2015 MLB MVP Candidates: A 2014 Repeat?

Kershaw and Trout won MVP awards last season, but who will challenge them this year?

Last season, Mike Trout won the AL Most Valuable Player award for the first time in his career, while Clayton Kershaw won the NL MVP. Kershaw’s accomplishment marked just the second time since 1992 that a pitcher won the award (Justin Verlander being the other, in 2011). Taking a look at numberFire’s recently released player projections, who are some MVP candidates for this season?

National League

1. Clayton Kershaw: Having won two Cy Young awards already, Kershaw added another one to go along with his first NL MVP award last season. Now, for the 2015 season, our projections have Kershaw at the number-two overall spot in terms of overall value. He’s projected to register 17 wins with a 2.14 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.

2. Paul Goldschmidt: Bothered by injuries last season, Goldschmidt was limited to just 109 games. When healthy, he's one of the best hitters in the Major Leagues, as shown by his .300/.396/.542 slash line and a 158 OPS+ last year. This season, numberFire has Goldschmidt as the number-three overall player, and he's projected to hit .300 with 28 home runs, 104 RBI, and a .932 OPS. Back in 2013, his last fully healthy season, Goldschmidt finished second in MVP voting, so this may be the year he finally wins the award.

3. Andrew McCutchen: After winning the 2013 NL MVP, McCutchen finished third in the voting last season. After leading the Pirates to back-to-back playoff appearances and leading the league in nERD last season, McCutchen is ranked as the number-two overall outfielder by numberFire, projected to hit .311 with 27 home runs, 95 runs scored, and a .931 OPS.

4. Giancarlo Stanton: Stanton finished second in the MVP race last season, and may have won it had he not gone down after getting struck in the face by a pitch late in the year. This season, numberFire ranks Stanton as the third-best outfielder, and projects him to hit .280 with 37 home runs, 109 RBI, and a .935 OPS. If Stanton can finally stay healthy for a full season and lead an underrated Marlins team to the playoffs, he will stay in the MVP discussion all season.

American League

1. Mike Trout: Trout finally won the AL MVP award last season after finishing second in voting during the two years prior. Last year, Trout ranked second in the league in nERD, and is ranked as the top overall player this year according to our metrics. He's projected to hit .315 with 33 home runs, 101 RBI, and a .986 OPS.

2. Jose Abreu: In just his first MLB season last year, Abreu won AL Rookie of the Year, finished fourth in the MVP voting, and won a Silver Slugger award. This season, numberFire has Abreu ranked at fifth overall after he ranked fifth in nERD last year. Abreu's projected to hit .303 with 34 home runs 107 RBI and a .912 OPS.

3. Miguel Cabrera: After winning back-to-back MVP awards, Cabrera had a “down” year (for him) last season. He's now ranked as the number-four overall player by our projections, and is looking to hit .313 with 29 home runs, 106 RBI, and a .941 OPS. Hopefully Cabrera’s ankle injury will heal in time for Opening Day so that he won’t have to deal with a nagging injury throughout the season.

4. Jose Bautista: Bautista struggled to stay healthy throughout the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but played in 155 games last year and finished with the third-highest nERD in Major League Baseball. Even while struggling with injuries, he has been able to string together five seasons of 27 home runs or more. This year, numberFire ranks Bautista fourth among outfielders, and projects him to hit .274 with 34 home runs 99 RBI, and a .912 OPS.