Mike Trout More Than Deserved to Win American League MVP
So, Mike Trout didn't get screwed. It's a brave new world.
Baseball's best player had the best season of anyone in the league in 2016, and yet there were concerns the Los Angeles Angels' incredible outfielder would be passed over once again for the AL MVP Award in favor of the Boston Red Sox' Mookie Betts or the Houston Astros' Jose Altuve. Why? Because Mike Trout's Angels were pretty dreadful in 2016, finishing 74-88, while Betts' Red Sox went 93-69 and won the American League East.
Traditionally, members of the BBWAA have decided that a player has to be on a good team in order for him to win the most coveted individual player award the sport has to offer. But this time, they got it right.
|Mookie Betts||Red Sox||9||17||4||311|
|Josh Donaldson||Blue Jays||2||9||7||6||4||1||1||200|
|David Ortiz||Red Sox||1||1||3||4||8||5||4||3||1||147|
Trout won the MVP for the second time in three years and became the only player in history to finish either first or second in the MVP voting in each of his first five seasons. He also joins Barry Bonds as the only players to finish in the top-two in MVP voting in any five consecutive seasons.
This year was another scintillating one for the 25-year-old slugger. He hit .315/.441/.550 with 29 homers, 100 RBI, 123 runs, 30 stolen bases, a weighted on base average (wOBA) of .418, a weighted runs created (wRC+) of 171, a FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement (fWAR) of 9.4 and a Baseball Reference WAR (rWAR) of 10.6.
In his first five seasons, Trout's rWARs are 10.8, 9.3, 7.9, 9.4 and 10.6, and he is the first player in MLB history to lead the majors in offensive WAR for five straight seasons.
Trout led the league in a number of offensive categories, including on-base percentage (.441), runs scored (123), walks (116), and adjusted OPS+ (174). He was tied for 5th in batting average (.315), 4th in slugging percentage (.550), 2nd in OPS (.991), and tied for 2nd in stolen bases (30). He fell just one homer shy of becoming baseball's first 30-30 player since he and Ryan Braun did it in 2012.
And while Betts had a remarkable 2016 campaign, Trout's 10.6 fWAR was a full win better than the runner-up, and his fWAR of 9.4 was 1.6 wins better than Betts. This was the right decision, but certainly some writers continue to believe an MVP should be good enough to get his team to the playoffs, something Trout clearly was not able to do.
Mike Trout's Angels had a .457 winning percentage this season, the 3rd-worst ever for a team with a 10-WAR position player.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 17, 2016
Geez, why can't Mike Trout also pitch once every five days? Why can't he heal his pitchers' UCL injuries? Why can't he play a couple other positions while he's also playing center field? Isn't that what a true MVP would do?
Of course, no BBWAA vote ever goes off without something strange happening. One writer actually had Trout in seventh place and gave his first place vote to the Texas Rangers' Adrian Beltre. Another writer gave his first-place vote to David Ortiz.
Nevertheless, the voters largely got it right this time and, as a result, Mike Trout did not get screwed out of yet another MVP award. So, good job, writers. You've made one little boy very happy indeed.