Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is a beast. He is the modern-day GOAT. He is the greatest baseball player of this generation, which is why he has been the favorite to win the AL MVP for the entire season (wire to wire).
But he shouldn’t win it.
Yeah, that’s right. I said it.
Mike Trout does not deserve to win the AL MVP this season. Yes, he had a spectacular season. He leads the AL in WAR (8.3), home runs (45), slugging percentage (.645), and OPS (1.083).
However, while his batting average is serviceable (.291), it only ranks 19th in the AL. His is one of just ten players to record 100+ RBIs, but he comes in at No. 8 with 104.
So, if it shouldn’t be Trout, then who? Easy—Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman.
The first thing the Trout crowd will do is point to the stats. Trout has a higher WAR (8.3 to 8.0 for Bregman), five more home runs (Bregman has 40), and a better OBP (.438 to .419), slugging percentage (.645 to .590), and OPS (1.083 to 1.009).
They’ll say, “so what?” to Bregman having a higher batting average (.295 to .291), fewer strikeouts (81 to 120), and more RBIs (109 to 104). They will plug their ears and explain it away by pointing out that Bregman has more at-bats (539 to 470) and has played in more games (151 and counting to 134).
Okay, so Bregman has had more opportunities than Trout. But shouldn’t availability and actually playing go a long way towards who is named the MVP? Some would say no, that it isn’t about being a really good player for more games. It is about being a more valuable player throughout the season.
That is why George Brett won it in 1980 despite only playing in 117 of 162 games. Barry Bonds only played in 130 in 2003, Joe Mauer played in 138 in 2009, and Josh Hamilton played in just 133 in 2010. Mookie Betts, last year’s AL MVP winner, played in just 136.
But then the argument goes back to what the award is called—the Most Valuable Player. What value is there is in Trout’s season for the Angels who are 71-86 and 32 games out of first in the division? How does his incredible stat line matter to the game or even his team?
Yes, Mike Trout has had a great season, maybe the best overall from a statistical standpoint in the game. The award is not for the AL’s best player, though. It is for the most valuable one.
The Astros are 103-54 and considered the favorite to win it all this season. Bregman is just one of many excellent players on Houston’s roster, but his efforts have definitely made an impact—especially while Trout has been inactive.
He had a key home run in Houston’s win over the Los Angeles Angels Sunday that clinched the division. Tuesday night, his fourth-inning home run (his 40th) was all the Astros needed to beat the Mariners.
Bregman has been the one constant force on a team that has dealt with injuries to just about every other major offensive player. He has been extremely valuable to one of the best teams in baseball, and hence, to the MLB in general.
Mike Trout’s game is great but has contributed little value to the MLB World Series race in 2019. Alex Bregman’s game is also great and has immense value.
That’s why he deserves to be the AL MVP.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.