johnshea on May 9, 2014
After six weeks of MLB action in the 2014 season, five MVP candidates have emerged as favorites in their respective leagues. The first month-and-a-half of baseball has been electrifying, as some teams have risen to the cusp of early contention because of one particular difference-maker. The 162-game baseball marathon has only just begun, but certain players have helped carry the load for their individual teams en route to earning MVP candidacy.
The Tigers own the best win percentage in baseball because of stellar starting pitching and Victor Martinez. Former Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera will assuredly be in conversation for the AL MVP toward the end of the 2014 season, but Martinez has been an offensive catalyst for the Tigers to this point. Martinez owns a .333 batting average with seven home runs and 19 RBIs, and he has struck out just five times in 111 official at-bats.
When thinking about star-studded difference-makers in the AL, Trout always comes to mind. The 22-year-old phenom is having another outstanding season in 2014. He owns the best WAR in the AL at 2.4. Although the Angels have struggled to win games at times, they sit just three games out of first place in the AL West. Trout owns a .287 batting average with 17 extra-base hits and 20 RBIs with 24 runs scored in 150 plate appearances so far in 2014.
The Marlins endured a tremendously disappointing 2013 campaign after reaching deep into their pockets in hopes of building a contender. They now find themselves atop the NL East at the start of the 2014 season, specifically because of Stanton's outstanding play. The 24-year-old slugger leads the NL in home runs (11) and RBIs (40). He also owns a spectacular .995 OPS. Stanton is a clear-cut favorite for NL MVP, especially if Miami wins the East.
Abreu was one of the most sought after international free agents over the offseason. He's showcasing why at the start of the 2014 season. The 27-year-old Cuban native has been a difference-maker for the White Sox, who currently sit in 2nd place behind the Tigers in the AL Central. Abreu leads the AL in home runs (12) and RBIs (35). He also leads the league in slugging percentage (.608) and total bases (87), propelling the White Sox to relevancy.
Tulowitzki is arguably the best shortstop in baseball when he's fully healthy. His offensive explosion to start the 2014 season hasn't garnered enough attention, in part because of the success his teammates, like Nolan Arenado (28-game hit streak), have enjoyed. Tulowitzki leads the NL in several categories, including batting average (.407), on-base percentage (.510), slugging percentage (.761), OPS (1.272), total bases (86) and runs scored (34).
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