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Trout 4 MVP


OregonLAA

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Why Mike Trout is the MVP

Before the year started, many “experts” predicted Trout to regress in 2013 after winning Rookie of the Year and coming 2nd in the MVP voting in 2012. I can’t say I blamed them at the time. Too many times in the last few years, I have watched the top prospects in baseball burst onto the scene and then flame out in the following seasons. Jason Heyward comes to mind. He was the Braves phenom who homered in his first at bat and was barely edged out for Rookie of the Year by Buster Posey. He hit .277 with an .849 OPS as a 20 year old in his first year in the majors. Since then he has yet to break a .270 batting average and only hit over an .800 OPS just once. And not by much. He has also dealt with injuries, so he has yet to prove he can consistently play full seasons in the majors. Heyward still has a bright future, but it seems to be dimming a bit. A player’s first year in the majors isn’t supposed to be his bench mark for the rest of his career rather it is supposed to show his potential and how he can develop.

Trout had such a huge year in his rookie campaign that no one thought it was possible to beat. I, too, was skeptical that he could replicate 2012’s numbers or even surpass them. I saw many predictions estimating his batting average to be under .300 with declining runs, home runs, OPS and walks. No one would believe he would actually hit better than his historical first season in the majors. He set records, not just for rookies or 20 year olds, but for all of baseball. He put up one of the highest WAR’s in the history of baseball and still finished 2nd in the MVP voting to Miguel Cabrera. So why does he deserve to win this year?

Numbers

When Trout was in the minors, he was projected as a base stealer who would start to hit for power as his career moved on. His body frame would slow him down, but give him more strength as he aged. He hit 30 home runs last year and has followed it up with 23 this year. His stolen bases are down from a year ago as are his runs scored. A big factor in the lower numbers are where he sits in the batting order. He spend most of last year in the leadoff spot where he was allowed to steal freely and had decent hitting behind him. He has spent most of this year in the #2 spot and is now finishing the year hitting 3rd in the order. Because of this, his RBI totals are up from a year ago and he has also seen his doubles, walks and OPS improve.

His biggest area of improvement has been his patience at the plate. He has always been known to have an extraordinary eye, but he has also his improved his strikeout rate to compliment that. He currently has a 119:94 K:BB ratio. His OBP has continued to grow each month. He struggled early in the season, but in August he had an OBP of .500 and currently sits at .547 this month. The most recent player to have an OBP over .500 for a full season was Barry Bonds*. See what I did there?

These are his offensive ranks for the American League:

Batting Average: 2nd

OBP: 2nd

OPS: 3rd

Runs: 1st

RBIs: 12th

Home Runs: 18th

Stolen Bases: 6th

Doubles: 4th

Triples: 2nd

WAR: 1st

He is in the top 20 for every major category. Not one person in the American League can say that. The man who will most likely get the MVP is 4th in WAR and his numbers have regressed since the beginning of the season.

Situation

I don’t fully blame Mike Scioscia for some of Trout’s numbers, but I can’t help but blame him a little. Trout’s supporting cast also hasn’t helped him much this year. When Trout batted 2nd earlier in the year, he had Pujols and Hamilton hitting behind him and they failed to drive him in consistently. His run total decreasing has a lot to do with those two men. It also seemed as if Trout did not have the green light once he was on base as he did last year. With a base open, a pitcher might not give Pujols anything to hit like he would with a man standing on 1st. Pujols didn’t do much to earn meatballs during the course of the season, but Trout was still stuck on first for most of the year. Trout has only had 39 attempted stolen bases compared to the 54 he had last year.

Hitting in the 3rd spot, Trout has had Cowgill, Shuck and Aybar hitting in front of him. How is someone supposed to get RBI’s with these three guys at the top of the batting order. They have three of the worst OBP’s on the team. Isn’t the 3rd hitter supposed to drive in runs? Well, he can’t drive in runs if people are not on base. With Pujols out and Hamilton and Trumbo slumping for a majority of the year, he hasn’t had hitters to protect him in the order. Pitchers have tried to make him chase and not given him much to hit. He hasn’t obliged and willfully walks. It is one reason why his walk totals are so high. It is almost unheard of for a 21 year old kid take 100+ walks in a season.

So Trout doesn’t get much to hit because of the hitters behind him. That’s on the players. If Pujols, Trumbo and Hamilton were hitting like expected then not only would his run totals be up, but his power numbers and average would possibly be up as well. And now when he does get on base, he hasn’t been stealing much so that the guys behind him will get better pitches to see. Yet they aren’t hitting. It is kind of a catch 22, but Scioscia has to give him the green light or at the very least, put Trout in a situation where he will be given a better chance to see better pitches. Otherwise, you aren’t putting your best hitter in the best spot to succeed.

Losing Team

For whatever reason, the voters generally vote for a player who has been on a winning team to win the MVP award. Matt Kemp was a victim of this system two years ago. It is something that I have never agreed with. I understand that baseball is a team sport, but the MVP is an individual award. If you switch teams for Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout, do the Angels make the playoffs and the Tigers miss them? No chance. Why should Trout not be able to win this award because his team hasn’t lived up to expectations? If you are the best player in baseball then you should be awarded as such.

In 2003, Alex Rodriguez won the MVP award even though the Rangers were one of the worst teams in baseball. Carlos Delgado was 2nd in the voting and the Blue Jays missed the playoffs as well. I believe Manny Ramirez had the best numbers in baseball that year and he finished 6th in the voting. He most likely split votes with Nomar and Ortiz as they also finished in the top 10 for voting. So A-Rod won the MVP despite being on a worse team than Trout and had similar challengers. At the time, people said Rodriguez was the best player in the American League, but the best player in baseball was debatable considering Pujols and Bonds were in the National League. If you asked who the best player in baseball is right now, most answers would be Mike Trout. I have never been a fan of the voting for many of the baseball awards (Gold Gloves for instance), but the MVP voting especially doesn’t make sense to me. The best player in the league should win the award. Matt Kemp was robbed of the MVP two years ago and this will be the 2nd straight year that Trout won’t win the award and it is all due to the teams they played for. Don’t get me wrong. I do think Miguel Cabrera is deserving of the award, but Trout being excluded from the award is ludicrous.

Oh, and Trout is only making $510,000 compared to Cabrera’s $21,000,000

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Trout belonged in the top two spots early in the year.  He is where he belongs now, too.  Next year, it might make sense to bat him first or second again.   It all depends on the other guys... Kendrick, Pujols, Hamilton... maybe Calhoun now.   Trout is going to hit no matter where he is in the lineup or what position he is playing (heard Greg Amsinger start that nonsensical talk last week on MLB Network). 

 

Of course, he is the best and most valuable player in the league.  

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Cano has more HR, RBI, a better AVG and OPS, as well as more hits. Donaldson has a higher WAR, that's pretty much it. I'm going to go ahead and assume the voters don't consider wOBA and wRC+ when voting for the MVP, and if they do, they might put David Ortiz in front of Donaldson.

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That I agree with. I think he will finish 5th. In reality, Trout will probably finish 3rd because DINGERS AND RIBBIES trump all

Exactly. 

 

Cabrera isn't good because of all those RBI's. He's good because his OPS is sitting around 1.1 and he's hitting .350, with a wOBA of .461 

Edited by Angels_Baseball
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Cano has more HR, RBI, a better AVG and OPS, as well as more hits. Donaldson has a higher WAR, that's pretty much it. I'm going to go ahead and assume the voters don't consider wOBA and wRC+ when voting for the MVP, and if they do, they might put David Ortiz in front of Donaldson.

 

dh

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