For the second time in three years, LA Angels phenom Mike Trout has taken home the American League Most Valuable Player Award. Although the first time Trout won the award in 2014 was special, this one has to be sweeter.
LA Angels superstar Mike Trout beat out Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox and Josè Altuve of the rival Houston Astros. Despite being on the underwhelming(to put it nicely) Angels, Trout was able to receive 19 of the 30 first place votes, leading him to the most prestigious award in baseball. Betts also received nine while David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre each earned one first place vote apiece.
It has been nearly a consensus that Mike Trout is the best all-around player in baseball since, well, Trout’s rookie season. In 2016, Trout had perhaps the best all-around year of his career this past season. He had a .315 batting average, 29 big flys, 100 RBI’s, and stole 30 bases the most since 2012. These stats are even more impressive when one considers how dismal the talent around Trout was this year.
This year also marks Trout’s fifth year in a row of finishing top two in the AL MVP race. This feat has only been accomplished once, by Barry Bonds in the early 2000’s.
The season for the Angels was one to forget. The team went 74-88 and were not in the playoff hunt as early as June. This caused some analysts (including Halo Hangout) to consider benching Trout. They argued the risk of injury was not worth the potential stats and awards Trout might earn in the coming off-season. However, with this award (along with a Silver Slugger), Trout proved that even in the midst of the worst season for an Angels team under manager Mike Scioscia, greatness can prevail.
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The lack of talent around him may have actually helped Trout’s case for MVP this year. Betts, who finished second, had a phenomenal season with his stats being equal or better than Trout’s in most cases. However, he had the likes of David Ortiz, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Xander Bogaerts hitting around him. Albert Pujols, Yunel Escobar, and Kole Calhoun don’t exactly match up with that group. However, Escobar and Calhoun were able to get on base enough for Trout to rack up RBI’s. Pujols also had an a solid enough season at the plate to bring in Trout to help his runs number go up.
Mike Trout now has two AL MVP Awards to match his two All-Star Game MVP Awards. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Trout was responsible for 196 runs this year, while the Angels scored 717 runs total. That means Mike Trout was responsible for 27 percent (fitting for #27 himself) of the runs scored for the Angels this year. This is why he led all of MLB in Wins Above Replacement with 10.6, something he has done in all five of his big league seasons. Without him, the Angels go 63-99, putting them as the second worst team in baseball behind only the Minnesota Twins.
This MVP Award was a bit of an upset in a way. Many, including myself, expected Mookie Betts to take home the hardware. This was due to him being on one of the best teams in the American League. However, it seems experts realized that the Red Sox would have still made the playoffs without Betts. Meanwhile, one expert pegged the Angels as a “Triple-A ballclub without Trout”.
In recent years, voters took team success into account when casting their ballots. It seems they now realize team success should not hinder a player’s overall value. If this was the case the past four years, one could argue Trout would have won his fourth MVP in a row tonight.
Mike Trout undoubtedly deserved this award. The most impressive thing he did this season was, somehow, improve. This year was hit best year across the charts. For example, after stealing 27 bases total the last two years he stole 30 this year. He also led the MLB in walks, just two years after striking out at an extremely alarming rate.
Now it’s time for me to bore you to death about how historically great Mike Trout is. Warning, you’re going to hear a lot of baseball’s greatest players in comparison to Trout. Trout has now led baseball in WAR for five seasons in a row, the first to do it since Babe Ruth and the only player to do it in his first five seasons.
Hopefully this award can give life to the Angels and 2017 will bring team awards along with the individual ones. But for now, Angels nation can drop the pitchforks and torches and rejoice in the best player in baseball rightfully winning the MVP Award.