Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the Baseball Writer’s Association of America dropped the ball once again and elected the wrong choice as the MVP candidate.
Now don’t get me wrong, if anybody is worthy of stealing this award away from the deserving winner it is none other than Mike Trout. He is one of the most talented baseball players of our generation and very well could end his career being one of the greatest of all time.
It was a clear-cut two-way race between Mookie Betts, right fielder for the Boston Red Sox, and Mike Trout, center fielder for the LA Angels. These are two of the best young players in the MLB and were both central focal points night in and night out for the Sports Center top 10 plays.
In the end, Mike Trout sprinted away with the luxurious award gaining 19 first place votes to Betts’ nine. But did Trout truly deserve to win this award?
If you look over the numbers you would think that Mookie Betts had easiest path to victory. He won the gold glove for right fielders in the American League as well as defensive player of the year for right fielders. I still don’t understand the difference between the awards but I will take it.
And if you want to compare the numbers, how do you not give it to Mookie?
Betts had the leg up on Trout in the following categories. Betts had the higher average, .318 to .315. He had more home runs, 31 to 29. He had more RBIs at 113 to 100. Betts lead the LA center fielder in hits 214 to 173. He led him in doubles 42 to 32. They tied in the triples category with five a piece. And in an enormously important category, Trout struck out 137 (549 at bats) times to Betts’ 80 (672 at bats)!
Did you read all of those numbers above? Come on. Those are some of the most important categories and statistics in the game of baseball and they were almost whisked away like some cows in a Wizard of Oz type tornado.
The only categories that Trout had led Betts in were OPS, OBP, WAR and stolen bases. And each of those categories that Trout had the upper hand in was not by much. It was a minuscule amount of baby mouse sized proportions.
But I side with one specific argument that many baseball writers tend to stray away from. Betts was the MVP on a playoff team. Now some tend to ignore this argument because how is he supposed to carry an entire team? Well this is true, but doesn’t it say something that Betts was the most valuable player on a team with several other possible candidates? He was a significant cog in the creation of one of the hardest hitting teams in the MLB throughout the 2016 season.
Another argument these senile baseball writers need to consider is the division. We spoke about this on a sports talk show I am apart of on ESPN NH called The Sunday Sit Down and I could not stop bringing this point up. Mookie Betts is the MVP on the best team in hands down the toughest division in baseball. Sure, the Rays were nothing special but by August, there were four teams vying for a spot in the playoffs.
This too means that Betts had to work his magic against some of the best teams in baseball more frequently than any other player. And that includes Mike Trout. Do you want to list the teams that he had to face within the division throughout the year? Their toughest divisional opponent clearly stands as the powerful Texas Rangers. But then the list diminishes from there as their matchups included the Seattle Mariners (86 wins), Houston Astros (84 wins), and the Oakland Athletics (69 wins, insert Gronk laughing clip).
In the end the voting does not make any sense and I feel as though the baseball writers do not pay well enough attention. And believe me, I do not want to take anything away from the Cy Young award winner Rick Porcello, but did he deserve his award either over Justin Verlander? Verlander lead him in almost every respective category aside from wins and received eight more first place votes and inevitably became the runner up. Does that seem fair? Rick Porcello completely deserved to be in the conversation, just like Mike Trout did, but did they deserve their eventual awards?
The baseball writer’s completely muffed this opportunity to award this outstanding 24 year old his first MVP award. Clearly he will be up for the award again in the coming years and I am assuming that he will walk away and win a couple by the end of his career, but the chance to receive his first one was ripped from his grasp.
Here is the difference between the two that I am sure if you pay close enough attention to baseball you have heard throughout the week. Mike Trout is the greatest player in perhaps the entire world, but Mookie Betts is the most valuable player. Mike Trout is the greatest player in the world because he has been so consistently good so far throughout his career. There has been little dip in his production thus far and continues to dazzle his fans night in and night out. He has just completed his fifth year in his MLB career and has been the runner up for the MVP award three times and has now won it twice. But Mookie Betts is the most valuable player because if you take him away from the Boston Red Sox, I genuinely have a tough time believing they make the playoffs. He was responsible for a multitude of runs scored and batted in and was a defensive lock down in right field. And something people tend to forget, Betts’ production became so high and unprecedented, that he was moved form the lead off spot to clean up so there could be runners in position for him to knock in. That is the difference between the two.
So yes, it is a disgusting move by the baseball writers to award the wrong man one of the most prestigious honors in sports, but in the end, we’ve seen them do this before. Mookie Betts was bamboozled out of his first MVP award, but you know what I hope? I hope this motivates him and he comes back next year with vengeance and has an even more spectacular season than he had this year.
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