Mookie Betts has been named a finalist for American League MVP. He’ll have to beat out Mike Trout and Jose Altuve to take top honors in the American League.
So this is going to be one of those MVP debates.
On the one hand, Mike Trout deserves this award. Betts was amazing—one of the best bats on the team, and the best defender relative to his position in the entire game—but Trout was better. It’s pretty obvious whether you’re looking at advanced stats or just your basic triple slash. About the only place Betts has him beat is the really old triple slash of AVG/RBI/HR.
I don’t even remember if that’s the order anymore, it’s been so long. AVG/HR/RBI? Point is it’s archaic.
But the award is called “Most Valuable Player” and there’s no few voters out there who will argue to no end that a player can’t be all that valuable if his team didn’t even make the playoffs. What’d Mike Trout get the Angels but a lower draft pick?
For my money, that doesn’t matter. It’s an individual award, and Trout was the best individual player. If there were a “best position player” or “best overall player” award of some sort then you could make the case, but there isn’t. Just the MVP. And it makes a lot more sense to have an award for the best overall player than one for the “best overall player whose team made the postseason or at least was close enough that we can count it all the same.”
But that’s just me.
Also there is Altuve. Altuve shouldn’t win it by either metric because hey defense is a thing, and he isn’t particularly good at it. If it weren’t part of the equation, David Ortiz would be running away with this. Add in that the Astros missed the playoffs, and it’s hard to see this swinging his way. But there had to be a third, and Altuve is still very, very good. Just not on the same level as Betts and Trout were this year.
We’ll find out how the votes fell on November 17th.