Well, it’s that time of the year again...the MLB season winding down, playoff pictures becoming more and more clear, and people are arguing over what “MVP” actually means. That last one, in the past 4-5 years, has mainly been a topic of arguments and hot takes due to one man; one glorious, baseball-crushing man named Mike Trout.
Trout should be staring down his fifth MVP award, but alas, he only has one (2014) and the irony there is that it was what’s considered a “bad” season for Trout. Anybody else, and it’s a career year, but for Mike Trout, batting .287 with 36 homers and 111 RBIs is kind of lackluster. But you know what else happened in 2014?
The Angels went to the playoffs.
Right now, Trout is yet again putting voters of this prestigious award in a bit of a pickle. He’s having a monster year, and unlike some other seasons, he’s not even slowing down towards the end; Trout just wrapped up an August that saw him bat .349 with six homers and 20 walks, and so far he’s batting .500 in September with a couple bombs, and we’re only six days into it.
On the year, Trout has mashed and mashed, but has also been getting on base at a ridiculous clip (current OBP is .443, which would be a new Angels franchise record...current record is held by Trout), and then just for good measure, he’s got 23 stolen bases and is flirting with the 30/30 club (Trout hasn’t had more than 20 stolen bases since the 2013 season). He leads the MLB in fWAR (8.2), leads the MLB in OBP, leads the league in wRC+ (176) and any category that he’s NOT the leader of currently, you can bet that he’s somewhere near the top of that leader board.
This isn’t news to any of you. We are steeped in Trout porn every day, from articles or tweets or Stirrups’ morning link posts. Writers and baseball fans know all of this stuff, more or less, too. He’s the best player in baseball right now, so it’s a no brainer to crown him Most Valuable Player of the American League.
/cue record scratch sound effect
But Mike Trout isn’t on a playoff team!!!
This has become a yearly tradition, and because the Angels are in an organizational rut, some say it’s a rut that’s also wasting prime Trout years, it’s an argumentative tradition that is probably not going anywhere for the time being.
The award isn’t for Most Valuable Player. It’s for Best Player on a Playoff Team, and that’s where Mike Trout gets hosed. He’s got video game stats but because voters are left to make up their mind on what the word “valuable” means, then we are left at a place where Trout loses out. It’s been 13 years since a player won the award and WASN’T on a playoff team, so yeah...those voters are the problem.
If Mike Trout doesn’t win the MVP award this year, I’ll be upset and shout that he’s been robbed, but I’d be lying if I said I’d also be surprised. We should be used to it by now, used to the gross obfuscation voters use to get us to buy the sour logic they’re selling. Again, look at the year Trout DID win...not his best season, by far...but the Angels made the playoffs.
I suppose we should just be happy we have Trout to begin with; happy and grateful. But we want to see our guys accumulate that hardware; we want to see more defensive player of the year awards for Andrelton Simmons, or seeing Kole Calhoun get to hoist up that Golden Glove trophy.
So it’s sad to think that the greatest player I’ll probably ever get to see live has to continually finish 2nd in MVP voting, simply because nobody can figure out what the award is supposed to mean.
Here’s my hot take: the MVP award is for the best player in the game. Vote for the best baseball player, make it simple. Vote Mike Trout.