Trout’s historic greatness will once again be over looked in the MVP race

Updated: November 10, 2016

Another season, another Mike Trout MVP nomination. It’s becoming an annual tradition; as fall approaches, we expect to see Trout’s name mentioned among the three finalists for the most valuable player of the American league.

Unfortunately, we can also expect to see him lose out to an inferior player who just happened to be on a better team, surrounded by better players. This year Trout is up against Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros and Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox.

Betts is the most likely winner, although Altuve was voted most outstanding by the players, who truly have no idea how to evaluate players. Just look at who the players choose for the all star game every year for further proof. Anyway, Betts appears to be the most likely winner because he has the closest numbers to Trout and is the only finalist to be on a playoff team, although his team won just as many playoff games as the Angels or Astros did.

Altuve put up great numbers, slashing .338/.396/.531, slugging twenty-four home runs, with 108 runs scored and thirty stolen bases, and he walked almost as many times as he struck out, with sixty walks to seventy strikeouts respectively.

His team also did not make the playoffs, however, and you would be hard pressed to make an argument Altuve had a better season than Trout. Altuve also faded down the stretch, as he suffered through nagging injuries. If you’re going to give it to a player based solely on his own merits as opposed to his team’s record, than you would have to give it to Trout.

It would appear, than, that if Trout loses it would be to Mookie Betts, and that is exactly what will most likely happen, based solely on the fact that Betts’ team was better. While we may finally be understanding that it doesn’t make sense to punish a player for putting up superior numbers on a worse team surrounded by worse players, voters will always give the award to a player on a playoff team unless there is no clear-cut candidate from one of those teams and another player has put up historic numbers.

The argument is that player X from the playoff team’s contributions sent his team to the playoffs, therefore making his contributions more difficult, more impressive, and thus more valuable. That argument doesn’t hold up when you consider that it’s probably a lot more difficult and therefore impressive to put up great numbers when you’re the only player in a lineup a pitcher has to worry about, and it’s obvious that Trout’s numbers are more impressive when you consider that degree of difficulty.

Betts’ had a fine season, slashing  .318/.363/.534 with thirty-one home runs, 122 runs scored, and twenty-six stolen bases, all impressive numbers. All Trout did was slash .315/.441(!)/.550 with twenty-nine home runs, 123 runs scored, and thirty stolen bases. That on-base percentage is ridiculous and historic;

Trout reached base almost half the time he stepped to the plate, and he led the league in walks, runs scored, on-base percentage, OPS+, and WAR. Betts had a great season, but he did it in a hitters’ park surrounded by all-stars like David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Hanley Ramirez, while Trout did it in a park that suppresses offense while essentially shouldering the entirety of his team’s responsibility in the lineup.

It seems like a foregone conclusion that Trout’s historic greatness will once again be looked over in favor of a player on a better team, and my prediction is that Betts will walk away the MVP of 2016.

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