Cubs’ Bryant, An­gels’ Trout cop MVP hon­ors

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Jay Co­hen

Trout won the AL MVP award Thurs­day for the sec­ond time in three years, and Chicago Cubs third base­man Kris Bryant was voted NL MVP in bal­lot­ing by the Base­ball Writ­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica.

While the Los An­ge­les An­gels stum­bled, Mike Trout soared again. Just too good to ig­nore. Trout won the AL MVP award Thurs­day for the sec­ond time in three years, and Chicago Cubs third base­man Kris Bryant was voted NL MVP in bal­lot­ing by the Base­ball Writ­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica.

“To win it one time, it’s hard to do,” Trout said. “Twice, I guess you saw my emo­tions tonight, it was some­thing spe­cial.”

While the An­gels fin­ished fourth in the AL West, Trout was his usual bril­liant self. The cen­ter fielder bat­ted .315 with 29 homers, 100 RBIs and 30 steals. He scored 17 per­cent of Los An­ge­les’ runs, the high­est per­cent­age for an AL player since Rickey Hen­der­son with the 1985 New York Yan­kees.

Trout, who was a unan­i­mous win­ner in 2014, had fin­ished sec­ond in three of the past four years. He be­comes the first MVP from a los­ing team since Alex Ro­driguez for Texas in 2003 and just the fifth player ever to ac­com­plish the feat, join­ing Hall of Famers Ernie Banks (1958 and 1959), An­dre Daw­son (1987) and Cal Rip­ken (1991).

“At the end of the sea­son a lot of peo­ple were ask­ing me about the same ques­tion, you know, if your team has a los­ing record is it go­ing to hurt you in the MVP?” Trout said. “With this MVP this year, I guess it doesn’t mat­ter.”

Bryant hit .292 with 39 homers and 102 RBIs in just his sec­ond year in the ma­jors, help­ing the Cubs to their first World Se­ries ti­tle since 1908. The No. 2 over­all pick from the 2013 draft be­comes just the sixth player to win rookie of the year and MVP in one or con­sec­u­tive sea­sons.

“This year has cer­tainly been one of the best years of my life,” said Bryant, who is set to get mar­ried in Jan­uary. “I mean win­ning a World Se­ries, now this, it’s just ic­ing on the cake.”

The Las Ve­gas na­tive is the first NL MVP from the Cubs since Sammy Sosa in 1998 and the eighth player from the club to win the award since 1935. The once-for­lorn fran­chise en­joy­ing its best run in decades also had two of the top MVP can­di­dates, with first base­man An­thony Rizzo fin­ish­ing fourth.

Vot­ing by BBWAA mem­bers was com­pleted by the start of the play­offs.

“If it wasn’t for An­thony and his pro­tec­tion and guid­ance, I wouldn’t have won this award,” Bryant said. “I mean he texted me and I said the same thing to him, I said if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have been able to do this.”

Bryant was a run­away win­ner, grab­bing 29 of 30 first-place votes and 415 points. Na­tion­als sec­ond base­man Daniel Murphy, who bat­ted .347 for the NL East champions, was the run­ner-up with the other first-place vote and 245 points. Dodgers short­stop Corey Sea­ger was third af­ter he was the unan­i­mous win­ner of the NL Rookie of the Year award on Mon­day.

Sea­ger will look to fol­low in Bryant’s foot­steps next year.

Bryant was the unan­i­mous NL Rookie of the Year af­ter he hit .275 with 26 homers and 99 RBIs last sea­son. Bryant joins Dustin Pe­droia (200708), Ryan Howard (200506) and Cal Rip­ken (198283) as the only play­ers to go Rookie of the YearMVP in con­sec­u­tive sea­sons. Ichiro Suzuki (2001) and Fred Lynn (1975) are the only play­ers to win the awards in the same year.

“Kris is just an im­pres­sive young man in ev­ery as­pect,” Cubs owner Tom Rick­etts said. “(He) is very ma­ture, pro­fes­sional, light­hearted, but se­ri­ous at the same time. He’s just kind of a dream player for any or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Trout re­ceived 19 first­place votes and 356 points. Mookie Betts, who bat­ted .318 with 31 homers, 113 RBIs and 26 steals in 158 games for the Bos­ton Red Sox, was sec­ond with 311 points, and AL bat­ting cham­pion Jose Al­tuve of Hous­ton was third. Re­tir­ing Red Sox slug­ger David Or­tiz got one first-place vote fin­ished sixth in his fi­nal year in the ma­jors.

“A well-de­served honor for a player that puts his name in the MVP con­ver­sa­tion year in and year out,” An­gels man­ager Mike Scios­cia said in a re­lease. “Mike is the con­sum­mate team player and de­serves ev­ery ac­co­lade he re­ceives on the field just as he should off of it for the per­son he is.”

BEN MAR­GOT — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

In this file photo, Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant, left, cel­e­brates with third base coach Gary Jones (1) af­ter hit­ting a two-run home run against the San Fran­cisco Gi­ants dur­ing the ninth in­ning of Game 3 of base­ball’s Na­tional League Divi­sion Se­ries in San Fran­cisco. Bryant beat Daniel Murphy and Corey Sea­ger for the Na­tional League Most Valu­able Player award.

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