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The award is basically a two-man race between Trout and Donaldson, with Donaldson -- a stellar defensive player coming off a prolific offensive year for a first-place team -- seemingly the favorite. Regardless of how it shakes out, though, Trout is expected to finish within the top two in MVP voting for a fourth consecutive season, a feat accomplished by only one AL player -- the late, great Yogi Berra.
Trout, last year's unanimous AL MVP Award winner, finished his fourth full season in the big leagues with a career-high 41 home runs. The 24-year-old center fielder led the AL with a .590 slugging percentage and a .991 OPS, adding 90 RBIs, 11 stolen bases, 104 runs, 92 walks and a .299 batting average.
Trout's FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement score of 9.0 trailed only Bryce Harper (9.5) and led all AL players. Donaldson finished second with a score of 8.7, while batting .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers and an AL-leading 123 RBIs. Cain batted .307/.361/.477 with 16 homers, 28 steals and a 6.6 fWAR.
Trout slumped to a .689 OPS in August, his lowest mark for any month since his first full season in 2012. But he turned it on in September, posting a 1.078 OPS to help a shorthanded Angels team keep its postseason hopes alive until the final day of the regular season. Asked about the MVP race late in the year, Angels manager Mike Scioscia declared: "There's nobody in the league who is doing more for a team than Mike Trout is doing for our team."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.