LA Sweep: Angels’ Trout, Dodgers’ Bellinger win MVP awards

NEW YORK (AP) — Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout has overcome injury and tragedy to win his third AL MVP award.

Trout got 17 of 30 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America revealed Thursday night. Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros was second with the other 13 first-place votes. That duo combined for all the first- and second-place votes.

Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger made it an LA sweep, beating out the Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich for the NL prize. Bellinger got 19 of 30 first-place votes, Yelich got 10, and Washington’s Anthony Rendon got one while finishing third. Yelich won the award last year.

Trout had season-ending foot surgery in September. The outfielder played just 134 games but still set a career high with 45 homers. He batted .291, led the majors with a .438 on-base percentage and drove in 104 runs. It was just enough to avoid another second-place finish — he’s tied for the record with four runner-ups.

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Mike Trout through the years
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Mike Trout through the years
ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 08: Centerfielder Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim blows a bubble while stretcing prior to the MLB game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 8, 2011 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 02: Mike Trout #90 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hits a single against the Texas Rangers during the second inning of the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 2, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Angels left fielder Mike Trout (27) dives to catch a ball hit by New York Yankees' Curtis Granderson (14) in the ninth inning of their MLB baseball game in Anaheim, California May 29, 2012. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim batter Mike Trout reacts after taking a strike during the first inning of their MLB American League baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Cassese (CANADA - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout gestures on second base after advancing on a single by Albert Pujols against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of an MLB baseball game in Anaheim, California July 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout smiles at first base against the Texas Rangers during the second inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Anaheim, California July 22, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES)
Los Angeles Angels Kole Calhoun (L) forearm-bumps Mike Trout at the plate after hitting a solo home run against the Texas Rangers during their MLB American League baseball game in Anaheim, California August 6, 2013. Trout hit a home run on the following pitch. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
August 5, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) celebrates after scoring a run in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 15, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; American League outfielder Mike Trout (27) of the Los Angeles Angels holds up the MVP trophy after the 2014 MLB All Star Game at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 4, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) reacts on second base after he doubled in a run in the first inning of the game Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
May 15, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) jumps to catch a fly ball hit by Baltimore Orioles left fielder Alejandro De Aza (12) (not pictured) during the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
July 1, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) rounds the bases after he hits a solo home run in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 13, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) watches the ball clear the fence on a solo home run in the first inning of the game against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images (TAGS: Sport Baseball MLB) *** Local Caption *** 2015-09-13T201447Z_262781542_NOCID_RTRMADP_3_MLB-HOUSTON-ASTROS-AT-LOS-ANGELES-ANGELS.JPG
September 30, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) is congratulated after he hits a solo home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images (TAGS: Sport Baseball MLB) *** Local Caption *** 2015-10-01T000930Z_620675507_NOCID_RTRMADP_3_MLB-OAKLAND-ATHLETICS-AT-LOS-ANGELES-ANGELS.JPG
Aug 11, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) rounds the bases on his solo home run in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 24, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) reacts to a strike in the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.Los Angeles Angels won 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images (TAGS: Sport Baseball MLB) *** Local Caption *** 2016-08-25T035535Z_695544772_NOCID_RTRMADP_3_MLB-LOS-ANGELES-ANGELS-AT-TORONTO-BLUE-JAYS.JPG
Feb 20, 2018; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout looks on during a workout at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 17: Mike Trout #27 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the American League celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against the National League during the 89th MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard at Nationals Park on July 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
May 26, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run against the New York Yankees during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
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The 28-year-old shined even following the death of close friend and teammate Tyler Skaggs on July 1. Trout smashed a 454-foot homer wearing Skaggs’ No. 45 in the team’s first game back, when LA pitchers threw a combined no-hitter.

Trout is the 10th three-time MVP and joins an elite group: Barry Bonds, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Mike Schmidt. Bonds is the only player with more than three MVPs — he won seven.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room before the start of a series against the Texas Rangers. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office said the 27-year-old died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his body. MLB is cooperating with a federal investigation after Eric Kay, a 24-year employee of the Angels' PR department, told the Drug Enforcement Agency he had provided opioids to Skaggs and used them with the pitcher for years, according to ESPN.

Trout played through the pain of that loss and the lingering foot issue, which hampered him for about a month before he chose to have surgery.

“What an emotional last few months,” he said.

The 24-year-old Bellinger and his loose, left-handed swing launched 47 home runs with a .305 average, 115 RBIs and a 1.035 OPS.

He was the best player on the NL’s top team in the regular season, propelling Los Angeles to 106 wins. He’s the 10th different Dodgers player to win MVP and first since Clayton Kershaw in 2014.

Bellinger teared up after learning he’d been chosen, getting emotional especially after hugging his father — former big leaguer Clay Bellinger.

“It’s what you dream of, man,” Cody said.

Advanced metrics showed both races to be tight. Bellinger and Yelich tied for the NL lead with 7.8 wins above replacement (WAR) as measured by Fangraphs, and Trout edged Bregman 8.6 to 8.5. Bregman topped Trout 8.4 to 8.3 by Baseball-Reference’s WAR, while Bellinger bested Yelich 9.0 to 7.1, mostly due to stronger defensive ratings.

Bellinger won the Gold Glove Award in right field but also played center and first base. He’s the first Dodgers position player to win MVP since Kirk Gibson in 1988.

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