Winning a ring is the pinnacle of sports, but if you can’t do that, being the MVP is almost as good. In MLB, there are two MVPs every year. Both the American League and the National League name their own individual most valuable player awards. Here is the last player for every MLB team to win an MVP. Three teams don’t have an MVP in their history. The Rays and Diamondbacks, to be fair, are the most-recent teams added to MLB. Then there are the Mets who, well, we don’t have an excuse for them.
To be a real value at first base, you must mash, and Freeman can do that. He spent years as the face of the Braves, and in 2020 he won himself an MVP award. The next year, he led the Braves to the World Series. Then, he left for Los Angeles to sign with the Dodgers. Hey, at least he left on a two-season high note.
When you are always on the field, it’s easier to generate value. Ripken won two MVPs in his 20-year career. His second, the most recent in Orioles history, was in 1991. That year, Cal also won a Gold Glove. He would stay with the franchise until 2001 before heading to the Hall of Fame.
The 2018 season was incredible for Betts. Not only did he win the MVP, but the Red Sox won the World Series. Oh, and Betts also won the batting title, a Silver Slugger, and a Gold Glove. Then, two seasons later, he was a Dodger. The Dodgers apparently love to collect former MVPs. Betts, by the way, has also bowled a perfect game in his life.
Bryant was only in his second season when he won the MVP. That year, 2016, the Cubs also broke a World Series drought that had lasted over a decade. The hype was high for Bryant after that year, but since then, he’s dipped a bit. Now with the Rockies, Bryant seems more like a good player who had a great season than a future Hall of Famer, which is the trajectory of the first three guys we talked about.
The 2020 MLB season was, of course, a weird one. Due to COVID-19, there were only 60 games. However, Abreu played in all 60 of those games, slashing .317/.370/.617 with an MLB-high 60 RBI. That was enough to get him the AL MVP, and given the tumultuous circumstances, we shall put no asterisk on his accomplishment.
Votto has spent his entire career with the Reds, establishing himself as an icon for a franchise with plenty of icons. He’s also a modern player, having led the National League in OBP seven times. That includes in 2010 when he won the MVP. That year he actually led the NL in both OBP (.424) and slugging percentage (.600), making him a great choice for this award.
Most of the teams in MLB have an MVP winner from the new millennium. A few haven’t seen a winner since the 1990s. Cleveland, though? You have to go way back into franchise history. Rosen won his MVP in 1953. Yes, 1953. He died in 2015 at the age of 91. Several of these names didn’t win their MVP during the lifetime of the most-recent winner for the Guardians.
Yes, he played his home game at Coors Field, but as his Hall of Fame credentials were assessed, it became clear to many that Walker was a tremendously-skilled player who also happened to play his home games in a favorable environment. Sure, he probably doesn’t slug .720 or hit 49 home runs under different circumstances, but his .452 OBP and his Gold Glove have less to do with Coors. He was a worthy winner in 1997 and a worthy Hall of Famer to boot.
Now, you may be thinking, “Sure, Miggy won the Triple Crown, of course, he was MVP!” Yes, that was true in 2012, but maybe you forgot that Cabrera also won the AL MVP the next season as well. The thing is, in 2013, Cabrera had a better average, OBP, and slugging percentage than he had in 2012. His 190 OPS+ led the majors. If anything, Miggy was a more worthy winner in 2013 than when he won the Triple Crown.
In 2017, the Astros won the World Series, and everything was normal and chill and not at all controversial at any point in time. That year, Altuve also won the AL MVP. He won the batting title with a .346 average and also hit 24 homers to go with 36 stolen bases. This was also the fourth – and to date last – time he led the AL in hits.
The Royals are the second and last MLB team not to have an MVP since the start of the 1990s. At least we don’t have to go back to the ‘50s here, though. Brett, a Hall of Famer, won the MVP in 1980. This was the season where the third baseman flirted with hitting .400, finishing with a .390 average.
There has legitimately never been a player like Ohtani. He’s an above-average starting pitcher and also one of the best hitters in baseball. In 2021, he was able to stay healthy for a full season and hit 46 homers with 26 stolen bases Oh, and he made 23 starts on the mound and had a 3.18 ERA while striking out almost 11 batters per nine innings. Truly, a season for the history books.
There are already a lot of people who would say, “Oh right, Bellinger won MVP,” even though it happened in 2019. As time goes on, it seems likely Bellinger is going to become one of those odd names that stand out when people look at a list of MVP winners. In 2019, Bellinger had an 1.035 OPS with 47 home runs. By 2021, he was hitting below the Mendoza line (.165 batting average). After the 2022 season, the Dodgers non-tendered their former MVP winner who then signed with the Chicago Cubs.
In 2017, Stanton hit a whopping 59 home runs, and while there is more to hitting and value than homers, numbers that gaudy are going to stand out. Then, the Marlins being the Marlins, they dealt the reigning MVP to the New York Yankees that offseason. The crux of that deal was Starlin Castro…who is also no longer a Marlin.
Speaking of the Marlins, Yelich began his career with them as well. Then, the Marlins traded Yelich to Milwaukee prior to the 2018 season. Yelich then proceeded to go ahead and win the NL MVP in his first season with the Brewers. He finished second the next season as well, but since then has dropped off considerably, though not to the same level as Bellinger.
A native of Minnesota, Mauer was a local hero with the Twins. As a catcher who won multiple batting titles, he provided a lot of value before injuries started to curtail his numbers. In 2009, he won his last batting title but also won a Gold Glove for good measure. Yeah, a catcher who hits over .300 and plays Gold Glove defense is definitely MVP caliber.
No refresher is needed here. Judge won the MVP in 2022, and he did it with a season for the ages. The slugger hit 62 home runs, an American League record. Because the Yankees aren’t the Marlins, they then proceeded to sign the impending free agent to a new deal that will likely keep him in pinstripes his entire career.
The team synonymous with Moneyball had themselves a star in Tejada, who won the MVP in 2002 for the A’s. When the shortstop became a free agent, Oakland let him walk and head to Baltimore. He was good there as well but then got into PED trouble. His career ended in 2013 after he received a 105-game suspension for testing positive for amphetamines.
Harper was a huge free agent signing for the Phillies, and his first two seasons were good, if not great. Then, in 2021, Harper broke through and led the majors in home runs, slugging, and OPS. That helped him win the second MVP of his career. In 2022, injuries kept him from having a chance to repeat, but he did lead the Phillies to a World Series appearance, and he’s only just entered his thirties.
Ah, the days of a competitive Pirates team. Those squads were built around McCutchen, who finished in the top five in the MVP vote for four seasons in a row. His win in 2013 was interesting, as he didn’t lead the NL in any statistical category. However, he slashed .317/.404/.508 with 21 home runs and 27 stolen bases. He’s since become a journeyman in the latter stages of his career.
Loaded down with talent, an MVP win could be coming for the Padres soon. However, to date, the last win for a Padre was all the way back in 1996. Everything came together for Caminiti in 1996, as he hit 40 home runs, his only season hitting over 30, and he won a Gold Glove as well. On the other hand, the troubled slugger said he used steroids during the 1996 campaign, and he would pass away in 2004 due to an overdose of cocaine and heroin. He was only 41.
In 2010, Posey won Rookie of the year. In 2012, he won NL MVP. Like Mauer, he was a catcher who won a batting title. He also racked up 103 RBI, and to some voters that number clearly mattered. Posey retired after the 2021 campaign as a career .302 hitter who may get some Hall of Fame buzz in time.
Sure, you may put an asterisk on Ichiro’s Rookie of the Year award from 2001. He was a 27-year-old star from Japan, after all. However, no asterisk was needed for his MVP award that year as well. The dude showed up in America, tallied 242 hits, batted .350, and stole 56 bases. Oh, and he won a Gold Glove too. This was the start of Seattle’s love affair with Ichiro, and frankly you didn’t need to be a Mariners fan to love him.
While a Diamondback, Goldschmidt finished second in the MVP voting twice. Finally, in 2022, he made it happen. By this point, though, he was a Cardinal. His .981 OPS and 180 OPS+ both led the National League, and Goldschmidt has always been considered one of the better fielders at first base as well.
In 1999, Tampa Bay made Hamilton the first-overall pick. Then, drug addiction destroyed his career. He got sober, and in 2007 made his MLB debut at the age of 26. In 2010, with the Rangers, Hamilton would hit .359 and slug .633 and win the MVP. It was quite the fall-and-rise story, but then came another fall. He would only have a few seasons of success before being out of MLB after the 2015 season. Hamilton has relapsed multiple times and been charged with assaulting his daughter.
Donaldson is the rare journeyman to have an MVP to his name. He’s an unusual story, having started his career as a catching prospect, before failing there. Donaldson moved positions and didn’t really grab onto a regular role in MLB until 2013 with the Athletics, and he was already 27 by that time. Two seasons later, with Toronto, he would win the AL MVP. Better late than never.
Yes, Harper is the most-recent MVP for two different teams. He was the most-vaunted prospect ever when the Nationals drafted him, and he won the NL Rookie of the Year in his age-19 season. A few years later, in 2015, Harper would hit 42 homers with a staggering 1.109 OPS. This was the MVP that justified the hype. His 2021 MVP? That was icing on the cake.