MVP and Cy Young Award favorites: Can anyone top Altuve?

Olney's AL Cy Young favorite is Zach Britton (0:50)

If the American League Cy Young Award vote was today, Buster Olney would give his vote to Orioles closer Zach Britton. (0:50)

We have about a quarter of the season remaining, and I can't remember being this late into a season where the MVP and Cy Young Awards in both leagues remain not just wide-open, but wide-open with so many candidates across all four awards.

Check out Dan Szymborski's current MVP and Cy Young prediction percentages, which are based on stat lines, player position and team standing, and then run through a rest-of-the-season simulation. For example, we know whether a team makes the playoffs is an important factor in MVP voting, so Mookie Betts' MVP odds go up if the Red Sox are viewed in Dan's system as having a better chance at making the postseason. Note that these predictors do not involve using WAR, beyond its relationship to traditional stats.

Let's see where the four awards stand right now.


The injury to Clayton Kershaw -- the clear front-runner for Cy Young and MVP until he went down in late June -- has opened up this race a bit, although it seems like it has settled into a four-player showdown. Kris Bryant has the significant edge in Baseball-Reference WAR (5.5 to Anthony Rizzo's 4.6 among position players), but is tied with Corey Seager at 5.9 in FanGraphs WAR. Daniel Murphy is the intriguing guy here because he leads the NL in batting average and OPS and ranks second in RBIs while playing a premium defensive position, all things voters will love. His WAR numbers (3.9 and 4.6) lag behind because he's a below-average defender and he has missed some games with nagging injuries. He has 62 fewer plate appearances than Bryant, for example.