Mike Trout is one of, if not the, best players in the American League. He swings the stick, crushing the ball for a .315 batting average (.306 or his career), he had an on-base percentage of .441, and he drove in 100 RBI’s. On the defensive side, his .989 fielding percentage was solid, earning 360 put-outs, and even making seven assists. That being said, he is not 2016’s Most Valuable Player.
Perhaps it is time for us to re-evaluate what we want the league’s Most Valuable Player award to represent. After all, despite those statistics, how does one earn an M.V.P. when his team finishes fourteen games under .500, and 21 games out of first place? No offense to Mike Trout, but in a situation like that, how much value did you bring to your team, other than maybe being the only reason fans in Los Angeles bother to show up at the stadium?
If a player is going to win a Most Valuable Player Award, his team needs to be in the playoff chase. After all, the award is not called Greatest Player in the Entire League Award. If that was the case, then I guess Mike Trout would have more of a case for the award. Instead, the real Most Valuable Player in the American League is… Mookie Betts.
Mookie Betts and Mike Trout had some very similar numbers this year.
What Bett did had was statistically better than Trout in nearly every offensive category. Ok, so what about defense? After all, they are both outfielders, so this gives us a good comparison.
Based on the extra assists, it helps balance out the fact that Trout had more put-outs. Look at the fielding percentage difference; .997 for Mookie Betts. Overall, it appears as if the two of them have quite comparable numbers. So what’s the biggest difference between the two players? Mookie Betts helps take his team to the top of the American League East and enter into the playoffs before losing to the Cleveland Indians. Regarding what impact he has on his team’s success, Mookie Betts is the more valuable of the two this year. So, why did he not win the M.V.P.?
Perhaps it is reputation. Perhaps it is the “eye-test.” Perhaps it is getting the title confused between what it is, and what people want it to be. Mike Trout has a reputation of being one of the game’s best players. I agree with that; if I wanted to start my team, I would certainly want to start with him and build from there. But, he did not provide the most value to a team this year, Mookie Betts did.
If the Angels could sniff the playoffs, then I would agree that Mike Trout it the person who would have had the biggest impact on getting him there. Instead, his team did a poor job this season, and while his personal accomplishments are great, that does not warrant him earning the award.
In the future, I think the writers who vote need to pay closer attention to the purpose of the award they are determining, and not just give it to a player who may have flashy stats, but whose team is stuck in the mud.